Where does your mind go?

Eyes closed, preparing for sleep:  does your mind drift toward some particular thought?  Where does it go?

If we have some worry or anxiety that is bothering us, we will probably try to avoid letting our mind go there. Otherwise, our thoughts will be caught up in repeating stressful patterns, our body will of course respond, and sleep will remain a stranger.  So, do we have some ‘safe place’ to send our consciousness?  Some place where we can relax our defences?

Many parents make a prayer part of the bed-time ritual for their children, and there are several reasons for it.  One is certaintly the desire to reinforce belief in the child. Belief is natural to every infant; the Prophet Mohammed said that every child is born a believer–but we have a duty to sustain that belief and help it grow.  Another reason is that the sweetness and beauty of a prayer can start to sweep away the impressions that are cluttering the mind, and help us to relax into sleep.  Still another reason is that sleep means a kind of surrender (which young ‘egos-in-training’ often resist with determined vigour), and if we accustom ourselves to make that surrender before our divine Ideal, it is good spiritual training.

And what about the time of awakening?  Sometimes we get up in a bad mood, described in the English colloquial phrase, ‘to get up on the wrong side of the bed’ – for which there could be many possible explanations. And for many of us, the morning is beset with worries and demands: the routines of getting the children to school or getting out the door in time to catch the train, and so on.  Here again, a prayer at the very moment of rising could be of great benefit. If a prayer is said with sincerity, it sets in place a rhythm that helps to sustain us through the entire day.

In other words, we need not think that prayers at bed-time and upon rising are said because God ‘expects’ or demands them; they can be seen as something offered for our own good, as beneficial to us as the regular cleansing of the body, so long as we say them with feeling and not just in a mechanical repetition.  In the Gayan, Hazrat Inayat Khan says:
He who realizes the effect of his deed upon himself
begins to open his outlook on life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.