Reclining Meditation - Improving Sleep Naturally
I recently came across a moving image taken shortly after the devastating earthquake in Nepal of two boys, lying calmly on their sides, watching their makeshift tent home amid the aftermath of the disaster that destroyed their lives.
The image immediately reminded me of the Reclining Buddha, an iconic statue of Buddha lying down propped up on his right elbow, head resting in his hand. It represents the historical Buddha during his last illness, about to enter nirvana after death.
The boys and the Buddha are not only in the same pose, they also project the same aura of calmness and stillness in the presence of grave changes. I can't help but wonder, how would I react if I were in their circumstances? The answer, not so calmly. The truth is, I have, over and over, let stress and chaos take over my emotions, for matters much less significant. And it happens to everyone I know.
How could I stay calm and maintain a sense of peace in my chaotic daily life? As a mother of two young children, the caretaker of a multi-generation family, and a business owner my time and attention are constantly pulled in different directions. Particularly at bedtime it's very challenging to shut off all the worries and thoughts in my mind.
Last night before I fell asleep, I thought of the boys and the Buddha. Imitating them, I turned to my right side and propped my head up with my hand, supporting it with my elbow. I started breathing deeply: one breath, two, three... I had only counted to ten when I began to feel a wave of calmness washing over my body. I rested my head on the pillow and fell fast asleep. It was a very restful sleep I am happy to report, one that provides a feeling of bliss and makes everything seem brighter in the morning.
We sleep at the end of the day every day. In a way a sleep is like a mini death. We are reborn in the morning when we wake up. It only make sense for us to take a moment to make peace with the stress we accumulate each day before falling asleep because otherwise we carry it into the next day. What better and easier way to do that than meditating in a reclined position? Give it a try and let me know if it helps you sleep better.