Sleeping & Presence

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Andre van der Meulen
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Sleeping & Presence

Post by Andre van der Meulen » Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:27 pm

Dear people,

I am new to this forum. My name is André, 23 years old from The Hague, Holland. I have suffered from anxiety, panic attacks and feelings of depression for a huge part of my life. One of my best friends recommended the work of Eckhart Tolle the other day. She was convinced it would help me in my search for some peace of mind. And it did, at least in the beginning. The words of Eckhart Tolle really resonated with something deep within me and helped me find inner peace and find the life under my life situation as mr. Tolle would put it. However, ever since I am trying to life by The Power of Now as much as possible I've been having the most dreadful sleeping problems.. I have always been a terrible sleeper, but since I'm trying to be present as much as I can during the day I find it hard to lose consciousness at night. Are there more people out here with the same experience? And wouldn't anyone agree with me that there seems to be a certain contradiction in the matter? I mean, I know a lot of people use the Power of Now to find inner peace right before they go to bed and it helps them sleep, but that would mean you have to become extremely consciouss in order to lose consciousness and fall asleep. Does that even make sense? At what moment do I stop trying to be fully conscious and give in to unconsciousnes? Or do I see it all wrong and is sleeping a form of (spiritual) consciousnes after all? I really do hope I don't sound too stupid but this has been bugging me for ages. I hope some one here can help me out a bit!

Kinds regards,


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Re: Sleeping & Presence

Post by kiki » Tue Oct 21, 2014 1:27 am

Welcome to the board, André. Allow sleep to come naturally without any intention of trying to become conscious of falling into the unconsciousness of sleep. Becoming "conscious" refers to becoming conscious of what you are beneath the noise of the mind, and then realizing that you are "that" rather than something that arises within the mind. At night simply let yourself fall asleep. Let go of any struggle to do anything other than letting sleep come of its own accord.

Let me add that if sleep doesn't come it can be helpful to just put attention on the inner body, or to feel your presence and rest in/as that.
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Re: Sleeping & Presence

Post by smiileyjen101 » Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:10 am

Welcome Andre.
However, ever since I am trying to life by The Power of Now as much as possible I've been having the most dreadful sleeping problems..
That's an interesting noticing in your consciousness levels.
It may be that you're activating hyper-consciousness, in the same sort of way that a panic attack does, hence the 'alertness' is more active than passive.

Resting in the now is more passive, more 'letting go' than holding on or 'trying' to hold awareness at any particular level of intensity.

Seems silly to say 'relax' - let go, stop 'trying' to stay present because that's making you too rigid & alert. For me being in the present moment is more about submission to what is rather than alertness of what is.

- are you able to float on water, or float on music - just let it hold and carry you? (without 'trying')
It's that sort of feel.

What you're describing is more likely to be within Beta ranges of consciousness (as can be measured by an EEG) the state our brain goes into to pay attention and do task oriented activities normally during the day. In a way, maybe because you've experienced difficulties with sleeping, maybe you're applying this level of consciousness to the notion of sleeping - I must sleep, I 'should' be sleeping, this PON should be helping etc thought patterns.

It becomes a self feeding cycle of energy at that level, increasing reactions to stimuli, seeing things as a 'task' and applying that level of consciousness to responding to things, this creates more adrenaline and stress > more alert > more stress > more alert. It becomes a cycle.

The Alpha frequency allows us to calm down, stop reacting and responding, it's the place of relaxing, letting go. It's where we start day dreaming rather than paying acute attention.

If we have too much Beta activity (attention), then a thing called 'Alpha blocking' can occur where the Beta waves are too aroused to let us slow down our minds into Alpha ranges. We need to go through the Alpha range to reach the Theta waves where daydreams turn into sleep.

So 'trying' to sleep or 'trying to stay present' keeps us in the alert state - the Beta level. The more we interpret and process (task) objects or situations the more aroused our brain becomes > more Beta rather than more Alpha > Theta.

It's why a warm cup of milk (feels like 'safety') a warm shower or bath, no electronic stimuli or stress creating activities before bed time help us to flow into Alpha levels, which then as the body also relaxes, flows into Theta range & sleep, and if we're lucky Delta range and deep sleep.

At various times during the day, and for different activities we have these different brain frequency levels to ensure balance. None of these states are 'wrong', it's all horses for courses.

So just check that you're not making 'sleep' into a task, or interpreting what ET said as being hyper alert, the hazy level of daydreaming (Alpha) is extremely important in healthy balance. If you are being hyper alert, your Beta brainwaves will be working overtime and shutting the Alpha waves out.

All that to say relax, without trying :wink:
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Re: Sleeping & Presence

Post by Onceler » Tue Oct 21, 2014 2:26 am

I count my breaths on the exhalations to ten and then start over. This knocks me out, usually. Sometimes if you are consumed with a problem it's good to feel the emotions around that problem and then to shift attention to your breathing. I Agree with everyone else, you can't be present all the time. Your eyes will go crossed and you may have hyper focus anxiety issues.
Be present, be pleasant.

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