Sleep / rest mode

In my final year Engineering, there was a project to submit. And I was lucky enough to be selected to do the project in a Company that manufactured Microprocessor based kits.

I got to partner with a lovely person who is a dear friend even now. We both got to design a kit based on a Motorola microprocessor. We studied the processor language and started to write the start up code for the kit.

We wrote a lot of routines as part of the software design. Each routine was meant for different input systems. One routine handled inputs from the keyboard while another one handled inputs from an external device and there were output routines that helped to communicate with displays and external devices like the printer.

Looking back at this project and the routines we wrote, one thing becomes clear – the routines are activated only when there is an input – an external trigger. This input can retrigger other routines or devices. Without any input or trigger, the system / microprocessor kit is idle or in sleep mode.

Now look at the human body. There are 5 sensory organs which have specific job profiles of receiving inputs from the external environment. Here the body is not waiting for inputs rather the inputs are constantly streamed into the body. The body is constantly processing all the inputs from these sensory organs thinking that they might be very crucial for survival. And this involves using a lot of the body’s energy. When energy is spent on just processing inputs, how can the body divert the energy toward healing and well-being?

Now please seat yourself in a safe place – at your home – in the comfort of a couch or bed! Here is a safe place where the body can learn to relax the processing of the inputs from the sensory organs for sometime. So gently shift your body to a comfortable posture and go with the flow of the breath in your body. Slowly disengage from the sensory inputs, if possible and try disengaging for brief moments. This process helps the body to understand how it can relax from the processing of constant inputs from sensory organs.

We can try to understand the inputs we are receiving – what are we seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling on skin. When there is mo great change in these inputs, we can suggest to our body to accept these inputs and help to relax the sensory organs.

This gentle suggestions helps shift the body to a relaxed state, the para sympathetic state. There might be expressions of this relaxed state through yawns or deep sighs or an exhalation that can be felt strongly!

This is idle mode for body – something like sleep mode in laptop – where we are resting and saving the energy of the body. We can begin by staying in this mode for 2 minutes and then slowly increase this time spent in rest mode. We learn to be with our body without doing any physical or mental activity. We teach ourselves the art of saving our body’s energy. Here we can observe small natural movements happening in our body – blinking of eyes, the flaring of nostrils as we breathe, movement at the toes, change in spine position – or any discomfort in the body.

To conserve body’s energy levels mean better healing and repair work of cells and tissues. If you are a hustler, take some time to stop hustling. If you are a multitasker, stay put with one task which is to be with your body. Challenge yourself to ignore sensory inputs. Or if your body understands soft talk, urge / cajole / suggest that you would like to do only one task which is to just be with the body and may be watch the flow of breath as you inhale and exhale. The more we practice this, we enable the body to heal well.

I remember this from my Bhagavad Gita class:

indriyāṇāṁ hi charatāṁ yan mano ’nuvidhīyate
tadasya harati prajñāṁ vāyur nāvam ivāmbhasi

BG 2.67: Just as a strong wind sweeps a boat off its chartered course on the water, even one of the senses on which the mind focuses can lead the intellect astray.