Shards of Consciousness

Learn to Sleep Consciously - Part IV

In the first articles in this series we have explored the benefits of sleeping consciously and daytime practices to encourage conscious sleep, the phases of sleep, and practices when you go to bed to encourage conscious sleep. We had just gotten to sleep. In this last article I'll talk about carrying yourself through the night, some experiences as a result of learning to sleep consciously, and the impact of learning to sleep consciously on your personal growth.

Nighttime Practices (continued)

When You Wake Up

As you continue your conscious sleeping practice one of the first results you may see is that you wake up more frequently during the night. This will occur most frequently at the tail of a dream. Rather than trying to go straight back to sleep, do two things.

First, if you are actively working with your dreams, take the time to write down something about the dream before you move. Rehearsing the dream and earthing it by writing about it is the best way to remember it.

Second, when you wake up, your consciousness will be somewhat frayed. If you try to go right back to sleep, you are resigning yourself to a normal night's sleep. In order to continue to try to sleep consciously, get up and walk around some. Do something to waken yourself fully before going back to bed. When you lay back down, perform the same exercises you used when you first went to bed - relaxation, meditation, and breathing - to return to the same state in which you first went to sleep.

Experiences Resulting From Conscious Sleep Practices

As a result of trying to sleep consciously, you will likely experience several things that may be unusual for you.

  • As mentioned above, you may wake more frequently.
  • You will likely remember more dreams. As I've been working on this series, I've been carrying out the practices myself. I haven't worked with my dreams for a long time, and didn't plan on working with them directly now, but I have gone from remembering one or two dreams a week, to remembering one or two a night, with some nights recalling three or four dreams. (This is why I quit working with my dreams on a symbolic level to begin with. Three to five dreams a night was just too great a mass of material to deal with and still do everything I wanted to do during the day.)
  • You will likely begin having lucid dreams. As I've been working on this series, I have not done so, but I've come close. In one dream I had, I dreamed of two beds, of two different sizes, but both made of copper. I awoke from this dream, noted it, then went back to sleep while meditating on my internal field of vision. I had a dream in which two people were talking about my previous dream. They were sure the beds made out of copper would strike me as unusual enough that I would realize I was dreaming and become lucid. They were not too complimentary about my failure to do so. This says more about me and my lack of awareness than anything else, but does show that lucidity can be a result of using these practices.
  • You may experience periods of seeing a gray or white field of vision, possibly with snow somewhat like a television that has been tuned to a channel were nothing is being broadcast. The times this has occured to me have coincided with the times that I would be entering into the NREM sleep, when delta waves would become predominant.

I don't say these are the only things you will experience. They are things I have experienced, and result from attaining a partial level of self-awareness during the sleep state, and aren't indicative of full consciousness during sleep. I have never gone through an entire night of normal sleep cycles with full consciousness, but the increases in self-awareness during sleep that I have experienced show that remaining fully conscious is a possibility.

What Is The Point Of Conscious Sleep?

In Part One of this series I talked about some of the benefits of practicing conscious sleep. Over and above those, the practice of conscious sleep has an integrative function. If personal growth and development means anything, it means becoming more conscious, more free. Learning to sleep consciously is a tool for personal growth that leads to more consciousness as what was unconscious becomes conscious, and demonstrates just how conscious you are. The practice isn't complicated, but as with most tools of personal development, takes practice, focus, and time. You may never reach the point of maintaining consciousness 24 hours a day, but the process is more important than the goal. It's fun, exciting, and productive.

Do you really have something better to do while you sleep?

[tags]sleep, conscious sleep, meditation, personal growth, personal development, self-awareness, lucid dreaming, consciousness[/tags]

6 Responses to Learn to Sleep Consciously - Part IV

  • I've read through this whole series. Very cool. So glad to have found your blog!

  • Thank you, k. I can't guarantee you'll retain ego awareness 24 hours a day after following these exercises, though it has been done. I can guarantee you'll sleep better, remember more dreams, increase your chances of becoming lucid while asleep, and increase your chances of having an out of body experience.

  • I find your articles very interesting, and it has actually taught me a lot about some of my own experiences with conscious dreaming.
    I would like to converse with you something that has been occuring more and more frequently. It's like a rush of thousands of thoughts pour into my head during meditation. Whatever senses or self awareness I retained up until then were quickly diminished.
    I get Deja Vu typically 3-5 times a day, but it has happened 10 times in the span of about an hour. Many of the Deja Vu visions I remember seeing in those thoughts that were abundant during my meditation.

    #1950 | Comment by Colby on May 14, 2008 5:38pm
  • Hi Colby,

    I'm glad the articles have helped some. The experiences I talk about are drawn from what I have experienced.

    I have experienced something similar after practicing meditation for extended periods of time. I believe it is a result of the thinning of the barriers between the conscious and normally unconscious parts of the mind. You're getting a peek at what is really going on inside. The best tact is to attempt to let the thoughts flow, but without following them. Try to watch them, as a hawk gliding in the sky watches what is happening on the ground beneath without being a part of it. If you are able to learn to do this, eventually the flow will slow down and you will find yourself at a new level in your practice.

  • I find your articles very interesting,

  • Thank you, R. Ganesan. I hope you find them to be helpful, too.

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