Sleep as Spiritual Practice
By Tina Erwin
Those valiant souls who study yoga will over time know about the discipline of spiritual practice. Their yoga teachers will admonish them to breathe, to feel their body, to listen to their body and to ask the body what it wants. Yoga is only about measured movements, releasing stressful negativity from the body, and being healthy overall. Yoga is also about the peace of release as stress, worry and pain leave the body when the yoga student finally lies down to 'take a Savasana,' or rest. .
Savasana is one of the most important 'postures' in yoga and literally it means to feel the body at rest. Feel the body at rest is a novel concept. What does that mean and what does it have to do with sleep?
When we go to sleep, most of us just plop down in bed, exhausted from a day of trying to cram way too much into about 18 hours of useable time. We have probably listened to everyone else's issues, worked hard at problem solving and projected our thoughts to tomorrow's challenges. Then we expect our body to 'just go to sleep.' Computers can just go to sleep, but human beings cannot do this. Human beings need time to process the volume of emotional events that have happened during a modern day.
So much of the time, even very spiritual people are too exhausted to pray and yet they want to, they want to exercise that spiritual process of connecting to the Divine before they enter the dimension of sleep. Yet the 'busyness' of their day, the demands of dynamic mind to solve huge, complicated issues leads them away from that critical Divine connection.
Human beings often view sleep as a necessary distraction from the amount they have to get done. Some people try to train themselves to sleep less, thinking—wrongly—that they will get so much more done. This just isn't true.
Human bodies need physical sleep to repair all of the systems in a functioning body. The body only repairs itself at night during the sleep state. Quick naps may refresh a person but that is not enough time to allow the body to process out all of the adrenalin that we each absorb during a busy day. The body also has to process the volume of healthy and unhealthy food that we have eaten. The body also has to evaluate itself to see if there are pathogens that need to be expelled through kidneys and liver. All systems have to be evaluated, given healing and brought back up to functioning levels for each person to expect to function during the day.
That process takes a full eight hours to work successfully. Not five or six and a half, but a full eight hours of continuous, uninterrupted sleep. This is not a luxury; it is a requirement for good health, a sharp mind and strong muscles and organs. When asked how many hours of sleep a body needed, Edgar Cayce responded "At least seven and a half to eight hours each twenty-four." (Reading 462-16).
The creative process desperately requires sleep. The more sleep, the more creative we can be no matter what our jobs. Creative problem solving is a creative process. When we sleep, our diligent subconscious starts to work on our body to realign, repair and nourish our physical structure. Our conscious self leaves the body to its work and reconnects to the Divine, our Higher Self. This is why prayer prior to sleep is always a positive thing to do. The more we pray, the more we open ourselves up to the tender mercies, the wisdom and the energy of the Heaven world. We can always ask for the Divine to be with us when we sleep so that we can assure ourselves that critical connection with the hope of creating the wonderful and powerful energy of tomorrow.
Honoring our body, spirit and mind with our connection to the Divine helps us to grow on every level, to evolve into spiritual beings. It also provides the physical body with spiritual nourishment, something only sleep, delicious sleep can provide!
TINA D. ERWIN, CDR, USN, Ret. has studied metaphysics all her life to enable her to understand her own psychic abilities. These intense studies were further enhanced by the experiences of a dynamic 20-year career in the Navy, working for the U.S. Submarine Force, retiring at the Commander level. Erwin is the author of the A.R.E. Press book, The Lightworker's Guide to Healing Grief.