An Unquiet Mind
"The mind is restless, turbulent, strong and unyielding. I consider it as difficult to subdue as the wind." ~Bhagavad Gita, Sacred Yoga Text
I have trouble sleeping. This is no secret. I have previously written about my insomniac like tendencies in both poetic form and on my blog. Why? I have an unquiet mind. I should sleep well considering my bipolar medication has a sedative in it that is supposed to help “quiet my mind.” (That is a direct quote from my physician.) It does not always work.
For those of you who think I am long winded in my compositions (which I am) or talk a lot in person (which I do) … well, those pale in comparison to the conversations that take place within my brain – with myself. Yes, I talk to myself … a lot … both quietly in my own little psyche and out loud (and not necessarily when I am alone). My brain does not know how to shut up. It is absolutely exasperating at times – particularly when I am attempting to get some sleep.
I have tried practically every method in the book to quiet my mind at bedtime: chanting, counting backwards from 100, and focusing on deep even breathing. All of these methods are designed to keep your mind occupied on a single task as opposed to allowing itself to bounce across the entire spectrum of past to future nonsense and worries. They do not work. I get bored too quickly. One minute tops and my mind is off and running. Oh! My favorite of all time (by far) is counting sheep. I still try this one from time to time because it is so damn amusing. It goes something like this:
Picture, if you will, the quintessential random white picket fence in the middle of the perfect green field. You have it? I do and I am already irritated by the fact that there is a completely purposeless fence in the middle of a perfectly good field and that the sheep (the stupidest animals on planet earth) have chosen to jump over it instead of just going around the damn thing. Still … I tell myself to quit complaining and proceed to the counting of the jumping cotton balls with faces.
Mind: One. Two. Three. Four. Look! There is a bright purple sheep and then a green one! HA! That one is naked (sheered) and has a skull and crossbones tattooed on its butt! Rainbow sheep! Blind sheep! Black sheep! It is an entire kaleidoscope of randomness!
Self: Shut up! You are supposed to be focusing.
Mind: I’m trying, but this is hilarious! Did you see the one with the tattoo?
Self: Yes. Yes, I did see the one with the tattoo. Now, bring back the white sheep.
Mind: Bring them back? I did not send them away. Not to mention, why the hell would I want to bring them back? This is much more fun!
Self: We are supposed to be sleeping. Focus.
Mind: I told you. I am focused. I am just not focused on what you want me to be focused on.
Self: Argumentative tonight, aren’t we?
Mind: I don’t want to go to sleep.
Self: You never want to go to sleep.
Mind: Ooooh! There goes an Evil Knievel sheep over the fence on a motorcycle.
Self: You are hopeless.
Mind: Yes, we are. Speaking of being hopeless … why aren’t you sleeping? Don’t you know you have to work tomorrow? Don’t you know you have to be a parent? Don’t you know this? Don’t you know that? Nag. Nag. Nag. Argue. Argue. Argue. Remember that time ....? What happens if ...? Are you made at me?
You get the point. It’s all down hill from here.
First – Colored sheep.
Second – Arguing with my self.
Third – Every other issue on planet earth.
Result: No sleep for me.
Cause: An Unquiet Mind.
"How blessed are some people, whose lives have no fears, no dreads, to whom sleep is a blessing that comes nightly, and brings nothing but sweet dreams." ~Bram Stoker, Dracula (Yes, I use this quote quite frequently.)