“To sleep, perchance to dream – ay, there’s the rub.”
The above quote from the “To be or not to be…” soliloquy in Shakespeare’s Hamlet seemed to be a perfect way to start this article on sleeping well. In my counselling and hypnotherapy practice, I get 3 to 4 calls a week from very sad and distressed people who are getting almost no sleep. This highly motivates me as a healer because I believe that a good night’s sleep is one of the most important factors in the overall physical, mental, and Spiritual health of an individual. In this article I will share some of the many tips and techniques I have for facilitating deep sleep.
I travel all over the world with the intention of studying and bringing back to Ottawa many “psyche-physiological” modalities that I then share with my “partners in healing” (clients). Some of these are: Ericksonian Hypnotherapy, Cortical Field Re-Education (CFR), and Gestalt Therapy from Esalen in Big Sur, California; Grofian Holotropic Breathwork and Hakomi from the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York; Jungian psychology from the Assisi Institute in Assisi, Italy; Psycho-Neuro-Biology from a conference held in Thessaloniki, Greece; floatation tank technology and techniques from Montreal, Chicago, New York, Burlington, Vermont and Naples, Florida; Cognitive Dialectic Therapy (CDT), and Buddhist awakening techniques from the Harvard Department of Psychiatry’s seminars on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and in Naples, Florida. The common thread that runs through all of these modalities is the premise that we, as human beings, are whole and sentient creatures who are inextricably connected to ALL that surrounds us. There is no “inside” and “outside”. This is what Hippocrates called Psyche.
The writers who best embody this approach are the Italian psychiatrist, Roberto Assagioli (Psychosynthesis) and the pandit, Ken Wilber (Integral Psychology). In his book, “Thought as Passion”, Wilber points out how strange it is that we human beings do not stay constantly aware that we are fully conscious. He asserts that we are fully conscious whether we know it or not! Although it is quite difficult to stay aware “all the time”, the reward for this is the elixir of life itself….Radical Presence!
René Descartes rightly stated that we are thinking animals. However, he did not go far enough. We are also capable of applying a technique I call “clearing thinking”. We, as human beings, are NOT the same as all the other animal species because we are the only species capable of rational and conceptual thought. We are also able to chose not to think. However, we cannot think our way out of thinking. The only way out of this “psychological trap” is to TRANSCEND thought. We must use techniques that lead to “clearing thinking”. By that I mean accessing a Supra-Consciousness state through the experiential modalities and techniques mentioned above.
Another technique is to CONTINUOUSLY activate the vagus nerve (the parasympathetic nervous system) also called the “play dead nerve”. This secondary nervous system parallels the sympathetic nervous system which controls the “flight or fight” response mechanism in our eyes, heart, larynx, diaphragm, esophagus, jaw, thigh muscles, sweat glands, etc. The vagus nerve is capable of sending calming THETA brain waves throughout our whole body at times of great stress, anxiety or panic attacks. The brain waves that we can generate are: Beta (“busy mind”), Alpha (during yoga), Alpha-Theta (during meditation), Theta (during hypnotherapy), Delta I (during dream sleep) and Delta II (during dreamless sleep) and Epsilon (gurus in life-long practice). By training yourself to stay in “Theta state” your life will be enriched by many periods of Delta II sleep each night. Theta state and Delta II state are your Golden Self!!
This article was written in June of 2013 by:
Richard M. Haney, M.Ed., Ph.D. (Counselling and Mediation)
Richard has been practising Wholistic Counselling, Coaching, Hypnotherapy and Mediation for the past 25 years in Ottawa.
Richard by phone: (613) 234-5678. By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.