How to Meditate in Bed – Make it a Ritual

Meditate with Heaphones

Meditating in Bed | Not Unusual

What do you think of when you hear the word “meditation?”  If you have never experienced it, you probably don’t think of “meditating in bed”  although it is not unusual.  In fact, you would be surprised at how many people actually make it a ritual.  What you more than likely visualize the first time you hear it is someone sitting on the floor in what appears to be an uncomfortable position; a dark room filled with several small flickering candles and the aroma of the lavender essential oil.  Maybe even a large fluffy towel hanging on a towel warmer.

But what if I told you that meditation sitting on the floor isn’t absolutely necessary; that you can meditate anywhere you can get comfortable.  That when you climb into bed every night after a long exhausting day you have an ability to instantly turn off the circulating random thoughts that usually keep you tossing and turning throughout the night.

To meditate in bed is a way of telling your conscious and subconscious mind that you have permission to shut down in preparation for sleep.  The body will follow with a few mental suggestions such as ‘Relax,” or other prefered cues you choose to use.  A guided meditation instructs you as to what to do and when, and I recommend these if you have not tried it before.

A Story Connected or Childbirth

Long before I knew anything about meditation, in 1980 when I was pregnant with my son, The Lamaze method of childbirth was offered to expecting parents. It was a psycho-prophylactictic method which allowed the mother to give birth without the necessity of drugs to control pain by using relaxation and breathing techniques, along with support from a spouse, friend or hospital employee.  My doctor at the time was not a fan of Lamaze, so I purchased a book and taught myself.  One of the lessons required you to select a single muscle in your body, such as your forearm or a calf muscle. The objective was to train yourself to constrict just one random muscle in the body to simulate a contracting uterus. You would practice the technique by tensing a muscle and timed it as though it was a contraction while concentrating on keeping the rest of the body completely relaxed.  At first, it was difficult to select random muscles to contract and it took much concentration and persistence.  But the more I practiced it the easier it was to control the physical reactions to my own commands.

I never had a chance to use the technique while I was in labor – l will save that story for another day, but it is similar to meditation in that you maintain your attention and thought on anything that is in the present moment.  This Lamaze routine became a necessary element of my preparing for sleep every night for many many years.  I would start at my feet and work my way up to my face and head. Until I learned about meditation, I didn’t realize the similarities (and I hope you found that little comparison to Lamaze an entertaining one).

As I opened up significantly in my story in my About Us page, I needed an effective way to control my sleep to maintain the schedule of a single mother, a high-stressed working environment.  I was limited financially and was trying to keep people from taking advantage of my circumstances. I handled it all the only way I knew how, but I sure wish I had been introduced to guided sleep meditations and sleep hypnosis recordings sooner than I was.

It just makes sense to incorporate a daily routine to prepare for relaxation before bed every night and is something that you will look forward to once you participate a few times.  Just thinking about the bath can be a topic of a meditation period sometime during the day when you need to step back for a few minutes.

A comment was made on my website by a lady who has spent many years meditating:

“Funny I have not thought to meditate in bed, and yet meditation is a part of my daily life. I do relaxation exercises in bed if I am having trouble getting to sleep, but not specifically meditation. What a great idea! I will implement this tonight!”

 

Reasons You Need To (Meditate in Bed)

Millions upon millions of people live in a world of fast pacing lifestyles and try to pack into one week the same set of activities that 30-40 years ago would take twice that amount of time to complete.  So many of our friends, co-workers, neighbors, family members and even our young children are running on fumes of pure exhaustion.

Scientific studies have determined that the human body requires a specific number of hours of sleep, and children require much more than adults do.  Yet we are running on empty as sleep deprived, poorly nourished, drinking little bottles containing caffeine and who knows what in hopes of achieving a few more hours of activity (whether we are productive or not).  We end up fatigued, exhausted and allow other situations to exist which cause stress and anxiety and which are merely the beginning of mental and physical disease processes.

The American Sleep Association reports the following sleep deprivation statistics:

        –    37% of 20-39 year-olds report short sleep duration

         –  40% of 40-59 year-olds report short sleep duration

         –   35.3% adults report <7 hours of sleep during a typical 24-hour period.

I am also half livid over the number of small children who are allowed to stay up until they fall asleep, with no regulated schedules or bedtimes.  If you hear a screaming child in a store or in a restaurant, or witness obnoxious behavior from the older kids, you can bet that lack of sleep and hunger are involved.

Changes in sleep patterns are also a part of the aging process.  Pharmaceuticals merely cause sedation, not the necessary restorative sleep that your body requires.  Pharmaceutical companies are more frequently reporting new potential side effects of sleep aids which make it not only a safe practice to avoid, but it is more comforting to not have to rely upon anything to fall asleep at night.  I remember younger days, as a child, when I was so tired every night that I was able to fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.  It was the same time period of my life when my grandmother was up at the crack of dawn and had breakfast on the table before I woke up every morning.  I recall the day I realized that she slept every night also.  She was still busy-beavering it around the house when I went to bed and was always up every morning dressed with makeup, breakfast on the table and a load of laundry in the washer.  ]

What the Brain Requires

Brainwaves change as we enter various levels of sleep, which are identified by frequency.  During the transition from wakefulness to sleep the beta brain waves slow to a synchronized and slower alpha frequency.  The brain continues to slow to theta waves – then into the delta stage.  These are the same stages we enter during daydreaming, as we fall asleep and as we awaken every morning.

Other physical changes such as breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure also take place.  The final stage is REM (rapid eye movement) and accounts for about 25% of the sleep cycle.  (National Sleep Association; CDC.gov).

These are the same stages we enter during daydreaming, as we fall asleep and as we awaken every morning.

Make it a Daily Ritualfeather beddin

We are responsible for getting enough adequate sleep and providing our bodies with proper nutrients.  Busy and stress-filled lifestyles (and particularly the fast-paced habits of Americans) do not allow time each evening for the body and the brain to begin transitioning to sleep before we go to bed.

The most beneficial decision is to select a bedtime that allows for the number of hours of sleep that you require.  A hot shower or bath before bed allows muscle tension to begin to relax.

Guided meditations for sleep are available on YouTube, although it takes quite a bit of time to sort through them to find the voice that is most effective for you.  I found many that really are not pleasant to the ear.  There are just as many that will take you to places you have never been before.  And they are free.

I simply use the earbuds with my phone.  Get in bed, take a few minutes to allow yourself to get comfortable, then start the video.  All that is required from that point is to listen and follow the instructions, and if you wake up the next morning refreshed and not remembering falling asleep, then you are on your way to mastering guided sleep meditation.


FREE GUIDED MEDITATION

To make this adventure just one step easier for you, I have included one of my very favorites for you to try.  One of the many free Guided Meditation recordings on YouTube, this one is entitled, Sleep Meditation for Deep Trance Relaxation, by Michael Sealy.  This particular video has over 770,000 views.  Michael Sealy is a hypnotherapist from Australia and some of his hypnosis sleep videos have been viewed over 7M times.

If his guided meditations work for you then I know you will find his sleep hypnosis videos are just as effective.

NAMASTE – AND SWEET DREAMS

 

 

Define Happiness

Happiness

Shila Pratt Photography

A Revelation of Love!

When the idea of discussing “Happiness” first appeared in my mind’s eye the initial intent was to reveal it as another benefit of meditation. A revelation of the truth of Love, and specifically self-love.  As usually occurs, the content took on a life of its own.

Because I was bestowed with more compassion than logic, my inquisitive nature demanded to understand the basis for labeling Happiness as an emotion, and with a little overthinking, here are my notes.

Variations in Beliefs 

Dr. Cheryl A. McDonald, of Health Psychology in San Diego, describes happiness as “a blurred emotion, meaning different things to many people.”

Dr. Dan Gilbert, a Harvard University psychology professor, offers that “happiness is substantially just an emotional experience. It’s a feeling.”

Your Best Life Now, written by Joel Osteen in 2005, the last chapter, “Happiness is a Choice,” details how the ultimate decision to choose happiness is based on emotion, but the choice itself is base on logical circumstances and what the Bible teaches.

Kenneth Benjamin, the founder of Happiness International, has authored an entire website on the foundation of Happiness and he shares much wisdom:

  • There is only one person whose happiness you can control. You.
  • You achieve happiness when your life fulfills your needs.
  • Everyone’s needs differ, which means everyone’s path to achieving happiness is different.
  • People have needs that they are not interested in.  Some are already fulfilled.
  • Decide what makes you happy, determine how to have it, plan how to get it, and work to obtain it.

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Therefore, it is obvious that before we can obtain a full grasp of what Happiness is and what it is not, it is appropriate to consult THE source of definitions, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Emotion;
an effective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or the like, is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness.

Happiness:

a :  a state of well-being and contentment: joy
b :  a pleasurable or satisfying experience

State:

mode or condition of being

Well-being:

the state of being happy, healthy, or prosperous

Contentment: (Contented):

feeling or showing satisfaction with one’s possessions, status, or situation

Pleasurable (Pleasure):

a state of gratification

Satisfying (Satisfy):

to be adequate.

Experience:

something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through.


Utilizing these definitions produces a more detailed meaning:

Happiness is a condition reflecting good fortune, health or prosperity, being satisfied with possessions, status or situation, and gratified by personal encounters that have been lived through.

With all of this being said, the idea of this writing started one day while pondering a passage I first heard about 30 years ago:

Happiness can only exist when three things are in place in your life:

Someone to love
Something to do; and
Something to look forward to.

I had absolutely no idea of its origin. With a little amount of additional effort, I was able to verify that it comes from a portion of a lecture written in the mid-1800’s, by a Harvard educated Doctor of Divinity by the name of George Washington Burnap.

George was born November 30, 1802, to a Congregational minister in Merrimack, New Hampshire. He had one sister who cared for him exclusively from the age of 7 after the death of his mother.

He went to Harvard College, graduating in 1824. He continued his education at Harvard Divinity where he exclusively studied the Bible. This convinced him to become a Unitarian. In 1828 he was the ordained pastor of the First Independent Church of Baltimore (the same church in which Jared Sparks pastored beginning in 1817, and later from 1849 to 1853. During a certain period of time when Burnap pastored the Church, Jared Sparks was president of Harvard College).

Burnap married in 1831. Without neglecting his pastoral duties, he devoted much of his career to studying. Much of his time was spent justifying the Unitarian doctrine in the face of public criticism. In 1849 (the same year Jared Sparks was appointed the president of Harvard) Burnap obtained a Doctorate of Divinity degree from Harvard College.

After he received his degree he began authoring voluminous theological and controversial lectures, including The Sphere and Duties of Woman: A Course of Lectures, Burnap, 1854, which contains the full context where my happiness passage was modified

“She is fitted to find happiness in that relation by the affections of her heart. The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for. We all must have something to love. Especially is this the case with woman, whose capacity for affection is much greater than that of man.”


More modern definitions contain terms such as “a sense of meaning and deep satisfaction.” Or a “fuzzy concept.” And science attempts to “split the identity of happiness into distinct concepts, but it’s meaning is still defined as something different to everyone.”

Three related concepts to happiness have been further defined as “Quality of life,” a “rounded well-being,” and supported by evidence of “flourishing.”

We have the definition as “contentment,” but various commentators attempt to maintain its two traditions of:

Eudaemonic – being deeply satisfied in living life in its fullness; or

Hedonistic – avoiding unpleasantness while seeking the pleasant.

Popular ideology defines happiness as “fleeting,” and it has been suggested that happiness is “stable over extended periods of time.”

Happy Land and Genetics

Genetics-DNA

And interestingly, with all of the explanations and definitions floating around in Happy Land, it is claimed that science has proven Happiness to be partially based on genetics.

So where do we go from here?

I must admit that while reading page after page of material I did wonder if I had a proper understanding of Happiness all these years. It certainly hasn’t been fulfilled in my own life due to many years of life’s unexpected traumas and dramas. But I am now assured that I have the proper understanding of what events must occur before a manifestation of Happiness is revealed in my life.  I continue to hope that I experience Happiness during my lifetime.  I believe that others now have hope as well.

What is your Opinion?

Is Happiness a logical state of mind or an emotion?  Is it just circumstantial that some do not experience it during a lifetime? How is Happiness defined in your life?

I would be honored to have the benefit of your thoughts.


References:
1   htttp://happinessinternational.org.
2.  http://healthpsychology.org/life-with-health-psychology-of-San Diego
3.  Graham, Michael C. (2014). Facts of Life: ten issues of contentment. Outskirts Press. pp. 6–10. ISBN 978-1-4787-2259-5.
4.  ^ Deci, Edward L.; Ryan, Richard M. (2006). “Hedonia, eudaimonia, and well-being: an introduction”. Journal of Happiness Studies. 9(1): 1–11. doi:10.1007/s10902-006-9018-
5.   Baumeister, Roy F.; Vohs, Kathleen D.; Aaker, Jennifer L.; Garbinsky, Emily N. (November 2013). “Some key differences between a happy life and a meaningful life”. The Journal of Positive Psychology. 8 (6): 505–516. doi:10.1080/17439760.2013.830764.
6.  ^ Costa, Paul T.; McCrae, Robert R.; Zonderman, Alan B. (August 1987). “Environmental and dispositional influences on well-being: Longitudinal follow-up of an American national sample”. British Journal of Psychology. 78 (3): 299–306. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.1987.tb02248.x.
7.   Okbay, Aysu; et al. (18 April 2016). “Genetic variants associated with subjective well-being, depressive symptoms, and neuroticism identified through genome-wide analyses”. Nature Genetics. 48 (6): 624–633. doi:10.1038/ng.3552. PMID 2708918.
8.   Bartels, Meike (1 January 2015). “Genetics of Wellbeing and Its Components Satisfaction with Life, Happiness, and Quality of Life: A Review and Meta-analysis of Heritability Studies”. Behavior Genetics. 45 (2): 137–156. doi:10.1007/s10519-015-9713-y. ISSN 0001-8244. PMC 4346667 PMID 25715755.