Now, I don't mean that I wait around all day just for the opportunity to fall asleep. What I mean is that I find the process vastly reassuring and one that brings great content.
Here's how it goes--
First, if I haven't jacked my physiology around all day, I lie down to sleep relatively at ease. I close my eyes to drift off to sleep . . . and that's it! I mean, there's really nothing more to do, is there?
What a relief and a gift! I just lie in bed, the place one should be after a full day of activity, doing what is best for the body and mind. A couple of comparisons: the engine is idling but in "neutral"; the computer is still functioning but is on "standby."
So I just lie there, and maybe I notice the breathing slowing and deepening--not that I'm trying. Maybe (a little comic moment) I notice that deeper breathing becoming somewhat audible. Muscle systems relax, the body shifts to a more comfortable position.
Meanwhile thoughts become unfocused and non-essential. The working of the mind is no longer significant. Thoughts are just those changing images and little messages on the computer screen as the machine closes down--yeah, maybe something but who needs to read along? It's going to happen anyway.
The experience is of more and more silence, the mind floating in silence with no directive, no mission, no agenda, no "to-do" list--just the natural human process of shutting off for a while and experiencing another aspect of life: rest and silence and just being.
I find this moment so reassuring, that when we finally sum up who we are, it is first that we are consciousness or awareness, just that. All the movement and chores come later. First we are.
Of course I also notice or am this when I practice the Transcendental Meditation technique, but, still, I love to fall asleep, to be in my bed, on a structure designed for the pleasure of complete rest and relaxation. I'm not goofing off--I'm sleeping, an essential health requirement.
Ain't life grand? No guilt, just a well-earned pause, like the beauty of the silence between two notes of music.
Copyright 2012 by Thomas L. Kepler, all rights reserved