This morning bed meditation comes from the place in our consciousness where dreams and meditation overlap.
But, no, this isn’t a story about falling asleep during meditation and nearly toppling off the cushion.
It’s a delicious practice to try in bed, under the blankets while propped up on well-fluffed pillows and another pillow tucked under your knees.
I learned this magic from my teacher Erich Schiffmann. His directions are, per his usual, very simple and clear:::
— Do it the morning. Set your alarm for 20 minutes or more ahead of the time you need to really get out of bed.
— When the alarm goes off 20 minutes (or more) early, hit the snooze button.
— Prop yourself up against the wall or headboard very comfortably on your pillows. Get all the blankets just right so you feel cozy. Tuck a pillow under your knees if you like.
— Then close your eyes and do whatever you do when beginning meditation practice– watching the breath or listening to sound, for example.
— Just keep re-centering just like you do during practice, but don’t try to force yourself to stay awake.
— Eventually, you’ll find yourself drifting in and out of various degrees of awakeness and sleep, meditation and dreams. Just let it be what it is and enjoy.
— When the snooze goes off, hit it again if you have extra time. Or, if it’s time to rise, roll out in a conscious but relaxed way as seamlessly as possible.
— That’s it.
Erich never talks about the scientific explanation of this practice, but I think it’s really interesting:::
The state between waking and sleeping we often find ourselves in between sunrise and our official wake up moment is called the“hypnogogic state”. It’s an “ambrosial” place in consciousness where we’re gently tossed within the ebb and flow of unconscious, subconscious and conscious layers of mind.
In some moments, we can actually access all three states simultaneously, which feels floaty, soft, safe and magical. A treat because in our normal waking state, our conscious mind cannot perceive the unconscious directly.
Our unconscious is the storehouse of all our experience and therefore holds all kinds of secrets we’ve forgotten about and some we’ve never even realized. SO, our unconscious is our treasure chest. (Much of the time during the practice of Yoga Nidra is spent in this hypnogogic state.)
Carl Jung is famously quoted for saying, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”Jung felt, and I agree from my own experience, that healthy connections between conscious and unconscious states of mind can be very healing as well as empowering. We understand our deeper desires as well as motivations. We can recognize and then heal old wounds, for example.
During the hypnogogic state, we might also experience “lucid dreaming”, the ability to direct our dreams according to our own will, sometimes in a highly creative way. The ability to choose the outcomes of our dreams is a another game changer when it comes to healing and empowerment.
So, meditation is the perfect tool to help direct these energies as we allow ourselves to float in the tides of this soft, safe, dreamy, sleepy yet conscious state.
Try it. Don’t worry about the outcome.
Do it purely for the pleasure at first, just allowing yourself to explore. Over time, you’ll become more comfortable directing the energies and moving between layers of conscious in a more direct way.
At some point, you might explore the following:::
— Asking a question during a more conscious moment and then see what your unconscious turns up as an answer. You might ask about a complicated problem that you can’t solve or how to heal yourself of an unhealthy habit. I sometimes ask, “What would you like me to know today?” Or “What do I need to hear today?”
— Thinking about a creative project or venture during a more conscious moment and then see what your unconscious does with it. I actually ROUGH DRAFTED this blogpost this morning during this practice between about 5 – 7 am, just rolling gently in and out of awareness.
If you try this practice, LET ME KNOW HOW IT GOES. If you do this or a similar practice already, LET ME KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE. Just hit *Reply to this email and tell me all about it.
“Sweet dreams are made of this.
Who am I to disagree.
Travelled the world and the seven seas.
Everybody’s looking for something.” — Annie Lennox/ Dave A. Stewart
Sweet dreams upon waking!!!! This practice is all about making your dreams real.
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