Apech

The myth of the eight-hour sleep

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I have just finished revising an essay on what I call the practice of "Waking Up and Falling Asleep", which is concerned with the role of hypnogogic states in daily life, although I don't say that in so many words in the essay. Maybe less sleep at night makes the hypnogogic state easier during the day, I don't know.

 

Thank you for the link to your article.

 

could you please elaborate on what you mean by physical sense of location in space?

so you mean this literally, i mean objects in the room etc.

 

If you can please give an example.

 

so my issue, is waking up around 3AM on most nights, then trouble falling asleep.

 

"In my experience, the practice is the same, whether I am waking up or falling asleep: when I realize my physical sense of location in space, and realize it as it occurs from one moment to the next, then I wake up or fall asleep as appropriate."

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Thank you for the link to your article.

 

could you please elaborate on what you mean by physical sense of location in space?

so you mean this literally, i mean objects in the room etc.

 

If you can please give an example.

 

so my issue, is waking up around 3AM on most nights, then trouble falling asleep.

 

"In my experience, the practice is the same, whether I am waking up or falling asleep: when I realize my physical sense of location in space, and realize it as it occurs from one moment to the next, then I wake up or fall asleep as appropriate."

 

Hey, humbleone, thanks for asking!

 

Ok, it's a feeling, for sure- if I slip and start to fall but recover myself, the place my mind went is what I'm talking about.

 

Now a question I have is, is it necessary to practice something like sleeping sitting up or a martial art like judo before a person can recognize that their mind is connected with a physical sense of location? That is to say, maybe some people don't notice that their mind moves when they start to fall, that the location of awareness moves to where it needs to be to catch the fall- maybe they would say that their mind was between their ears the whole time!

 

I've been listening to a lecture by Todd Murphy on "The Sacred Body", in which he proposes that the chakras are centers of referred brain activity. The brain itself apparently has no nerves for distinguishing pain or pleasure, so that a brain tumor can grow to enormous size without pain. Likewise the heart, so that the symptoms of a heart attack are pain in the left shoulder and arm, referred pain.

 

When I sit, I become aware of referred sensation from the nerve exits along the spine: my ability to feel my feet, my little fingers, and my jaw are involved in some way in the activity of my posture. Again, this is allowing my attention to drop where it will, and reminding myself to include my whole body as I inhale and exhale. To what extent does my physical sense of location in space depend on my relaxed experience of referred sensation from the spine and brain?- maybe I am oversimplifying to say "my physical sense of location in space from moment to moment", but in the end it comes down to the same thing, IMHO.

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Ok, it's a feeling, for sure- if I slip and start to fall but recover myself, the place my mind went is what I'm talking about.

 

Again, this is allowing my attention to drop where it will, and reminding myself to include my whole body as I inhale and exhale. To what extent does my physical sense of location in space depend on my relaxed experience of referred sensation from the spine and brain?- maybe I am oversimplifying to say "my physical sense of location in space from moment to moment", but in the end it comes down to the same thing, IMHO.

 

Hi Mark, so I tried your practice last night. My ideal sleep time should be from 10PM-6AM

 

I woke up at 4:30AM, after a quick drink of water. returned to bed and tried your practice.

 

I hope I did it correctly, I was somewhat surprized that my mind moved around quite a bit. not fast, but in slow motion the awareness would shift, from left cheek to right side of torso etc. The end result was a light sleep state, but I was glued to the bed :) and then woke up exactly at 6AM, feeling refreshed like I had a complete 8 hours of sleep.

 

If I am able to gain control over my sleep that would be very significant step for me indeed. Could you please provide some feedback if I did it correctly?

 

All the best

 

PS. I also checked out Tood Murphy. didn't realize that there is a subject - neurotheology!

 

http://www.shaktitechnology.com/Video_sacred_body.htm

Edited by humbleone

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Hi Mark, so I tried your practice last night. My ideal sleep time should be from 10PM-6AM

 

I woke up at 4:30AM, after a quick drink of water. returned to bed and tried your practice.

 

I hope I did it correctly, I was somewhat surprized that my mind moved around quite a bit. not fast, but in slow motion the awareness would shift, from left cheek to right side of torso etc. The end result was a light sleep state, but I was glued to the bed :) and then woke up exactly at 6AM, feeling refreshed like I had a complete 8 hours of sleep.

 

If I am able to gain control over my sleep that would be very significant step for me indeed. Could you please provide some feedback if I did it correctly?

 

All the best

 

PS. I also checked out Tood Murphy. didn't realize that there is a subject - neurotheology!

 

http://www.shaktitechnology.com/Video_sacred_body.htm

 

Hi, humbleone,

 

Me neither, didn't know there was a neurotheology. Not sure how many universities are accrediting that, at this point, but I'll accept that it's a good description of what Todd Murphy is studying.

 

Great to hear that you had some success with what I'm describing as "waking up and falling asleep". Yes, that sounds like the practice; I'm grateful that you tried it at that hour of the morning, as in my experience that's a very good time to see the mind moving. In my experience, it's even possible to sleep when I'm in a lot of pain, by hanging with the mind that way- at least it was when they did my ablation, which is a heart procedure for arrhythmia done with catheters these days. My whole body felt pretty shot for a couple of days afterward, and at one point I felt sure I needed to sleep but everywhere was a difficulty as far as relaxing, yet by "following the mind" and being where I was I was able to get a few minutes- which was all I needed to turn the corner at that time.

 

If you do any seated or even standing meditation in the morning, you may see why I'm referring to the practice as "waking up and falling asleep". In waking up, I am looking to relinquish my activity, and allow the place of mind to generate activity out of the stretch I find myself in. I have a description of the translations of motion in the lotus which I have updated recently, yet in the end I am convinced that everything I need to know I learn by being where I am, as I am. I just have to be open to it.

Edited by Mark Foote

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If you do any seated or even standing meditation in the morning, you may see why I'm referring to the practice as "waking up and falling asleep". In waking up, I am looking to relinquish my activity, and allow the place of mind to generate activity out of the stretch I find myself in.

 

yet in the end I am convinced that everything I need to know I learn by being where I am, as I am. I just have to be open to it.

 

Hi Mark,

 

so to give you an update.

I am able to make your "waking up and falling asleep" practice work for me. Three nights of success.

Last night was quite challenging, due a cold/cough I woke up at 1:45AM, after a cold remedy, using your practice went back to sleep. Then woke up again around 3:45AM, not wanting to disturb my wife with coughing(read fear of getting kicked out of the bedroom :) ). I went to another room, again using your practice was able to fall asleep and wake up around 6AM.

 

So to take your practice a little further, the "waking up" part.

Sorry I am not clear what you are saying there. I also looked up hypnogogic states which you mentioned in your original post. [what I call the practice of "Waking Up and Falling Asleep", which is concerned with the role of hypnogogic states in daily life]

 

The issue that i am trying to fix during the working day is information overload, processing large volume of data. So the goal, the desired 'state' is to remain unemotional, unattached during the day working day, while processing large volumes of data and making a dozen of so important decisions.

Qigong, meditation helps quite a bit, but not the sustained 'state' I am looking for, lasting hours at a time.

 

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated, I am intrigued by your comment about role of hypnogogic states during the day. All the best.

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So to take your practice a little further, the "waking up" part.

Sorry I am not clear what you are saying there. I also looked up hypnogogic states which you mentioned in your original post. [what I call the practice of "Waking Up and Falling Asleep", which is concerned with the role of hypnogogic states in daily life]

 

The issue that i am trying to fix during the working day is information overload, processing large volume of data. So the goal, the desired 'state' is to remain unemotional, unattached during the day working day, while processing large volumes of data and making a dozen of so important decisions.

Qigong, meditation helps quite a bit, but not the sustained 'state' I am looking for, lasting hours at a time.

 

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated, I am intrigued by your comment about role of hypnogogic states during the day.

 

I'll try to clarify what I meant by "the role of hypnogogic states in daily life".

 

At some point, acknowledging what I feel as consciousness occurs becomes a part of the place of occurrence of consciousness. The acknowledgement of what I feel follows from the sense of well-being in the experience of the place of occurrence of consciousness.

 

Equanimity in the acknowledgement of what I feel is the induction of the hypnogogic state (this just happens).

 

If the sense of location in awareness wakes you up and sets you about your activity, that is sudden, yet in daily life allowing for falling asleep as well as waking up is a gradual shift- that's what I believe. I would suggest you try the same practice in the morning (sitting down, most likely!). Might take you awhile to find the same movement of awareness that you feel lying down in the early hours, the main thing is to relax and let go so that the ability to feel opens.

 

My own strategy is to accept that I have many memories tagged with adrenalin by the amygdala, memories of falling down physically and mentally from before I had language (I'm indebted to Daniel Goleman's "Emotional Intelligence" on that one). I'm not that good at it either, dealing with the stress of modern living and work, and yet I've always had faith that whatever I needed would be given, if only I were open to receive.

 

Thanks for the question, very helpful to me, actually.

Edited by Mark Foote
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(sorry, dupe, but here's a nice photo of Petaluma)

HelenPutnam186.jpg

Edited by Mark Foote

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(sorry, dupe, but here's a nice photo of Petaluma)

HelenPutnam186.jpg

 

Petaluma looks quite magical. during our last trip to California, many moons ago, we spent three days a few miles frmo petaluma in Point reyes. a different world from where we are in New York City.

 

Curious as to what I was finding at 3AM in my left cheek, and then in the right shoulder, I did some research. Your practice steps appear straightforward, but the theory behind it is quite complex.

 

I found this 'Waking Up' writeup on your website.

 

http://www.zenmudra.com/zenmudra-waking-up.html

 

"Although the placement of consciousness must be spontaneous for the two involuntary respiratory systems to coordinate naturally, it may well be that a pattern will develop in the placement of consciousness for a period of time. Gautama the Buddha referred to the development of such a pattern as "the sign of the concentration".

 

Such a pattern unfolds of its own accord, and is never exactly the same twice. The key to accepting and relinquishing such a pattern is the feeling connected with its occurrence, and the knowledge that the pattern serves the cranial-sacral system's response to the necessity of breath."

 

I am looking forward to experimenting with the waking up part, will report back in few days. all the best.

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Personal accounts of two stage sleeping:

 

Two stage sleeping

 

 

That was very interesting, indeed- thanks, Apech.

 

humbleone, thanks for your interest; my site is a kind of personal practice journal, it's true, starting from the writing on The Mudra of Zen which is the homepage. I started writing, then I picked the title, then I tried to figure out what in the world I could say about the mudra I use when I sit zazen (which is the traditional mudra of Soto Zen). I still use the practice I describe there, pretty good for a shot in the dark. Nevertheless, I'm acutely aware that it's not everybody's cup of tea. Most of my friends have declared that they like me, but if I ever talk anatomy to them again they will not be responsible for their actions.

 

Some things I need to research a little more. I quote a description of reciprocal innervation I got from John Upledger's books, but online the other day I discovered that for most people reciprocal innervation means something different. I think it's true that stretch in the fascia and ligaments can generate muscular activity, and even reciprocal muscular activity, but I'm not sure that I can find support for it in the literature at large. Likewise, Upledger's research on the cranial-sacral rhythm has yet to find corroboration as far as I can tell, yet I'm convinced that the second respiration (as cranial-sacral folks refer to it) is real. The bit you quoted is from a letter I wrote to a friend, trying to explain my understanding. The piece on the translations of motion in the lotus was written for the same friend. Waking Up and Falling Asleep is a big step for me, as there is virtually no anatomy and no reference to the two respirations in it. For me, I am reminded that life and death are as close as waking up and falling asleep, and I need look no further.

 

Thanks so much for thinking to try out the waking up part, I look forward to hearing how that goes, when you find the time. yers, Mark

 

sorry for hijacking the thread a bit, Apech, but I feel like a scientist looking at bosons with a friend- you have to excuse us!

Edited by Mark Foote

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...

 

sorry for hijacking the thread a bit, Apech, but I feel like a scientist looking at bosons with a friend- you have to excuse us!

 

No problem Mark.

 

I'm interested in your technique ... waking up and falling asleep but I am a bit unsure exactly what to do. Could you explain a bit more.

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No problem Mark.

 

I'm interested in your technique ... waking up and falling asleep but I am a bit unsure exactly what to do. Could you explain a bit more.

 

Hey, Apech. I think humbleone quoted the most relevant part of "Waking Up and Falling Asleep":

 

"In my experience, the practice is the same, whether I am waking up or falling asleep: when I realize my physical sense of location in space, and realize it as it occurs from one moment to the next, then I wake up or fall asleep as appropriate."

 

This is probably easier at 3am or 4am in the dark than any other time of day, I don't know why. If you want, you can experiment with the practice I describe in "The Mudra of Zen" to help get the sense of location at first; that would be trying to feel pitch, yaw, and roll right where your awareness is located. So, if your awareness seems to be in your head, look for pitch, yaw and roll there; if it's in your hand, ditto. For me there's an interesting side-effect to setting up mindfulness of the three planes of motion at the location of awareness, and that is that my awareness often moves to accommodate a feeling for all three planes. As soon as it becomes a strain, I let go of that mindfulness, though.

 

Sometimes it takes a repeated effort, if you are having trouble falling asleep, to come back to the physical location of awareness, and follow that from one instant to the next.

 

In waking up, same practice. The second quote that humbleone found concerns the fact that there's an interplay between being able to follow the sense of location and being absorbed in a pattern of awareness or thought, and this becomes evident for me when I follow my sense of location in the daytime:

 

"Although the placement of consciousness must be spontaneous for the two involuntary respiratory systems to coordinate naturally, it may well be that a pattern will develop in the placement of consciousness for a period of time. Gautama the Buddha referred to the development of such a pattern as "the sign of the concentration".

 

Such a pattern unfolds of its own accord, and is never exactly the same twice. The key to accepting and relinquishing such a pattern is the feeling connected with its occurrence, and the knowledge that the pattern serves the cranial-sacral system's response to the necessity of breath."

 

Restating that last, the key to accepting my own thoughts when I sit meditation is, for me, accepting the role of the pleasant feeling of absorption. The feelings of stretch have a balance, in the feeling of absorption, and the thoughts and dreams come out of that- but the well-being connected with the sense of location in awareness is subtle:

 

"At some point, acknowledging what I feel as consciousness occurs becomes a part of the place of occurrence of consciousness. The acknowledgement of what I feel follows from the sense of well-being in the experience of the place of occurrence of consciousness. "

 

If I remember that my thoughts and dreams came out of absorption connected with place, I can return to where I am with feeling.

 

Maybe try the sense of location when you're falling asleep, if you aren't out like a light- I think that's the easiest way to pick it up, from moment to moment.

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Most of my friends have declared that they like me, but if I ever talk anatomy to them again they will not be responsible for their actions.

 

Reading your blog, I too have noticed your infatuation with the Sacrum.

A close second would be cranial-sacral osteopathy and the ilio-lumbar ligaments :)

 

so after a week of your Waking Up and Falling Asleep, I am pleased to say it works for me EVERYTIME without fail. Nights of insomnia, tossing and turning, hopefully are behind me. This has made me much more productive during the wakeful hours.

 

These are quite significant results Mark, I would urge you to get others to try out your practice and report back.

 

frankly speaking, the waking up part I don't have much of an issue with. however i did try the waking up portion of your practice and it seems to work fine for me.

 

The real challenge for me is to practice it during the day. As you mentioned there is something special about the early morning hours, the state of mind/body after a few hours of sleep that makes this practice very condusive to working.

 

[This practice is also useful when I want to feel my connection to everything around me, because my sense of place registers the contact of my awareness with each thing, as contact occurs.]

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The real challenge for me is to practice it during the day. As you mentioned there is something special about the early morning hours, the state of mind/body after a few hours of sleep that makes this practice very condusive to working.

 

[This practice is also useful when I want to feel my connection to everything around me, because my sense of place registers the contact of my awareness with each thing, as contact occurs.]

 

Thanks for the report of your success, I hope that Apech can discover what I'm talking about with regard to the physical sense of location in space in falling asleep, as well.

 

I had tea with an old friend in a small tea house today; sometimes my history and my infatuation with science makes it impossible for an old friend to take what I have to say at face value. We had a good conversation. He reported that as he nears his 70th birthday, he lies in bed for twenty minutes before he gets up nowadays. I asked him if that was not what Sasaki meant by, "good morning, where am I?", the koan the Roshi used when my friend saw him. But my friend saw a field of emptiness before him that gave him a sense of peace, and although we agree that this is just absorption at play, he does not see place as a well-being at the source of absorption.

 

I understand what you are saying about trying to absorb quantities of data and make decisions, and looking for a way to bring a practice to bear. For my part, I wish I were dancing more, I used to go out to the local bar on Friday nights and dance to a D.J. with friends, but now we've moved! Some kind of practice of waking up and falling asleep in motion, that's very helpful to me, and I'm thinking I need something more strenuous than what I've found in the new town so far. That's about all I can suggest.

 

The connection to everything, that's because the senses register everything, and I would say even things that are outside the channels of consciousness sometimes. If you want to see this, you probably have to sit and experience the moment when the breath is cut off, as Yuanwu described it. "Be as one who has died the noble death; when the breath is cut off, you return to life"- something like that. Waking up and falling asleep at such a moment is the return. This is really falling asleep while awake, I think- I encounter these moments in my waking life. More so when I eat less and sit, but I guess there's a balance. I don't look to encounter these moments, in daily life, but I have met people who seem to be living one such moment after another. They amaze me.

Edited by Mark Foote

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[This practice is also useful when I want to feel my connection to everything around me, because my sense of place registers the contact of my awareness with each thing, as contact occurs.]

 

 

I'd like to try to speak to this more directly.

 

I think I mentioned that I sit in the mornings, and I practice along the lines of "Waking Up and Falling Asleep" when I can. This morning when I really came into my body, so that I felt like I was able to totally relax in my posture like falling asleep, then it occurred to me that everything was there with me. There is a sense of the surface of the body supporting weight; at least, that's what it feels like to me.

 

I'd like to take credit for finding the feeling that seemed to complete my ability to fall asleep in my posture, but I have to say that I think the inspiration came out of the location I found myself in at that moment. There's some kind of reciprocity between waking up and falling asleep that takes everything into account, to occur; I am sure you will find this is so, at the appropriate moment.

Edited by Mark Foote

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These are quite significant results Mark, I would urge you to get others to try out your practice and report back.

 

 

I have started a thread, "Getting back to sleep, a practice that works" in the general discussion area, inviting people to read my description and try the practice. I do quote you about succeeding with the practice seven nights in a row, and your conclusion above.

 

If I can get enough folks to read the thread and give it a whirl, maybe I can figure a way forward from there. I would love to be able to bring this practice to the attention of people who could use it. Guess we'll see if anyone catches the new thread before it rolls off the back end.

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As a former Ambien(Zolpidem is used to treat insomnia) user I can tell you that insomnia is a huge problem.

 

About half of Americans surveyed in the National Sleep Foundation's 'Sleep In America Poll 2005' indicated that they experience at least one symptom of insomnia a few nights per week

 

http://www.sleepfoundation.org/

 

To make it a little easier for people to practice "Waking Up and Falling Asleep", I would urge you to come up with and list the formal steps of your practice. As in step 1, step 2 etc.

 

The way it is currently, it reads more as a description of how to go about doing the practice.

 

In closing I would say, please don't be dissuaded if you don't generate much interest here. Sleep deprivation may generate an interesting state of consiousness for the tao bums :)

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To make it a little easier for people to practice "Waking Up and Falling Asleep", I would urge you to come up with and list the formal steps of your practice. As in step 1, step 2 etc.

 

The way it is currently, it reads more as a description of how to go about doing the practice.

 

In closing I would say, please don't be dissuaded if you don't generate much interest here. Sleep deprivation may generate an interesting state of consiousness for the tao bums :)

 

Thanks, humbleone. I'm not sure I could write the steps of waking up and falling asleep, but I'm curious about how you succeeded. I know I did describe referred sensation in response to your initial question about it, I don't know if that helped you find the experience. It does seem to help me.

 

I would like to help more folks find the experience you found. I have a difficult time overcoming my own prejudice against telling people what to do, the ability to feel and the exercise of volition appear to be in opposition to one another, and for sure waking up and falling asleep has more to do with the ability to feel. I just haven't found a way to reconcile myself with addresssing only falling asleep yet, I guess. Maybe!

Edited by Mark Foote

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Writing on Brad Warner's Hardcore Zen yesterday. Someone there helped me to push my cart along a little farther, and I wanted to share the result here:

 

"I have a friend who passes along information on how psychics receive their visions (as it were). They teach being open to seeing before words, before making sense.

 

Dualism just means the mind is here, and the object of mind there. What if the mind moves, and the object of mind has a part in the placement? And the things that enter the mind before words, before sense, have a part in the placement?

 

If I close my eyes, my mind doesn't seem to be in quite the same place as when my eyes are open. If I look to follow that sense of place from one instant to the next, I fall asleep or wake up as appropriate. This is also the practice of zazen, to me. Can it be taught this way?"

 

There's not a lot of interest in zazen, and there are a lot of folks who have trouble falling asleep, so maybe I should think about what I want to pursue as far as steps and directions. So far it's mostly zazen, with the description of "waking up and falling asleep" coming out of an attempt to put into words the part of the practice that has nothing to do with "zazen", per se.

Edited by Mark Foote

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Mark,

 

I've been trying to understand your practice to no avail so far. As humbleone has indicated, it would be easier if there were some sort of instructions or steps to follow. But if your practice is the same as zazen, then instructions might as well be totally foreign to its very nature?

 

So far my understanding was that we are to place our focus in the centre of our mind. In other words, to activate the pineal gland and hopefully secrete some melatonin. I mean zazen could be a wonderful spiritual tradition but such a fundamentally basic function of a body as falling asleep and waking up should have some pronounced physiological backup, hence the melatonin idea.

 

Does it make sense?

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@idquest,

 

That's part of the strangeness of the matter. It's like looking in a mirror; in order to move right in the mirror-image, you have to move left. You need melatonin to wake up and fall asleep, but you may have to look at the movement of the sense of location connected with awareness rather than at the location of the pineal gland itself, in order to set in motion a balance of activity that affects melatonin production.

 

In order to wake up and fall asleep, I look at where my awareness is taking place. Where is the location of my awareness; is it inside my head, is it in my neck and shoulders, did it just bounce to my feet and back?

 

Especially right before you fall asleep, look for the movement of consciousness in the body.

 

I do have ideas about why this comes around to the pineal, for which I rely on the theories of cranial-sacral osteopathy (which are unproven as far as allopathic medicine is concerned). Basically the sense of place in consciousness can produce action faster than you can think about it, like responding to the loss of balance in a fall. If you follow the sense of place in consciousness from one instant to the next and relax, the place of occurrence of consciousness can generate action in posture that aligns the spine and opens feeling to the surface of the body. Look for an ability to feel, rather than what is felt; recognize what is felt, but look for the ability to feel as consciousness takes place.

 

Feeling opened through the sense of place in the occurrence of consciousness allows activity that extends the hips from the pelvis, rotates the pelvis in one direction while rotating the sacrum in the other direction, and permits action in the extensors up the back of the spine (in three sets) to the temporal bones of the skull. The occiput and sphenoid are affected. The pineal rests in the middle of the sphenoid.

 

This explanation encourages me to allow the place of occurrence of consciousness to open feeling. At some point I become aware of my state of mind, and if I am open to falling asleep and to waking up, I find there's a kind of waking rest there.

 

I hope this helps.

Edited by Mark Foote
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This explanation encourages me to allow the place of occurrence of consciousness to open feeling. At some point I become aware of my state of mind, and if I am open to falling asleep and to waking up, I find there's a kind of waking rest there.

 

 

Another take.

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I have a question to Gerard. I read your recommendations about when to sleep and when to eat with great interest. I am giving it a try, getting to sleep before 23 / 11 pm and getting up somewhat between 3 am and 6 am and not to eat past 6 pm. I hope to need less sleep by adjusting my sleeping times.

 

However, I ask myself and you, how to interpret those time informations in connection with daylight saving time. Obviously, nature doesn't just jump an hour, but we (in Switzerland and Central Europa from where I am writing) advanced the clock for an hour last sunday.

 

So 3 am in your recommendation = 2 am during the summer semester?

 

Thanks for dissipating my confusion.

 

David

Edited by d'avid

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So 3 am in your recommendation = 2 am during the summer semester?

 

Wouldn't that be more like:

3 am in his recommendation = 4 am during the summer semester?

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