Sleep is an altered state of consciousness. The Tibetan Dzogchen teachings mention the process of falling asleep as a bardo, or transition from physical realm to the non-physical realm. The sleeping process is compared to that of the dying process, except that during sleep, the movement into non-physical dimension is transient and temporary.
Dreaming is a reality of the non-physical dimension, just like waking consciousness is a reality of the physical dimension. Hence, dreams are a doorway to an alternate reality, which opens up a new understanding about our complete self. Without such an understanding, we appear to be very confined and limited in space and linear time. As we embrace our non-physical self, we become appreciative of our innate gifts and psychic abilities. We start receiving guidance and help from the angelic realms within us.
We often regard sleep as a very normal and mundane phenomenon, and most of us fall asleep unconsciously. However, sleep is a great ability we all possess to enter altered states of consciousness. When we practice falling asleep consciously, we become aware of the crossing the threshold or the barrier between the physical and the non-physical world.
Here is a simple step-by-step practice of sleep yoga, or conscious sleep, based on Samuel Sagan’s night practice mentioned in his book, Awakening the Third Eye. It is simplified and greatly tailored, based on my experience with the practice. It requires 15 minutes of time after going to bed and before sleeping. When practiced consistently, this simple practice can make one’s sleep very deep, relaxed and useful for one’s evolution:
1. Give a deep exhalation that leaves the body empty and soft, releasing all the tension accumulated during the day. Try to exhale as if you are giving your last breath. Take an absolute sigh in a quest of ultimate relief.
2. Circulate through all the body parts, starting from the crown of the head down to the toes. Repeat the name of the body part mentally, become aware of it and then become one with the body part.
3. Become aware of the flow of air through the nostrils and into the abdomen. Watch the natural movement of your breath. Just be a witness without interfering.
4. Allow any image to surface spontaneously. Just become aware of the image. Drop the image. Allow the next image to emerge, and repeat. Simply rest in the gap between the images, allow the images without any effort and be with the act of seeing the image. When the images flow freely, you have reached a state of deep relaxation.
5. Fix your attention 2 inches above your right arm. Become aware of your astral right arm. Lift your astral right arm without lifting the arm physically. Repeat the same for your left arm, then left leg and right leg. Practice the lifting of astral arms and legs few times.
I found this practice, when consistently done, to be very simple and effective in greatly improving the quality of sleep, remembering the dreams and often dreaming lucidly.
The Bhagavad Gita says, ” In that which is night to all beings, the enlightened one is awake.” The soul never sleeps. Sleep is a way to relax our etheric body by allowing it to expand. Sleep is a way to explore astral dimensions with our astral body. Our quality of day will determine the quality of our sleep. The stress and emotions that we experience over the day determine what kind of astral dimensions we visit during sleep. If we visit lower astral realms, we wake up feeling tired as if our energy is drained during sleep. If we visit higher astral realms, we feel deeply relaxed, rejuvenated and fresh after waking up.
The practice of sleep yoga helps us to consciously let go of stress and prepare our mind for exploration of the higher astral dimensions during sleep. With practice, we can enter and communicate with the angelic and light beings in the higher dimensions and receive guidance and love from these exciting worlds.