The Spirituality of Sleep





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The Spirituality of Sleep

Dr Alex Tang


'If you find it hard to sleep, stop counting sheep and talk to the shepherd.'

            author unknown

In Shakespeare's play Macbeth, ambitious Macbeth after murdering his king, said with deep psychological insight "'Sleep no more, Macbeth does murder sleep'- the innocent sleep, sleep that knits up the revelled sleave of care, the death of each day's life, sore labour's bath, balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course, chief nourisher in life's feast." A person with a calm mind and a peaceful heart will have a night of quality sleep, waking up refreshed. On the other hand, someone with an anxious mind and troubled heart will have trouble getting to sleep. Even when sleep did come, it will be troubled with nightmares and the person will wake up tired and irritable.

We are living in a world that is hurried and stressful. We want to be successful and we define 'success' as being beautiful (or handsome), having a position high if not at the top of the corporate ladder, lots of money in our bank accounts, living in large luxurious bungalows, driving around in powerful sleek European cars, wearing expensive jewels and clothes or having numerous titles and diplomas before and after our names. To achieve 'success', we are willing to work hard, sacrifice much and in doing so end up with anxious minds and troubled hearts.

Jesus Christ told his disciples a story about a farmer who worked hard and was very successful. God blessed him so that his crops yield so much grain that he planned to build a new granary to store them. Unfortunately he congratulated himself instead of God that he was so successful that he does not need to work anymore and could retire and enjoy himself. That night, the rich farmer suddenly died in his sleep and in the end someone else get to enjoy his wealth. Jesus taught about the illusion of success and the transience of life. We deceive ourselves when we think we have control over our lives. Who among us can decide the time and date of our birth or of our death? Yet we act as if we do. We are like the farmer in the story, working hard to accumulate material wealth or 'success' and neglecting the spiritual aspect of our lives.

True success lies in living a life honoring our Creator God, living a life pleasing to him and developing our relationship with him. True success means not being trapped by the consumerism of the world. It means using things rather that using people. True success does not harm others but help the poor and the weak. It is valuing people rather than things and developing meaningful relationships with people. True success is about  having time for work, play and rest. The fruit of true success is a calm mind and a peaceful heart. This means at least a good night sleep!


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Soli Deo Gloria



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