It is the end of January and Lake Superior is not yet frozen. Yesterday, with the temperature in the mid 20s, I was sitting in the warmth of my car, communing with the Lake. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a kayaker paddling up the coastline. My first thought was that it must be freezing to be so close to the water like that. Then, I settled into watching the rhythm of this lone kayaker as he paddled his way through the waters. Observing the right, left, in, out, unceasing rhythm of his stabilizing paddling was meditative.
Watching him in his rhythmic process, it came to me that the ebbs and flows of natural time are like this, too; just like the breath, just like paddling a kayak, the repeating in and out rhythm of life.
Photo by Aureal Williams
A recent change I made relates to the in and out rhythm of the meridian time table. People who work with the meridians share that organs and systems of the body have a two-hour time frame where the work of that organ takes center stage. If you google “meridian time chart,” you will find options of charts to review. Some of the organs are regarded as yin, others are yang and this gives us the in and out, ebb and flow of the rhythmic, coordinated collaboration of the hard working organs of our physical bodies.
My Qigong teacher devoted recent classes to issues of sleep. In one of these classes, he shared how the gall bladder has its process of detoxifying release during the hours of 11:00 PM to 1:00 AM. While he did not say this, I somehow got, perhaps by osmosis, that the optimal time to go to sleep is11:00 PM, so that the gall bladder can have a chance for optimal functioning.
The gall bladder is an important organ for clearing emotional debris and this organ is associated with peace of mind. I have been going to sleep at 11:00 PM for a couple of weeks now and I do experience benefit in my life from this change.
Prior to making this choice of eyes closed, all devices off by 11:00 PM, my bed time was unstructured. Rarely was it was before 1:00 or 2:00 AM.
While I did not see it before, I do feel a connection now between maintaining a structure around sleep time and living with natural time. Before, I was free flowing with the time that I went to sleep, in keeping with the fluidity I feel, in general, living with natural time. The body is key and as I have written before, the timing of the moon through the personal and collective lunar cycles and void of course moon times can be experienced viscerally.
What is different for me now, though, is that I am integrating a rhythm that has been used in parts of the world for over 5000 years, the meridian time table with its cyclic workflow of our organs.
Structure is good; I like working with a set time for sleep. I find that going to sleep at 11:00 PM helps me focus the waking hours I do have in a more respectful way.
How about you? Do you work with a structured sleep time and how does that relate to your well-being?