Today was a struggle :-(
I woke this morning at 6 am and meditated for 40 minutes before I went to work.
In the quiet of an otherwise sleeping house it was great to experience a relaxed awareness and watch as the night sky and city lights slowly gave way to a grey misty dawn. I can still see the streetlamps abruptly switch off to mark the moment that last night became today. And yet as I found my mind constantly wandering in meditation, I knew that I was tired and should have gone to bed earlier. Later, it came as no surprise to find that today was a struggle, and not only did I achieve very little, but I was very, very far from mindful.
In Arianna Huffington’s short 4 minute TED talk I find it striking how the benefits of a good night’s sleep mirror those of mindfulness.
A good night’s sleep, “unlocks billions of ideas” and unleashes our creativity. When we get enough sleep we are productive and inspired. We can see the big picture, gain insights and are more joyful. Sound familiar?
On the flip side, I remember how much it resonated with me when I read an article about how we tend to make bad decisions when we are low. And here Arianna quips how sleep deprived, but otherwise intelligent leaders, often don’t see the iceberg until its too late.
It should come as no surprise that a good night’s sleep is synonymous with mindfulness, after all mindfulness is often thought of as ‘awakening to the present moment’.
Which brings me to the point of this blog.
In developing a meditation habit, we need to carve out some time every day to sit. I don’t think I’m different from too many people in finding that its much easier to sit in the quiet of the morning, rather than after a long tiring day at work.
The benefit of meditating in the morning is the opportunity to experience what Thich Nhat Hahn describes as, ‘The Miracle of Mindfulness’, and to start the day with a still mind before we enter the fray.
Today was as a struggle, and there will be plenty more. But let’s not underestimate how difficult it is to build a daily meditation habit to realize the benefits of mindfulness.
When it comes to Sleep versus Meditation, in my experience a lack of one cancels out the benefit of the other. However, Sleep and Meditation takes Arianna’s message to a whole new level.
If only reading at night wasn’t such a pleasure!