Are you sleeping in the waking state?

After expounding on imagination in the last article, let us move to the 4th modification of the mind – SLEEP. Patanjali gives a deeper insight into sleep in the next Yoga Sutra. The first thing we need to do is to expand our understanding about sleep, not in the narrowed way as we experience as a layman, but from the level of consciousness. If you are able to grasp this knowledge and apply in your daily life, the whole quality of your life will be transformed.

Here’s the 10th verse of Yoga Sutra “The subtle state where thoughts are not visualised is sleep or nidra”. Patanjali is not referring only to the normal sleep we experience at night, he is also talking about two other sleeps that we are not aware. The word ‘Nidra’ means disconnect.

As human beings, we all go through 3 kinds of sleep: 1) sleep which we experience during waking state, 2) the sleep which we experience during dream state, 3) sleep which we experience during deep sleep state. We go through 3 types of sleep – waking-sleep, dream-sleep and deep-sleep.

First of all, you need to know that you experience sleep during waking state. Many times you would have experienced this in your life – you are there but you are not there! Your body may be moving and doing things but you are asleep. For example, you would have started the car and driven to office for 30 mins, but only when you park your car at office and get out, you will suddenly remember that you have driven for half an hour. But you don’t remember the details how you get there, it means you were sleeping even when you were awake. I have experienced it a few times during Guru puja, a Vedic ritual to offer gratitude to my Guru, I actually forgot if I had done certain steps due to absent-mindedness.

The truth is the entire humanity is sleepwalking because we go through part of our waking state sleeping till we are enlightened. Paramahamsa Nithyananda, a living enlightened master (fondly known as Swamiji) cautions that not being available in the state in which we are, is what he calls as sleep. He says that if we can just be available in the waking state, there is no problem which can’t be solved. The key is – we need to be available there because all problems are created when we are not available and we end up messing up the whole thing. This happens when the reflection of consciousness is not there. Due to absentmindedness, people miss many things in life such as relationships, decisions and life itself. When we are absentminded in the outer activities, we may lose the things like success, fame and wealth. But if we are absentminded during inner planning, inner visualization, we will miss the links in our life, the flow which is happening inside us will be missing. That’s the worst thing that can happen to any Being! It means a kind of sleep is happening in the thought flow which does not allow us to keep the passion alive. The sleep which we experience during the thought- flow or action-flow is what leads us to anguish, we suffer due to missing too many things of the inner world. Absentmindedness in the outer world is responsible for the planning not becoming a reality. You need to know that absentmindedness in the inner world is responsible for all indecisions, addiction and the inability to keep the intensity alive in your life. The addiction here means any action performed repeatedly without awareness, it does not just confine to visible dangerous addictions such as alcohol, smoking or drugs.

How to come out of this nidra – the disconnection with life?

Whenever the nidra or waking-sleep happens, remember and bring awareness. You can try this technique. For the next 10 days, whenever you eat, be aware of how you feel in the stomach, how you feel with the whole process of digestion and cleaning. You can clearly understand what makes you feel uncomfortable and what makes you feel relaxed. Suddenly your body will tell you the right quantity, right quality and you will be able to create a diet base on that awareness. Next, be aware of your breathing, the natural breathing cycle and your breathing pattern. How your thoughts which are triggered by anger or desire affect your breathing? How your breathing elongates when you are relaxed? Start to become aware of your body, feel that you are alive inside this body, your hands and legs and your face – the different parts of your body. This technique will bring you back to awareness in waking state.

In essence, sleep in waking state is due to a discontinuity of reflection of consciousness. The waking-sleep state not only stops you from manifesting your reality but also makes you forget about the very purpose in your life which is seeking. A state of low existence which everyone needs to get out. Namaste. 😀

Note : From 108 Truths of Yoga of Enlightenment by Paramahamsa Nithyananda

Expand Your Understanding About Life

Do you know that all our so-called pain, fear, pleasure, guilt, whatever we call as life is looked with a short view of a few hours of awareness?

Many people struggle with the pain and suffering just because they do not have a complete understanding of life itself. As of now, we have a short narrow view of life when we do our life strategy planning. If we have a complete understanding of life, we will be out of all attachments, pain and suffering. If we have a broad, complete understanding about life, it takes away practically all our sufferings and the sufferings around us.

Life is larger and broader than we think. There are 5 dimensions in life i.e. states of awareness, 5 sense organs, 5 elements, nature attributes and time factor.

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Sleep Your Way to Health

Last month, I attended my brother’s marriage ceremony. After the lunch, we went up to his hotel room for a traditional Chinese tea ceremony where the newly weds served tea to the elders.  While this was happening, I noticed my 16 y.o. nephew had dozed off on the sofa, missing all the fun with the family.  When I enquired about the cause, I was told that he had been kept awake the  night before by the computer games while everyone was asleep. I felt deeply concerned for him because he was messing up his internal clock, depriving his body-mind system the necessary renewal it needed.  He already has the health problem related to fatty liver due to poor diet.  Apparently, this is a common habit among teenagers and young adults in Singapore as we are such a wired-up nation where 24/7 entertainment by media like TV or internet is widely available.

In fact, a poll conducted on 940 students in 26 secondary schools (age 14-17) in a Teen Sleep Survey Singapore 2007 revealed that 80 per cent of them are getting less than eight hours of sleep on school days, while only 2.6 per cent are getting the recommended nine hours as compared to 9% in United States. The survey was approved by the Ministry of Education and several local institutional review boards which was modelled on the National Sleep in America polls. The result showed that the situation in Singapore was worse than America which was very disturbing. I noticed that in Singapore, the importance of sleep is not well-appreciated. Parents, who may acknowledge that their teenage children are not getting enough sleep, are also unsure about what to do about it.

At the prime age of youth, they should be expressing enormous energy, creativity and a passion for life.  However, due to unhealthy lifestyle habits of modern living, peer pressure, stress from school and wrong conditioning by media, I’ve seen some of our youths are becoming listless in family or social gathering, they lack intensity yet mentally are restless, irritable easily and have poor concentration.  Unless the parents themselves take responsbility by interferring, the children will develop many problems at the physical, mental and emotional levels at later life stage.

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