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The myth of the eight-hour sleep


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#33 Mark Foote

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 12:16 PM

So to take your practice a little further, the "waking up" part.
Sorry I am not clear what you are saying there. I also looked up hypnogogic states which you mentioned in your original post. [what I call the practice of "Waking Up and Falling Asleep", which is concerned with the role of hypnogogic states in daily life]

The issue that i am trying to fix during the working day is information overload, processing large volume of data. So the goal, the desired 'state' is to remain unemotional, unattached during the day working day, while processing large volumes of data and making a dozen of so important decisions.

Qigong, meditation helps quite a bit, but not the sustained 'state' I am looking for, lasting hours at a time.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated, I am intrigued by your comment about role of hypnogogic states during the day.


I'll try to clarify what I meant by "the role of hypnogogic states in daily life".

At some point, acknowledging what I feel as consciousness occurs becomes a part of the place of occurrence of consciousness. The acknowledgement of what I feel follows from the sense of well-being in the experience of the place of occurrence of consciousness.

Equanimity in the acknowledgement of what I feel is the induction of the hypnogogic state (this just happens).

If the sense of location in awareness wakes you up and sets you about your activity, that is sudden, yet in daily life allowing for falling asleep as well as waking up is a gradual shift- that's what I believe. I would suggest you try the same practice in the morning (sitting down, most likely!). Might take you awhile to find the same movement of awareness that you feel lying down in the early hours, the main thing is to relax and let go so that the ability to feel opens.

My own strategy is to accept that I have many memories tagged with adrenalin by the amygdala, memories of falling down physically and mentally from before I had language (I'm indebted to Daniel Goleman's "Emotional Intelligence" on that one). I'm not that good at it either, dealing with the stress of modern living and work, and yet I've always had faith that whatever I needed would be given, if only I were open to receive.

Thanks for the question, very helpful to me, actually.

Edited by Mark Foote, 29 February 2012 - 02:13 PM.

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#34 Mark Foote

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Posted 29 February 2012 - 01:35 PM

(sorry, dupe, but here's a nice photo of Petaluma)
Posted Image

Edited by Mark Foote, 29 February 2012 - 01:51 PM.

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#35 humbleone

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 05:54 AM

(sorry, dupe, but here's a nice photo of Petaluma)
Posted Image


Petaluma looks quite magical. during our last trip to California, many moons ago, we spent three days a few miles frmo petaluma in Point reyes. a different world from where we are in New York City.

Curious as to what I was finding at 3AM in my left cheek, and then in the right shoulder, I did some research. Your practice steps appear straightforward, but the theory behind it is quite complex.

I found this 'Waking Up' writeup on your website.

http://www.zenmudra....-waking-up.html

"Although the placement of consciousness must be spontaneous for the two involuntary respiratory systems to coordinate naturally, it may well be that a pattern will develop in the placement of consciousness for a period of time. Gautama the Buddha referred to the development of such a pattern as "the sign of the concentration".

Such a pattern unfolds of its own accord, and is never exactly the same twice. The key to accepting and relinquishing such a pattern is the feeling connected with its occurrence, and the knowledge that the pattern serves the cranial-sacral system's response to the necessity of breath."

I am looking forward to experimenting with the waking up part, will report back in few days. all the best.

#36 Apech

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 06:23 AM

Personal accounts of two stage sleeping:

Two stage sleeping

and an online sleep profiler:

sleep profile

(not sure how useful this is)
The Book of Two Ways blog:   http://wp.me/p2uiOi-1

#37 Mark Foote

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Posted 01 March 2012 - 10:16 PM

Personal accounts of two stage sleeping:

Two stage sleeping


That was very interesting, indeed- thanks, Apech.

humbleone, thanks for your interest; my site is a kind of personal practice journal, it's true, starting from the writing on The Mudra of Zen which is the homepage. I started writing, then I picked the title, then I tried to figure out what in the world I could say about the mudra I use when I sit zazen (which is the traditional mudra of Soto Zen). I still use the practice I describe there, pretty good for a shot in the dark. Nevertheless, I'm acutely aware that it's not everybody's cup of tea. Most of my friends have declared that they like me, but if I ever talk anatomy to them again they will not be responsible for their actions.

Some things I need to research a little more. I quote a description of reciprocal innervation I got from John Upledger's books, but online the other day I discovered that for most people reciprocal innervation means something different. I think it's true that stretch in the fascia and ligaments can generate muscular activity, and even reciprocal muscular activity, but I'm not sure that I can find support for it in the literature at large. Likewise, Upledger's research on the cranial-sacral rhythm has yet to find corroboration as far as I can tell, yet I'm convinced that the second respiration (as cranial-sacral folks refer to it) is real. The bit you quoted is from a letter I wrote to a friend, trying to explain my understanding. The piece on the translations of motion in the lotus was written for the same friend. Waking Up and Falling Asleep is a big step for me, as there is virtually no anatomy and no reference to the two respirations in it. For me, I am reminded that life and death are as close as waking up and falling asleep, and I need look no further.

Thanks so much for thinking to try out the waking up part, I look forward to hearing how that goes, when you find the time. yers, Mark

sorry for hijacking the thread a bit, Apech, but I feel like a scientist looking at bosons with a friend- you have to excuse us!

Edited by Mark Foote, 02 March 2012 - 09:44 AM.

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#38 Mark Foote

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 09:42 AM

more pics:

Posted Image




Posted Image

Edited by Mark Foote, 02 March 2012 - 09:57 AM.

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#39 Apech

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 09:47 AM

...

sorry for hijacking the thread a bit, Apech, but I feel like a scientist looking at bosons with a friend- you have to excuse us!


No problem Mark.

I'm interested in your technique ... waking up and falling asleep but I am a bit unsure exactly what to do. Could you explain a bit more.
The Book of Two Ways blog:   http://wp.me/p2uiOi-1

#40 Mark Foote

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 05:27 PM

No problem Mark.

I'm interested in your technique ... waking up and falling asleep but I am a bit unsure exactly what to do. Could you explain a bit more.


Hey, Apech. I think humbleone quoted the most relevant part of "Waking Up and Falling Asleep":

"In my experience, the practice is the same, whether I am waking up or falling asleep: when I realize my physical sense of location in space, and realize it as it occurs from one moment to the next, then I wake up or fall asleep as appropriate."

This is probably easier at 3am or 4am in the dark than any other time of day, I don't know why. If you want, you can experiment with the practice I describe in "The Mudra of Zen" to help get the sense of location at first; that would be trying to feel pitch, yaw, and roll right where your awareness is located. So, if your awareness seems to be in your head, look for pitch, yaw and roll there; if it's in your hand, ditto. For me there's an interesting side-effect to setting up mindfulness of the three planes of motion at the location of awareness, and that is that my awareness often moves to accommodate a feeling for all three planes. As soon as it becomes a strain, I let go of that mindfulness, though.

Sometimes it takes a repeated effort, if you are having trouble falling asleep, to come back to the physical location of awareness, and follow that from one instant to the next.

In waking up, same practice. The second quote that humbleone found concerns the fact that there's an interplay between being able to follow the sense of location and being absorbed in a pattern of awareness or thought, and this becomes evident for me when I follow my sense of location in the daytime:

"Although the placement of consciousness must be spontaneous for the two involuntary respiratory systems to coordinate naturally, it may well be that a pattern will develop in the placement of consciousness for a period of time. Gautama the Buddha referred to the development of such a pattern as "the sign of the concentration".

Such a pattern unfolds of its own accord, and is never exactly the same twice. The key to accepting and relinquishing such a pattern is the feeling connected with its occurrence, and the knowledge that the pattern serves the cranial-sacral system's response to the necessity of breath."

Restating that last, the key to accepting my own thoughts when I sit meditation is, for me, accepting the role of the pleasant feeling of absorption. The feelings of stretch have a balance, in the feeling of absorption, and the thoughts and dreams come out of that- but the well-being connected with the sense of location in awareness is subtle:

"At some point, acknowledging what I feel as consciousness occurs becomes a part of the place of occurrence of consciousness. The acknowledgement of what I feel follows from the sense of well-being in the experience of the place of occurrence of consciousness. "

If I remember that my thoughts and dreams came out of absorption connected with place, I can return to where I am with feeling.

Maybe try the sense of location when you're falling asleep, if you aren't out like a light- I think that's the easiest way to pick it up, from moment to moment.

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#41 humbleone

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 05:06 AM

Most of my friends have declared that they like me, but if I ever talk anatomy to them again they will not be responsible for their actions.


Reading your blog, I too have noticed your infatuation with the Sacrum.
A close second would be cranial-sacral osteopathy and the ilio-lumbar ligaments :)

so after a week of your Waking Up and Falling Asleep, I am pleased to say it works for me EVERYTIME without fail. Nights of insomnia, tossing and turning, hopefully are behind me. This has made me much more productive during the wakeful hours.

These are quite significant results Mark, I would urge you to get others to try out your practice and report back.

frankly speaking, the waking up part I don't have much of an issue with. however i did try the waking up portion of your practice and it seems to work fine for me.

The real challenge for me is to practice it during the day. As you mentioned there is something special about the early morning hours, the state of mind/body after a few hours of sleep that makes this practice very condusive to working.

[This practice is also useful when I want to feel my connection to everything around me, because my sense of place registers the contact of my awareness with each thing, as contact occurs.]

#42 Mark Foote

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Posted 04 March 2012 - 07:20 PM

The real challenge for me is to practice it during the day. As you mentioned there is something special about the early morning hours, the state of mind/body after a few hours of sleep that makes this practice very condusive to working.

[This practice is also useful when I want to feel my connection to everything around me, because my sense of place registers the contact of my awareness with each thing, as contact occurs.]


Thanks for the report of your success, I hope that Apech can discover what I'm talking about with regard to the physical sense of location in space in falling asleep, as well.

I had tea with an old friend in a small tea house today; sometimes my history and my infatuation with science makes it impossible for an old friend to take what I have to say at face value. We had a good conversation. He reported that as he nears his 70th birthday, he lies in bed for twenty minutes before he gets up nowadays. I asked him if that was not what Sasaki meant by, "good morning, where am I?", the koan the Roshi used when my friend saw him. But my friend saw a field of emptiness before him that gave him a sense of peace, and although we agree that this is just absorption at play, he does not see place as a well-being at the source of absorption.

I understand what you are saying about trying to absorb quantities of data and make decisions, and looking for a way to bring a practice to bear. For my part, I wish I were dancing more, I used to go out to the local bar on Friday nights and dance to a D.J. with friends, but now we've moved! Some kind of practice of waking up and falling asleep in motion, that's very helpful to me, and I'm thinking I need something more strenuous than what I've found in the new town so far. That's about all I can suggest.

The connection to everything, that's because the senses register everything, and I would say even things that are outside the channels of consciousness sometimes. If you want to see this, you probably have to sit and experience the moment when the breath is cut off, as Yuanwu described it. "Be as one who has died the noble death; when the breath is cut off, you return to life"- something like that. Waking up and falling asleep at such a moment is the return. This is really falling asleep while awake, I think- I encounter these moments in my waking life. More so when I eat less and sit, but I guess there's a balance. I don't look to encounter these moments, in daily life, but I have met people who seem to be living one such moment after another. They amaze me.

Edited by Mark Foote, 04 March 2012 - 07:23 PM.

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#43 Mark Foote

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 09:31 AM

[This practice is also useful when I want to feel my connection to everything around me, because my sense of place registers the contact of my awareness with each thing, as contact occurs.]


I'd like to try to speak to this more directly.

I think I mentioned that I sit in the mornings, and I practice along the lines of "Waking Up and Falling Asleep" when I can. This morning when I really came into my body, so that I felt like I was able to totally relax in my posture like falling asleep, then it occurred to me that everything was there with me. There is a sense of the surface of the body supporting weight; at least, that's what it feels like to me.

I'd like to take credit for finding the feeling that seemed to complete my ability to fall asleep in my posture, but I have to say that I think the inspiration came out of the location I found myself in at that moment. There's some kind of reciprocity between waking up and falling asleep that takes everything into account, to occur; I am sure you will find this is so, at the appropriate moment.

Edited by Mark Foote, 06 March 2012 - 10:23 AM.

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#44 Mark Foote

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 04:43 PM

These are quite significant results Mark, I would urge you to get others to try out your practice and report back.


I have started a thread, "Getting back to sleep, a practice that works" in the general discussion area, inviting people to read my description and try the practice. I do quote you about succeeding with the practice seven nights in a row, and your conclusion above.

If I can get enough folks to read the thread and give it a whirl, maybe I can figure a way forward from there. I would love to be able to bring this practice to the attention of people who could use it. Guess we'll see if anyone catches the new thread before it rolls off the back end.

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#45 humbleone

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 09:06 AM

As a former Ambien(Zolpidem is used to treat insomnia) user I can tell you that insomnia is a huge problem.

About half of Americans surveyed in the National Sleep Foundation's 'Sleep In America Poll 2005' indicated that they experience at least one symptom of insomnia a few nights per week

http://www.sleepfoundation.org/

To make it a little easier for people to practice "Waking Up and Falling Asleep", I would urge you to come up with and list the formal steps of your practice. As in step 1, step 2 etc.

The way it is currently, it reads more as a description of how to go about doing the practice.

In closing I would say, please don't be dissuaded if you don't generate much interest here. Sleep deprivation may generate an interesting state of consiousness for the tao bums :)

#46 Mark Foote

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Posted 10 March 2012 - 09:35 PM

To make it a little easier for people to practice "Waking Up and Falling Asleep", I would urge you to come up with and list the formal steps of your practice. As in step 1, step 2 etc.

The way it is currently, it reads more as a description of how to go about doing the practice.

In closing I would say, please don't be dissuaded if you don't generate much interest here. Sleep deprivation may generate an interesting state of consiousness for the tao bums :)


Thanks, humbleone. I'm not sure I could write the steps of waking up and falling asleep, but I'm curious about how you succeeded. I know I did describe referred sensation in response to your initial question about it, I don't know if that helped you find the experience. It does seem to help me.

I would like to help more folks find the experience you found. I have a difficult time overcoming my own prejudice against telling people what to do, the ability to feel and the exercise of volition appear to be in opposition to one another, and for sure waking up and falling asleep has more to do with the ability to feel. I just haven't found a way to reconcile myself with addresssing only falling asleep yet, I guess. Maybe!

Edited by Mark Foote, 16 March 2012 - 08:39 AM.

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#47 Mark Foote

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 08:53 AM

Writing on Brad Warner's Hardcore Zen yesterday. Someone there helped me to push my cart along a little farther, and I wanted to share the result here:

"I have a friend who passes along information on how psychics receive their visions (as it were). They teach being open to seeing before words, before making sense.

Dualism just means the mind is here, and the object of mind there. What if the mind moves, and the object of mind has a part in the placement? And the things that enter the mind before words, before sense, have a part in the placement?

If I close my eyes, my mind doesn't seem to be in quite the same place as when my eyes are open. If I look to follow that sense of place from one instant to the next, I fall asleep or wake up as appropriate. This is also the practice of zazen, to me. Can it be taught this way?"

There's not a lot of interest in zazen, and there are a lot of folks who have trouble falling asleep, so maybe I should think about what I want to pursue as far as steps and directions. So far it's mostly zazen, with the description of "waking up and falling asleep" coming out of an attempt to put into words the part of the practice that has nothing to do with "zazen", per se.

Edited by Mark Foote, 17 March 2012 - 09:07 PM.

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#48 idquest

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Posted 16 March 2012 - 09:48 AM

Mark,

I've been trying to understand your practice to no avail so far. As humbleone has indicated, it would be easier if there were some sort of instructions or steps to follow. But if your practice is the same as zazen, then instructions might as well be totally foreign to its very nature?

So far my understanding was that we are to place our focus in the centre of our mind. In other words, to activate the pineal gland and hopefully secrete some melatonin. I mean zazen could be a wonderful spiritual tradition but such a fundamentally basic function of a body as falling asleep and waking up should have some pronounced physiological backup, hence the melatonin idea.

Does it make sense?




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