The night is dark

Woke up, after many troubled minutes of trying to get to sleep, with only 90 or so minutes of rest. Again, tried sleeping but couldn’t shut down the brain. It sort of rip-rocketed on overload tonight. There’s a familiar feeling in my stomach, one that harkens back to a night spent on my couch in 2004. Oh, the things you remember.

So, after trying to put myself back to sleep for near an hour, I knew it was impossible. I published my website, started writing, and read a little of Steven Pressfield’s War of Art. This month I finish this book, and check it off my reading list.

Why no sleep? Why is the brain disquieted on this dark night? Because the past is real and it isn’t. Though the Buddha teaches that only the present moment exists, the past has a living representation in our mind. When we recall a feeling, be it hurt or love, it isn’t anything external to our self that is causing that feeling. Only our mind.

And control of the mind is one (of the many) aspects of Buddhism I’ve not mastered.

Thus I decided to take the advice of Jim Collins, who said, “And what I’ve learned is I guess two or three things specifically about the sleep process for me. This is just personal. One, the 20-minute rule. If you wake up in the middle of the night and you check the time — first of all, it’s also by the way fun to see if you can guess what time it is, right? But then check the time. And then if you’re not back to sleep in 20 minutes, get up. Go back to the simple work.”

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