“”¦the ”˜imaginal realm,’ a dimension beyond the physical that is the precinct and playground of true imagination, a creative realm that may be the seedbed of our great discoveries and innovations, and even the origin of events and situations that are manifested in the surface world. Indigenous peoples call it the Dreamtime or the dreamworld. We go there when we go dreaming, which may or may not involve going to sleep.” Robert Moss, The Secret History of Dreaming.
In the last few weeks, a number of people have shared with me that they are waking up in the night and can’t get back to sleep. Perhaps it’s the recent full moon, perhaps it is because there’s a lot of volatile intense energy around these days, who knows? But it’s come up enough that I thought I would share my experience with that wondrous experience known as “I can’t get back to sleep.”
First, Robert Moss, in his excellent book, The Secret History of Dreaming, tells us we may be trying to attain an unrealistic and not even desirable goal: that solid night of unbroken sleep. He describes a recent experimental study:
“Deprived of artificial lighting, the typical subject evolved the following pattern: lying awake in bed for an hour or two, then four hours of sleep, then two to three hours of ”˜non-anxious wakefulness’ followed by a second sleep before waking for the day’s activities”¦Wehr concluded that the night watch can produce benign states of altered consciousness not unlike meditation.”
Apparently until modern times an hour or more of quiet wakefulness during the night was the most common sleep pattern. A key phrase is “non-anxious wakefulness.” Most of us, when we wake up, are reviewing events of the day, thinking about what is to come, going around in the wheel of thought, getting anxious about not getting enough sleep, trying to go back to sleep and not succeeding, all of which are bound to produce anxiety.
SourcePoint can be helpful in inducing that benign state of altered consciousness not unlike meditation. I often wake for a couple of hours some time after midnight. First, I relax and imagine the Diamond Points around me. Then I do the Guardian Points, very slowly, lingering on each pair, especially those on the lower body, letting my mind drift, not trying to stay awake or fall asleep, just connecting with the cosmos, with the healing energies of Order, Balance, Harmony and Flow. I often fall asleep before I’m done with these points.
As I drift, I often receive what I’ve come to call “downloads” from the great energy-information field we call Source. The middle of the night, surrounded by the starry sky, in the dark of the moon, or by the light of the moon, when the rhythm is slowed and the mind and heart expand into the great dark-light space of night, can be a very good time to receive insight, information, guidance and healing.
You could try asking, quite simply, what is keeping me awake? And wait for an answer, in image, thought or feeling. Ask further, what does my deep self want to communicate to me? What is the universal energy asking of me now?
Give a lot of space around the questions. Don’t think too much. Drift, dream a waking dream, listen to the whispers of that deep self. If there’s a problem that arises, don’t try to find a solution. Let go of the left brain and give the right brain a chance, be satisfied and intrigued by random thoughts and images, seemingly unrelated pieces of information. Let the threads of your thoughts, feelings and images weave themselves together. Dreams don’t often make logical sense. Wakefulness in the night is a chance to journey, to explore the waking dream, to relax into yourself and see what’s there that wants to emerge. It’s a time for the Dreamtime.
If you really do eventually want to get back to sleep, I highly recommend not getting up and writing things down. This isn’t about remembering. It’s about drifting on the waves of the cosmic energy, going where it takes you, and letting go. Sleep is about letting go, of the everyday mind, of control, of needing to know. It’s about entering into the deep rhythm of yourself, the night, the cosmos. If you practice that while you lie awake in the dark, it will facilitate actually falling asleep.
In ancient Greece, people went to the temples of Asclepius for dream healing. There they received the messages that let them know what was missing, what was needed for their healing. The healing dream that restores us to Order, Balance, Harmony and Flow, doesn’t only come with sleep. It comes in those hours of non-anxious wakefulness, as we breathe quietly in the presence of What Is.
© 2011 Donna Thomson and Bob Schrei