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HOME > Science Fiction > The psychology of sleep > CHAPTER V HOW TO GO TO SLEEP
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 Sleep sweetly, tender heart in peace! Tennyson.
Man sleep. If we know of a friend who is suffering in body or mind we wish him sleep; mothers their pain-racked or terrified children to sleep with every gentle art known to them; if, for any reason, man is out of harmony with his life as he sees it, he turns to “Nature’s sweet restorer.” It is a sovereign balm for many ills, yet we seldom recognize wherein its lies. During his waking hours man is frequently at with his surroundings. He is out of with the real things of life and is apt to mistake the material side of his life for the whole of his being. But when sleeping he is less with the impressions of the workaday world, less , and, therefore, more . It is in this mental that the true benefit of sleep consists.
We have as yet no conception of the immense import of suggestion to ourselves or others as a cure for body or mind. Suggestions may often be made to a person sound asleep, but they are most effective just at the time when the reason and the will are losing control of the mind, although consciousness has not yet lost its grip.
Accordingly it helps our growth to relax the whole nature before going to sleep and to drop into the mind the thought of peace and harmony; the assurance that all is and must be well. To do this is to get the best sort of sleep, the sleep that us closer to our fellows and makes us feel the oneness of all life. This is the sleep from which we awake refreshed, ready to take up the day’s duties cheerfully. It is an old country saying, when a person seems what is called “out of sorts” in the morning, that “he got out on the wrong side of the bed.” But it is much more likely that he went to sleep in the wrong way: that is, in an unloving frame of mind.
“Let not the sun go down upon your ” has a wider significance than we usually realize. As a matter of physical , if we have allowed the lack of knowledge or the selfishness of our brother to annoy or irritate us, it is well to wipe away all traces of that before lying down to rest. It is well, when possible, to seek the “little one” we have offended, through our own ignorance or selfishness, and make our peace by confessing the fault; while, if we are still self-centered enough to feel that our brother has dealt harshly with us, we may remove all the sting by thinking lovingly of him. As the soft answer turneth away wrath, so the soft attitude turneth out wrath, both from ourselves and from him. Each day should complete itself. Sufficient unto the day is the good and the evil thereof, and to attempt to carry over the evil through until another day is but to lay up trouble for ourselves.
For, after all, it is lack of knowledge or understanding that makes our brother unkind to us or us to him. Each is doing the best he can, being such a man as he is. Each of us has still some of that separateness which makes us regard our own interests as apart from other interests, or hostile to them. What our brother does, therefore, he does because it seems to him the best thing for himself. As soon as he sees that one cannot truly at the expense of another, because we are all one, he will give up his stupid ways—as we shall give up our stupid ways when we see that same truth. Until then it is useless to be angry or upset, for that is only to show that we, too, are unable to see the oneness of all. As it is bad for our brother that he is so blind, it were more consistent that we should feel sorrow than anger at his self-injury.
Epictetus understood that, nineteen hundred years ago, and we have not become so stupid as to deny it; we only forget. He saw that there is only one kind of in all men—they are moved by what they think is right and best for themselves. Said he, “It is impossible to judge one thing best for me and to seek a different one, to judge one thing right and be inclined towards another.” We all know this about ourselves, but we do not see it so plainly about others.
If we felt this about all men, we should not have “indignation with the multitude.” For what are all their wrongdoings? Is it not that they are “mistaken about the things that are good and evil? Shall we then be indignant with them, or shall we only pity them?... Show them the error and we shall see how they will cease from it when they really see it. But, if they do not see the error, they have better than the appearance of the thing as it looks to them.” For, argues Epictetus, “this man who and is deceived concerning things of the greatest moment is blinded, not in the vision that black and white, but in the which distinguished Good and Evil.... If it is the greatest misfortune to be deprived of the greatest things, and the greatest thing in every man is a Will such as he ought to have, and if one be deprived of this, why are we still indignant with him?... We need not be moved contrary to Nature by the evil deeds of other men. Pity them rather, be not inclined to and .... When someone may do us an injury or speak ill of us, remember that he does it or speaks it, believing that it is meet and best for him to do so. It is not possible, then, that he can do the thing that appears best to you, but the thing that appears best to him. Wherefore, if good appears evil to him, it is he that is injured, being deceived. For, if anyone takes a true consequence to be false, it is not the consequence that is injured, but he is injured who is deceived. Setting out, then, with these opinions, you will bear a gentle mind toward any man who may injure you. For, say on each occasion, ‘so it appeared to him.’” Forgive: and if you must blame somebody, blame yourself—you can forgive yourself so easily.
So we shall find sleep more restful if we leave behind us all the shortcomings of ourselves and of our fellows, and approach that season of seeming forgetfulness with love towards all. Calm as an infant’s sleep will be the of the all-loving man, and for him the new day will dawn with increased brightness; his strength shall be renewed, and his joy be more abundant.
If we always lie down to sleep with this attitude, regarding the darkness not merely as the time when the physical man should rest, but25 also as a growing time for the spiritual man, it will not be long before we adjust our daily life to more harmonious relations with the universe. The more lovingly we live, the sweeter and sounder will be our slumber, for so it is that “He giveth his beloved sleep.”

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