Am I Awake?

Being the mom of a diabetic 4 year old has opened up new and intense avenues for my continuing sadhana. Spiritual practice was a breeze on many levels when I had the luxury of time and my own schedule. I could get up and do my asana practice for a few hours and meditate for as long as I wanted. Little did I know that those long hours of ecstatic practice were building up a kind of “spiritual interest” in the bank of the heart, that would be crucial for my survival through motherhood.

In the Siva Sutras, a beautiful Tantric text, there is much discussion of the 3 states of consciousness. The waking state, the dream state, and the deep sleep state or dreamless state of consciousness. There are many combinations of these states of consciousness as well, you can be awake, but dreaming( day dreaming), or you can be asleep dreaming and aware that you are dreaming (lucid dreaming).

Well just recently I had the experience of the merging of these states or maybe I should say the inability to discriminate between these states of consciousness. This altered state of awareness came after day 5 of very limited sleep mixed with a big dose of stress as I kept vigil over Liam’s extreme fluctuation in blood sugars during a recent illness.

I had the experience many times where the deep sleep state was merging with my waking state and dreamless state and I had no idea what the heck was going on…very scary by the way and I don’t recommend this! There were times I had NO idea what I had just done. I was ‘functioning’ in the deep sleep state and didn’t know it til I “woke up” back into normal waking consciousness. And realized I had no idea what I was just doing.

Then I had times where I didn’t know if I was dreaming or if I was awake.

Kind of like the old days of partaking in certain ‘organic substances’... “wait did I say that or did I just THINK I said that?..”

In a nut shell, this kind of weaving of states of awareness is quite disturbing when you have to function in a daily activity. We often experience these states of awareness sliding into each other and can watch them with some type of clarity like in meditation -we can see the difference between them, but when you are in an altered state like with sleep deprivation or illness, the line that defines these states is gone and let me tell ya, that is a boundary that you DON’T want to lose-trust me!

Who was AWARE that I was confused during those five days? Apparently there was some part of me that was fully aware of what state I was in at all times, and this is the all-pervading state of Turiya. It is the state that threads through all other states and was letting me know, “Hey Michelle, you were just in the sleeping state while driving- Danger Will Robinson!”

What do you do when these extreme circumstances arise? Who ya gonna call? YEAH that’s right, GHOST BUSTERS aka: the kula (your community)

That’s when good company and a great network of friends are the most precious gift you could receive. That Awareness gave me the clarity that I needed help and I knew who to trust and reach out to! I was lucky to have friends to reach out to who fed me and came in to pick up some slack while I got my feet firmly planted in the mundane awareness of the WAKING state!

Scott MarmorsteinComment