Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Write In Your Sleep

There is something beyond our mind which abides in silence within our mind. It is the supreme mystery beyond thought. Let one's mind rest on that and not rest on anything else.

-Maitvi Upanishad

I suggest we can write without use of a pen during our sleeping hours, provided we can tune in to a greater reality.

I first became familiar with Random Access Memory (RAM) and Rapid Eye movement memory (REM) when I managed a string of mattress stores and attended sleep shop seminars and conventions.

The study of sleep is a fascinating science, leading to a better understanding of how we can maintain better health through better sleep and to take it a step furhter, we can obtain a higher level of meditation and at the end of the day, we become better writers (even if we use hackneyed phrases as I just did).

Psychiatrist, psychologist and a wide variety of professionals were consulted over many arduous hours of experimentation to arrive at worthy results I am about to share with you, without hooking you up to machines to monitor your brain waves and vital signs. Assuming your mind is at least as stable as my own (probably better), I think you, too, will have favorable results.

Of course, the seminars were designed to allow mattress manufacturers to make commercial claims and manipulate a body of research to sell beds, however, I will provide you the jist of the research pertinent to good sleep, improved meditation techniques and better writing.

1) Acquisition-refers to the introduction of new information into the brain.
2) Consolidation-represents the process by which a memory becomes stable.
3) Recall-refers to the ability to access the information (whether
conciously or unconciously) after it has been stored.

Almost anything you are struggling with in your writing can be often resolved during sleep, provided the problem is known to you. For example, if you can identify the problem in your concious mind, you will be open to the process of Acquisition, step one above.

Here's how it works. Before calling it a night, write out the challenge, longhand. Maybe there is a problem with the story you are currently working on. Maybe the story is not paced properly. Is it moving too fast or too slow? Perhaps, a piece of dialog isn't working out. Maybe you aren't sure you should keep a particular scene or eliminate it.

Write it down.

Don't try to figure it out - that's the job of the unconcious mind.
Have a hot cup of tea. Read aloud what you have written and take a deep breath. Now, forget what you have written.

Pick up a favorite novel and read yourself asleep, but remember this: Don't move when you wake up. Sy it aloud, "I will not move when I wake up in the morning. I will remember the solution from my dream."

I am not ashamed of this exercise. On the other hand, of course, my family is accustom to my behavior and would be concerned if I were not running a high temperature and talking to myself. If your family members are equally understanding, then try this exercise.

Where were we? Oh, Write down the solution as soon as you get it.

It's that simple.

I alluded earlier to the two forms of sleep, REM and RAM. This research dates back to Homer. People often wake around midnight before succumbing to the second sleep. In The Haunted Mind, Nathaniel Hawthorne referred this sleep as "The Watch." He commented on this middle of the night conciousness as follows:

If you could choose an hour of wakefulness out of the whole night, it would be this. Since your sober bed time, at eleven, you have had rest enough to take the pressure off yesterday's have found an intermediate space, where the business of life does not intrude; where the passing moment lingers, and becomes truly present; a spot where Father Time, when he thinks nobody is watching, sits down by the wayside to take a breath.