WHILE this article isn't intended to put you to sleep, it hopes to show how a spiritual sense of rest can result in refreshment and well-being. I used to be a slave to sleep. Waking up before I'd had my eight hours produced an unvarying litany of worries: first a rundown of current problems, then fretting over how not sleeping would make them impossible to solve.
But then one morning at about two o'clock on a day that stretched ahead with no letup of high-pressure tasks, I decided there must be a solution. This chronic waking up, fretting, and then sentencing myself to a variety of failures simply would not do!
I had learned through reading the Bible in my study of Christian Science that God made man in His own image and likeness.1 I knew that this perfect spiritual image was my real being; that it was complete and whole, never separated from God; that it wasn't dependent on any set period of sleep.
So instead of just lying there worrying, I got up and opened my Bible to Matthew, where Jesus said, ``Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.'' I suddenly saw that this same Christly rest was available to me right then. I kept reading, encouraged that finally I was onto something that could help heal the fear of sleeplessness that had plagued me for so long. ``Take my yoke upon you,'' Jesus continues, ``and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.''2
``Rest unto your souls.'' If ever a soul needed rest, mine did. So I prayed to know what I needed to learn of Christ in order to break this pattern of waking up, worrying, and suffering.
A passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, was wonderfully reassuring. She writes, referring to God as Truth, ``The consciousness of Truth rests us more than hours of repose in unconsciousness.''3 Do I believe that without eight hours' sleep I can't achieve harmony and balance in my life? If I do believe such a thing, am I not denying my spirituality as God's child?
When I put it to myself that way, it sounded so ridiculous that I began to reject the long-held concept that a certain number of hours of unconscious repose was essential to my well-being. Certainly it's natural and normal to have peaceful sleep. But we need not be slaves to a prescribed number of hours of sleep.
I spent an hour or two that early morning praying and studying and rejoicing in the wonderful possibility that I could be free from this seemingly entrenched belief in the necessity of having so many hours of sleep. Finally, peaceful and content with ``the consciousness of Truth,'' I did sleep what was left of the night and woke refreshed the next morning. My day went wonderfully well, everything getting attended to with all the grace and dominion I could possibly have wished.
Although it has taken plenty of prayer since that night to protect my gains, when I really do claim my unity with God and the liberty this oneness assures, either I don't wake up at all or I make such good use of the time that all those once-certain penalties never occur.
So the next time you're sleepless, don't lie there and fret. Use the time to pray, rejoicing in ``the consciousness of Truth,'' in the consciousness of God's presence and the fact that the man God created (your real selfhood) is spiritual and complete, never needing unconsciousness to ensure his well-being. This just could be the start of lasting freedom from the tyranny of sleeplessness.
1See Genesis 1:26, 27. 2Matthew 11:28-30. 3Science and Health, p. 218. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Trust ye in the Lord for ever. Isaiah 26:3,4