“Why should you meditate? First of all, because each of us needs to realize total rest. Even a night of sleep doesn’t provide total rest. Twisting and turning, the facial muscles tense, all the while dreaming–hardly rest! Nor is lying down rest when you still feel restless and twist and turn. Lying on your back, with your arms and legs straight but not stiff, your head unsupported by a pillow–this is a good position to practice breathing and to relax all the muscles; but this way it is also easier to fall asleep. You cannot go as far in meditation lying down as by sitting. It is possible to find total rest in a sitting position, and in turn to advance deeper in meditation in order to resolve the worries and troubles that upset and block your consciousness.”
I picked up this book yesterday somewhat randomly and bought it for my husband. He is attracted to the Buddhist style of meditation and has read (past post) several of the Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche’s books (Sakyong Mipham is the head of the Shambhala Buddhist lineage). He has yet to read anything by Thich Nhat Hanh, who is a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and someone I studied in school while getting my degree at The Naropa University in Boulder, CO. I think it was in my Tai Chi class where we were shown a video of Thich Nhat Hanh speaking and it made an impression on me. He had a fist and would cover it with the other hand somehow showing how we should be soft.
I happened to open The Miracle of Mindfulness to the above passage and so liked what I read. I have often found meditation to be much more relaxing and rejuvenating than sleeping. In my practice of Sahaj Marg, we talk about one hour of meditation being worth several hours of sleep. In my experience this is true. Maybe it was reading just that little bit yesterday but I went to sleep sometime after 9 pm, woke easily around 3:30 am, meditated for an hour and now in starting my day feel fresh and rested.