“Sleep is the best meditation.”
— The Dali Lama
Trina’s Sleep Struggle
Is there anything as powerful as a visual image to rouse our emotions and compel us to action? In 1992, while I was living in Santa Monica in Southern California, I watched the horrifying Rodney King beatings (that happened only a few miles away!) and the devastating aftermath on television. Those images spurred me to action. Once curfew was lifted, I decided to volunteer at a food bank in downtown LA. There, while organizing canned goods and separating edible bananas from the rotten ones, I met a fellow volunteer. He introduced me to Thich Nacht Hahn’s teachings and his newly released book, The Miracle of Mindfulness.
This book sparked my interest in meditation and mindfulness. I read more and more and attended my first group meditation sessions. During this time in my life, I was an extremely anxious, over-thinking individual who would wake up in the night, and be unable to fall back to sleep. The doomsday thoughts that would run rampant in my head made it impossible for me to calm down and get back to sleep – until I mastered a simple breathing exercise that I discovered in my meditation research. Here is the technique that has helped me fall asleep for the past twenty-plus years, whether at three in the morning or for a cat nap at three in the afternoon …
Sleep Tricks FTW
This exercise is more difficult than it seems, so you’ll need to focus. But I’ve also learned a few mind tricks that help me relax and trust in the process of breathing and falling asleep.
First, remind yourself that even if you can’t fall asleep , you are giving tremendous benefit to your body by resting with your eyes closed. Tell yourself that you will count to 10 five times, and if, at the end of the five sets of 10, you still aren’t asleep, you will allow yourself to get up and read or write in your journal. Frankly, when I have told myself that I only had to count to 10 five times, most of the time I have been able to fall back asleep by the time I completed three sets. The most important thing, whether you are trying to fall asleep or stay mindfully awake, is to have compassion for yourself and for your monkey mind.
Wishing you a restful sleep and sweet dreams,
We would love to hear from you – whether or not this breathing technique worked for you – or if you would like to follow a guided exercise to fall asleep. Connect with us on Facebook and let us know!
THE MINDSCAPE FILM FESTIVAL
Are you a filmmaker with a short film on mindfulness, dreams, or and other mind-related topic?
Submit it to our Mindscape Film Festival ! Winners will also get cash money and a Cinebody iPhone package.