Regardless of the amount of sleep we get, the very nature of sleep presents a significant challenge to the spiritual seeker. Spirituality and sleep appear to be diametrically opposed: one a dynamic flow, the other a static repose. While our spiritual aspiration seeks ever to heighten and deepen our consciousness, sleep inveigles us into an unconscious state.

While there are times when we awaken feeling inspired and full of light and joy, many of us tend to wake up feeling barely conscious, scarcely able to recall that we are supposed to be an aspiring being on a spiritual Path. It seems we have been under water, as though the time we spend asleep has eroded away our connection with our deeper self and dissolved yesterday’s inspiration, aspiration, determination and bliss. We may feel inert, our only eagerness being for more sleep time. Our cherished goal has receded into the mists of obscurity.

Our finite body, vital and mind need sleep, to repair and recharge. Our spiritual heart and soul need no sleep, as they are one with infinite energy and inexhaustible inspiration. Spirituality deals with consciousness, which is never static; it is always expanding or contracting, rising or falling, speeding up or slowing down. Spiritual progress is the shaping of our conscious awareness, and cannot proceed when that awareness is suspended – just as a painting needs its canvass and a song is formed from and needs the notes of the musical scale. In sleep, our connection to conscious awareness is temporarily unplugged, so while sleep is necessary and unavoidable as long as we are here in the earthly realm, it will always be an interruption to the flow of our spiritual progress. And while we are not moving forwards, we can only be moving backwards.