Yesterday I had one of those AHA moments about meditation. I have always read in various books about how prolonged meditation cuts down the amount of sleep you would need. I should admit, I really was trying to put that to good use – when I was working for myself – where the work days would last 16 hours and there was no work/life balance.
Anyhow, what I have always known was – 20 mins of nap during day == 1 hour of sleep during night. And 15 mins of deep focused meditation == 1 hour of sleep during night. I have seen that being said everywhere but I could never understand why.
Yesterday I learned the answer. Here are the details.
Everyone of us have something called ‘Pineal Gland‘. This small almond shaped gland is the end point of our nervous system which connects to our brain. As we get signals from nervous system, this gland kinda vibrates and releases a hormone called ‘Melatonin‘. Now Melatonin is a natural hormone – which we use to replenish and heal our bodies. So sleep is a means to the end of getting Melatonin. There I was like AHA. Now I know.
So basically when you take a nap or meditate – you are making Melatonin. Once our body gets that – it doesn’t need us to sleep longer hours for more and that way you can get away with 6 hours of sleep and still be alert during day.
Again, I don’t think just simple meditation generates Melatonin. What meditation does is to slow down our brain waves and I think when we get to theta level – we are able to produce Melatonin.
I have also learned that in the ancient cultures, people knew about this and focused on Pineal gland focused meditation technique. Usually when we meditate we are asked to either focus on a picture, idol, light or breathing. The more noob the more external things you need to focus on. So, you would start your meditation practice with a picture and end up doing it by focusing on your breath as you progress. But in Pineal gland focused meditation technique the seeker focuses on the back of the head (where the gland is located) and this (with practice) furthers the easy making of the Melatonin harmone. I think this is a very valid technique. Two years back I was taking a Super Memory reading course – because I had way too many books to read than time. In that they teach you a technique which works like a wonder. While reading the book – imagine a imaginary orange behind your head. Just hovering there. Once you do that, your focus kinda shifts to the back of your head and it kinda puts you in a trance where all the external distractions are minimized. It’s called the orange technique and it really works.
Tantrically thinking, I think Pineal gland is actually the esoteric, analogical third eye of Shiva. It’s not a literal one which is between your brows but something inside your head. And as Mythology and Scriptures say – once it’s open it doesn’t destroy the literal world, but your *idea* of this world. This whole shebang you carry around in your head called life is blown away.