Sleeping and meditation

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This topic contains 5 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Blake Barton 1 year, 2 months ago.

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    Hi everyone,
    I’m new to the forum and haven’t found an introduction thread, so I’ll just start posting here. I’m KJa, from Amsterdam, the Netherlands,
    and have been working with TMI regularly for almost a year. I very much enjoy the practices and practical methods described in the book.

    I was wondering, however, about meditation when having trouble sleeping. I automatically focus on the practice in stage 4 (since that’s where I’m at). However, I quickly stopped, realizing that staying present, awake, and vigilant does not really fit with sleeping! It would seem odd to me to use a similar practice. So my question is: what would be good, non guided, meditations to do when lying in bed that do not conflict in any way with the practices and methods described in TMI?

    Thanks for the replies and effort in helping me!


    Michael Dunn

    Hello, KJa

    Yes, I have also found that doing the meditation practices while in bed can actually keep me awake, which is a good thing I guess, because then I won’t be falling asleep on the cushion either! In fact, these practices are designed to remove the progressive dullness that can lead to sleepiness, in part by overcoming the habit of sleepiness when we simply close our eyes which happens every night at bedtime and in part because we increase the overall energy of the mind doing the TMI practices.

    If you want to do a practice to help you sleep I would suggest looking at the yoga nidra practices which focus on the body and can reduce the anxiety of the mind which can affect one’s sleep. I have also played with working on my peripheral awareness when my mind is overactive and attention is wound up and preventing sleep and this has had some effectiveness. I have also tried doing the Mindful Review while lying in bed, and the only problem here is that sometimes I fall asleep before finishing 😉


    DT Teacher in training



    I have some experience doing TMI-style practices in bed. This might not help one get to sleep, but it can pass the time spent in bed quite nicely.

    I often awake very early in the morning so I can sneak in a little bit of quiet practice before the rest of the house gets up. The trouble is, of course, that I am often quite sleepy at that time, so I have settled on doing a modified body-scan, similar to what Culadasa recommends in Stage 5, but while lying in bed instead of sitting with hands in lap.

    The practice involves focusing attention on progressively larger areas of the body, starting with something very small, like the tip of a finger, and then very slowly moving the point of attention, gradually widening the scope of attention. So, for example, placing attention on the very center of the tip of my right index finger, I focus there until I can actually *feel* it. I then move attention to the right side, then the left side of the fingertip, then the nail, the cuticle, the pad, around the surface of the finger up to the first knuckle, always making sure to *feel* instead of conceptualizing. Then I move on to the area between the first and second knuckle, then the area between the second and third knuckle, and stop once I get to the place where the finger meets the hand. At this point, I move on to the middle finger; then the ring finger; the pinky; then the thumb. Then I repeat on the other hand.

    Once I have gotten this far I start to expand the field of attention to include two fingers at a time…sometimes on the same hand, sometimes opposite hands. And then 4 fingers, 6, 8, 10, then the whole of both hands…you can make a game of it.

    The hands seem to be a good place to start – it’s much harder to do with the feet, probably because we have a large percentage of our cortical mapping mapped to the hands, and relatively less to other parts of the body.

    I don’t typically try to feel ‘the breath’ in the body parts as you would in a proper Stage 5 practice. Just very clearly feel the body parts (or groups of parts). The whole practice takes me about 45 minutes, but can be adjusted. I have also followed along Culadasa’s guided body scan meditation while lying down, and that works quite well, too, but this one requires less setup time, won’t wake up the person sleeping next to me, and is adjustable to my liking.

    Hope this helps,


    • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by  JavaJeff.


    Thanks for the tips! I am looking into yoga nidra at the moment, which calms me and at the same time does not feel to interrupt the TMI practice.



    Hi folks I am looking for a simple mediation,say no more than 5 minutes,any tips and recommendations?Thanks in advance


    Blake Barton

    I would recommend if you are only going to do 5 minutes is that you do the basic breath meditation described in The Mind Illuminated. I also recommend slowly increasing the length of your meditation sessions.

    Blake – Dharma Treasure Teacher

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