Sleep And The State Of Enlightenment: What The Yogis Know
There is something very interesting that happens when one sleeps. The state of the mind is no different from that of a bird that is trapped in a net. The wings are intact, and the bird flutters in vain, its effort rendered useless by the hold of the mesh.
The wise know the secret behind the state of sleep. Sleep was created by nature to ensure that every being of all the species gets a chance to experience what is known as the state of bliss, albeit for a very short time. Every species who has taken birth has a right and a need to sleep. Have you wondered what happens in sleep that leaves you refreshed in the morning? Or why is that when deep sleep evades you, your mind is lethargic and agitated the next day?
There are three planes of consciousness: the waker, the dreamer, and the deep sleep.
You are in the waker state, when you move about in the world as the observer, responding to the whims of your senses, The ego is the most dominant here. In this state, the bird is struggling inside the net. Every day from morning to night, the bird keeps moving, trying to find what it longs for. Eventually, the bird gets tired of the activity and stops moving. It then enters the second state of consciousness.
You are in the dreamer state when you have fallen asleep and your senses are asleep but you are subconsciously still observing the world due to the vasanas or mental conditioning that are impressed in your mind. The bird is able to break free from the net, but its leg is tied to a rope and it flutters around in a limited circle. The bird is still fluttering around longing for things, and eventually it tires of flying. It then enters the third and the most important state of consciousness.
The most evolved state of consciousness is deep sleep. Every being, big or small, will get a chance to experience the bliss that comes when the mind and self-merges. In this state, the ego is dead and become one with pure consciousness. The bird is free of the net and the rope, thus having the freedom to fly anywhere it wants.
In the state of deep sleep, you stop observing completely and the ego dies. In this stage, the pure consciousness and you become one. What people call self-realization or enlightenment, is nothing else other than a person transcending the waking and the dreaming state. If the mind of the person even while awake or dreaming, remains in the state of deep sleep, he or she is called enlightened.
Such a person may be awake and functioning in the world, or enjoying sensory pleasure but his or her mind is always free and he or she is always in touch with the eternal spring of consciousness. This is what being in a state of bliss means.
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