I am sure any self-respecting medical journal will give you pretty simple, doable and practical answers eat a light dinner, take a small walk, wear loose clothes, count till whatever number you can count till and many more.
But one very important advice they forget is something which I realized recently, and it actually confused me initially: keep your conscience clean and satisfied; because if you do not do so you are bound to pound the poor bed, turning and twisting the night long.
Of course, the basic premise in the entire suggestion is that you should have a conscience in the first place. But I firmly believe that most people are good and hence so are the readers of this piece; I mean the everyday people, who have had basic education (if not formal schooling or overt moral science lectures) and who have had family or social leanings (however nebulous they be), which means the requisite fundamentals of recognizing the right from the wrong are present. Once these are available, there is no reason why you shouldn t have a conscience either active or latent.
In India, conscience is known through the high-sounding, rabble-rousing and fiery word ‘zameer‘ (an Urdu word) a word that keeps cropping up in the movies with rapid regularity; and there have been two films as well by the same title. In Hindi it means ‘antah-karan’ or simply, ‘vivek’ .
My ‘vivek’ or ‘zameer’ or conscience showed its presence last month. Since the incident is fresh, and revolves around my current job, I will refrain from divulging the details; in any case, it s the effect of the incident that matters. Suffice to mention, it was a petty gain which ideally would have gone unnoticed. But after committing the act, restlessness overcame me, leaving a strange hurting and throbbing sensation within the ribs. Whenever I have fear or excitement I can feel a dull rawness near my heart, as if someone is pressing a soft wound. The same feeling washed me that night. When I switched off the lights and hit the pillow, sleep evaporated and I kept thinking about what I had done. A buzz near my ears droned incessantly, and it wasn t from the mosquitoes! Suddenly, I heard a voice urging me to rectify the mistake. I had heard of voice of reason, and the call of conscience, and that the soul often talks, but that it would give me a monologue in full baritone is something I hadn’t imagined or bargained for. The voice reasoned that God had given me more than enough and if He permits I should get manifold times from the amount involved. So why make this paltry gain? I had a disturbed sleep, and the next morning I woke exhausted. On reaching office, I made amends, paid up and the following night had a deep satisfying sleep.
Now that I have recognized that voice within, I also comprehended that this is the same voice that speaks up when I feel guilty, say, over an extra drink or when I neglect work for some time. In fact, when you finish off all your work, however excruciatingly tough it may be, you are bound to sleep well not because you are tired, but because you have that sense of contentment of completion. After all it’s only the ripe fruit that tastes sweet.
Conscience and guilt are willing partners and they are bound to show up together, hand in hand, often the latter following the former like a trained pet.
Fear is another by-product. And though it carries several negative connotations, it isn’t wholly bad. Sometimes, fear can act as the invisible chain restricting you from committing an unwarranted act. But fear shouldn’t be really your only motive to hold back. Take it as a warning meter, in the sense that if you feel fear coagulating, then consider the recipe your life is cooking up turning sour and hence, there is a need for rectification; don t make it the sole ingredient, though.
However, just a word of caution and here comes the tough part: learn to separate the voice of reason/conscience/guilt from unnecessary babble that might just be silly superstitions from your past. We playback the script that we record during our lifetime (usually in our formative years); and that might not be wholly correct. To take a simplistic example, I have so often heard that one should not leave the house if one sneezes. There is no scientific evidence to link a mere irritation in the nose to the destiny of that day; yet, since I have grown up listening to this superstition, if I ignore the superstition and leave house after sneezing I find myself worrying unnecessarily. In such a case, guilt and fear are both unfounded and shouldn’t be given importance. And how do you separate the two? Well, once again that script is going to be handy – test it against the litmus of science and moral science; if it fails, discard it and if it doesn’t, act!
Separating the chaff from the valuable just needs a sharper focus from your internal antennae. My advice, and which I try to follow, is to simply sit alone in your room, without really focusing on any object or item, preferably with your eyes closed or lights off, and allow the thoughts to roam wildly like the smoke in wilderness. Once you get accustomed to the haze, you will automatically notice the fire below, and that’s where you need to concentrate and act upon!
So, stay tuned to your inner self and inner voice and I am sure you will have a deep slumber and wake the next day satisfied and rested. After all you get your life only once, why waste it worrying, fearing or wallowing in guilt or pain?
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