“Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
For years I suffered from insomnia. I can remember the feeling of my aching eyes and heavy head. It was a nightmare. But I finally cured it. How? By finding my life’s purpose.
Do you know what it feels like to lie up at night time and time again, desperate but unable to get to sleep?
Do you know the pain of extreme fatigue, the feeling of not being able to function properly because you’re so tired you can barely see straight?
Have you ever experience insomnia?
It’s a nightmare.
Ending insomnia is far from easy.
Sure, there are plenty of tips for insomnia. We’re told to:
- Eliminate alcohol
- Reduce caffeine
- Get exercise
- Take less naps (ha, like I ever got that luxury)
- Get an ergonomic pillow.
While ergonomic pillows are wonderfully comfortable, they did not cure my insomnia.
When I was at university I had insomnia for the first year and a half. It was so bad that one day, after a lecture, I walked (eh, to be honest, I crawled) to my room and collapsed on my bed. Oh, I didn’t sleep. That would have been luxurious. Instead, I sort of past out. Only, it was worse than that.
I collapsed on my bed and started hearing a deafening whistle in my head. At the same time, I saw intense white light in my vision, even though my eyes were closed. I remember this experience vividly even today, over fifteen years later.
That was the last of it I could stand. I had to fix my insomnia immediately. Only, I couldn’t. Because I’d tried everything. And nothing was working.
I was so exhausted and beside myself that I considered jacking university in. And I sought a different life. Specifically, every time my lecturers (I was taking a degree in media) were finished, I would get out of the university and start dancing, singing, or acting (which I found were three of the absolute best hobbies for mental health).
This shift changed my mindset. I absolutely loved performing. Acting, singing, and dancing were basically a godsend for me at that point in my life.
Within two weeks of starting this new life I finally, finally got my first good night’s sleep in over a year.
I believe my mind was telling me something when I couldn’t sleep. I believe it was telling me, “Something is wrong with life at the moment. This path isn’t right for me. I need to change”. I believe my mind was screaming at me to make a shift. And that is why I couldn’t sleep.
Could it be true?
I was surprised this week when a scientific study was published that shows that finding our life’s purpose will helps us to sleep.
Researchers at the Northwestern University in Chicago surveyed people on their sense of purpose and their sleeping habits and found a correlation. Specifically, people who felt they had a strong purpose in life were significantly less likely to suffer from insomnia.
Researchers Jason Ong suggests that if we want to stop insomnia, we should focus on finding a purpose in life.
More than 800 people between the ages of 60 and 100 took part in the study and were asked to rate the accuracy of statements like, “I feel good when I think of what I’ve done in the past and what I hope to do in the future.”
The study suggests that people with a good sense of purpose in life are less likely to suffer from insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and apnea.
But how exactly do you find a purpose in life so you can get to sleep?
My personal belief is that our life purpose is always within us. Only, we cannot hear it, or see it, because there is too much noise, too many distractions in the mind.
When we silence the mind and cut out distraction, we are able to tune into the deeper parts of the mind, which is precisely where we find our life’s purpose.
Here are 3 tips for finding your purpose in life and ending insomnia
Meditation is a quick and easy way of silencing thoughts so we can see what is going on in the mind.
When we observe the mind through meditation we learn to see what is fleeting, impermanent, and unimportant, and what is real, what matters, what is of importance.
Take a look at my free guide to 31 meditation techniques, which is basically a free online meditation course pen to anyone. Read the techniques and try a few. They help us silence our thoughts so we can see the deeper sides of ourselves. Or, if you’re in the GTA, book a meditation lesson with us.
2: Book A Vacation And Do Nothing While You’re On It
If you’re in a spot where you can book a vacation at the moment, go ahead. But here’s my advice: Book a vacation somewhere quiet, somewhere tranquil, somewhere you will find yourself.
It could be in a Buddhist monastery atop a mountain. It could be by the beach. It could be a yoga retreat of meditation retreat.
While on vacation, do nothing. Focus on just being, just existing. Let your mind quieten. Then the deeper parts of yourself will awaken, and there’s a good chance your life’s purpose will be revealed to you.
3: Let go of all that stuff
How much stuff do you have? And how much of it is unessential? How much would you be willing to let go of to be happy?
Stuff distracts us. Stuff has its own energy, and it is not our energy. Your job, for instance. Is it you? Is it what you’re really all about? Is it the one thing you want to do, the one thing you could not not do?
Of course it’s not easy letting go of your job. I know that. I gave up my job to go full-time on my writing. Not easy. Very challenging. Hard to make enough money to survive. But it is 100% me.
Could you let go of bad relationships that are keeping you locked in the wrong place, spiritually speaking?
Could you let go of your possessions? Are you addicted to shopping because it fills a void? Some people are.
Let go of what you do not need, and you will find what you truly do need: your life purpose.
For my money (which isn’t a lot, but I’m happy with it) when we let go of unessential’s, we find the essentials, we find our purpose. And once we know why we are alive, it’s a lot easier to sleep at night.
I still lose sleep from time to time. And these days I mostly use meditation to help me sleep. But looking back, it was finding my life’s purpose that got me out of the worst of my insomnia.
If you’d like to learn meditation and end insomnia at the same time, read my book, “Journey To The Buddha Within You”.
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