At this time in the Western world, it is rapidly becoming noticeable that most of us are chronically under slept. And as the studies and research are done, it’s becoming clear that this cumulative exhaustion is also a possible cause of many other apparently unrelated problems, such as obesity, cancer, allergies, heart disease, colds, and the list goes on.
One of the biggest problems we have with regard to sleep is that, in the world we have gotten used to, we are working harder and longer hours than ever before, so we are tending to take our leisure, and ‘quality time’ with family and friends later and later. Chores, socialising, winding down and entertaining ourselves get pushed to the evening, when we should be sleeping. Where our forbears were usually in bed by 9 or 10 pm, the average Westerner considers it normal to go to bed at 11 pm or midnight.
“Chronic sleep deprivation is becoming so universal that Thomas Wehr, chief of the section on biological rhythms at the National Institute of Mental Health, believes few adults in the industrialized world know the crystal-clear sensation of being completely rested. Of this he says “Perhaps we modern humans have never really known what it is to be fully awake,”
Even to meditate, we need to be well slept. You’ll find as you move through meditation methods in this book, that, though meditation certainly has a calming effect, it’s extremely difficult – almost impossible in fact – to meditate if your mind and body need sleep.
In meditation we are practicing being in a highly aware state of being – we have to have our wits about us to take charge of our skittish mind. So if you’re already exhausted, as soon as you close your eyes to meditate you’ll find unconsciousness beginning to close you down. Oncoming sleep will quickly rob you of any chance of being able to use the methods to meditate.
Which is why I regard the following video as essential viewing, not just for meditators, but for anybody wanting to live a vibrant and fulfilling life.