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Learn to Sleep at Will by Paramhansa Yogananda

Praecepta Volume 1 (1934): Praeceptum #26

Becoming Owner of Three Worlds – Even as Your Father Is

1) Learn to Go to Sleep at Will

You can’t sleep while running or while seeing, smelling, touching, hearing or tasting anything; therefore, close eyes and cease all bodily motion. Greatest method of relaxation. Any time you are nervous, relax by this method.) Lie down, tense all body parts – then suddenly relax. Throw breath out. Forget breath – even though you might be breathing. (Forgetting breath is a condition of sleep – while you sleep you forget breath even though you breathe less and rhythmically. As soon as you are awake you breathe, and you become aware of your body and the world.) Cease to think. Be indifferent to sounds or the feeling of your body – forget the taste in your mouth or the smell in your nostrils. Go to sleep – anytime, anywhere. Dump and dissolve your body into the subconscious or slumberland and forget it. Then you will consciously learn to be half asleep or fully asleep. Make your mind feel that you haven’t gone to sleep for a week and that you feel so sleepy that you can sleep while traveling in an auto or sitting on a park bench or in your room on a sofa.

I practiced sleeping at will whenever I was riding in a car and somebody else was driving, and I didn’t care to listen to the chitter chatter of people traveling with me. This taught me to relax and sleep even when my body was in motion and subject to noise. This destroyed also the tediousness of long journeys.

2) Learn to Wake at Will

After learning to sleep at will – learn to wake at will any time after sleeping at will. Then keep awake by half opening eyes for half a minute or two at first and then go to sleep at once. Learn to sleep and wake up at will alternately as many times as you can, any time, anywhere, in a noisy or a quiet place. Then, as you are falling asleep at will and are three-fourths sleepy with eyes closed, half open your eyes and remain awake for half a minute or so, then close eyes, become three-fourths sleepy again, then hold open your eyes and remain awake for a little while. Keep half asleep and half awake alternately at will as many times as you can. Then learn to close eyes and instantaneously sleep soundly for five minutes, then command your mind to wake you and remain awake with half-opened eyes for a minute – then go back to sleep. Learn to do the above – sleep and wake alternately many times, anywhere, while relaxing in a quiet or a noisy place.

3) Making Subconscious Ever-Wakeful Mind Work for You

After mastering this technique your mind will be able to sleep fifteen minutes to six hours or more and wake you up at a definite time. Before you go to sleep at night, command your subconscious mind to wake you up at five or six or ten minutes before-five or six A.M., or at any time, and it will do so. Suggest to your subconscious never-sleeping mind just before you sleep to wake you at a certain time, or to get rid of a bad habit. You must make your specific wish very intense, until you fall asleep with it. Then it will work.

4) Learn to Go into Ecstasy at Will

(First in a quiet place and then in a noisy place) Inhale, exhale twelve times. With half-open eyes look up at the point between the eyebrows – expel breath, forgetting it entirely. Dissolve your body consciousness and thoughts and sleepiness, if any, at once into the superconscious, ever-increasing joy of deep inward concentration. By closing the eyes and forgetting breath you have learned to go to sleep instantaneously – dissolving body consciousness. Now by keeping eyes half open, pointed upward at the point between the eyebrows, you must instantaneously enjoy and be intoxicated with the cocktail of the joys of many sleeps – consciously.

With half-open eyes learn to remain half-awake and half asleep, and you will learn to go into ecstasy, or the state of consciously sleeping at will.

Sleep is a negative way of knowing you are not a man or a woman, but an invisible, joyous Soul – made in the image of blissful God. When you sleep you are not unconscious but semi-conscious, for when you wake up you can always tell whether you were sleeping lightly or soundly, or sleeping in a disturbed way or joyously. In sleep you are forced to know every night that you are not so many pounds of flesh and bones, but a happy invisible Soul, sleeping in space.

By learning to sleep at will consciously with half-open eyes, you will feel a greater and greater joy or ecstasy or superconsciousness and intuitively sense your Soul. Why not learn the lesson of God in sleep? If every night you are forced in a negative way to forget your mortal existence, your nationality, sex and possessions and made to know you are a happy Soul sleeping in a particle of space – even as God is the largest Soul or manifested Spirit consciously sleeping in all space beyond all material vibrations – then it is true that sleep teaches you negatively that you are a little happy Soul occupying a small space, and made after the image of the largest, ever-newly Blissful Soul of all space. But by consciously enjoying the state of sleep or ecstasy, you gradually learn that you are not a little Soul sleeping in a portion of space, but one with the largest Soul consciously sleeping in all Space .

Death is a deeper sleep, and when you wake up from that sleep you don’t wake in the same body, but in some other body somewhere. In sleep you die daily, coming back into the same bodily house when you wake up. Every night you die, every day you are reborn. In one year alone you die and are reborn about 365 times. You wake after sleep because of your desire to fulfill your duties of life. So also, unless you drop all your mortal desires, you will actually die and reincarnate many times – until liberation is reached by working for God and by knowing Him in the temple of meditation, and not working impelled by your own rebirth-making mortal desires.

Soul and God

The dynamo of a city can be compared to God, and all the lights of that city, sustained by the dynamo, can be compared to the Souls. When a bulb blows out, its light returns to the dynamo. So when a human body dies, its light goes back to the spiritual God-Dynamo. When a fresh bulb is put on in place of the one that blew out, then that same light shines again. Likewise, when a fresh new embryo is adjusted to that particular disembodied Soul, then the same extinguished light of life of the disembodied Soul shines again.

Another analogy of Soul and God: Under a gas burner exists one large undivided flame, but that flame going through many pores becomes divided and many. Also, all the many little flames can be withdrawn into the one big flame by lowering the light. So God, the great Light, appears to be many, running through many human brains and bodies, as different individual Souls. God can withdraw all Souls unto Him at will.

Soul Explained

The relationship of God and the Soul may be compared to the moon of the sky and the moon in the pot. One moon reflected in many pots of water appears as many. So also God appears as many Souls reflected in the waters of various minds and bodies.

God is the omnipresent, ever-conscious, ever newly joyous little being, confined by rebirth-making, mortal habits and desires. Soul is felt in ecstasy as a perfect but body-confined reflection of God, as a clear moon is seen in a pot of water undisturbed by the breeze. When the pot breaks, the confined image of the moon becomes one with the big skyey moon. So, by Yoga, the little Soul, can be seen as an ever-new joyous being, undisturbed by the breeze of desires. But when this little Soul becomes established in its real perfect nature as the blissful image of God, and completely destroys its identification with the Ego, the body-bound pseudo-Soul of the wakeful hours, then the liberated Soul learns to get out of the three physical, astral and mental bodies and become one with the omnipresent biggest ever Blissful God. During wakeful hours, through Ego, everyone except the true Yogi perceives himself as a man, or a woman, as so many pounds of flesh, as owner of so many paltry material things. At night the body-identified Soul, or Ego, realizes its own invisible joyous true nature in a passive state. The Yogi, by practice of Yoga, and non-attachment, always at night or by day – beholds himself as the perfect image of ever-blissful God. By meditation and conscious ecstasy the Soul becomes established in its true nature, and not its mortal nature, Ego.

A strong man slept and dreamt he was a weakling. He was crying for his weak, diseased body. Somebody woke him up and told him: “Do you know you were praying for muscles and strength, and crying to get rid of your weakness?” “How silly,” the strong man said, “that I dreamed myself to be a weakling, when actually I am strong as a Sandow.” The Soul is drunk with delusion, the somnambulism of daily wakefulness, and acts and grieves like a mortal man. This body-identified state of the Soul is called Ego. This Ego, or mortal state of the Soul, is partially forgotten during sleep and entirely forgotten during ecstasy. That is why you want to practice ecstasy – to remember that you are truly made in the image of God, and get rid of the Ego, the nest of all your imaginary troubles.

God Explained

God is Cosmic Consciousness, Cosmic Love, Cosmic Bliss, Cosmic Wisdom, etc. God sees, hears, smells, tastes, touches, feels, thinks, and knows by intuition only. Soul, in its perfect state is superconscious, body-confined Love and Joy, and knows all things by intuition also.

Whenever your Soul prepares the heart so that it can love all, or in meditation finds greater wisdom and greater joy, it is gradually recovering its true image, patterned after God. Ego uses defective powers of senses, inference and very little of intuition except the spasmodic, unreliable hunch. God, as unmanifested Spirit, exists beyond creation, and in creation exists as Christ Consciousness and vibratory creation. Spirit is unmanifested, absolute, ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new Joy.

“Know ye not that the sparrows are sold for two farthings and not one of them falls without the sight of my Father?” The ant feels its body and its small eyes perceive a little territory around it. The little man knows his body, house and family. The superman knows that his body is a part of all the human family and knows that his mind holds the universe in its mental and perceptive boundaries. He realizes that on a little speck of thought rests the Cosmic lot. Rub your thought away with sleep, unconsciousness, conscious ecstasy or anesthetics – and the universe will vanish into nothingness. Your thought gives reality to the Universe – without it the Universe cannot be real to you.

As a mortal man you have learned to remain awake and become entangled with all the little and big miseries and problems of life or to go to sleep and forget the world. As a child of God, as a man made in the image of God, you must learn (by ecstasy) to dump and dissolve your body consciousness and your sleep consciousness into the superconscious ever-new, ever-increasing joy of God. After you can easily remain awake or go to sleep, then you must learn to consciously sleep – or go into ecstasy at will with half-open eyes. Don’t keep memorizing your mortal habits of (1) Sleep (2) Wakefulness, but learn to sleep consciously with half-open eyes – or consciously to enjoy the sleep state at will anytime, anywhere.

Definite Technique of Attaining Ecstasy

As you are falling asleep every night, keep your eyes half open and consciously enjoy in a relaxed, nonchalant way the state at the border of joyous sleep as long as you can hold it without falling asleep – and you will learn to go into ecstasy at will – ecstasy which is multi-million times more Blissful than sleep. Do not use conscious nervous will for then you will be awake, but use passive will to prolong the enjoyment of the half-awake, half-asleep state every night at bedtime. Try to remain in the above state from five minutes to one hour – then you will know about conscious communion of your Soul and God, or Yoga.

Sleep is the semi-conscious negative way of uniting Soul and God – the little joy of the Soul with the greater joy of God. Ecstasy or Yoga or conscious union of Soul and God – union of the little joy of your Soul with the unending joy of Omnipresent God – are the same. There is no difference between ecstasy, Yoga or conscious communion of Soul and God. (Nota Bene) Ecstasy can be practiced with closed eyes, or eyes open looking straight, or up. But as open eyes indicate wakefulness and closed eyes indicate sleep, so half-opened eyes (neither fully wide open eyes of wakefulness or closed eves of sleep) signify the physiological state of the eyes during ecstasy.

As it is hard to sleep and keep the eyes closed when one is fully awake, and hard to awaken and force the eyes open when one is asleep – so it is difficult to keep the eyes upturned and half-open and half-closed. But, by practice, you will find your eyes glued at the point between the eyebrows. The light of your Spiritual eye (called Bindu) will help you to keep your eyes half-open and half-closed during ecstasy. When you practice looking at the point between the eyebrows during the state of half-sleep and half-wakefulness – you will learn to enjoy the state of ecstasy naturally in the half-open eyes without strain. After you master the above state by practicing every night, then anytime, anywhere when you look at the point between the eyebrows and think and feel the joyous state of half-awake and half-asleep, you will be able to go into ecstasy at will. There are various states of ecstasy – by deeper and deeper concentration you will learn the highest ecstasy of feeling the unending, ever-new joy of final union of Soul and God without the consciousness of the universe, or with it, like seeing the ocean without waves or with waves. To see and feel God in stillness first and then in motion is the highest state of ecstasy. Students who follow the entire Seven Steps and make this work a part of their life’s work, seeking God-union and helping others to find it, will ultimately attain this highest ecstasy.

The Seat of Superconsciousness

When you look at the middle point of the eyebrows you will notice the top part dark, representing the state of subconscious sleep, and the lower part light representing the state of wakefulness. The Yogi desiring to go into the superconscious state, or into the fourth dimension (which is neither in the state of wakefulness nor in the state of sleep) must concentrate on the horizon line of the superconsciousness which divides the darkness above and the light below, as evidenced during time spent with half-open and half-closed eyes, with gaze fixed at the point between the two eyebrows.

Put your finger at the point between the eyebrows; quickly fix your gaze there and feel the state of half-sleep and half-wakefulness and go into ecstasy at once. Practicing at night before sleep will make it possible for you to go into ecstasy any time. “For if thine eye be single thy whole body shall be full of light.”

The light of the medulla is the Spiritual eye; it becomes two as the one light becomes two in the headlights of an auto.

When Yogis concentrate at the point between the eyebrows, the one light of the medulla, the tri-colored spiritual eye, becomes the two lights in the two eyes, and becomes visibly one again, by concentration at the point between the eyebrows.

When the two eyes man uses to behold three-dimensional matter are concentrated at the point between the eyebrows to permit limited human vision to sense the fourth dimension, then the Spiritual eye becomes visible – like a spiritual eye of light – with the star encased in an opal disc surrounded by a gold disc. These three discs are telescopes into Omnipresent space (one within the other). The Yogi’s vision, penetrating the gold disc, will bring a vision of all vibrating matter. The Yogi’s mind and vision penetrating the blue will bring a vision of the Christ Intelligence in all vibratory creation. The Yogi’s mind and vision penetrating the star will bring a vision of God the Father, or Cosmic Consciousness beyond all vibratory creation. It takes time, years of practice, to receive the lost, delusion-paralyzed vision of the spiritual spherical eye of the Soul. The Soul, being identified with the little lens of the human eyes, has lost the use of its spiritual spherical eye, which can look into everything from all sides.

This can simultaneously look into all matter; it is the Omnipresent eye of the Soul. One is lucky to behold this eye of light during meditation. In ecstasy this eye always remains before the Yogi, and through it he can see into everything, above, beneath, left and right, into the all directions of eternity.

First learn to go into ecstasy at will with half-open eyes, then the Spiritual eye and its wonders will be revealed to you. Don’t look for phenomena or miracles – you won’t find them. Learn to love God by going into ecstasy and He will show you all the things you want to see.

Spanish inquisitions and murders have been committed through misinterpretation of the teachings of the Bible, which says, “Thou shalt not kill.” “Love Thine enemies.” So people twist the scriptural sayings with their wicked minds in order to condone their evil actions. You are learning the truths which Christ and the Masters want you to know, as they gave them to your Guru Preceptor, through direct perception.

Most Important

- After learning to go to sleep at will by closing the eyes

- And learning to remain awake by keeping eyes open

- And learning to go into ecstasy by fixing the gaze upward with half-open and half-closed eyes, you must sit in a quiet, dimly lighted room, and learn to alternately go to sleep for five minutes by closing the eyes, or go into ecstasy for five minutes by fixing the gaze between the eyebrows with half-closed and half-opened eyes, without winking.

Technique of Owning Three Worlds

Keep closing eyes and widely opening eyes and keeping eyes half-open and closed alternately, and thus take your Soul from the kingdom of sleep to the land of wakefulness and then to the superconscious sphere of ecstasy In other words you, a true Yogi, must learn by shifting your gaze to shift your being from the kingdom of sleep to the kingdom of God’s ecstasy,

When you keep looking straight ahead you must concentrate on the world of your little room. Then if you don’t like the troublesome world, quickly shut your eyes and go to the pleasanter sleepland. Then if you don’t like the dopey joy of sleepland, several times visibly close your eyes and keep half opening them and concentrating on the point between the eyebrows. Then, after fixing your gaze between the eyebrows, jump from the sleepland to ecstasy. Then if you want to come back to earth, close and open your eyes several times in quick succession and keep looking hard at an object without winking. This way you can learn to remain awake several days. While writing Whispers from Eternity I remained awake five days and nights by keeping my eyes looking straight ahead. But on the sixth day, as my writing slid down, and I looked down, heavy sleep and nodding overtook me. When I suddenly realized I was falling asleep I explained to the people around me, “Pardon me, my writing had slid down and my fallen gaze looked downward, and sleep naturally overtook my eyes.” (I slept a normal sleep on the sixth night.)

By keeping the eyes straight ahead and open without winking, the Yogi can remain awake several days. By keeping eyes closed, the Yogi can sleep for days. By keeping eyes half-opened and half-closed and fixed on the forehead between the eyebrows, the Yogi can remain in ecstasy from a few minutes to one day, two days, or twenty-one days – or even hundreds of years. The Yogi is not compelled to remain in ecstasy with God, but he can bring back his body consciousness and awake any time by will, as he remains inwardly conscious during short or long ecstasy.

I have gone into ecstasy for 48 hours and sometimes for weeks. In highest ecstasy I have felt God-union without interruption for months, uniformly during sleep, wakefulness, or ecstasy. As an alcoholic can remain drunk during wakefulness, light sleep or deep slumber, the Yogi, in highest ecstasy, can uniformly remain intoxicated with ever-new Divine Bliss during wakeful hours of movement, the immobile state of sleep, or the deep motionless state of ecstasy.

The student who attains mastery over the sleep state, conscious and superconscious states by going to sleep at will, or can remain awake or go into ecstasy by never shifting the eyes, will find Kriya and higher techniques producing the greatest results in God-union. Whenever you have leisure time instead of doing nothing, practice the above three techniques.

The homekeeper, or business man will no longer have to think of chicken dinner during the Lord’s Prayer, but, by mastering the above techniques, can attain God-union with every utterance of prayer. By mastery of the above techniques you will be master of three worlds – Conscious, Subconscious and Superconscious even as your Father God is. And you will find the temple of self-realization established within you whenever the Omnipresent Blessed God consciously manifests to you, and you will feel the ever-joyous God equally present in you in the temple of slumber, in the temple of activity, and in the temple of self-realized unending joyous ecstasy.