A little-recognized obstacle to spiritual connection is lack of sleep. Western culture invites frenetic jumping from task to task, encouraging busyness over ease. But sleep is the Rest-and-Repair part of living. Skimping on it invites stimulant use to get us through the day. Caffeine and nicotine do not create energy out of nowhere. They borrow it, from the body, and when the energy loan comes due with interest there are often health consequences. I’ve heard people justify their over-doing by saying, “I can sleep when I’m dead”. It seems they don’t recognize just what they are inviting!
Everything in Nature is cyclical. The seasons, each day––all have an onset, a peak, a decline, and an end. Human bio-rhythms are no exception. Our body needs the down time of sleep to clean and clear. Our brain needs sleep to rest and reorganize. And our spirit needs space to travel without the body. Sleep itself is an altered state that is somewhat like meditation. Think of sleep as a spiritual practice, and give yourself this gift.
In the words of Shakespeare’s Macbeth:
“Sleep, that knits the raveled sleeve of care,
The death of each day’s life,
Sore labor’s bath,
Balm of hurt minds,
Great nature’s second course,
Chief nourisher in life’s feast.”