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Inner Sunrise and Sunset

Every day, at the time of waking up in the morning and going to sleep at night, we experience two very important gaps which most of us do not use at all. Just before awakening, there is a brief period when we are no longer asleep but have not fully woken up. Similarly, just before falling asleep at night, we experience that gap where we are neither awake nor asleep.

Modern-day dream psychologists are conducting a lot of research just on these two spaces. They say that if we can remain in this space for longer periods of time, it changes the quality of our entire day and at night, the depth of our sleep changes and our dreams become more lucid. In these half-dream states, we experience meditative peace, the brain moves into an alpha rhythm and we become very intuitive. One is able to visualise all the actions required for the day in this highly intuitive state.

When we consider the symbolic meaning of Arjuna asking the lord Sri Krishna to ride his chariot in between the two armies, we realise the depth and possibilities in these two intervals which my teacher called our inner sunrise and sunset. In the shastras, the rishi Yagnavalkya explains to the king Janaka the deeper mysteries of sleep. He says that in deep sleep, the soul goes to meet the spirit, bathes in him and on awakening, comes back refreshed. Yes, the Geeta is not something that happened, but if we can take our consciousness deeper in these gaps, we may hear it NOW.

My teacher gave us a technique to work in these gaps. While lying in bed at night, wait till you start to feel sleepy. As soon as one feels reasonably sleepy, begin an inner recital of the mantra, ‘Om Satyam Param Dhimahi’ - ‘I meditate on the Absolute Truth.’ Say this for a few minutes and drift into sleep. Similarly, on awakening, do not just jump out of bed; wait and enjoy the half-sleep state. Feel all the energies of the body rising. Say the mantra for a few minutes.