Silly question: sleep versus meditating

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Silly question: sleep versus meditating

Postby duckfiasco » Sat Nov 02, 2013 1:30 am

Say you find 7-8 hours of sleep is ideal for you.
You work very late tonight and start early tomorrow.
Do you squeeze in your usual hour of meditation in the morning and deal with sleeping about six hours?
Do you cut your session in half in exchange for 30 minutes more of sleep?

I may be overthinking this.
It happens often enough that I wonder what other people do with these occasional situations where you have to choose between "enough" sleep and "enough" meditation.

The same thing sometimes happens where I have to either meditate very late and sleep less, or vice versa.

Thankfully, it's rare that I have this kind of schedule.

Thanks :)
Please take the above post with a grain of salt.
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Re: Silly question: sleep versus meditating

Postby futerko » Sat Nov 02, 2013 2:08 am

It would depend on; what kind of meditation you were doing (whether it will help you sleep or to wake up), and whether you can really function at work and/or meditate properly with less sleep, and any other personal quirks you may have.

I often lay in bed and "meditate" to get to sleep, try for some dream yoga, and then again briefly upon waking - but I will do ati guru yoga and breathing purification rather than a more formal outer sadhana.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Silly question: sleep versus meditating

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Nov 02, 2013 2:19 am

As HH the DL says here http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20074531,00.html:
Sleep is the best meditation.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: Silly question: sleep versus meditating

Postby duckfiasco » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:28 am

dzogchungpa wrote:As HH the DL says here http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20074531,00.html:
Sleep is the best meditation.

As evidenced by my dreams, my mind gets to proliferate its heart out, just like during waking meditation ;) I don't understand what HHDL means here.

I've read on the forum before posts about "not having enough time" to meditate.
The response is often they should just wake up earlier, that the time would be better spent meditating than sleeping.
It seems like it can be borderline sometimes.
That's mainly why I ask :)

futerko wrote:It would depend on; what kind of meditation you were doing (whether it will help you sleep or to wake up), and whether you can really function at work and/or meditate properly with less sleep, and any other personal quirks you may have.

I often lay in bed and "meditate" to get to sleep, try for some dream yoga, and then again briefly upon waking - but I will do ati guru yoga and breathing purification rather than a more formal outer sadhana.

Thanks for the reply. I do the same before sleeping. Haven't yet been able to lucid dream, though.

I meditate following the breath in the morning and night.
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Re: Silly question: sleep versus meditating

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:33 am

I'd sacrifice the sleep for practice sometimes, other times maybe you can substitute sleep or dream practice. You can do it every night, and it's really easy since you will go to bed regardless heh. If i'm particularly exhausted I just do the sleep practice personally.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Silly question: sleep versus meditating

Postby duckfiasco » Sat Nov 02, 2013 3:55 am

Sleep practice? Do you mean practicing while lucid dreaming?
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Re: Silly question: sleep versus meditating

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Sat Nov 02, 2013 6:27 am

Any of the sleep/dream yogas and phowa practices that are out there.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Silly question: sleep versus meditating

Postby smcj » Sat Nov 02, 2013 6:52 am

I have a job where being late is a very big no-no. So I just get to work early and sit in my car and do some practice before work. If traffic was bad, then less practice. If traffic was ok, then more. I've found that trying to do it at home before work is useless, as I just sit and worry about my practice possibly making me be late.
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Re: Silly question: sleep versus meditating

Postby oushi » Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:19 am

There is a great sentence that I heard: "Reality tells us what we need to do, otherwise we sit cross legged".
It may seem that reality gives us no time, that's why we need to find it. But soon we see that reality is not as demanding as we thought. We are! There is a big difference between "Reality tells us what we need to do" and "We tell ourselves what we want to do". If we remove this craving, there will be plenty of time for meditation and for sleeping. I sleep for 8-9 hours, meditate for 2-4 hours, work for 9 hours and there is still 2-5 hours left...
I've used to spend 3 hours/daily in a car while driving to work. A great way to practice mindfulness. It saved my ass few times.
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Re: Silly question: sleep versus meditating

Postby ClearblueSky » Sat Nov 02, 2013 9:29 am

Finding a balance is definitely important when it comes to that. If you don't sleep enough, not only is it bad for your health, but it will make your practice a lot more difficult. You may benefit more from 30 minutes of well-rested meditation than an hour of sleep-deprived meditation. I think in a retreat setting you can get away with losing a bit more sleep though, but if you have to function well the next day at work and busy life it's a lot tougher. Maybe give up a bit, but don't go overboard.
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Re: Silly question: sleep versus meditating

Postby porpoise » Sat Nov 02, 2013 10:40 am

duckfiasco wrote:It happens often enough that I wonder what other people do with these occasional situations where you have to choose between "enough" sleep and "enough" meditation.


It can be tricky getting the balance right, but generally I find I sleep better when meditating regularly. I've also found that I need less sleep when doing a lot of meditation, like on retreat ( and not because I'm snoozing in the meditations :zzz: ).
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Re: Silly question: sleep versus meditating

Postby duckfiasco » Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:15 am

Thanks for the input :)

I got a taste of both today, actually.
I decided to do 30 mins this morning, and it was fine :)
Then after work, I was exhausted and tried an hour.
Holy crap, it was torture. The longest hour I've had in a while.

I did learn something, though.
I've been trying to maintain awareness while falling asleep at night to do some dream practices, but having trouble.
I noticed today that every time I almost fell off my bench, it was because my mind had wandered. Quite a direct indicator :tongue:
And I was being relentlessly assailed with distractions. It was like having an insane dream while awake.
But I'm not sure how to use this "distracted = asleep!" to help with sleep practice.

Anyway, thanks for the helpful perspectives, everyone :)
Please take the above post with a grain of salt.
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Re: Silly question: sleep versus meditating

Postby futerko » Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:36 am

The kind of "replaying of thoughts" that we experience during dreams or when we are dropping off is part of the "brain rewiring itself" (allegedly), and people who are sleep deprived have difficulty converting short term into long term memories.

I guess you need to practice separating your thoughts from your "being distracted" - to let the thoughts go where they want without getting caught up in them and conditioned by them.
Hard to be more specific without knowing what type of practices you do.
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Silly question: sleep versus meditating

Postby duckfiasco » Sun Nov 03, 2013 1:47 am

futerko wrote:I guess you need to practice separating your thoughts from your "being distracted" - to let the thoughts go where they want without getting caught up in them and conditioned by them.
Hard to be more specific without knowing what type of practices you do.

Very, very hard to do.
One thing Buddhism has shown me is the extent to which I identify with my mind.
But lately I've noticed how much suffering is wrapped up in the unsubdued mind.
I'm trying to follow the breath, but sometimes the distractions feel relentless, like a mental assault.
I have a really deep appreciation for how they aren't me or mine, little bastards coming out of nowhere! :P

My practice right now is an hour of breath meditation in the morning. I've recently started experimenting with body scanning, but only a few times.
Then a 40-minute metta practice where I generate metta for every house/person/animal I see on a walk.
In the evening, usually an hour of walking meditation.

Aside from that, nothing really. I've been kind of a wanderer between the different traditions, not sure where to delve deeper.
I can definitely tell restlessness is the biggest hindrance right now, so my practice has been in the concentration or breath type meditations for about two years.
Not sure much has changed, but I know these kinds of changes are really hard to notice on your own.

Thanks for reading and sharing your insight :)
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Re: Silly question: sleep versus meditating

Postby futerko » Sun Nov 03, 2013 2:08 am

Walking meditation can be good for that if you walk outside for example, maintaining an awareness of everything going on around you but at the same time finding that point of stillness - and like you just posted on the thread about anger, this means maintaining a certain posture and breathing - so by practice that can become more automatic, and gradually you start to incorporate movement and stillness together without becoming fully immersed in either.

Probably best to start in the countryside rather than the city though. :smile:
we cannot get rid of God because we still believe in grammar - Nietzsche
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Re: Silly question: sleep versus meditating

Postby montana » Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:47 am

You're just shaving off an hour or something of sleep.
You probably do that on a regular basis for trivial things like a tv show you like or social events.

If you don't have an hour a day to meditate then you need to look at your priorities.
HHDL does like what, 7 hours of meditation and prayers a day and he is way more busy than any of us I am sure.

Who cares if you get dark circles, your body is just going to be buried in the ground like feces on a camping trip or burned like food residue inside a self cleaning oven.

Sleep is a little overrated. There's a dull pleasure to sleep. But wakefulness, the sharpness, clarity, and energy of a wide awake mind aimed steadily on a single object, that is sooo pleasurable.
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