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Chapter 4: Returning to the Source

The interesting thing is that once a person enters meditation, enters that emptiness where deep sleep takes him, he never remains unconscious - even when he is asleep. When Krishna says in the Gita that the yogi stays awake when everyone else is asleep, he does not mean the yogi never sleeps at all. In fact, no one sleeps as beautifully as a yogi does. But even in his deepest sleep, that element in him which has entered into meditation remains awake. And every night the yogi enters sleep in this awakened state. Then for him meditation and sleep become one and the same thing - no difference between the two remains. Then he always enters sleep in full consciousness. Once a person moves within himself through meditation, he can never be in an unconscious state in his sleep.

Ananda lived with Buddha for many years. For years he slept near Buddha. One morning he asked Buddha, “For years I have been watching you sleep. Not once do you ever change sides; you sleep the whole night in the same position. Your limbs stay where they were when you lay down at night; there is not the slightest movement. Many times I have got up at night to check whether you have moved. I have stayed up nights watching you - your hands, your feet, rest in the same position; you never ever change sides. Do you keep some kind of a record of your sleep the whole night?”

“I don’t need to keep any record,” Buddha replied. “I sleep in a conscious state, so I find no need to change sides. I can if I want to. Turning from one side to another is not a requirement of sleep, it’s a requirement of your restless mind.” A restless mind cannot even rest in one place for a single night, let alone during the day. Even sleeping at night, the whole time the body shows its restlessness.

If you watch a person asleep at night, you will see he is continuously restless the whole time. You will find him moving his hands in much the same way he does when he is awake during the day. In his dream at night, you will find him running and panting in much the same way it happens with someone during the day - he feels out of breath, tired. At night, in dreams, he fights in much the same way he fights during the day. He is as angry at night as he is during the day. He is filled with passion during the day and at night as well. There is no fundamental difference between the day and the night of such a person, except that at night he lies down exhausted, unconscious; everything else continues to function as usual. So Buddha said, “I can change sides if I want to, but there is no need.”

But we don’t realize.. A man sitting in a chair keeps jiggling his legs. Ask him: “Why are your legs jiggling like that? It’s understandable if they move when you walk, but why are they moving when you are sitting in a chair?” No sooner do you say this than the man will stop immediately. Then he won’t even move for a second, but he will have no explanation as to why he was doing it. It shows how the restlessness within causes agitation in the entire body. Inside is the restless mind; it cannot be still, in one position, even for a moment. It will keep the whole body fidgeting - the legs will move, the head will shake; even sitting, the body will change sides.

That’s why, even for ten minutes, you find it so difficult to sit still in meditation. And from a thousand different spots the body urges you to twitch and turn. We do not notice this until we sit with awareness in meditation. We realize then what sort of a body this is; it doesn’t want to remain still in one position even for a second. The confusion, the tension, and the excitement of the mind stir up the entire body.

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