Today’s “Daily Dalai” is: “Sleep is the best meditation.”

Wow. To a Western ear, this doesn’t sound right. But when I take a moment to meditate on this which sounds so wrong to my ear, I begin to find layers of nuance.

Why does it sound wrong to me? I have it that sleep is “downtime” and as such unproductive, and being unconscious it is devoid of the opportunity for conscious spiritual growth. Dreaming can often be disturbing, but generally yields little that communicates progress emotionally, intellectually or spiritually. Most often I forget my dreams immediately upon awakening.

Hmmm. Keep looking then. There is more to this if I am ever going to understand how it can be that sleep is the best meditation.

As a Western thinker, I view meditation as an endeavor. It seems to me sleep is the opposite of endeavor. Is there a bias in my view? Am I missing the point of meditation? Perhaps. I do experience meditation as a respite from the chaos of our world with its unrelenting visual and auditory bombardment of our senses. What a welcome and needed, almost therapeutic relief meditation can be.

In that sense I can see how sleep also provides relief for the weary senses. But taking consciousness out of meditation and calling the resulting unconsciousness the best form of meditation really baffles me. I felt it was a deliberate act, a disciplined practice … not the ultimate laxity.

Well there you have it. I continue to struggle with this. I welcome discussion.

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