The two brothers, Thaba and Lesedi were exhausted after spending many hours at the beach. It was nearing the end of summer and their mother Nomalanga had promised the 8 year olds twin boys one more swim before school started. The sun was shining and the weather fair, so today was just that day.
Long Beach just outside of Cape Town was the family favorite. They didn’t see any dolphins in the water all afternoon, but it was still a special excursion. They made a partial climb up Chapman’s Peak to catch the majestic panoramic view of the white Atlantic sand. They had their favorite fruit along with some Tamatie Bredie stew for lunch. They played in the surf, swam, dove beneath the waves, raced on the beach, skipped their boards across the water, and had a great all around time.
By the end of the day they piled into bed, tired but happy. Mother got many hugs before the lights were finally turned off and the bedtime story was finished. They were a close knit family and shared life’s many ups and downs. But today, content and joyful, they closed their eyes and drifted off to sleep.
We all know about sleep because we do it every night, and sometimes even during afternoon meditation.
Sleep is very important to life and necessary for maintaining good health. Although human newborns can require up to 18 hours of sleep every day, the average adult only needs about 8 hours. On one end of the scale is the giraffe which sleeps for only about 3-hours each day, and on the other end of the spectrum is the Koala that sleeps between 18 to 22 hours a day.
Bears hibernate during winter but aren’t sleeping the whole time. Hibernation for bears simply means they don’t need to eat or drink. But weather does play a role in governing this habit. In the cold climate of Alaska and the Arctic Circle bears hibernate about 7 months of the year. In warmer locals and coastal regions it may only be for 2-5 month, but would be extended if the bears are caring for newborn cubs.
Plant seeds and nuts can be buried (a kind of sleep) for many years before germination. When conditions become favorable (water, oxygen, temperature, light – darkness) seeds will start to sprout. Many species of plants have seeds that delay germination for many months or years. The oldest documented germinating seed was nearly 2000 years old based on radiocarbon dating.
To maintain the Earth’s biodiversity and precious resource the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, located on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, was established in 1984. The Global Crop Diversity Trust, organizations, and the governments of Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland maintain this seed stock in a cavern protected from any nuclear threat/contamination.
Why do we sleep?
The physical brain gets tired and requires sleep for rest and rejuvenation. Without it we cannot live. During sleep we go through periods of rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM or non-REM). During this heightened anabolic state there is a reduction in bodily awareness, suspended sensory perception, and inactivity of our voluntary body muscles (i.e., arms and legs).
Our relationship with mind is most intimate. Managing that affiliation and eventually overcoming the mind’s binding influence is a goal of our spiritual development.
» The eternal absolute (Brahman) is the proprietor of our mental factory. Subordinate to that is the intellect (Buddhi) which acts as a manager, and subsidiary to that is the mind (Manas) which acts as the head clerk; who gets orders directly from the manager and supervises the workmen (organs of action and sensory perception).
» The universal cosmic mind does not require sleep (the physical brain does).
» Mind and prana (energy) are both necessary to have thoughts.
» The human mind is a collection of Samskaras (mental imprints), habits, desires, cravings, feelings, and ideas.
» Conscience is ones convictions arrived at either instinctively or by reasoning. Cultural conditioning, family influence, and life experiences play a great part in shaping attitude.
» During surgical procedures which administer anesthesia, the mind is disassociated with the physical body (as in deep sleep), so pain is not experienced.
» When the breath (physical prana) ceases, the link between the physical body and mind is broken. But since the link between breath (etheric prana) and the subtle body/mind continues, so do thoughts.
» The mind and body are intimately connected. What happens to one affects the other. We see this is meditation; as the mind settles down so does the body.
» For some people the body controls the mind, while for others the mind controls the body. Which life do you live?
It is through mind that the absolute manifests as the multifarious universe and field of relative causation. According to Sankhya philosophy the manifestation of the Eternal Absolute into time/space/matter takes place via ever progressive layers of unfoldment:
From the most subtle/sublime to the most gross the Absolute manifests as:
Mahat, cosmic or universal mind
from Sattvic Ahankara comes mind
from Rajasic Ahankara comes Prana
from Tamasic Ahankara come the Tanmatras ((the five subtle properties of energy/matter (sound, touch, form, taste, and odor) whose objects are the five senses (hearing, tactile perception, vision, taste, and smell.))
… from Tanmatras come the gross elements (space/either, air, fire, water and earth)
… from gross elements come the gross universe (all subatomic and atomic particles in the various states of plasma, solid, liquid or gas).
We have heretofore learned that the three agents of nature (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas guna) transform into ego, mind, senses, the body and the external world of objects. With reference to the human mind that implies that its constitution consists of some combination of these tendencies.
Is your mind predominately Sattvic, Rajasic or Tamasic?
the Sattva mind:
is light, blissful, one pointed, steady, easygoing, and finds contentment within itself. You keep friendships for a long time and usually live in one place. You are pure, strong and have a determined will.
the Rajas mind:
is filled with passion and motion. You do not sit by idly, but rather prefer to be busy with work, seek new friendships, travel to new places, buy new things, are judgmental and look for defects in others, like crowded cities, do a lot of talking, favor the luxurious life, read romantic novels, and other such activities.
the Tamas mind:
is filled with inertia, darkness, passions, appetites, procrastination, craving and searches for material riches.
Meditation will transform any mind into a pillar of stability, bliss and eternal freedom.
The center of gravity (location) of the mind in the body changes depending upon what state of consciousness we are in.
Waking State (Jagrat):
The individual soul is considered to be awake when it is connect to, and actively functions through its external physical system (body). At this juncture the seat of the mind is centered at the right eye, or Ajna Chakra in the brain.
The waking state is sometimes referred to as “the long sleep.”
Dreaming State (Svapna):
While dreaming the seat of the mind is the neck. The subjective dream world is created from within itself.
Deep Sleeping State (Sushupti):
The seat of mind in deep sleep is the heart. Although consciousness and the state of personal existence still persist, the mind of man has no experience here. The senses are shut down and thought has ceased.
A beautiful mind (Sattvic) casts a net of bliss upon all in the world. Iridescent thoughts bring fulfillment to the hearts of children and parents. What was once prized is no longer of any value, as peace of mind and true contentment is a greater treasure than any amount of gold. The infinite diversity of life and liveliness of nature sparkles. You are set free.
Some things you can only see by opening your heart. No matter where you are in life today, meditation can effortlessly draw your awareness to the finest and most sublime values of thought, and then to transcend even that. Saturated in the absolute, open your eyes and act in the world. Rise to the value of life that you were always meant to live.