Catching 40 Winks
Updated: Aug 19, 2021
Rabbit Holes. There are people who believe that Lewis Carroll wrote Alice in Wonderland while under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs. And maybe that’s what it takes for a man to write about going down a rabbit hole, but almost any woman can write about them at four in the morning as she’s lying in bed trying to will herself back to sleep.
I know it’s true because at 4:30 this morning I was lying awake, driving myself crazy thinking about ridiculous scenarios and things that have about as much chance of happening as I do of winning the lottery - without buying a ticket.
And I know I’m not alone. Recently I was sitting with a group of women friends, and they were discussing which drugs or cocktail of drugs they were using for trying to get the recommended amount of shut-eye each night. It was enough to make pharmaceutical reps dance with glee as they plan how to spend their bonuses.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Or do we? Is it biological? Or is it a control issue? Are we juggling so many things on a daily basis that the fear of dropping a ball wakes us out of a deep sleep with heart racing and little chance of getting back to the business of slumber?
As I pondered this, I could come up with no solid answers to the question of “Why?”. So I set about trying to find a solution, and meditation came to mind. If I could release these thoughts and clear my mind, maybe I could get some rest.
I’ve been a consistent meditator for about the last 5 years. Until I fell off the wagon that is. Since sleep was eluding me, I decided it was time to get back to it. The benefits of meditation are varied and plentiful. It might not fix my sleep issues, but it certainly couldn’t hurt.
So I sat zazen for a couple of days and was starting to get back into the swing of it. I guess Paul had been noticing because he asked me to teach him how. I was kind of excited that he was interested since I've been thinking for a few years that it might be VERY beneficial for him.
We sat down and got comfortable, and I walked him through the initial steps of preparing his mind. Then I explained very slowly and calmly that he could count his breath, and the whole time I modeled it for him.
"As you breathe in-- count ONE." "As you breathe out-- count TWO." "As you breathe in -- count THREE." "And so on." And then I stopped, since I was certain he had the hang of it and would prefer to count in silence. I was settling into my own rhythm when suddenly I heard panting like someone who’s run a mile, followed quickly by "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 DONE!!!!!" On a side note, apparently meditation isn't for everyone.