Chattering Mind

Do you gleefully register for meditation workshops, show up on time, take notes in a pretty new notebook, and then PROMPTLY FALL ASLEEP when that all-important guided meditation begins?

Please have no shame! Others are snoring beside you.

In the last year, I’ve been to two workshops where sleepy people had the courage to raise their hands during the workshop’s Q&A segment to tearfully confess, “I completely zoned out. I totally missed it. What is wrong with me?”

On both occasions, the meditation teachers said the same thing, “Look, you may have been exhausted, in which case, the nap did you good. But chances are greater that even if you don’t recall what I said, the material went in, and something meaningful will transpire from the work.”

Why is staying awake so tough? We’re all sleep deprived, for one thing. And we’re all under stress. Take the stress away, and sleep seems the most obvious state to reside in.

I’ve found that if I avoid eating carbohydrates before any workshop, I’ll do better in the med. “Do not eat that cookie after lunch!” QiGong teacher Roger Jahnke wisely admonished an audience I was in once.

A cup of tea before the workshop might help you stay awake. And repeating to yourself: “I will not sleep through this one,” could help. Or, more positively, you could say: “It is my intention to fully experience whatever this teacher is offering me.”

When your meditation instructor says, “Get into a comfortable position,” don’t get too comfortable. You’re doomed if you stretch out on the floor! You can also keep your eyes open if you wish. Or you can stand up, and quietly walk to the nearest wall to meditate standing up if you feel you may soon greet Winken, Blinken, and Nod.

By all means, don’t let sleep make you think you’re flunking Meditation 101. Switch methods, if you must, and consider walking meditations until you get the hang of it. I don’t think it’s possible to sleep while you’re walking, is it?

Tell us: When’s the last time sleep tried to steal your enlightenment? How do you stay aware and awake?


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