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Sleep is crucial for our overall health, and our sense of wellbeing. In his book Designing Destiny, author Kamlesh Patel, better known as Daaji, tells us about it.
This brings us to the importance of sleep. Disciplining our sleep cycle changes our life. How well we sleep and how deeply we sleep determines our state of mind throughout the day. Generally, it is better to sleep early to be in tune with natural cycles. Also, our morning Meditation will improve drastically, as we are not struggling with our consciousness. When we meditate with a well rested mind, we have a good grip over consciousness, whereas when our consciousness is crippled because of lack of sleep, will it be easy to wake up for morning Meditation with a fresh mind?
When we are fully alert in the morning, lovingly we can invite the higher consciousness and be one with that essence. Then some beautiful conditions will be created in the heart. And when they are so intense, they stay glued to us, whether we try to hold on to them or not. If we try to shake them off, they will not go away. Such is the influence or the permanency of the condition created when our consciousness is ready to receive. If our morning meditation is hampered, as it happens after a bad night’s sleep, the whole day is affected. For someone who has never meditated, or who meditates every now and then, it makes very little difference. It is just another day gone. We can compare that level of consciousness to roaring oceans. They look so dramatic and poems are written about them, but real beauty is when there is a still pond without any waves and there is utter serenity all around.
So the choice is ours. If we choose to lead a life like the roaring ocean, we will be lost in the waves of our disturbed consciousness. Per contra, when our consciousness is still and settled, even the slightest change or variation
is noticed, the way the fall of the lightest leaf on a still pool of water creates ripples. They are felt. So sleep matters.
If we get the right amount of sleep, the right nostril will automatically be active in the morning. Over millennia our systems have evolved in such a way that when the sun rises, certain hormonal patterns are triggered. When we are in tune with that rhythm, our health automatically improves.
What happens to people who go to bed very late at night? When we go against the rhythm, again we are swimming against the current, and our decline in health over time will speak volumes. It is better to set a healthy pattern as early as possible in life. Nightly activities are one of the curses of the modern world. Because of electricity, there is now not much difference between the day and the night. Starved sleep patterns result from irregular habits and late nights, and health suffers as a result. Immunity levels also go down because our nervous system is under stress.
Extensive studies have been conducted on people who work at night, and it has been discovered that, among other things, they age rapidly. Unlike those who have to do shift work for their livelihood, most of us do not have to work at night. We have a choice, yet we choose to stay awake late at night, watching all kinds of things. Whether we look at it for spiritual growth or health, if we go to sleep early, it will help us a lot. Remember the wisdom of the old English proverb, ‘Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.’
There is an enlightening TED talk by Jeff Illif called ‘One More Reason to Have a Good Night’s Sleep’, in which he describes how our neurological system detoxifies itself during sleep. Our central nervous system does not have any lymphatic drainage, so the cerebrospinal fluid flows through the space between the cells removing toxins from the brain, and this happens during sleep. In a person whose sleep pattern is normal, this drainage of cerebrospinal fluid is effectively able to remove the toxins, but in sleep- deprived individuals the toxin removal is reduced greatly. These toxins then affect us, so we become vulnerable to bad moods. When we are sleep- deprived, what happens in the morning? We are cranky. We become irritated. So it is not surprising that sleep-deprived individuals are responsible for a large number of road accidents. They also cannot engage themselves in creative discussions and fruitful conversations. They become irritated with every little difference of opinion.
When we want to excel in life, we will find a way to naturalise our sleep patterns. Otherwise we struggle with that one fundamental thing all our lives. We have neither the proper consciousness for everyday activities, nor a proper spiritual condition. We uproot our consciousness, the very guiding force, and so we leave ourselves vulnerable to greater emotionality and reactivity. More and more, we collect impressions throughout the day. Then our ability to remove those impressions through Cleaning suffers, so Meditation suffers, and it becomes a vicious cycle.
If instead we have a fine condition, a pure condition, a blissful condition, we will feel lightness and gratitude. This gratitude emerging from the heart creates a bond between God and us. There is great benefit in it, and as we receive more and more benefit, we feel like doing more and more.
This excerpt has been used with permission from publishers Westland.
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Mostly Normal is a book of innocence, longing, filial love, angst and acceptance, encapsulating a gamut of human emotions within its lightweight edifice. The book touches the human heart and will stay with you.
Some books enthral you till the last page, and then there are those that you stop reading after turning a few pages. Some books are a one-time read, while you carry some books with you long after you have read them. Then, once in a while, a book hits you so close to home that you find it difficult to slot into any category.
I will put Priyadeep Kaur’s Mostly Normal (BookSoul Reads, 2022) in this last bracket.
At a little less than hundred pages, Mostly Normal is a testimony of the power of words to inspire, irrespective of their length.
Most women do not get to live their lives the way they want, on their own terms. So why should they be tied down in their old age?
Every morning, while dropping the kids at the bus stop, I find a grandfather waiting with his granddaughter. I see him again when I fetch the kids. This has been the pattern for the last few years.
He is seen actively participating in his granddaughter’s activities, from morning and evening walks to attending her parent-teachers meeting, sending her for extracurricular activities to even planning her birthday party. He is admired by all. He is appreciated for making himself useful in his old age. People rave that the doting grandfather is doing his duty towards his children and grandchildren. The much-admired grandfather is also a widower, having lost his wife years ago to chronic disease. It’s also to be noted that both his son and daughter-in-law are working parents.
Every day, the onlookers appreciate his sense of duty and dedication. They say that this is how the elderly should keep themselves occupied. They should bring up their grandchildren while their children go off to work.
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