Week 31: Using Sleep [And Dreams] For Steadiness Of Mind And To Prepare For Deeper Meditation (Sutra 38)

“Or by concentrating on a experience had during dream or deep sleep [you can gain peace of mind].”

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Svapnanidrajnanalambanam Va

Svapna: dream | Nidra: deep sleep | Jnana: becoming acquainted | Alambanam: to hold attention | Va: or

The average human being spends about 26-35% of their life asleep, with most of their longest uninterrupted periods of sleep taking place from the time of infancy to adolescence when they are growing and developing the most rapidly on a fundamental level. And this makes perfect sense since sleep is an important part of proper human functioning and a key element in our effective processing of experience, emotions, memory, and learning.

Without an adequate amount of sleep (which is typically considered to be about be 6-9 hours per night depending on the individual person), all humans run the risk of not only developing reduced cognitive capabilities, but also increase their potential to experience irritability, mood dysregulation, and even decreased immune functioning.

Our species has evolved to coordinate our rest and wake cycles (circadian and homeostasis rhythms) with the natural environment as it relates to light and temperature, and as we slumber, our brains go through different stages that make it so that each of our “systems” in our overall system rejuvenates, recharges, repairs, and grows while we rest. These stages, as we have discussed before, have been represented by the symbol/sound of OM/AUM and the different states of consciousness that a person goes through on the journey to Samadhi and Asamprajnata Samadhi before merging back into the silence of the Source.

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