To continue from yesterday on this topic of sleep, I really like this metaphor of the starlight and the daylight.
It seems like it can be used in so many areas.
This idea that the stars are always shining, it’s just that their light is covered up and made invisible by the brighter daylight that overpowers them.
So that when the daylight disappears, we can then see the things that were already there.
And this metaphor is great for all the faint influences, the tiny voices, the tiny hints that are happening all around us, but if we have big distractions that are covering them up, that’s like the daylight covering up, making these little influences completely undetectable.
I think also this applies to the whole idea of sleep, the nighttime.
that it’s very understandable to think of the nighttime and sleep as simply losing consciousness, and of course, that is certainly part of it.
We certainly change the mode of consciousness.
The way that we are awake obviously stops during the time when we’re asleep, so of course, in a sense, we are kind of shutting down our consciousness.
But yet, at the same time it’s not really a complete loss of consciousness at all.
Now there are those certain periods in the sleep cycle, where maybe deep sleep, where it is close to total unconsciousness, and yet, for most of the time, dreaming is certainly a long way from total unconsciousness.
Maybe it’s simply the fact that most dreams are not remembered, that a lot of what happens in them is vague and hard to make sense of, and so it’s easy to kind of dismiss dreams as being just little blips and waves in a state that is essentially unconsciousness.
And yet, there’s so much going on.
So the nighttime, really, this is literally when the stars come out.
This is literally when the bright major daytime consciousness disappears.
We let it set.
We let it go away.
Or, well, let it or not, it is going away.
The sun is setting, daylight going away, and so all those tiny, subtle pieces of consciousness, those little things, those stars that are so faint in and of themselves that the daylight completely wipes them out almost entirely, and yet, when the daylight’s gone, we can see the amazing complexity and beauty of the night sky, the sky full of stars.
So this is an alternative way of thinking about the nighttime, the evening, both sleep itself and the time around sleep, where we can see this not as simply shutting down from light into darkness, just like shutting it down like turning off a power switch, but we can see it as letting go of the daylight, letting go of the major source of light, and instead becoming aware of all the minor sources of light that are there in the night sky.
So that this nighttime sleep consciousness, dream consciousness, or simply the way we are at night, is like its own world of awareness.
It’s not just black darkness, nothingness.
It is full of all kinds of detail and complexity and subtlety that would be made invisible by the day.
So I find this an interesting way to look at the nighttime, to see it not as simply turning everything off, but that actually, while we’re turning off the main daytime way of living, we have access to this alternate whole world of awareness and consciousness that is going on at night.
And this is half the time of our lives.
There’s so much there that is only accessible at night.
So while we can relax, shut down our daily concerns, it’s not shutting down to zero, but instead opening up this whole world of nocturnal beauty.
#nighttime #starlight #dreamconsciousness