I thought about it and said, “Well, I start thinking.”
He said, “Why does the thinking keep you awake?”
“I guess it makes me anxious. Yes. I start thinking about things that cause me anxiety, and then I’m wide awake.”
“So how do you get to sleep in the first place?”
“I stop myself from thinking.”
“Like in meditation?”
“Yeah, I keep myself from thinking as long as I can and suddenly I’m asleep. But sometimes, like they say always happens in meditation, I start thinking again and then have to stop myself over again. But usually I can do it.”
“So then thinking causes anxiety?”
“Now that you mention it, it seems to quite often. And yet I get many of my most fulfilling moments from thinking. Trying to understand things.”
Carl left me hanging there, which is something he gets a big kick out of doing. He likes to ask a lot of questions but never give any answers.
Well, later, as it sank in, which he knew it would, I thought to myself: “I guess it’s finally time to start meditating.” But just as I thought that, I thought, “No, it’s not the meditating I need to do but the stopping thinking.” And then suddenly I imagined myself moving calmly through my normal day, doing chores, taking care of responsibilities, socializing, listening to Mozart, all without thinking. Just gliding through everything. Wow. Such a beautiful vision!
Okay, I think I’m going to try it. Who knows, maybe it’s easier done than thought about. Or done without thinking about it.
Or just done. Is that the way to think about it?
Carl? Are you there?
To read the many Facebook comments, press "Read More below.............
Terry Willard I haven't slept well for my whole life either, get usually 4 hr a night, so I turned the nonSleep time into productivity. It is that i will keep thinking too much if I don't get it out of me. So I have published 13 books and over 30 other manuscripts. I have tried this with thousands of patients and for the most part it works. Journalin, or possibly in your case writing poems can release the 'pressure' build up in the mind That creates the anxiety. The most important thing is to change ones persp
Like · Reply · 1 · 2 December at 12:59
Terry Willard one perspective on sleep. Sleeping 8 hours in a row is a modern construct to suit industrializatioN. I wrote a multi piece blog on this a few years back http://www.drterrywillard.com/insomnia-waking-at-the.../
Terry Willard - Insomnia: Waking at the Same Time Most Nights
Like · Reply · Remove Preview · 2 December at 13:04
Stan Burfield Hi Terry! Nice to hear from you. I guess you don't mean 4 hours in total a day, but two shots of four. I can see that. Yes, that I could definitely do. I should try it. The problem is that there always seems to be something in the middle of the day I have to attend to, or someone I have to meet, etc. But I'll definitely read this and see if it can apply to me. I know waking up after about 4 hours is common with older people, but I think I really screwed up my sleeping cycle over my whole lifetime simply because of my anxiety with people when I was young. I always felt free of that anxiety at night when I was the only person awake. So I became a night owl. But then had to get up early for whatever, work or school, and so ended up never getting a full night's sleep and dragging myself through the week, and finally making up for it with a looong sleep, which further threw me off and so on, all my life. So that now when my body doesn't produce as much melatonin to keep me asleep, I just keep waking up. But two 4-hour stretches may be the answer if I can swing it.
Like · Reply · 2 December at 13:13
Terry Willard No mostly it was just 1, 4 hour sleep. BTW this has been very common for many people from Leonardo da Vinci, Church Hill, President Kennedy, Florence Nightingale, etc. The Leonardo sleep cycle is, 4 hours sleep, then 4 hour work, with a mandatory 15 min other ( snooze, walk, meditation, etc.), then 4 hour work, with another manditory 15 min break, repeating the cycle over and over. I have done this on and off throughout my life, especially when I have a deadline project. As you have pointed out it does have a drawback of being a 26 hr day. This means the day move forward every day by 2 hours, making the timing off so sometime your sleep pattern is during the day. Most of my life has been very busy with the 60 - 80 work weeks, so I have had to adjust it from time to time. I am a big supporter of 'catnaps' and have often scheduled them into my day. Now that I am semiretired I have more flexibility and often go through these cycles.
Like · Reply · 2 December at 17:50
Stan Burfield Definitely, I should do a little experimenting.
Like · Reply · 2 December at 17:55
Write a reply...
Stan Burfield Once back in our youths, when I knew you, I think, and during a short period when I didn't have any responsibilities, I read about some guys who lived in a cave with no indication of time passing and who were monitored to see if their days and nights changed in length. They did, to nearly exactly double: a 48 hour day, and sleeping 16 hours straight, but not aware of it. The attractive thing to me was that they stayed awake 32 hours before getting sleepy and going to bed. So I tried it and within only a week I was doing exactly that, with my day consisting of more than a normal day and night combined. And sleeping 16 hours in one stretch seemed natural. But I wasn't completely free to do it even then. I had one little commitment I had to keep once a week in the daytime, which turned out to be in my night every other week. So I had to quit. But if I had total control of my life, I would still be on that cycle. I think. At least I like to think I would. Then again, I might be waking up every 4 hours out of the 16 and life would be hell.
Like · Reply · 2 December at 13:23
Linda Eva Williams Tell Carl he's a cutie.
Like · Reply · 2 December at 18:43
Stan Burfield Ha ha. He would like to hear that. I met him at the cafe this afternoon and gave him a print out of this blurb (he doesn't use a computer) and he said he's going to have to show it to his daughter. But as usual he showed up dressed very spiffily, not quite with a tie, but close. And no matter how cold out it is, he never wears more than a summer jacket, like the one in the photo, of which he obviously has a closetful. I said, "Carl, you wouldn't last very long on a farm!"
Like · Reply · 1 · 2 December at 18:49
Linda Eva Williams A cutie with a sartorial bent.
Like · Reply · 2 December at 18:50
Stan Burfield Definitely. Now that we're discussing Carl, I should tell you about one of his peculiarities. He's close to 80 but has an incredible memory. He comes to our poetry workshops and months later he can recite lines from different poems we workshopped (which we never keep copies of) and can tell me about very subtle, minute exchanges between the people, how they related. It's always shocked me. Well, one day I was asking him how he got into doctoring, and he said it was a family thing, his father was a surgeon (as were siblings and younger relatives now) but he said he didn't really want to be a doctor. He wanted to be a detective!! Okay, back in the 40s, detective shows were all the rage and every kid wanted to be one, which, no doubt, is why his father swayed him into a more "realistic" career. But without a doubt Carl, going by his actual talents, would have outdone Sherlock Holmes.
Like · Reply · 2 December at 19:00
Write a reply...
Sheila Deane Maybe you're biphasic? I fall asleep at ten o'clock and sleep till two or three am. Then I'm awake for two or three hours, NO MATTER WHAT I DO, so I usually read for two hours then try to get back to sleep and generally do sleep or nap until 7:00. My c...See more
Like · Reply · 1 · 2 December at 19:21
Stan Burfield I think you're probably right. Maybe I'll just give myself a longer night time with an interlude and see how it goes. If that doesn't work, try something else. Good idea, thanks!