Compared to dream and deep sleep states, the waking state is by far the most high maintenance, the most restricting and exhausting. When, in the dream state, for example, have you ever had to make a mortgage payment? Okay, maybe you've had such a nightmare, but every month for 25 years?
The dream state, by contrast, is usually mercurial and free flowing, not nearly as reiterative as amortization land. The deep sleep state, in which we have virtually no opportunity whatsoever to interfere, is peaceful and restorative.
Ironic, is it not, that the waking state, the one we call most REAL, is hemmed in by limitations and impediments that chip away at our hopes, dreams and aspirations; that is, unless we're among the lucky few who care enough about genuine altruism to stop tormenting ourselves and others, or among the few rich enough to afford expensive higher consciousness workshops designed to destress them so they can cope with the rigors of padding yet another hidden bank account.
grasping and rejecting increase resistance
Though filled with pleasures pure to perverse, the waking state doth perturb. It is the domain where, as the ancient Greeks noted, Necessity, Chance and Fate have their way with us; the realm of duty, accountability and karma. It is where, confronted by oodles of evidence that it's me against the universe, I go about the business of forging from the smithy of my neuroses a personal history and a final destination in casket or urn. No wonder so many drink, take drugs, and stray from the straight and narrow-band waking world (important note: some people are happy and creative in the waking state. We're not talking about them).
En masse, we don't seem to get it - that little truism that sages from the Vedas to the Elephant Journal freely share - that the more we insist upon believing in mental concepts that aren't true, the more entangled, problematical, fundamentalist and extremist waking experience becomes. We do it every day, churning out Sisyphian conceptual hornet nests that produce the very opposite of what we long for when boasting, "I create my own reality."
Discouraging as all this sounds, none of it is necessary. Among myriad self-help suggestions, one fabulous, life changing little exercise can make this real for you. It's not so much an exercise as a radical shift in one's relationship to the world of experience. In the beginning, it will feel like an exercise or a practice because it is so different from what most of us are doing with our lives most of the time. In time, it will become natural and spontaneous....
Appreciation (when it's genuine) & Psychoneuroimmunological Healing
Flow appreciation to what arises as your experience in each moment. What Is, is awesome. If there is a God, all we can ever know of Her is What Is. If Freedom, Liberation, Transcendence have real meaning, we will never find them anywhere other than here and now. Most of us miss the great opportunity that is always HERE because we resist What Is in a thousand ways. It's not good enough. We want something better. We're running from our past and grasping at our future, lost in the mind's oppositional tug-of-wars: certain about this and that, fearful and insecure about that and this. The profound presence of Being, though always right here, more present than we can imagine, does not register. We never 'get it', too busy fabricating another problematical zero sum hunt for a personalized something else.
Simple appreciation can prove such a healing balm, if repeatedly evoked over time, that you may find yourself, in the words of a C.S. Lewis book title, 'Surprised By Joy.' The great thing is, you don't have to go out of your way at all to practice this appreciation. You can even do it in bed! Try appreciating your bed before you fall asleep in it. Flow appreciative feelings and words to your mattress, your pillow, your blanket, your gravity bonded body and mean it:
- Thank you, mattress, for supporting this body; blankets for keeping me warm. I really appreciate you.
- Thank you, my blessed heart, so faithfully keeping everything going and flowing and alive. I am yours and you are mine. We are one in Love Divine.
- Thank you, sea of air in which I breathe and live. Precious lungs, I bathe you in healing white light.
To some of you, these suggestions may sound too sappy. By all means, choose your own words of appreciation and really mean them. As attested to by neuroscientists like Candace Pert Ph.D., author of 'Molecules of Emotion' and Bruce Lipton Ph.D., 'The Biology of Belief', it doesn't matter one little bit that you are flowing appreciation to inanimate objects (actually, it does, but that's a deeper subject). What matters is the endorphin (and other neuropeptides) producing flow of appreciative feelings that unquestionably affect the vitality of living cells.
Engage in random acts of daily appreciation and see what starts to happen over time. Regular and sincere practice will greatly expand and improve your capacity for appreciation. Things, persons and circumstances you never noticed before, ignored or took for granted may start to feel like grace - not the kind you have to pray for, but, rather, the kind that spontaneously happens and makes you glad to be alive. Unwatched for healing is not uncommonly a by-product of cultivating caring, appreciative feeling states. The quality of our relationship with self, others and with the commonplace, every day things around us matters greatly.
NOTE: In Traditional Chinese Medicine, white light is designated as the healing color of choice for the lungs. Following the Five Element (five organ) Theory of TCM, you might experiment, as you express appreciation to each vital organ, mentally bathing each one in its particular healing color, i.e.
Lungs (imagine white font here)
It is especially rewarding to 'make friends' with your heart. Years ago, I endured a cardiac arrhythmia that went on for months. I saw doctors. Medicines were prescribed. I still had the arrythmia. Then one night, I did a simple heart exercise that I learned from the Heart Math Institute.
I lay in bed, basically addressing my heart, sending it feelings of appreciation, becoming more intimately aware of it, then listening and feeling for whatever it was that my heart was 'telling' me. I felt that my heart was so grateful that I was paying any attention to it at all (I tend to live in my head, as you may have noticed) that I experienced a warm euphoria in my chest that was surprising in its strength and duration, and most welcome. The next morning I woke up without arrhythmia and it has not returned. That was 19 years ago. Of course, I am not suggesting that you substitute this exercise for attention from a qualified health care professional, but it certainly wouldn't hurt to flow appreciation to your heart as a healing adjunct.