Posted on May 5, 2022 by xtxwebmaster
One of the best things done everyday is taking a nap. Naps are refreshing and restorative. A nap can become a special kind of meditation if awake-awareness is kept active. Maintaining awareness and not slipping into unconscious sleep is the key to this technique. This essay describes the steps to achieve this form of conscious sleep:
1) Find a place to lie down undisturbed. Get comfortable and covered so you don’t get cold. Quiet melodic music or nature sounds are helpful, nothing that grabs your attention though.
2) Relax your body and calm your mind. Put aside all thoughts of the day. Remain perfectly still. The only motion of your body should be your breathing, which you can listen to and feel as a soothing rhythm.
3) Use your imagination to bring your awareness to a pleasant place. Imagine that you are with your guide, a guardian spirit or your higher self. If the idea of such a being doesn’t sit well with you, imagine this being is a personification of the better aspects of our unconscious self, your conscience. Let this being communicate freely with you, or bring you somewhere it chooses. Just let your imagination express itself freely, with as little input from your conscious mind as possible.
4) If your guide does communicate, it may seem like your own inner voice. If you seem to be leading yourself somewhere, let the urge be spontaneous. Go along with the flow. If nothing happens, just quietly observe the inner darkness and silence.
5) Eventually an unintentional flow of images will occur. This happens as the body begins to fall asleep. Remain consciously aware of these experiences. If these events are coherent and understandable, you are entering an imaginal state. If your connection to your guide is strong, you can calmly enunciate thoughts in your mind and communicate. Dialog and action can be established. If these events are incoherent, bizarre or kaleidoscopic, you are entering the hypnagogic state, well on your way to dreaming.
6) If you remain aware to this level, dreams will eventually be part of the experience with our guide, or as a consequence of hypnagogia. Remain aware as you enter the dream, reminding yourself periodically that what you see happening around you is a dream. Modify the dream or flow with it. Whatever you do, strive to remember what is happening.
7) Once into the dream, you will likely either wake up physically and want to become active, or you will slip deeper into sleep and be there for upwards of an hour.
8) When you do get up, stop for a few minutes to reflect on what just happened. Write your thoughts down in your journal or perhaps email them to a friend.
This graphic illustrates what happens when we fall asleep and shift downward in brainwave frequency. This transition brings us from the awake state, through the liminal state, then into deep unconscious sleep. Remaining aware and objective while observing this process is the first step in dream yoga.
Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth, by Robert A. Johnson, 1986
Take A Nap! Change Your Life., by Sara Mednick and Mark Ehrman, 2006
Liminal Dreaming Exploring Consciousness at the Edges of Sleep, by Jennifer Dumpert, 2019