The magic of meditation, eh?
So why a post about sleep when I’m all about meditation? Well, clearly I’m not all about meditation, but it is something that is so deeply entrenched into my life, rather than an adjunct.
When folk come to meditate with me, whether a course or an afternoon, over the years I’ve noticed there are commonalities across the board. And whilst this doesn’t mean the lived experience is the same, not for one second, the themes are consistent in their consistency:
I. Trouble sleeping
II. Feeling stressed and anxious
III. Desperately seeking some peace
I get that this is a top level, happy to share with the world approach. After all, you’re sitting in a room with strangers as a rule, you’re not going to want to share your inner most demons.
We are destined to heal and replenish our personal stores through sleep on a physical, emotional and spiritual level. Biologically it is when our bodies heal, replenish white blood cells and maintains a health immune system to help us be as strong and healthy as we are capable. Emotionally, we enter into our neptunium dream state during sleep, kick starting our subconscious into the party to try and figure out all the crap we’re struggling with during our day to day living. Oftentimes this can be tricky as when it’s the dark of the night, we can’t distract ourselves so easily and they are up front and centre. And spiritually? Well, I’ll leave that to you to understand your own sense of connection to the wider cosmos, or not.
I love sleep. I’m a huge fan of sleep. I feel deprived when I don’t get enough. This wee post has come to the fore as I didn’t sleep quite so well last night, for a raft of reasons. It has made me feel a little lacking in resources to deal with stuff. I’m clumsy, sensitive, a bit grumpy. I’m trying not to be any of the things, but not through denial, through understanding and figuring it out. And if I’m clumsy or a clod today, then it would seem that is the way it is going to be. I’m dealing with the situation the best way I can. Taking myself off into a quiet space to write and through writing it helps it to become a little clearer. Usually.
What on earth has meditation got to do with this then? That’s a very good question, and one that I’ll try to answer simply, at the least give a little insight into the amazing phenomena of applying a stance of being present, being kind, being compassionate to yourself – all trusty stalwart bed fellows of meditation.
During meditation, it isn’t the meditation that ‘fixes’ us. That’s a nonsense. Meditation does give us an insight into our inner world, the often hidden, overlooked or denied parts of ourselves. To figure our shit out, one small step at a time. And as the steps are never in a uniformed, onwards march, it gives us the opportunity to show ourselves kindness when we don’t get it right. Because trust me, it is a life long journey and it is hard. And there are no right answers. And the answers, well, they don’t stay the same. They change. As we learn and move and grow, so does our world. There is no black and white-ness about any of this. So why wouldn’t you want to love and support yourselves during the test of your life?
Breathing well, deep, gentle, nourishing breaths work on a physical level by getting oxygen around our body, ensuring we are fully vitalised, nourished, able to be functioning at our optimum state. Breathing also helps us to switch on our parasympathetic nervous system, soothes the heightened state of stress, anxiety, overwhelm. It’s amazing. But the breath is not just a physical role. It is also the thing that guides us down out of our busy, busy minds and nudges us back into our whole body. Remembering that we are whole and wonderful and not just a machine, but a feeling, loving, living, sentient being. And that’s amazing. Did you know that the word ‘breath’ is synonymous with the word spirit in its origin – no distinction, one and the same.
So back to sleep. Meditation doesn’t always give a magic wand to step over the hurdles that join us in our quest for sleep sometimes. And sometimes we can get grumpy when we don’t sleep. But it allows us to handle it with far greater ease, for the fed-upness to pass far quicker. If I can’t sleep now, I just get up and have a cuppa, or do something mundane. Usually I will do a yoga nidra – and I cannot recommend Jenifer Pierce enough. She is by far the most amazing yoga nidra teacher I have had the pleasure to come across. Check her out on Insight Timer (a free and utterly amazing meditation app that I recommend to everyone, everywhere), she is amazing and I find her nidra’s work like an absolute charm.
So whether you fancy doing some self-guided practice, downloads (either from me directly or Insight Timer is the bees) or coming along for a teacher led practice, what have you got to loose?
Sue Lancaster Meditation downloads: www.suelancaser.com/downloads
Sue Lancaster Workshops and events: www.suelancaster.com/workshops-and-events
Insight Timer : www.insighttimer.com