Guiding Light of The Month

O LORD, Thou art my refuge and my blessing, my strength, my health, my hope, and my courage. Thou art supreme Peace, unalloyed Joy, perfect Serenity. My whole being prostrates before Thee in a gratitude beyond measure and a ceaseless worship; and that worship goes up from my heart and my mind towards Thee like the pure smoke of incense of the perfumes of India. - The Mother

Walking in Light - a peek at Physical culture

In this issue, we will tread carefully on the delicate issue of sleep. The world of science has taken multiple peeks into this mysterious phenomenon, mysterious because one probably has absolutely no clue about one’s state during sleep and added on to this, that other phenomenon called dream takes place and we move about therein with little control of ourselves. The state of dream, according to scientists, is one indication that the mind does not rest even while in sleep. Here the active will of the person is withdrawn and as such the “sensory being” of the person reacts most violently during sleep, when no longer subject to such a control. Our worst nightmares are indicative of this, one can infer1. Can such an activity like sleep be left unattended in the life of anyone at all, especially in one given to a yoga that seeks for an integral transformation of the being into a mind and life and body of light?

With sleep, several issues will confront us systematically. How long is one to sleep? How is the nature of the sleep to be? Naturally, the second question would have a ready answer from all of us, and that is a peaceful, restful sleep that results in a being who awakens into a freshness and restfulness that brings him through the next day of activities successfully, and in the life of a devotee or sadhak or yogi, a day of progressive sadhana. Modern day science tells us that different people need different periods of sleep. The requirement varies from age to age and from time to time as well. It is also said that many of us incur sleep debts upon ourselves. Whether one has incurred a sleep debt or not can be revealed upon close self-examination. Is one prone to daytime sleeping, as in falling over the work one is doing, especially if it is desk bound, or napping? Is there fatigue and difficulty in concentrating and poor thinking? These are but some obvious symptoms of sleep debt that we incur upon ourselves2.

There is a way sleeping off our sleep debt and finding out how long one’s body needs sleep. One is to go to bed at a chosen time and get up the next morning without the aid of an alarm clock. Within a few days of this practice, one would get to repay the sleep debt and the body settles on a particular number of hours for its required sleep thereafter. One then needs to follow that same sleep pattern providing the body with its needed hours of happy sleep. Once we settle this debt we owe our body, we can then posit ourselves for that plunge into our sleep for greater revelations and possible control of our night life in the light of Integral Yoga.

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