As a middle aged dude I’m apt to wake up once or twice in the night. Last night I fell asleep, awoke at 1:30am, got up and then went back to bed. Laying in bed I could tell my brain was dangerously close to the precipice of full blown mind racing thoughts. I smiled and had an awesome idea that was way better than expected.
On Saturday night I happened across a book online that quickly caught my attention. The entire focus was on breathing techniques and the use of cold to help relaxation and health. I clicked on Audible, downloaded it, and proceeded to listen to approximately a quarter of the book yesterday. One of the techniques that was explained was a deep breathing exercise. It was pretty easy to remember, even in the middle of the night.
As I laid on my back looking up into the blackness of our dark bedroom I figured why not try the breathing exercise. I spent the next minutes (though I couldn’t tell you how long for sure) drawing in deep breaths of air until my lungs expanded my stomach and then slowly releasing the breath. Forty breaths later I expended all the air in my lungs and didn’t breathe in until my lungs made it very clear that I should. I then threw a long, slow, and deep breath and held it until my lungs were ready to release it. This process alone led to some interesting sensations throughout my body and I quickly understood why they recommended doing it only when laying down in a safe place.
My mind was already clear of all thoughts and I went deep into myself. Very quickly I reached that beautiful space in which no thought exists, only sensation and existence. For what seemed like and incredibly long period of time my entire existence was the sensation of my heart beating and pushing the hot blood throughout my entire body. Each beat of my heart was followed by an intense wave of warmth flowing through my veins. It was one of the most intense experiences of my life, certainly the most profound meditative state I’ve even been in.
One of my favorite books, American Gods, has a character who has come back from the dead. She mentions that one of the things she misses the most is the warmth of blood being pushed from her heart to the rest of her body. She never noticed it in life, it was only after her heart stopped beating that she was aware of its now missing presence. When I read the book I thought I understood. After my experience last night I am much closer to a complete understanding of the concept the author was describing. All day long I’ve had these little mini moments of that same sensation in which I can feel an individual heartbeat or two and the following echo across my body. It’s been wild!
When I woke this morning I can’t even being to explain what an amazingly joyful mood I was in. I was excited to wake up and get out of my warm bed. I was pumped to run outside in the frozen air. All my being was in a deep state of gratitude for life and for the gift I received in mediation last night. Throw in some other awesome experiences (like my first dose of 15 seconds of cold water at the end of my shower) and it was one of the best Monday mornings of my life!
All that from one little bit of insomnia, how crazy is that?