Curing Insomnia and Finding Purpose through Vedic Meditation
MEDITATION BEATS INSOMNIA
I’d like to talk to you a little bit about insomnia, what it is and how Vedic Meditation directly addresses the cause of it.
[00:00:52] But before I do that, I’d like to tell you a little story. My teacher Maharishi Mahesh Yogi arrived in Los Angeles in about 1958 and began teaching people who wanted to learn this technique of meditation in which he trained me.
[00:01:10] Maharishi was very surprised when publicists, who had found out about people learning to meditate, published a story in the Los Angeles Times, that basically said meditation beats insomnia. And when Maharishi saw that article, he was a little bit taken aback because, as a great master of a wakefulness enlightenment tradition of India, to come to another country and teach a technique that’s supposed to bring the greatest awakening in life, to the full enlightenment of the mind, that his technique was being used by people simply to get to sleep.
[00:01:50] After a while he thought about it and he thought, “Well, why not? You know, people learn to meditate in order to beat their insomnia. It’s fantastic. The next week, or two weeks later, they’ll be happy to continue doing their practice of meditation for full awakening of all of one’s mental potential as well.”
The Cause of Insomnia
[00:02:11] So let me talk about insomnia for a moment. Insomnia’s cause is a very simple thing to understand. On a daily basis we build up stress. Stress is not just your initial reaction to an overload of experience. Stress also is the memory embedded in the cells of the body, the memory of having had that overreaction.
[00:02:36] And when we build up stress, our body builds up a preparedness to dive into action, to either fight demands, fight to the death if possible, or to flee from demands, if possible. And this is what basically the stress reaction is telling our body to do. However, logical or illogical it may seem, the buildup of stress is a buildup of preparedness to fight or flee.
[00:03:05] When we build up lots of stress in our body, our body wants to get rid of the memory of the stress, it wants to get rid of the distorted memory embedded in the cells, and it looks for opportunities to do this anytime that we begin to rest.
The Unwinding of Stress
[00:03:21] So when we lie down on the bed to go to sleep at night, as our body begins to go into sleep onset, sleep onset is actually the deepest form of rest of a night’s sleep, the very beginnings of sleep. As our mind is moving from the regular waking state into the very beginnings of sleep, our body goes into a deep state of restfulness, which is deep enough to cause the stresses in the body to begin unwinding.
[00:03:49] And this unwinding of stress is a physical activity. The physical activity of the release of stress provokes the brain a little bit. There’s a recirculation, through purification, a recirculation of the stress chemistry caused by the stresses unwinding. And the very unwinding of stress, then stimulates the brain and causes the mind to go into a tendency to have lots of thoughts.
[00:04:16] And so the person finds himself lying in bed, suddenly popping back into wakefulness, and just having thought after thought after thought after thought. And eventually what happens is an echelon of stress, a layer of stress, is released and then the mind is able to settle down again. The body begins to settle down, but then the natural process of unstressing commences again, and the action of unstressing ironically wakes up the mind and causes us to have this experience of wakefulness, which we entitle, insomnia.
Deeper Rest Than Sleep Through Meditation
[00:04:51] Vedic Meditation addresses this directly by providing us with a twice-daily technique where, in the meditation technique, our body’s able to rest sitting in an upright and comfortable position like this. Our body’s able to rest for 20 minutes, many times more deeply than it is able to rest at any point in a night’s sleep.
[00:05:16] During this deep and unprecedented profound level of rest, during Vedic Meditation, the stresses that had built up in the body are able to release en masse, and they’re able to come out of the system very comfortably, very easily, very relaxedly, while we’re meditating.
[00:05:34] Because we’re releasing stress while we’re meditating, and we practice it for about 20 minutes in the morning, before the day’s activity begins, and once again in the evening, late afternoon or early evening, before the evening’s activity begins, by the time we are able to get to the bed to go to sleep, our unstressing has already been done in meditation.
[00:05:56] Thus, when we lie down to sleep, there’s no agenda in the body to start releasing stress now. Meditation provided the release of stress, so then the body and the mind are left with that beautiful state of being able just to slip into a delicious sleep and rest very deeply through the night.
Awakening the Mind to Its Fullest Potential
[00:06:15] So Vedic Meditation shifts the demand for stress release into the practice of the meditation itself. The meditation cleanses the body of stresses, which otherwise have no choice but to try to come out when we’re lying down in bed at night. And this is the very simple mechanics whereby Vedic Meditation is the cure for insomnia.
[00:06:37] But not only that. Stay with us for a few more weeks after your insomnia is gone and your mind will be again awakening to its fullest potential. Instead of using only a tiny percentage of your brain’s available computing power, because of the onboard stresses you have, your brain will be liberated to use its full computing power. And there are many, many more benefits, beyond beating of insomnia, that will accrue to you as a result of regular practice.
A SEARCH FOR MEANING
[00:07:09] People often say to me, “Thom, I’m feeling a little bit lost. I need some kind of guidance. I don’t have purpose in my life. And I need a sense of purpose in order not to become depressed about this just daily routine of waking up and having your breakfast, and then going off and doing some work to pay your rent, and then coming back and having some dinner, and then going to bed again, and waking up, and, you know, it seems as though my life has lost meaning. And how’s Vedic Meditation going to restore that sense of meaning?”
A Search for Our True Identity
[00:07:44] The very great search that we have in our lives, for purpose, is actually a search for our true inner identity. You know, when we live a life, as all of us are doing, we naturally have a tendency to think of ourselves as merely being a body.
[00:08:05] “I’m a body; there’s a body that grew up, the body that got put into an education process with a mind attached to it. There’s a body that got bigger and bigger and then matured and became adult. And there’s a body that seems to have certain needs for food, for pleasure, for outlets and so on. Is this all there is? I’m just a body and then the body’s going to die after a certain number of decades…”
[00:08:28] Very small number of decades. You have one decade of learning how to talk and walk and not slop food on yourself. Then you have another decade, from being 10 till about 20, where you’re a teenager and going through all your hormones and starting to learn about effective means of interacting with other people.
What’s This All About?
[00:08:48] Then you’re in your twenties and you’re trying to figure out something about your career and how to earn enough money to make ends meet without having to ask your parent. And then you get to your thirties and you’re starting to wonder whether or not you should be on the reproductive schedule, and does that require a partner, or not a partner, and so on and so forth.
[00:09:07] And before you know it, you’re in your forties. And by the time you’re in your forties, you’re beginning to wonder what retirement might look like. Are you just going to stop work and build up enough money to go fishing, and do all those things and buy your little motorhome? And where are you going to motor to?
[00:09:23] And you look at all of this and you begin to think, “What is all of this? I mean, why am I here? What’s this all about?”
Direct Experience of Bliss
[00:09:31] Vedic Meditation, fortunately, can come to the rescue in this. First of all, it establishes for you, from direct experience, that you’re not just a body on a schedule to be born, to consume and to die. That that’s all there is. That your body is actually an instrument, a highly finely tuned instrument that can carry out a cosmic agenda for evolution.
[00:09:55] You have a direct experience during Vedic Meditation of stepping beyond thought, of experiencing your own basic baseline Nature, which you discover through direct experience, not just through theory, is Bliss. Your inner Nature is absolute Bliss. That Bliss, when you touch on it in meditation, makes all other endeavors feel Bliss-ful.
[00:10:22] It brings joy into the processes of everything that you do. So instead of you simply having an experience that’s eminently forgettable, every thought, every action, every perception, every undertaking, every understanding, every feeling, is gold dusted with the Bliss that you touched on in your meditation practice that morning.
[00:10:44] And then you begin to realize that your true inner Nature is that unbounded field of pure creative intelligence whose nature is Bliss. And then you begin to realize that your real purpose in life is to radiate life and to radiate that Bliss for all to enjoy.
Your Real Purpose in Life
[00:11:04] And on the way to that, after learning the technique of Vedic Meditation, if you care to dive into the theoretical underpinnings from which this knowledge came, in ancient India, you begin to understand something more about the broader evolutionary purpose of being a conscious being on this planet. The broader evolutionary purpose of bringing joy from your life and expanding that into the lives of all those who surround you, and who are concerned with your daily life.
[00:11:35] So finding what our true purpose is, finding what our natural trend is, our personal role in the evolution of the totality, is a great satisfactory result that comes from regular, twice daily, going beyond thought.
[00:11:53] What is your true Nature? What is the real you? What are you? A conscious being minus all the thoughts, the Bliss state, and without discovering that, we can’t really discover proper purpose.