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Thread: Do you think non-thinking in toward sleep at night?

  1. #1

    Do you think non-thinking in toward sleep at night?

    I thought I'd try, just because I'm curious. Turns out, my straying thoughts are what seem to lead to sleep. So I'd catch the thought drifting and bring back to nonthinking ish and be awake again. Turns out, I'm better at that than I am on the zafu during drowsy times haha.

    Can one aim toward ZZ' in to sleep or would that encourage the thought drifting if that is what leads us to fall asleep?

    Might be a senseless pondering, dunno
    Gassho
    Banto SatToday

  2. #2
    Hi Banto,

    I must confess that I read you post a couple of times and don't quite follow what you are trying to say.

    There have been some studies that Brain waves during Zazen are often in state otherwise found during sleep, or which are similar to brain waves in that peaceful place we encounter right before falling asleep while in bed ... perhaps one reason that it
    is easy to go over the edge into sleep during Zazen ...

    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=3457896

    I think many of us know that few moments before falling asleep when the world somehow becomes simpler, clearer ...

    Gassho, J

    SatToday (did not sleep)
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  3. #3
    I see I wasn't too clear in my post ... I have a Tibetan Buddhist friend at work that meditates as he falls asleep. I got to thinking with shikantaza I'm not sure that would work. Then I started noticing that it's the daydreaming that usually speeds me right in to sleep quickly. So if I tried to lay there and notice my thoughts like I do on the cushion, I'm not sure I could fall asleep while waking up to ZZ' (Opening the Hand of Thought).

    Was just curious if anyone does zazen as they fall asleep. I'm content to just drift as I do, but it made me wonder what others do.

    The brain wave studies are very interesting. Dr. Ritchie Davidson at the Waisman Brain imaging center studies the brain (fMRI and otherwise) on long-term meditators mostly of Tibetan flavors. Interesting findings from those studies.

    SatToday

    Banto (aka Rodney)
    万磴 (Myriad StoneSteps)

  4. #4
    Hello Banto,

    I wonder if it is the thought of relaxation or peacefulness that leads you to fall asleep? Just like we can use "thinking" as a form of stress reduction (not related to zazen) ... like thinking happy thoughts or of a place and time that brings us joy.

    So I wonder if it is just the thought of sleep that draws you to sleep? Hmm ... not sure, but I will be a test subject a try it tonight. ... usually for me, head hits pillow, minutes later sawing logs. So no really change to think of anything. LOL

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday
    Last edited by Shingen; 01-27-2016 at 04:50 AM.
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  5. #5
    Hi Rodney,

    I don't think we try to "notice our thoughts" during Zazen, as much as not to grab them and stir them up.

    I often engage in a form of Shikantaza when wishing to fall asleep, especially when my head is filled with all kinds of busyness and tumult from the day's events. I let go, let it be. Things become clearer and simpler. Soon (usually) .... ZZZZZZzzzzzz.

    But most important, when it is time to sleep, just sleep.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    If when I lie down at night, head on pillow, and try to do zazen (well laying zen haha) I stay awake. It's only when I let thoughts drift that I fall asleep. Which is prolly OK since that's the task at hand. I my friend mentioned above and he says he just does open awareness meditation (I'm not familiar with Tibetan stuff) until he falls asleep at night.
    Seems interesting.

    Just a curiosity of what Treeleafers do when it's time to go to sleep at night.
    I can pretty much close one eye and i'm out LOL

    S2D

    Banto (aka Rodney)
    万磴 (Myriad StoneSteps)

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I don't think we try to "notice our thoughts" during Zazen, as much as not to grab them and stir them up.
    Might be a semantic issue, but I can only be diligent to not grab and stir thoughts if I first notice that one arose ... or am I going about that incorrectly?
    Which is different than being on the lookout for thoughts arising. Not sure what that would be, but that's not what I'm doing. But if I don't notice that a thought arose, then I get carried off in them. To be aware that I grabbed one, maybe I should be saying that

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I often engage in a form of Shikantaza when wishing to fall asleep, especially when my head is filled with all kinds of busyness and tumult from the day's events. I let go, let it be. Things become clearer and simpler. Soon (usually) .... ZZZZZZzzzzzz.
    Gassho, Jundo
    That's my curiosity indeed. I tried that and end up staying awake. So I've been noticing that drifting in to sleep is right when I do get carried in thought/daydream.

    Banto (aka Rodney)
    万磴 (Myriad StoneSteps)

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Rodney View Post
    Might be a semantic issue, but I can only be diligent to not grab and stir thoughts if I first notice that one arose ... or am I going about that incorrectly?
    Sounds like you may be trying too hard. Your noticing and trying not to grab sounds pretty much like grabbing. Do you think about breathing, or just breathe? Do you think about every tree you pass down the highway, or just pass by (If you thought about each tree before letting go, you might crash the car!) Do you think about your hand each time it opens and closes? Just don't grab on, get tangled or stir them up. Let them alone, ignore them, pay 'em no nevermind.

    Of course, if finding oneself caught up in a train of thought (aware that you are tangled), well, then just let go. Return to the posture (Uchiyama Way) or breath if finding it hard to just let go.

    Remember that "doing nothing" is not trying to "do nothing." Trying to "do nothing" is doing something! Doing nothing is just not doing.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    I often engage in a form of Shikantaza when wishing to fall asleep, especially when my head is filled with all kinds of busyness and tumult from the day's events. I let go, let it be. Things become clearer and simpler. Soon (usually) .... ZZZZZZzzzzzz.
    I do this every night. Sometimes I drift off to sleep. Sometimes I don't and have to consciously stop. But then it's easy to fall asleep from the relaxed state of laying down shikantaza.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  10. #10
    Same here, it seems like as soon as I lie down in bed, no matter how tired I am, my mind fills with rushing thoughts and before I know it I am wide awake. When I try to let the thoughts go (although I am not nearly as successful as when I am sitting on my zafu) it definitely increases my chances of falling asleep.

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  11. #11
    I'll try and understand my gap here between finding that a thought happens (or finding that I'm caught in a thought train) and trying to notice the aforementioned.
    For now, it stumps me still, a year later ...

    Gassho
    SatToday

    Banto (aka Rodney)
    万磴 (Myriad StoneSteps)

  12. #12
    Joyo
    Guest
    Hi Rodney, I went to a meditation seminar several weeks ago. She said that focusing on something can help calm the mind and prepare it to sleep. So I try to focus on my breath or something relaxing while I drift off.

    I'm not sure if this answers your question, but hope this helps.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Joyo View Post
    Hi Rodney, I went to a meditation seminar several weeks ago. She said that focusing on something can help calm the mind and prepare it to sleep. So I try to focus on my breath or something relaxing while I drift off.

    I'm not sure if this answers your question, but hope this helps.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

    Me too. If active mind, attention ⚠ to breathing relaxes and brings sleep.

    Exhalation is letting go, clear don't know mind.

    SAT today
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  14. #14
    Thanks Joyo and Rich and all. The curious thing for me is that it's slipping in to dreaming where I fall asleep. If I calm with a focus of laying or breathing ... and moreover when I notice a thought or dream begin and return to breath, then I stay awake. As though dreaming is the onramp of sleep. Maybe I had a brain injury ... LOL

    Gassho, SatToday

    Banto (aka Rodney)
    万磴 (Myriad StoneSteps)

  15. #15
    Eishuu
    Guest
    I do some zazen immediately before bed, before lying down, for about 10-15mins. Sometimes I continue while lying down, but there comes a point when I kind of have to let go of the awareness and follow the trails of thought which lead me into sleep. I've found it's easy to stay too alert and there comes a point where letting go into unconsciousness has to happen otherwise I can't sleep. I've also noticed a lot more lucid dreams, so maybe I should try zazen in those... If I am quite aware then I notice that the dreams start while I'm still slightly awake. I think that's normal. Interesting subject.

    Gassho
    Lucy
    Sat today

  16. #16
    So if your dreaming leads you to sleep. Dream on. 😊 -)

    But if your dream is stressful, focus on your breathing to relax.

    I usually fall asleep quickly but if my body mind is hurting and the breathing focus doesn't work I'll hit the aspirin or ibuprofen.

    SAT today
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  17. #17
    Lucy, thanks! That is my experience too, I appreciate you sharing. You've described what I had hoped to for my own experience, tee hee.
    Indeed my curiosity is if anyone can actually fade in to a sleep without dreaming/thought. That point is a familiar one occasionally when drowsy on zafu.
    Funny you mention doing zazen in lucid dream, I became aware in my dream about an hour before I was to get up this morning. Interesting what zazen would be like in that state, what would it be? Nothing I'm sure. But it's still interesting to me.



    Gassho, Rodney SatToday

    Banto (aka Rodney)
    万磴 (Myriad StoneSteps)

  18. #18
    I am fearful of lucid dreaming, I sort of taught myself to do it when I was young and started having episodes of "sleep paralysis," where you are trying to wake up but can't because your motor functions are still paralyzed in REM sleep! Still happens to me once in awhile.

    I think most people normally stage through a few non-REM (non dreaming) cycles when they first fall asleep, before going into REM eventually, and then continue to cycle through those stages with longer and longer periods of REM as the night progresses. However, I seem to remember that if your sleep cycle is off somehow, as if you are sleep deprived, sometimes you could fall right into REM sleep. The most restful sleep stage is not a REM stage though (I don't remember which one it is) I am curious and have to go Google this now. lol

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  19. #19
    Interesting topic we have here. I've tried to do zazen on the pillow but it doesn't help out. Then I realized that instead of doing zazen like that, I can do zazen in my sleep via lucid dreaming. So I've been keeping a dream journal and set a "trigger" sound on my phone while I sleep. So far nothing yet, but I think it will end up being beneficial to this zen practice.

    The only problem I've heard about with lucid dreaming is that you can become disconnected with the "awake" world, want to sleep more, or believe you're in a dream when you're not. I still think the benefits outweigh the repercussions, though. Guess we'll have to see!

    Kyle
    Sat2day

  20. #20
    Dreaming is nothing more than repressed energies. I think the more aware and balanced you become the less you dream. Some repressions especially those tied to fear and anxiety can take a long time to release.

    SAT today
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  21. #21
    Eishuu
    Guest
    I've read a few Tibetan Buddhist books on dream yoga but never come across this sort of thing in other Buddhist traditions. I'm sure it must happen. I'd be very interested to hear how you get on Kairu. I think a trigger sound would wake me up. What kind of noise do you use? Jakuden, sleep paralysis can be really horrible. My lucid dreams are usually early morning. I often go straight into dreaming at night...sometimes during zazen if I'm sleepy! Rodney, yes I wonder what zazen would be like in dreams too. The other night I woke up in the dream and tried to see through the illusion of the dream, but it looked so real and vivid. I've done lucid chanting in dreams..that seems easier than meditation for some reason. I'd love to hear if anybody has a dreaming zazen experience.

    Gassho
    Lucy
    Sat today

  22. #22
    Me. I just sleep. Don't try to lucid dream.

    Anyway, Buddhism teaches us that this "real" world we perceive is more of a mind created dream than we realize. Daily life is a lucid dream!

    Some old Zen guys in the past, like Master Keizan (to a lesser degree, Dogen) were into their dreams, but that is because they thought they were getting messages from Kannon and such telling 'em the future, where to build a monastery etc. It was the 14th century, so such beliefs were common (still are for some people) ...

    https://books.google.com/books?id=rb...dreams&f=false

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-29-2016 at 03:23 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  23. #23
    Me. I just sleep. Don't try to lucid dream.

    Anyway, Buddhism teaches us that this "real" world we perceive is more of a mind created dream than we realize. Daily life is a lucid dream!

    Some old Zen guys in the past, like Master Keizan (to a lesser degree, Dogen) were into their dreams, but that is because they thought they were getting messages from Kannon and such telling him the future, where to build his monastery etc. It was the 14th century, so such beliefs were common (still are for some people) ...

    https://books.google.com/books?id=rb...dreams&f=false

    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Me. I just sleep.
    Yuppers, me too!

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  25. #25
    Sometimes when i wake in the morning and there is time to drift, there is a state of wakefulness, but discursive thinking is not active. The body is still heavy and completely at rest. In those moments the brightest sense is hearing. There are just the ambient sounds of the house and neighbourhood. It is a very sweet place that comes by itself now and then. When discursive thought is active I tend to alternate between getting caught up and not getting caught up. It depends on the emotional charge of the subject whether it hooks or not. Still,when i get caught up it is not a big deal like "oh no I should not be caught up" . It is just the play of things noticing, not noticing. There is an ordinary feel to it.

    Gassho
    Daizan

    Sat today
    Please take anything said with a grain of salt.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Dreaming is nothing more than repressed energies. I think the more aware and balanced you become the less you dream. Some repressions especially those tied to fear and anxiety can take a long time to release.

    SAT today
    I think dreams are unfulfilled wishes. Sometimes easy to interpret and sometimes not. When a wish is suffiently resolved then the mind works on something else and there is always something else.

    Just my opinion.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  27. #27
    Anyway, Buddhism teaches us that this "real" world we perceive is more of a mind created dream than we realize. Daily life is a lucid dream!
    Hi All,

    this is an interesting subject. I’m a big dreamer, love sleeping, and enjoy remembering and thinking about dreams. I did a little work with lucid dreaming. It’s interesting and fun. I think, for me, fascination with sleep and dreams is part of a fascination with consciousness in all its forms. Sleep, dreams, coma, altered states, TBI, drug experiences, kensho, brain mapping, psychology, near-death experiences, etc., all are really interesting. Ultimately, what I take away from it all is the realization of how relative, contingent and unreliable is our usual daily experience. We really do create most of what we think we are experiencing. What we take to be objective reality is very, very subjective. There’s no there, there.


    We wake from our sleeping dreams into this world. When we go to sleep we wake from our waking dreams into that world. Waking up is when you realize -- in any context -- “oh, I was mistaking this for reality, but now I see more clearly that there’s a larger/deeper/realer/revealed reality to be perceived.” But our perception of reality is always contingent on the conditions at that time. None is really more “real” than any other. Whatever you’re experiencing right now feels like the real reality.


    In daily life, I guess what I carry forward from all this is the idea that once we catch on to this subjectivity, we find a great freedom and a great responsibility to shape our reality in a wholesome way as far as possible.


    Shikantaza, maybe, is allowing ourselves to rest into clear awareness that is beyond all those layers of distinction, and yet encompasses them all.

    Sweet dreams. Oh, and to answer the original question, sometimes I do a little zazen on the pillow, just to quiet the monkey, but for me falling asleep seems to be it's own thing, more like letting the mind drift... like Rodney said, as if dreaming is the onramp of sleep.

    Gassho
    Byōkan
    sat today

  28. #28
    I wonder why I fall asleep so easily while watching a good movie, but as soon as I attempt to go to bed with the intention of sleep I just stare at the ceiling for hours wide awake!

    any thoughts on that Jundo?

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Daijo View Post
    I wonder why I fall asleep so easily while watching a good movie, but as soon as I attempt to go to bed with the intention of sleep I just stare at the ceiling for hours wide awake!

    any thoughts on that Jundo?
    I am not Jundo but I would say that there are too many variables to consider to come up with an answer in this forum.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Daijo View Post
    I wonder why I fall asleep so easily while watching a good movie, but as soon as I attempt to go to bed with the intention of sleep I just stare at the ceiling for hours wide awake!

    any thoughts on that Jundo?

    I'm not Jundo either but isn't it interesting that when you don't intend or want sleep you get it, but when you want it you don't get it.

    SAT today
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  31. #31
    You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you might find, you get what you need. - RS

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  32. #32
    Hi guys,

    Once upon a time I had a really heavy insomnia problem. I cured myself developing good sleep hygiene and habits. I get up early and go to bed early... and then I just sleep.

    Sometimes I remember dreams and quite often I wake up laughing because a lot of my dreams are comedy jewels!

    But when I sit zazen, I only sit zazen.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  33. #33
    If you have trouble getting the sleep you need, work shifts, or simply cannot seem to find the time forsleep, then "sleep hygiene" is a practice that you need to work on more than others.

    • Go to bed only when sleepy. Try a relaxing bedtime routine (e.g., soaking in a bath).
    • Establish a good sleep environment with limited distractions (noise, light, temperature).
    • Avoid foods, beverages, and medications that may contain stimulants.
    • Avoid alcohol and nicotine before going to sleep.
    • Consume less or no caffeine.
    • Exercise regularly, but do so around midday or early afternoon.Over-training or exercising too much is not advisable.
    • Try behavioural / relaxation techniques to assist with physical and mental relaxation.
    • Avoid naps in late afternoon and evening.
    • Avoid heavy meals close to bedtime.
    • Avoid fluids before going to sleep.
    • Use the bed only for sleep and intimacy (Do not eat, read or watch TV in bed!).
    • Establish a regular wake time schedule.

    Gassho, Jishin, ST

  34. #34
    I'm grateful I've never had a problem falling asleep (except when I try pillow shikantaka) that would be rough.
    I'm typically out in moments. Ahhh

    Gassho
    SatToday

    Banto (aka Rodney)
    万磴 (Myriad StoneSteps)

  35. #35
    As to the question of what trigger I'm using while I sleep: it's the startup sound for the Sega Dreamcast.



    It's a sound that will not wake me up, being that it's pretty ambient. I have set my volume for this specific notification to be quieter than, say, my text alerts. However, it's loud enough for me to hear it clearly, even in REM.

    Another thing I do is set an alarm to wake me up 6 hours into my 8 hour sleep cycle. Before I go back to sleep I make sure to allow any mental visuals pass by, but take a close look at them as they go. This not only helps me get back to sleep, but also pick what I'll be dreaming about. Want to do zazen in some fancy temple in Japan? Well stare at pictures of that temple for a long while, briefly think about doing zazen and that temple before you go to bed, and boom... You're there.

    I'd like to think that this "reality" is just as important as the other made-up ones while we sleep. So why not make good use of them?

    I hope this helps out.

    Kyle,
    Sat2day.
    Last edited by Kairu; 01-29-2016 at 04:44 PM.

  36. #36
    Sorry, I don't understand why someone would do this??

    SAT today
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Sorry, I don't understand why someone would do this??

    SAT today
    I don't fully understand it yet myself. I think I'm shooting to have more control over my mind. Perhaps it will bring positive results. If it does nothing, then I'll toss it to the side. There's no point in becoming attached to it.

    Kyle,
    Sat2day.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Kairu View Post
    I don't fully understand it yet myself. I think I'm shooting to have more control over my mind. Perhaps it will bring positive results. If it does nothing, then I'll toss it to the side. There's no point in becoming attached to it.

    Kyle,
    Sat2day.

    Thanks for your openness.

    SAT today
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

    I may be wrong and not knowing is acceptable

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Anyway, Buddhism teaches us that this "real" world we perceive is more of a mind created dream than we realize. Daily life is a lucid dream!
    Yes that is so intriguing to me. I create my world in my mind to correlate to sensory input. Not just categorizations and differentiation and labels but most of what we perceive including color. Color is formed in our perception. As I understand it, color isn't "out there" what we see as the color our brain forms. Thus I don't know what you see as green is what I see as green, but we put the same name on it so we can communicate. If perception of the physical world is this way, imagine how we are perceiving situations/scenarios. We live in the Matrix, our own. Onion layers of perception.

    Quote Originally Posted by Byokan View Post
    Sweet dreams. Oh, and to answer the original question, sometimes I do a little zazen on the pillow, just to quiet the monkey, but for me falling asleep seems to be it's own thing, more like letting the mind drift... like Rodney said, as if dreaming is the onramp of sleep.
    Thank you Byo¨kan. Glad to know others have observed the same. I wonder what it would be like to drift to a sleep from just laying, open, not dreaming.
    Interesting to my how my mind isn't content just being, that it craves something other, leading to dreaming or to thought sequences.

    Gassho
    SatToday

    Banto (aka Rodney)
    万磴 (Myriad StoneSteps)

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