To attain his spiritual goal a sadhak performs, what is called Sadhana. It is most revered by him as many are initiated into it by their Guru. He starts it with great enthusiasm and expectations. He knows he is on the right path. Unfortunately, most practitioners quit their practices once the initial euphoria dies down. The biggest hurdle for a practitioner is Sleep. A sadhak needs time to practise and mostly he gains it by sacrificing his sleep for the same. Forcing ourselves to wake up early is possible only for short while. After that forcing to wake up will only become counterproductive.
Sleep and Sadhana
In the initial stages, all sadhana makes us sathvik. Dispassion arising from this sathvik will destroy the ego. In our day-to-day life, we oscillate between being Rajasik and Tamasik. We wake up with energy and motivation, we enthusiastically work and soon feel tired, then we take stimulants (food, beverages, gossip and many others), which are Rajasik in nature and after some time we become more Tamasik. This cycle becomes more vicious. Luckily we go to sleep every day. Sleep is the only natural process that makes us sathvik. Only other act that makes us Satvik is acts of kindness. But Sleep is the only Sadhana which needs no extra effort. By making a few adjustments we can surely have a good night’s sleep and become sathvik in the morning.
The best time to do meditation or any other Sadhana is early morning, mostly immediately after waking up. The 2 hurdles a sadhak faces while meditating are restlessness and procrastination. After waking up both these states will be under control and it will be easy to meditate, provided we are well rested. Not just for meditation, many other things like reading, and performing rituals are done during the early morning for the same reason. If the first step is sleeping well, then the next step is using this “Happy Hour” judiciously. This “Happy Hour” will last for somewhere between 1-4 hours. This is a ballpark figure and could vary hugely. Consciously we should avoid all Rajasik activities and try to utilise this Happy hour to the fullest extent by doing Sadhana.
Tips for better sleep
Our body produces many hormones in the process of sleep. Melatonin, chemicals to paralyse our body, and growth hormones to repair our body. If not exercising is a mistake, not sleeping properly is a blunder. Let’s look at some tips to sleep well. This is a topic which is covered well by many experts and information is freely available on social media, so I will just highlight the points.
1- Respect your circadian rhythm, Do not suppress sleep with gadgets.
2- Expose yourself to sunlight early in the morning. This will help in cortisol build up and melatonin will secreat in the evening.
3- Avoiding Caffeine late in the evening.
4- Avoid dopamine-producing activities at night.
5- Nutrition and timing of food.
6- Most importantly practise, Yoga Nidra. Lying down and scanning our body, relaxing all parts of our body consciously will help us relax both our body and mind.
An enlightened person don’t use an alarm.
There are many ways to identify enlightened persons. My favourite one is to observe their sleep behaviour. If a person sleeps less and still feels energetic, that is a sure sign of his spiritual nature. Alarms are slow poison. A person who is successfully improving in spiritual life will note that his sleep requirement is reducing and still feeling energetic. If we don’t sleep well or if we feel tired even after 7-8 hours of sleep, it is time to review our attitude. It is a sure sign of mental struggle.
These nine days are very auspicious to perform Sadhana. Let’s together make a conscious effort to start some Sadhana and to do these Sadhana consistently for a long period, we need to sleep better. Sleep resets our ability to focus and stay alert, which is very central to performing certain Sadhana. If we don’t know any sadhanas, we can learn them from guru but in the meantime let’s sleep well and use the “Happy Hour” judiciously. Remember there is no alternative to sleep. Lets rever Sleep as if it is a Sadhana.
Jai Mata Di.
R Rajesh Kumar.
Awareness | Bliss |Contemplation.