The last two nights I have tried a new technique during bedtime. As I lie down to go to sleep I bring all my awareness front and center. I then attempt to watch myself fall asleep and stay conscious as I sleep. I have only tried this two nights and already remarkable things are happening.
The first night I fell asleep as described; nothing interesting happened there. But I awoke one minute before my alarm went off in the morning. And it wasn’t coincidence. I felt deep awareness pull at my waking consciousness and prod it back to life. It was as if I awoke in layers: the deep field of consciousness was perpetually awake and aware, the sleeping mind was then notified and finally the waking mind returned to existence. Once awake I became consciously aware that I had been aware all night.
Last night I attempted again to stay conscious and had a very unusual dream. I dreamed I was in a house I lived in twenty years ago. I was by myself in my old bedroom praying for a guru. A person in a robe appeared in the room with me. As I have mentioned previously I have always been a fan of Paramahansa Yogananda’s writing. The figure in my dream bore a resemblance to him although I hesitate to say it was him for sure.
When he arrived I felt privileged and honored. I felt as though my prayers had been answered. I asked him to sit in satsang with me and he obliged. I felt his presence and new he was a master. I wanted to connect with him, to try to match his frequency, to look into his eyes and recognize my own true nature. There was a feeling of deepest friendship in the room.
In the mystical language of dreams he asked me, “Where is the rock of Gibraltar?” I knew what he was asking and I knew the answer, “Here!” I said to him as I closed my eyes and concentrated on the presence within. He smiled and I laid down on the bed with my arms folded across my chest. He placed his hands on my arms and I relinquished all effort. I felt a deep bliss boil up from within.
The sensation soon overtook my dream body and I dissolved into bliss. For a moment all was bliss. I awoke from the bliss into my real body, lying on my back in the same posture from the dream. I was awestruck. The bliss from the dream was real; I passed through it from the dream world into the waking world. The dream world and the real world were equally unreal; only the bliss was real. There is no world outside of it.
I clung to everything I could remember about the dream and the experience; I did not want to forget a thing. I am extremely eager to try this technique again tonight.
Given the meditations I’ve had in the last few days, eliminating desire is the name of the game today. As I sat today I made this my singular task. The more clear of desire I became the more I was convinced that this task is central to good meditation.
At one moment it occurred to me that silencing my desires was more important than silencing my thoughts. Many thoughts are harmless; they do not pull the heart in one way or another. But desires feel like the root of thought; thoughts occur because I desire. Only once I am free from desire do I see how much it affects my happiness and health.
I feel now that I am getting a better sense of the learning curve of meditation. I have had enough good days and bad days to know that neither one lasts. They are both states, and like all states they pass away. The more I contemplate this more my experience deepens: Good and bad days take on new significance.
I have been thinking more about the desire and dependency I am creating around the meditative process itself. I desire to meditate and depend on it for my sense of well being. Just yesterday, as I prepared to meditate at work, my quiet office space was co opted for another purpose. The first emotion that arose within me was intense anger. I was pissed!
I had to relocate to another room – one that was not conducive to meditation at all. The rest of the day I was irritated because I was robbed of my quiet time.
Is that what meditation is supposed to teach us? To be angry when you don’t get it? To depend on it for your wellbeing? Obviously not and I knew it. But I couldn’t regain my composure after the fact.
I was keenly aware however of how I was acting and what it was all about. I used the other lessons I had learned – acceptance, desirelessness – to overcome the day.
I still feel rooted within myself, although the feeling as subsided a bit. Whenever I feel out of touch or upset I focus on being the observer. I ask myself, “To whom do these feelings arise?” This has been the most powerful question for the waking moments of my day. Every time I have a free moment I use it to ask this question. It is perhaps the best waking meditation I have used yet.