Steiner and Sleep

This wonderful passage by Steiner is my Inner Work meditation for this week…

I came across some wonderful inspirations as I was researching this week and I wanted to share one with you – this is about sleep. I am always struggling with getting enough sleep. As a mother, teacher, and healer I know how important sleep is. I sometimes muse that if everyone in the world got enough sleep perhaps most of our diseases would be cured! 

“The relation between sleep and fatigue is generally not regarded in a realistic way. Sleep is supposed to follow in consequence of fatigue. But this is far too simple an idea; a man need not be tired in the least to fall asleep, say, in a lecture he finds uninteresting. The obvious rejoinder, that in the human being boredom of this kind must therefore also be a cause of fatigue, is surely not quite serious or scientific. In the last resort, unbiased observation leads us to discern in waking and sleeping two distinct relations of the soul to the body — relations which in the normal course of life must, like the swing of a pendulum, alternate in rhythmic sequence. To be filled for a time with the impressions of the outer world arouses in the soul the craving to go over from this into another state, in which the soul is surrendered to the processes other own bodily nature. There is this alternation: the state of being given up to the impressions of the outer world, and that of being given up to one’s own body. During the former state, the craving for the latter is unconsciously engendered, and this in turn then takes its course entirely in the unconscious. It is the longing to be devoted to one’s own bodily nature which manifests as fatigue. In truth we ought rather to say that we feel tired because we want to fall asleep, not that we want to fall asleep because we feel tired. Now habit often makes it possible for the human soul deliberately to evoke conditions which in normal life would of necessity ensue in their due time. There- fore when one is wilfully obtuse to some impressions, it is not difficult to induce the longing to be given up to one’s own body. The soul then goes to sleep, even though by the man’s natural condition there is no cause to do so.”

– Rudolf Steiner

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