The thing which has been harmed the most in the development of human civilisation is sleep. From the day man discovered artificial light, his sleep has become very troubled. And as more and more gadgets have started falling into man’s hands, he has started feeling that sleep is unnecessary, too much time is wasted on it.
We think that the time when we are asleep is a complete waste. So the less sleep we can do with the better it is. It does not occur to people that sleep might have a contribution to make to the deeper processes of life.
We have not even noticed that the cause behind all the illnesses, all the disorders that have entered man’s life is lack of sleep. The person who cannot sleep right cannot live right. Sleep is not a waste of time. The 8 hours of sleep are not being wasted; rather, because of those 8 hours, you are able to stay awake for 16 hours. Otherwise, you would not be able to stay awake all that time. During those eight hours life-energy is accumulated, your life gets revitalised, the centres of your brain and heart calm down and your life functions from your navel centre. For those eight hours of sleep, you have again become one with nature and with existence—that is why you become revitalised.
Sleep deprivation is a torture
If you want to torture somebody then the best method—invented thousands of years ago—is to prevent him from going to sleep. It has not been possible to improve upon this method so far. During the last war in Germany, the most popular method of torturing prisoners was prevention of sleep. You simply don’t allow the person to sleep. This is torture beyond all limits for the person. So guards were put next to the prisoners to disturb their sleep.
The Chinese first discovered this method some two thousand years ago. Not allowing a person to sleep was a very cheap method of torture. They would make the man stand in a cell so small that he could not move at all—he could neither sit nor lie down. They would then drip water from above, which would fall on his head, drop by drop. After a maximum of 16 – 18 hours the man would start shouting and screaming—“I will die! Save me! Get me out of here!” Then they would ask the man to reveal the information he was concealing. After three days, even the most courageous person would give up.
Hitler in Germany and Stalin in Russia did the same with hundreds of thousands of people. They kept them awake, would not let them sleep. One cannot experience a worse torture than this. Even if you kill a person, he does not suffer as much as when you do not let him sleep—because it is only in sleeping that he regains what he has lost. If he is unable to sleep, then he goes on losing his life-energy and does not get anything back. He becomes totally dried out. We are dried-out people because our doors for attaining something are closed, and our doors for losing everything have become more and more open.
Make your own sleep rules
Sleep needs to be brought back into man’s life. Really, there is no alternative. It is very important for you to see to it that you sleep properly and enough. Another thing to be understood is that the right sleep will be different for everybody. It will not be equal because the body has needs which are different for everyone, according to age and many other factors.
So each person should discover the best arrangement for him or her. For three months each person should experiment with his work, with his sleep and with his diet, and should find out what are the healthiest, most peaceful and most blissful rules for him.
Everyone should make their own rules. No two persons are alike, so no common rule is ever applicable to anybody. Whenever someone tries to apply a common rule, it has a bad effect. Each person is unique and incomparable. Only he is like himself, there is no other person like him anywhere on the earth. So no rule can be applicable for him until he finds out what the rules for his own life-processes are.
Excerpted from The Inner Journey. Courtesy: Osho International Foundation | www.osho.com
This was first published in the November 2013 issue of Complete Wellbeing.
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