photo copyright suresh Gundappa 2006
In New York, at least 30 of the people cannot sleep without tranquilizers. Psychologists believe that if this condition prevails for the next hundred years, not a single person will be able to sleep without medication. People have completely lost sleep. If a man who has lost sleep were to ask you how you go to sleep, and your answer were, “All I do is put my head on the pillow and fall asleep,” he will not believe you. He will find this impossible and suspect there must be some trick to it he doesn’t know–because he lays his head on the pillow, too, and nothing happens.
Americans are showing interest in meditation because they have lost sleep. They think that perhaps meditation may bring their sleep back, that it may bring some peace into their lives. That’s why they look upon meditation as nothing more than a tranquilizer.
The reason that yoga’s popularity is growing so much in America is not because people want to be yogis–the lack of sleep is the real cause. People’s sleep is in a mess, and consequently life in America is filled with heaviness, depression and tension. And so we see the growing need for tranquilizers–somehow to bring sleep to people.
You will not believe how closely, how deeply, we are connected to sleep. How a person will live his life depends totally on how he sleeps. If he does not sleep well, his entire life will be a chaos; all his relationships will become entangled, everything will become poisonous, filled with rage. If, on the contrary, a person sleeps, there will be freshness in his life–peace and joy will continuously flow in his life. Underlying his relationships, his love, everything else, there will be serenity.
When you are just falling into sleep at night, just ready to fall into sleep, go backwards through the memories of the whole day–backwards. Do not start from the morning. Start right from where you are, just on the bed–the last item, and then go back. Then go back by and by, step by step, just to the first experience in the morning when you first became awake. Go back, and remember continuously that you are not getting involved.
For example, in the afternoon someone insulted you. See yourself, the form of yourself, being insulted by someone–but you remain just an observer. Do not get involved; do not get angry again. If you get angry again, then you are identified. Then you have missed the point of meditation. Do not get angry. He is not insulting you, he is insulting the form that was in the afternoon. That form has gone now.
You are just like a river flowing; the forms are flowing. In childhood you had one form, now you do not have that form. That form has gone. River-like, you are changing continuously. So when in the night you are meditating backwards on the happenings of the day, just remember that you are a witness; do not get angry. Someone was praising you; do not get elated. Just look at the whole thing as if you are looking indifferently at a film. And backwards is very helpful–particularly for those who have any trouble with sleep.
If you have trouble with sleep, insomnia, sleeplessness, if you find it difficult to fall into sleep, this will help deeply. Why? Because this is an unwinding of the mind. When you go back, you are unwinding the mind. In the morning you start winding, and the mind becomes tangled in many things, in many places. Unfinished and incomplete, many things will remain on the mind, and there is no time to let them settle at the very moment that they happen.
So in the night go back. This is an unwinding process. And when you will be getting back to the morning when you were just on your bed, to the first thing in the morning, you will again have the same fresh mind that you had in the morning. And then you can fall asleep like a very small child.
So many persons suffer a particular disease, and nothing psychological, nothing medical helps; the disease continues. The disease seems to be psychological. What to do about it? To say to someone that his disease is psychological is no help. Rather, it may prove harmful because no one feels good when you say his disease is psychological. What can he do then? He feels he is helpless.
This going backwards is a miraculous method. If you go back slowly, slowly unwinding the mind to the first moment when this disease happened, if by and by you go back to the first time you were attacked by the disease, if you can unwind to that moment, you will come to know that this disease is basically a complex of certain other things, certain psychological things. By going back, those things will bubble up.
If you pass through that moment when the disease first attacked you, suddenly you will become aware of what psychological factors contributed to it. And you are not to do anything; you are just to be aware of those psychological factors and go on backwards. Many diseases simply disappear from you because the complex is broken. When you have become aware of the complex, then there is no need of it. You are cleansed of it–purged.
This is a deep catharsis. And if you can do it daily, you will feel a new health, a new freshness coming to you. And if we can teach children to do it daily, they will never be burdened by their past. They will not need ever to go to the past. They will be always here and now. There won’t be any hangup; nothing will be hovering over them from the past.
Love and lot’s of it dear ones