Friday 14 February 2020

A micro-nap (brief deep sleep) may instantly lead-to presentness and self-remembering (i.e. something of what meditation also tries to do)

Some days I can't seem to get my head clear; thoughts whirl in a rather futile manner; and in particular I cannot 'wake-up' properly; in the sense that I cannot 'self-remember': cannot get that recognition of Me. Here. Now.

In other words I am not really 'present' in my situation, my life. I am on autopilot, disengaged.

This is one condition that formal meditation training (in various schools) attempts to remedy; by learning either control of thoughts, or Not thinking, or letting thoughts fly through the mind without holding onto any. This is quite difficult, but can work; and then I can bring myself to presentness.

(Some people find that this presentness state is the experience of one-ness; but I tend to regard it psychologically rather than spiritually.) 

I don't regard presentness as an especially deep or significant state - nor is is a goal in itself; it is more like a basic pre-requisite for the 'state' of intuition: which I do regard as deep and significant. Intuition is that primary thinking or Final Participation which is the mode of Romantic Christianity. That is what I personally regard as my major life goal.

Nonetheless, presentness is, as I said, a valuable or sometimes essential pre-requisite to higher states; and I have found that it is best attained by a very short sleep - specifically when I experience the momentary absence of deep, dream-less sleep.

This works as a very effective re-boot; both clearing and opening-out my thinking; awakening me, and producing an instantaneous sense of presence: Me! Here! Now!

Of course, not everybody can take a micro-nap at will - nor can we control whether such a period of sleep will drop us into deep sleep rather than into 'REM' dreaming sleep. But I present it as a repeated observation that when it does happen that I have a micro-sleep; it can achieve in an instant what struggling to meditate has failed to do over a period of hours.


Francis Berger said...

Yes, I agree. This has been my experience as well.

Unfortunately, most micro-naps I attempt become macro-naps. For example, inspired by this post, I tried a micro-nap this afternoon - it turned into a two hour slumberfest complete with snoring and everything. After I finally woke up, I didn't know who or what I was for the better part of fifteen minutes.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Frank - Ha! Serves you right for following my advice! A micro-nap can be managed by doing so in a position - sitting, head in hands... that tends to wake you automatically. Somebody famous apparently used to sit in a chair holding something (a book?) between his fingers, and when he slept it would drop out and hit the ground, making a noise that would wake him. I tend to be woken by my head slumping (the nodding-dog effect).

Jacob Gittes said...

Interesting. I've been skeptical of standard, Eastern-based meditation for a while, but I seem to get a lot out of Jesse Lee Peterson's "Silent Prayer." You may know of him, but Jesse Lee is a black American talk show host and preacher who has a devoted following amount all races - even among self-avowed white nationalists, which is sort of funny.

Regardless, his "silent prayer" seems to do a lot for me. It's like meditation, but you are meditating on how "you are not your thoughts," and need to just let them pass and observe them. He's an interesting guy and seems to be helping a lot of people with this silent prayer and his ideas - despite their lack of much sophistication.

Bruce Charlton said...


(I regard all "self-avowed white nationalists" as agents provocateurs and Left-funded false flags, performing an Emmanuel Goldstein role - unless conclusively proven otherwise.)

As I tried to say here, I have come to regard these kinds of praying as just a means to an end. I used to advocate and practise The Jesus Prayer

But I now regard this and similar efforts as ineffective and indeed inappropriate for our age. They are a doomed attempt at reviving the pre-modern mentality. The motivation is understandable, and mostly commendable - but they are playing into the hands of the evil totalitarian Establishment.

Here in the UK; the State bureaucracy advocates and funds courses in "mindfulness" for its managers and functionaries; presumably because it induces demotivation and obedience and the fake enlightnment of one-ness. It is almost literally an opiate of the masses - a combination of pain-killer and tranquillizer.

Jacob Gittes said...

Agreed on the WNs. The guy I had in mind who I've seen in the chat room is not really WN. I'd just call him alt or dissident right. I mispoke.

That's interesting on prayer.
When I recently joined the Catholic Church, it was largely because of a very traditionalist, but not sedevacantist.
He's a devotee of Our Lady - Mary. He really advocates the Hail Mary prayer. I was part of a group that did it about once a week. It was sorta weird. It didn't/doesn't quite make sense to me... the idea that these particular words would bring about miraculous results. At the time, I was going through an intense family crisis, though, so I was open to it.

It seemed (and still does) somewhat like a child trying to use a magic spell. I don't want to criticize people who engage in it, however. But Jesse Lee Peterson's Silent Prayer seems to be more efficacious and helpful.

Well, it's a real journey. I've been interested and drawn to the Orthodox Church, but for various practical reasons joined the Catholic Church.

Love your blog and other writings. I'm a newbie.

Brief Outlines said...

I can confirm the same experience. I am also glad to learn your relationship to the teachings of someone like Ekhart Tolle.
There is a clip where Tolle is talking about the perception of a plant which is quintessentially Goethean, and my hunch is that Tolle, based on this one clip alone, would have to agree with you that; "the now" is not an end in itself, but only the prerequisite for intuition/ pure thinking. Tolle's method is very effective, but as you say, it only sets the scene for real thinking to take place, it isn't an end in itself. Sadly, if one becomes fixed on Tolle's terminology instead of seeing it just as a method, one blocks the way to an apprehension of the spirit, and/or the means to say anything about it. In other words, it blocks Romantic Christianity.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Brief - See today's post.