Monday, December 6, 2010

Sleepless in France

4 am, French time, I woke up. Mixed up internal clock acted as if body was still in California . . .

I could have gotten up and worked on the computer. I could have laid restless and upset about not getting enough sleep. I could have tried to force myself back to sleep.

Instead, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to practice lying down meditation. Mind awake could focus on the myriad of sensations throughout the body, with breath stepping in between, begging to be noticed also. One hand on belly, the other on the heart. Being breathed. There was ease, watching thoughts streaming in, then getting lost often until an opening between two thoughts gave space enough for the attention to catch on. Returning to body, and breath. Starting again where awareness had left off, part by part, with a definite pull towards the feet and legs. And the movement of breath again. All happening within a general atmosphere of pleasant warmth and intimacy, mixed in with the not so pleasant tiredness, and pain from achy body. 

Without noticing, the sleepiness must have come. 8.50 am, eyes opened to bright day light. 

I have practiced lying down meditation before during sleepless nights on other international trips. Each time, same result. 


  1. I too often do lying down meditation when I wake at night.
    But, I recently reread Ajan Chah's "A Still Pool in the Forest" in which he recommends not returning to sleep. Once awake, be awake, he would say. Returning to sleep is a defilement.
    With that in mind, if I wake within an hour of my alarm I attempt to use the time to practice walking and sitting meditations.

  2. Thank you for a bit of Ajahn Chah's wisdom!

    It's interesting how different teachers have different takes on that one. Mingyur Rinpoche says go with the tiredness as soon as it catches up with the awareness. That's just one . . .