Personal experiences: If you cannot get to sleep, start meditating instead!

spiritedStarred Page By spirited, 28th May 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

Sometimes we have difficulty getting back to sleep after waking up at some time, or another in the wee small hours of the morning. This had been happening to me too.

This is what I did about it, just the other night. I had an experience again with my little dog Abbey, who I still love, but who died just a short time ago.

The article then goes on to talk about some of the other benefits of meditation, and prayer.

I was having trouble getting to sleep

The last few months, I have been waking up around three o'clock in the morning, and after getting up to go to the bathroom, I have then had a lot of trouble getting back to sleep again.

After a few weeks of this, and of watching the clock on my bedside table ticking away the hours rather slowly, I decided to try something else instead.

I started meditating, practising visualising exercises, and relaxing myself, from doing these two things.

Last night, for example, I imagined that I was lying down on a hammock, which was outside somewhere in nature, and it was set up under a large tree.

I then imagined the sun shining succeedingly, progressively on each part of my body to relax me. In this technique, you imagine the warmth of the sun first shining on your arms, then your legs, then it moves to your body, and head, until your whole body is bathed in this pleasant warming warmth of the sun.

Then, feeling rather lazily relaxed already, I then looked up at the sky, between some limbs of the tree.

It was a beautiful blue colour.

There were no clouds to be seen.

Then, as I continued to look, a small cloud appeared, and presently it started forming itself into some shape. It looked at first like an apple, but then I thought, "No, it's not really an apple", and then it seemed to look more like a heart, and so then I thought to myself, "Well no, it's not really a heart either."

It was still changing its shape before my eyes.

Finally, after a short while longer, its shape became more clear to me. I could see that it was Abbey's (My small dog, who had died not that long ago) face, looking down at me.

It was very clear now. It was only her face that I could see.

Then two man's hands suddenly came out from the rest of the now gathered together clouds, which had come up unexpectedly now in the background, and they grabbed Abbey around the waist, and then they dropped her down, or more brought her down very gently, to rest upon my stomach, before letting her go there. The hands then disappeared.

I was back in my bed now, and she (Abbey, my dog) started licking my face, like she once used to do to me. Rather surprised by this, I then woke up.

This visualisation started off as just that, but it ended with me half asleep, or in a sort of a dreamlike state. I was neither really asleep, nor really awake.

"How real are these types of happenings?"

This was the question that then played around in my mind for a while.

Our mind they say does not know the difference between a real experience and an imagined one in some respects. To my mind this was a very real event to it.

It is a similar experience in some ways to one which I might also experience like this within the outer reality of my living it as being so in the outer world.

Where the experience has occurred then to me is not really the important thing, nor is it of prime importance here, except for the emphasising ability of the strength of the experience on me.

Would it affect me individually in a greater way, inwardly or outwardly?

My soul perhaps answers this question for itself, before it presents me with any experience in either dimension, (i.e. inwardly, or outwardly)

This inner experience that I had just gone through affected me I believe just as strongly as if it had been really an outer experience to me for me. It was as real as any so called outer real life experience could ever be.

"Sleep is the best meditation."

The Tibetan leader, known as the Dalai Lama, said this (the current Dalai Lama that is).

He may well be right about this of course, but if we can't get to sleep, the other forms of meditation, sure are pretty good alternatives, at times!

Photo credit: This one is my own photo!

Is meditation a type of sleeping, or not?

Senryu: About meditation

What's a sleepless rest,
conscious, yet not unconscious?
It's Meditation!


"I deepen my experience of God through prayer, meditation, and forgiveness."

This is a quote from that well known American self-help writer, and spiritual teacher, Marianne Williamson.

All of these types of things when performed from and with a loving heart can help you to do just this, to deepen your experience in God, with God, or of God, as she says here.

Meditation is a form of Prayer

There is something else that I could have done above though when I found myself wide awake at night. I could have prayed.

It is interesting to see the words, "prayer and meditation" being laced together and used in the same sentence, as they have been in the title of this section.

Prayerful meditation, what exactly could that ever be, or mean?

At first glance, prayer and meditation might appear to be poles apart. They come from different directions. Prayer is of the heart, meditation is of the mind.

How is prayer related to meditation, is it really linked in some way, or not?

Prayer is not meditation in that prayer is an active joining of your heart to God's heart.

Meditation is more a quieting of your mind, rather than any joining of your heart. The same end however, is often achieved by this process of meditation. As the mind quietens, the heart is then heard, and starts connecting to God. The heart prayers go out and God hears them. Both methods can re-join the heart to God.


It is a funny thing but realness is a function not of that realness being personified, and seen from the mind, but of being felt by the heart. This is the difference. Meditation kept only in the mind as an exercise of the mind stays there. If it is allowed to expand past the mind, it will start to envelop your heart as well.

Meditation techniques are like matches that light the fire of your mind, and which eventually will light the fire in your heart as well.

That is if you do not stop to just warm yourself from the fires in your mind, and the side effects they create in you. You might develop certain powers of the mind for instance. If, however, your ego takes hold of your mind again and becomes proud by making you think that you are more powerful now than other people, this will prevent your further progress.

Some of these powers might be mind-reading, clairvoyance, levitation, the ability to control others, and other such powers. These are psychic powers, and as such, they do not really take you closer to God. They are a fascinating side-step on your journey, not to be practiced only for their own sake, but only to be noticed, as you move on.

Pray with the words secondary, and the heart's feeling first. Put the mind behind the heart, not in front of the heart. This is why prayer should usually be the first method used for contact with God. Meditation should not be put first, but merely used as a vehicle to quieten the mind, and to put it back in its proper place behind the heart.

"Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one's weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart."

This quote is from Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, better known of course as Mahatma Gandhi, (1869 to 1948). He was the great Indian civil rights leader who preached and practised non-violence in all of his campaigns.

Visualisation, meditation, and prayer

The practice of visualisation also has its place here. Visualising the kingdom of God for example, is a form of faith, which visualisation really is.

See what could be, what can be, with enough faith, i.e. visualise the result strongly enough, and it must come to pass, it must be manifested for you in your life.

Visualisation could be said to be using your spiritual sight, meditation is a form of illuminating your mind's eye, so to speak, and prayer could be said to be devotional. It is comforting and uplifting for you.

It is like the parable of the meat eater and the vegetarian.

The meat eater visualised himself eating the meat of his kill before he even killed the animal, whereas the vegetarian meditated on the preparation of his food in the kindest and wisest of ways. The one praying forgot altogether about his food. He simply prayed with such devotion that the food miraculously appeared on his plate.

Visualisation sometimes only intensifies the wanting, and so stimulates desires, so be careful about this. The idea of prayer is not to pray to God to fulfil any of your own wants, but simply to ask him for the strength to be able to carry out his will in your own life, whatever that might be, and in whatever way it manifests itself in your life.

Prayer is the strongest from of petition delivered directly to God. Meditation is only affecting your mind, and visualisation only petitions your soul.

In prayer, we must recognise that it is God that is answering our prayers. He does everything for us. When we meditate, in effect we are often trying to do something for ourselves first. Prayer asks that God's will be done for us, and properly formed prayer asks God to help us to do God's work for him in our lives.

Some spiritual meditation experts have said that meditation is the deepest form of prayer. It is true that meditating will bring to you automatically exactly what you require, not what you might want. A good meditator wants nothing, he has everything already, or he knows that everything will be supplied to him, as and if he ever needs it to be.

On the other hand, the Christian bible advises us to seek the kingdom of God first. So pray first, before meditating on the answers obtained from your prayers. Ponder them in your heart, as the bible also says, and do not think about them only in your mind.

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

This quote is from Sain Matthew's gospel, chapter 6, verse 33.

Prayer must not be stopped and substituted or replaced only with meditation.

Meditation is passive in that it expects grace to come to you on its own. It will do this of course, but to recognise it, you need to see it with the spiritual eyes that have been opened first in your heart by prayer, and not just with your mind's eye, which can only think deeply about things, but never feel them.

Prayerful meditation should be identical then to meditational prayer. Do not try to practise one, and forget the other, but if you are going to forget one of these, always place the need for prayer first. This is putting the kingdom of God first.

Meditation is mainly only for the benefit of yourself, but it can affect others too.

Creating a more peaceful environment helps everyone. One person improving and growing, always helps the whole to grow in some small way too. All else is always affected by each and every other person's act. All are connected.

Praying for another person is a form of loving them. It is connecting to them from love, and it is realigning both of you into the perfection of God's love.

Prayer re-balances everything, and so prayer is helping to put everything back into its proper place. Pray for another person from your heart, and let that love reach out to God. When you love God in this way, you will feel his love in return. Prayer makes God's love more real for you, and it intensifies its feeling within you as well.

God is love.

All love comes from God, and when you love, you serve God. On the other hand a prayer is simply a vehicle that you have created, for that love to travel and to reach up to God.

You can get to know God better by reading his Word and by living out your love for God. Allow your prayers to come from love. The spirit of that love, the Holy Spirit, will translate your prayer for you. Your words will be inspired from love, and not from your mind.

When your mind is troubled, you will feel unclear, fearful, anxious and maybe even a bit lost.

Meditation helps to disperse these types of feeling through relaxation that clarifies the mind. This can be fleeting however, and may disappear when the next crisis approaches. Prayer gives you clarity of the heart and creates inner peace not just outer relaxation. You connect yourself to God, and not to the Universal mind power only.

When your heart is right, your mind follows. This is why it is better to pray before meditating.

It is alright of course to meditate before prayer as well, as this will take your mind into a peacefully receptive state first. But do not become so lost and captivated by this state, that you forget about your original intention to pray. Do not peal the banana, then only try to eat its skin. Enjoy the banana also by praying.

Meditatively pray, and prayerfully meditate. Both prayer and meditation work better when they are correctly combined. All things work together for the glory of God.

Photo Credits:

The photos used here have been taken from the free media site pixabay.com, unless otherwise stated.

Tags

Conscious, Dreaming, Dreamlike State, Dreams, Meditating, Meditation, Meditation Techniques, Prayer, Sleep, Sleepless Rest, Trouble Getting To Sleep, Unconscious, Visualisation, Visualising Exercises

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author avatar spirited
I have been interested in the spiritual fields for over thirty five years now. My writing is mostly in this area.

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Comments

author avatar GV Rama Rao
28th May 2015 (#)

A useful piece since many suffer from sleeplessness. However, what do atheists do? What do they meditate about? What is good for you may not be good for all. However, thanks for sharing your ideas which seem to be sound and practicable.

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author avatar spirited
28th May 2015 (#)

thanks, GV Rama Rao.

Yes, I take your point what's good for the goose is not necessarily also good for the gander, as the old saying goes.

I am actually an atheist myself, but it doesn't stop me from meditating. I just experience what I experience.

I don't allow my beliefs to interfere. I try to be open to whatever happens.

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author avatar brendamarie
28th May 2015 (#)

Great article spirited, meditation is a great way to help when you are having trouble sleeping.

Atheists do meditate as well. There are many different ways to meditate.

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author avatar spirited
28th May 2015 (#)

Yes, thanks brendamarie.

There are many methods, from just body relaxation, to chanting mantra's, etc. etc. etc.

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author avatar Kingwell
28th May 2015 (#)

Thanks for a great share spirited. I have rarely had a problem getting to sleep even if I awake during the night I can get back to sleep quickly. I like the practice of both meditation and visualization but I'm usually not awake long enough to get started with the process. Maybe if I start going to bed an hour earlier. I think a nap in the afternoon would be a good time too but of course that is mainly the luxury of seniors. Blessings.

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author avatar spirited
31st May 2015 (#)

thanks Kingwell,

usually I don't have a problem much either, but I was taking some medication that seemed to cause this to happen for me.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
29th May 2015 (#)

Thought provoking Spirited. Reaching out to the mystery of creation I try to do, and seek meaning for my existence. What is the purpose behind it all and how to become a true co-creator? Maybe, I am doing my little by sharing my thoughts here - but can I do much more? Yes, by adding to positive vibes - even a gentle smile touches hearts I have found - even serious looking people take a double take to return the courtesy.

I never ask anything for myself, especially material things, but like others a quick exit than a labored one! Frankly, I am not interested in heaven as I believe that shows our ingratitude as this place is the real deal according to me - siva

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author avatar spirited
31st May 2015 (#)

thanks siva, I am not "much interested in heaven" in some ways too, but I sure am curious to know the truth about it though right now.

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author avatar Retired
30th May 2015 (#)

Great post, Spirited. Meditation has lots of benefit.

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author avatar spirited
31st May 2015 (#)

Yes, Joyesh, they are just becoming to be recognised by scientists now too.

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author avatar Carol Roach
1st Jun 2015 (#)

well said my friend

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author avatar spirited
1st Jun 2015 (#)

thanks Carol

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