what’s your relationship to sleep?
I’ve subscribed for years to this occasional email from Dadi Jahnki. She’s the current leader of the Brahma Kumaris spiritual organization. I loved last week’s message from her:
Om shanti. Sometimes when we are together, you ask me why I don’t seem to get tired when I travel from India or give programs into the evening. Tiredness is a kind of sickness. When we work with honesty and love, everything happens without tiredness. When we know how to take cooperation from others, there is no tiredness. It is not a matter of how long we sleep that determines whether we feel tired. It is waste and negative thoughts and actions that create tiredness. Create positive thoughts and elevated actions and you will take strength from that, and your tiredness will leave you.
Work for money and you will count your hours and your salary. Work for love, and you can work 16 hours a day with happiness and without getting tired. Serving others brings energy. You will then feel your happiness accumulating.
I think a lot of us have a big story around needing sleep. I know what science says about sleep and overall wellness (“eight hours is a must.”) But then, science doesn’t have quite as much to say about the chemical effects of joy or enthusiasm. Many eastern teachers believe that we are a culture that sleeps too much. Some practicing monks get by on five hours a night. Apparently Einstein slept in four hour increments to just “rest his brain.”
Rest is the Great Healer. In fact it’s the only time that the body is concentratedly repairing itself. But it’s worth considering that, under normal circumstances, perhaps we don’t need as much sleep as we’ve been lead to believe. Happiness over matter.
One thing I know for sure about myself, is that if I’m enthusiastic, I feel fully rested on less sleep. If I’m complaining or stressed, I need more sleep, I crave it. I feel the same way now about sleeping as I did when I was five years old: I’d rather stay up because I just don’t want to miss anything. I figure there will be lot’s of time to sleep when I die.
How about you?