Reflections on Sleep and Dreaming
by Tanis Helliwell
“Sleep… purchases all the pleasures of the world cheap; and the balance that sets the king and the shepherd, the fool and the wise man, even.” — Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
Winter is a time for hibernation. For snuggling under a warm blanket with a good book and, if you are like me, for taking time to reflect on the past year—the gains and losses—and for waiting for the goals of the universe to manifest themselves to us. It’s time for retiring to bed early and allowing our dreams to work on us.
The Importance of Sleep
When we sleep we not only recharge our batteries from our daily activities, but also absorb the day’s learning and digest it. Between six and eight hours of every day is spent sleeping, which is as many hours as most of us devote to working. This is, I believe, the universe’s way of showing us how important sleep-time is. In our sleep state we visit people we know, take courses, correct problems and all this happens while the body rests. The more we are doing in the waking reality, the more we need to balance by giving equal attention to our sleep state.
Preparations to Sleep
It is important to invite sleep by making your bedroom and bed inviting. Don’t clutter. And cultivate a restful atmosphere in your bedroom by way of colors and paintings. A comfortable pillow is a must. Some folks prefer foam, but I’m a feather pillow girl myself. In the winter I keep a hot water bottle, or hot rocks from my wood stove, handy so I snuggle up against them.
It can also be nice to snuggle with a sweetie. Yet, we may find that we need to sleep alone occasionally in order to deeply rest undisturbed. In the same way that we engage in a meditation retreat to renew, sometimes it is necessary to have sleep retreats on our own to renew our life energies and align to our soul more deeply.
Finally, when we align ourselves to nature’s, and not the clock’s time, awaken without an alarm. Don’t move and, holding your last thoughts before waking, retrace your dream until it is fully remembered.
Dreaming—the Icing on the Cake
Dreams, I find, are often prophetic and sleeping, rather than wasting time, can actually be the most fruitful time in the day. Many individuals notice that wonderful ideas about what to do in their waking state occur in dreams during sleep. In fact, it is significant that inventors often claim that they solved previously unsolvable problems in dream state. Unable to determine how to move a thread through cloth, Singer, the inventor of the sewing machine, dreamt that a needle had a hole in it where the thread went. Einstein also was an active dreamer. He had a vision of travelling on a beam of light that revealed to him the theory of relativity. The world that our higher self can access in dream state is much larger than that of our daytime reality. As Carl Jung wrote,
“The dream is the small hidden door in the deepest and most intimate sanctum of the soul, which opens into that primeval cosmic night that was the soul long before there was a conscious ego and will be soul far beyond what a conscious ego could ever reach.”
Virgil, writing in the first century BC, called sleep ‘death’s brother.’ Sleep is a small death that we do daily, which prepares us for the greater loss of ego consciousness when we die. To embrace sleep and the transition from waking reality to sleeping reality seamlessly is a great meditation, which will help us learn how to die consciously.
It is a common belief that we are awake and conscious when our body is moving about in the daytime world and that we are asleep and unconscious during the nighttime. Just the reverse is closer to the truth. When we become awake in our sleep state, what is called lucid dreaming, we can travel anywhere in space and time and have total control and recall upon waking in the morning. The first stage to do this is to learn to remember your dreams when you awake after a night’s sleep. The second stage is to become a conscious witness to what is occurring in your dream state. The third stage—lucid dreaming—is to become an active participant in your dream state.
In these next two thousand years of the Aquarian Age we will enter higher dimensions and frequencies. During this time more individuals will become lucid dreamers as we discover that we can maintain consciousness continually.