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Good nights

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

January 20, 2000



Judging by the number of products on the market, such as adjustable beds, getting a good night's sleep is something a lot of people value. Sleeplessness has made for some great comedy sketches, but in real life it's no joke.

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I know. I suffered from insomnia. Night after night, I'd go to bed drowsy, but then wake up - completely. My pillow got rearranged so often, I'm surprised that the feathers didn't all come flying out in protest.

During that time, I came across a newspaper article that said people literally wear themselves out during occasional sleepless times by worrying about not being able to sleep; this, instead of simply accepting the fact they could at least be peacefully resting during those sleepless hours.

That was interesting. The Bible says, "My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest" (Ex. 33:14). There's a lot to be said for rest.

Jesus used to go up in the mountains and pray all night. Most of us couldn't claim a schedule like his - walking from town to town, village to village, in constant demand for teaching and healing. Add to that the fact that his enemies were watching him closely.

Perhaps those all-night prayer vigils where he talked with God were what gave him the refreshment, peace, energy, inspiration, and direction that his schedule denied him.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, wrote, "The consciousness of Truth rests us more than hours of repose in unconsciousness" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 218). God is Truth. God is Love. So this leads us right back to being conscious of God's presence, as it's promised in that Exodus passage.

There are different ways to seek God. Feeling gratitude is one. When my grandson was small, his mother asked him at bedtime to share his favorite thing that had happened during the day. Often it was time spent with a playmate or an adult. It's not a bad idea to recall the good things that we have noticed during the day. Just suppose that the focus on good is the foundation for "sleeping like a baby." It's impossible to be disturbed and grateful at the same time, so composing a "gratitude list" makes sense.

Praying the Lord's Prayer (see Matt. 6:9-13) is a way of seeking God's presence. It speaks of the relationship of God to each one of us. It's said to cover "all human needs" (see Science and Health, pg. 16). The quiet of night is a great time to slow down and ponder this prayer word by word. You can also ask God for help in being a better spouse, parent, employee, whatever. You can pray for someone who is ill by remembering that no one can be separated from the comfort and love of their divine Father and Mother. Thousands of refugees throughout the world are seeking home and peace. Here we can pray by acknowledging another name for God - Mind. The divine Mind is able to direct each one of them.

The list of things to pray about is endless. It's ours to tailor. Perhaps what we're really looking for most nights is peace and refreshment. This comes about by being willing to go to God - to find God's presence.

Prayer brought about a more normal sleep pattern for me. Not that I never have any more sleeplessness. But there's much less pillow-arranging. On the nights when I do see the clock telling me time is passing, it doesn't really matter that much. I've come to know I'll be refreshed when it's time to get up and get going the next day.

During this time of exploring a better way to spend a sleepless night, I found another statement that aided me in my new way of thinking: "... if you fall asleep, actually conscious of the truth of Christian Science, - namely, that man's harmony is no more to be invaded than the rhythm of the universe, - you cannot awake in fear or suffering of any sort" (Eddy, "Retrospection and Introspection," pg. 61). Those words rhythm of the universe contain the comfort of a lullaby. Using awake time, instead of being abused by it, is good time management.

You can read other articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society