There are many definition of meditation, but my favorite is this: stopping thought without falling asleep.
I remember a story Ram Dass told of how he went to study meditation in a remote Buddhist monastery somewhere in Asia. They were very strict there. They sat in meditation all day every day, day after day, except for small meals. And the meditation teachers, the masters, would walk around the students, monitoring their meditations. And if he fell asleep – they hit him with a stick!
I’d say that’s a little over the top.
And besides, I like bad meditation. You just have to time it right. It’s probably not something you want to do in a remote Buddhist monastery, but if falling asleep is one of the difficulties you face when you try to meditate – why not make the best of it?
Bad meditation is my own personal treatment for insomnia.
When I lie down at night and my mind is so alert I think my eyes are open even when they’re closed, that’s my time to meditate. If I achieve that beautiful state of awareness where thought stops without falling asleep, I’m in bliss. And if I have a bad meditation, just kiss my head and let me sleep.
Charles made this meditation just before bed a few nights ago. He was tired when he sat down to record, so he was naturally inspired to meditate on sleep! It’s very soothing and dreamy.
The photo is from Jay Malone over at Flickr Creative Commons CC-BY 2.0. It reminded me of Shanti falling asleep. She was a thumbsucker, not a binky girl, but we always knew when she was truly asleep because her thumb would fall out of her mouth – like a thermometer popping up from a turkey when it’s fully cooked.
May this meditation help you sleep like a baby.