Chattering Mind

Chattering Mind

Death and Sleep

I always think that sleeping is in a way a “small death.” Hence every night we face a “small death;” all these small deaths train us for the “big death,” and we thereby gain knowledge of how to die.

–excerpted from a teaching on sleep by the Venerable Gedun Tharchin, a Lharampa Geshe from Ganden Monastic University, reprinted from the Buddhist perioidical Snow Lion. Gedun Tharchin advocates sleeping on the right side with your right hand directly under your face. Unfortunately, I don’t do this. I sleep on my back. How do you sleep, and do you see the death connection? Seems like we’re more connected to, and engaged by, the sleep-death similarities as kids.

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posted May 1, 2007 at 3:03 pm

If I thought that going to sleep each night is a small death, I’d never sleep again- Yikes! I do however sleep on my right side with my hands underneath my face. That’s my most comfortable position.

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posted May 1, 2007 at 4:14 pm

I have such interesting dreams! I make it a point to spend a few minutes every morning to remember my dreams. I write down the ones that seem important to me. I have learned so much from my dreams about my sub-conscious feelings.I have had a couple dreams where I was with angels!Those of course are the best. I like to sleep and dream so I just dont see it connected to death at all. I feel its life in a altered state of consciousness. I do know people who dont like to sleep and wish they could do without it and they only sleep for 3-4 hours a night, I bet they see it as a small death.

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A Cunningham

posted May 1, 2007 at 4:35 pm

But maybe a good death after a long life is as nurturing as a much-deserved sleep. And maybe whatever comes after death is as sweet as a wonderful dream. Those deaths may be rare, but we could conceive of death like that, couldn’t we?–CM

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posted May 1, 2007 at 7:05 pm

Absolutely! I love hearing stories like 90 minutes in Heaven. I once read a story from a 7 year old girl who had to be resuscitated. I was most interested in her story because I think children are less apt to have pre-concieved ideas about dying and the after life. She said Heaven was a wonderful place and she saw colors that dont exsist here and all the flowers can sing. Seems most every one that has had death experiences have only good things to say about light and love. I always feel death is the saddest for the people who have to go on living without their loved one.

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