Chapter 27: Soundlessness, Soundfulness and Total Awareness
Boredom is a basic necessity for sleep. You cannot get to sleep unless you are bored. If you are excited, you cannot get to sleep. That is why the modern man is becoming incapable of going to sleep. What is the reason? There is so much excitement. It was never like this before.
In the old, past world life was a deep boredom, a repetitious boredom. If you go to a village hidden somewhere in the hills, there life is a boredom. It may not look to you like a boredom because you have not lived there, and on a holiday you may feel very much excited. But that excitement is because of Bombay, not because of those hills. Those hills are completely boring. Those who are living there are bored and asleep. There is only the same thing, the same routine with no excitement, with no change, and nothing ever happens. There is no news. Things go on as they have always, they go on repeating in a circular way. As seasons repeat, as nature repeats, as day and night move in a circle, everything moves in a village, in an old village, in a circle. That is why villagers can fall to sleep so easily: everything is just boring.
Modern life has become so exciting - nothing repeats. Everything goes on becoming new, changing. Life has become unpredictable, and you are so excited you cannot fall asleep. Every day you can see a new film, every day you can hear a new speech, every day you can read a new book, every day something new is possible.
This constant excitement continues. When you go to your bed, the excitement is there. The mind wants to be awake; it seems futile to fall asleep. There are thinkers who are saying that this is pure wastage - if you live for sixty years, twenty years are wasted in sleep. Sheer wastage! Life is so much excitement, why waste any of it? But in the old world, in the old days, life was not an excitement. It was a circular movement of the same repetition. If anything excites you, it means it is new.
If you repeat a particular sound, it creates a circle within you. It creates boredom; it creates sleep. That is why Mahesh Yogi’s transcendental meditation is known in the West as a non-medical tranquilizer. It is because it is a simple repetition of a mantra. But if your mantra becomes just a repetition without an alert you inside, an alert you constantly listening to you, listening to the sound, it may help sleep, but it cannot help anything else. As far as it goes, it is good. If you are suffering from insomnia, transcendental meditation is good.
Otherwise, it helps - but not unless you use the mantra with an alert inner ear. Then you have to do two things: go on reducing the pitch of the mantra, reducing the sound, making it more slow and more subtle, and at the same time simultaneously go on becoming more alert, more alert. As the sound becomes subtle, become more alert; otherwise, you will miss the whole point.