Who Are You, and What Are You?

What Is Your Real Purpose in Life?

Sleepless Nights

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Today, Carolyn came to see me. She’s having trouble sleeping. When she first goes to bed, she’s tired and she sleeps well for a few hours. Then she wakes up and can’t go back to sleep.

I asked her what she thought about after she was awake. She named about twenty things that run through her mind–over and over. She worries about paying her bills, getting her car repaired, the boyfriend that won’t commit, her cat’s dental problems, getting new wallpaper for the kitchen, and a never-ending stream of things that her mind finds to think about in the middle of the night.

When I suggested that she is suffering from an out-of-control conscious mind, she said she had never thought about it that way. After all, each of those things she worries about is, in fact, a genuine worry of hers.

It’s clear that most of those subjects are matters she needs to think about at one time or another, but certainly not in the middle of her sleep time.  She agreed that she needs to learn how to turn off the unwanted thought stream. This session didn’t solve Carolyn’s sleep problems, of course. But she did realize and accept that her out-of-control conscious mind is torturing her. And now, she knows that she must learn how to quiet her Mad Dog of the Mind before she will ever sleep peacefully (at least without drugs).

In the next session, we will experiment with creating a short period–perhaps only a few seconds each time–of complete cessation of thought. She says that, if we are successful, it will be a new experience for her. She can’t imagine the feeling of being conscious and awake and not thinking about anything.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

February 26, 2010 at 9:23 pm

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