Insomniac Ramblings

Oh, dear fellow druids, it’s 3:40 a.m. and I’m wide awake. I’ve tried meditating, I’ve tried memorizing a prayer, I’ve tried rereading Anne of Green Gables for the zillionth time, and none of it’s helping. I posted on my other blog, and now I’m posting here because, well, one person is lonesome sitting in a puddle of computer-light, surrounded by the dark, and it’s nice to pretend you’re talking to someone when you’re wide awake and the world is asleep.

I think there must be some sort of neurological-wiring connection between difficulty sleeping and difficulty meditating. I’ve always had trouble sleeping, and it seems that meditation has been getting harder and harder for me. My brain refuses to quiet down, to focus on a mantra or an image or anything. The only thing I’ve managed to focus on lately is writing, and even that was a struggle last week.

How, how does one achieve mental discipline? I like to make comparisons to running, but the mind is a much more slippery muscle than those in the body. It’s not as simple as run, rest, repeat to get in better shape. No, if I continue repeating what I’ve been doing, my mind will just bounce about more wildly than ever. Rather than training it to run more smoothly, more quietly, I’m training it to run around like a kid in a candy store, touching every interesting or pretty thought just briefly before moving on to the next. It’s even irritating to ME, and it’s MY mind.

I fear I’m not making sense, and you’re not even getting half the thoughts and metaphors that cross my mind as I type this.

Advice?

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5 thoughts on “Insomniac Ramblings

  1. I find that when I struggle to quiet my mind at night that music is often the only thing that will work. Go get some Popul Vuh or other suitably new age-y trance music, lie in bed, and force your mind to visualize the music. If you find your thoughts wandering, just quietly collect them back up again and get back to the music. Eventually it should lull you to sleep.

  2. I read an article a week or so ago that said that people naturally wake up a few times per night. Usually we go back to sleep without even noticing that we’re awake. I’ve managed to fake myself back to sleep quite a few times since then by reminding myself that waking up is natural, telling myself I’m relaxing and feeling comfortable in bed, and telling myself that I’ll be asleep again very soon. Since I’m a very diurnal sort of person, it’s pretty awful for me when I do one of those wake up at 3 am things because that’s sleep that I’m not going to replace, even if I have the spare time to sleep after the sun comes up.

    Meditation– have you tried the orange or raisin eating meditation? I started to write it up here and realized it goes on and on, so I’m shoving onto my own dragonflyhouse blog instead in case you haven’t heard of it before.

  3. I can usually fall asleep if I try meditating in bed. For this reason, I generally avoid “serious” meditation in bed. Mostly just…relaxation and clearing the mind. When this doesn’t work and my mind won’t shut off, it is so frustrating. I hope you had a good rest in the end!

  4. Hello Gray Wren,
    We don’t know each other yet, but my husband – Teo Bishop – was reading this blog post to me and encouraged me to write you my response.
    But first, a disclaimer. Or a caveat? I am not a druid. I am not yet sure if I’m a pagan, though I deal regularly with a decidedly diverse group of deities and spiritual beings. I am a psychic and a channel… and possibly a Buddhist. I am, of course, married to a druid.
    Regarding your troubles with sleep and meditation, then: Have you considered embracing your situation, perhaps as part of your spiritual growth? I think that, too often, those of us on spiritual paths tend to see dilemmas like this one, or blocks, or lapses in practice, as signs that something has gone wrong, or that we are somehow not working hard enough, accomplishing our goals, meeting expectations, etc. But in my experience, I’ve found that a real engagement with spiritual practice results in some disconcerting surprises – like a short-term inability to meditate, a loss of drive for yoga, a sense of disconnection from the spirits we rely on for guidance – and that these surprises are, in fact, part of our progress.
    Your inability to meditate, sleep, or write sounds like – if you’ll forgive the pun – a wake-up call, something in your psyche or your mind trying to get your attention. Perhaps, instead of trying to force your way past, or maneuver your way through with various techniques, you may want to try sitting with your dilemma, engaging with it, loving it even. Because it’s entirely possible it is your next lesson, rather than just something blocking your way.

    • Thank you, Sean, for such a thoughtful comment. You were absolutely right — and I’ll elaborate on it in a full blog post in the next day or two. Long story short, I’ve been trying to run before I can even walk, but now I’m awake to the problem. Many double thanks. 🙂

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