Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Sleep has been a problem the last two nights. I've not had insomnia for months before this, so what is it? Could be the tension before I leave work (now just a matter of weeks). Then again, more likely it's messing around on damned computers right before going to bed, trying to sort out stupid things like getting a diary online.

I also think it could have something to do with the way I've said the Shema the last two nights. This isn't as nuts as it sounds. I want to say it before I go to sleep because I think taking care to follow the traditional guidelines sanctifies the moment. Of course, every moment can be sanctified and is holy but, as mere mortals, most of us can't walk around with this awareness 100% of the time and still get on with our lives. I like saying the Shema first thing in the morning and last thing at night because it envelopes my life, serving as a brief reminder that everything is one.

It's this sort of thing I've been trying to concentrate on before going to sleep, yesterday and the day before. I've watched myself very closely, seeing if I can say it without distraction, if I can give my whole self to the moment and the action. The problem is I watch myself too closely. The observer inside insists on being a critic too - 'is this it? is THIS it? how about this?' So I repeat and repeat the first line, maybe concentrating on my breath or the sound and sensation of saying the words, until I feel satisfied or have broken through some kind of barrier. It takes a while and can get intense: probably not the best preparation for nodding off!

Think I need to find a practice a tad more ... sedative.


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