There are times when I wake at about 3:30 am. After a sip of water, I resettle myself and soon realize sleep will not return. Some weeks more times than not this is my experience. This time of year my windows are open so I fall asleep to cicadas, crickets or night bird songs. When I awaken now, the night is still. So still I can hear the white noise in my own head. Lately I have been able to dissolve into this soft inner sound and return to sleep. Not this morning.
This morning I simply had to surrender to the experience of resting without sleeping. I am grateful for the lack of frustration that arose when the initial bouts of early arousal began. Now, I meditate, pray for others or seek the inner wisdom I am needing for a decision.
The world is so unbelievably still during these hours. A gentle reminder that I also am created and designed for stillness. It is my fundamental nature, my True Self, the essence of my being. Once discovered, it became my oasis from the chaos around me or in my mind. In yoga tradition we call circular thinking “the monkey mind.” I always chuckle when that phrase comes to mind. It is perfect!
The mind’s purpose is to categorize, analyze,problem solve, explore, explain, define, create, discover. The list could go on but the point is that the mind is an active energy within us. The answer for the runaway mind is to train it to focus on one thing, to be present in the moment. The balance is to find that quality of quiet mindfulness and still allow a place for the creative flow of the mind to find those answers, make those plans, solve those problems, create, discover, etc. There has to be a certain amount of free flow for creativity to unfold. It can be so fun to explore the universe of possibilities! The power is in learning to do so with mindfulness, conscious choice and a productive focus. Sometimes we just have to give the mind something to do; other times we can teach it to rest,
This all comes through practice. “Practicing” is doing what works for you, as consistently as you are able, until it comes as naturally to you as walking – which we all had to learn how to do, remember?
When the night is still, try listening. First to the little sounds around you. Houses “talk,” making small noises that we only hear when the world is still. Open a window and listen. Hear each sound or realize there are none in that moment. Bring your awareness into your own ears and see if you can hear the inner sounds – not your thoughts – but actual sounds that flow within your body. Let go of analyzing or wondering if something is wrong. Just listen. To me, as I mentioned above, it a soft white noise. Now I am learning to fall into it, float on the sound, rest in the song of my soul.
When the Night is Still, may you rest in its stillness while unfolding into your own.