If people were to discipline their sleep cycles their lives could be changed. Sleep early. There are serious repercussions if you don’t discipline your sleep cycle, because it is like an inner butterfly effect. You have heard that story, that a butterfly flaps its wings in the Amazon, one leaf starts fluttering, two leaves start, three start, and there is a snowstorm created in North America. A little discipline in how well and how deeply you sleep determines your state of mind throughout the day.
You will meditate in the morning without struggling with your consciousness. When we are fully alert in the morning, lovingly we can invite the higher consciousness or Divine Principle in meditation, and be one with that Essence. Then some beautiful conditions will be created in the heart. And when it is so intense it stays with us; if we try to shake it off it won’t go away. Such is the permanency of the condition created when our consciousness is able to receive. If our morning meditation is hampered, the whole day will be spoilt.
The choice is ours. Do we want to lead a life like the roaring oceans, which are so pleasing to so many people today? Because if we do we will never know what is happening – we are lost in the waves of our disturbed consciousness. But when the consciousness is settled, even the slightest change or variation is noticed, the way even the slightest fall of the lightest leaf can create waves.
In the yogic shastras, great significance was given to both nostrils. Ideally, the right nostril should be predominant during the daytime and the left nostril should be predominant at night. Why? In short, the solar impact on our physiology is directly related to the movement of both the sun and moon. When something is not right, a switch occurs. In the olden days people would examine their breathing, and if it was not as it should be they would drink hot water and do things like pranayama, walking etc. If you are very careful, just around sunrise you will witness a slow shift from the left to the right nostril and at sunset from the right to the left. And if you happen to meditate at that time it will be like a rocket – it is just the right time, because the balance is there between your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
Watch this when you go to sleep by 9 or 10 o’clock, and observe the right nostril switch to the left and then in the morning the left to the right. If you get the right amount of sleep, your right nostril will automatically be predominant in the morning as soon as you get up. Over millennia our systems have evolved in such a way that when the sun rises certain hormonal patterns are triggered. If you follow the rhythm, then your health will automatically improve.
Now, what happens when you go to bed very late at night? If you go against the rhythm, it is like swimming against the current, and this will consume you over time. When your strength and youthfulness start to decline, your decline in health will speak volumes. It is better to set a pattern now. I think nightly activities are a curse of the modern world. Because of electricity, there isn’t much difference between day and night. Starved sleep patterns reflect irregularities and our health suffers because of that. Our immunity also goes down because the nervous system is breaking down.
Extensive studies have been conducted on people who work at night. If we observe their health patterns, we find their ageing to be very rapid. Most of us are not forced to work at night, we have a choice, yet our lifestyle is like those who are helpless and must work at night. We volunteer to stay awake all night, watching all kinds of stuff. Whether we look at it spiritually or health-wise, it is self-defeating. So why indulge? How are we going to build our destiny? We have already decided upon a destructive path if we do not follow the natural rhythm. There is a beautiful statement by Ram Chandra of Shahjahanpur that you can either swim with the river’s flow, or you can swim against the flow, but it will consume you. Early in the morning, nature’s energy flows in one direction towards the Source. It is not a physical energy. It is best to meditate when you are flowing with those currents. If you try to meditate after sunrise, it is like swimming against the current, and meditation becomes more difficult.
So if you want to go further, adjust your sleep patterns, otherwise you will struggle with that one fundamental thing all your life. You will wake up frustrated and sleepless. You will not be able to meditate properly. If you cannot meditate properly, you won’t have a proper spiritual condition to work with and you won’t have a proper consciousness even for mundane things. You have uprooted your consciousness, which is the very guiding force. You have exposed yourself to so many things, and you are now vulnerable. More and more, you collect impressions throughout the day. It is a vicious cycle.
Per contra, if you have a finer condition, a purer condition, a blissful condition, you are more grateful. This gratitude emerging from the heart creates a bond between your Maker and you. There is great benefit in this, and as you get more and more benefit you feel like doing more and more.