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How Can I Get Better Sleep?

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In the last post, I mentioned that getting deep, restful sleep is a two-step process. The first step is learning Conscious Quiescence, the art of quieting the conscious thought machine. When your noisy mind is generating a non-stop deluge of thoughts, you can’t sleep.

Step Two: Once you have learned CQ and you’re able to easily and quickly stop unwanted thoughts, then you will begin using that skill before, during and after sleep to make the sleep experience quieter and deeper.

Say what? So, now you’re thinking, “Maybe I can quiet my mind before I go to sleep and after I wake up. There’s no way I can control what happens while I am asleep.”

Oh yes you can! And here’s how it works. As you become more and more skillful with curbing the runaway thought stream, you’ll be able to do it in a wider variety of circumstances. It’s all a matter of practice.

At first, you begin using CQ to quiet your thoughts and relax your body so that you can go to sleep faster. Then, as you are waking up, you may notice your Mad Dog of the Mind racing back and forth to get loose so he can take over. You will quickly learn to use CQ so that you don’t have to wake up to stressful and unpleasant thoughts.

As time goes by and you continue practicing, you’ll find that your ability to check unwanted thoughts will gradually begin working deeper and deeper into that hypnagogic state between being awake and being asleep. (See the March 23, 2010 post.)

What you will discover is that any intentions you have in mind while falling asleep will still exist as you enter and pass through hypnagogia. Let me state this another way: While falling asleep and even when you’re totally asleep, your mind can be aware of intention without actually needing to think about the intention. Eureka, what a discovery!

After some time, you’ll discover than even during your sleep, you can remain aware of your intention to not think about unpleasant or upsetting things. A different part of your mind will remain aware and keep watch over the Mad Dog—even while you’re asleep. After some amount of self-training and practice, some dreams can be stopped at will, because you will have an awareness, even while sleeping, of how to stop an unwanted runaway thought stream.

Written by Eduardo Mitchell

April 1, 2010 at 1:35 pm

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