I had this strange feeling in the middle of the night last night. It was one I have never had before, and one I would have thought to be disturbing. And yet, no...
I have been suffering from insomnia. Again, this is something new to me. I have never in the past had much trouble either falling asleep at bed-time, nor falling back asleep after a nighttime visit to the bathroom. But just recently I have been waking up at two, two-thirty, three at nature's call, and on my return to bed I have just not been able to get back to sleep. I lie awake for hours, breathing consciously as I have learned to do--and not falling back asleep.
Perhaps it's the consciousness itself that is the problem--a kind of clarity of mind that serves me ill at this time of night, when sleep would be more welcome than mindfulness. Ellie made the thoughtful suggestion that, instead of fighting with no-sleep, I should simply get up and meditate in the middle of the night, and then return to bed.
So this, last night, is what I experimented with. I woke at two thirty-six, made my bathroom trip, came back to bed, failed to sleep, got up again and went to sit. Sat for a half-hour, forty minutes, quite clear in the head, and--so as not to disturb Ellie on returning to bed--made myself a snug corner on the sitting-room sofa.
It was there that this feeling came upon me. I felt comfortable enough--in fact unusually, strangely comfortable, as though floating on air. And, still not yet sleeping, was overcome by this feeling that it would be perfectly okay if I went to sleep and never woke up...
As I say, it's the kind of feeling I would have expected to be disturbing. But no, it was wonderfully peaceful and serene, entirely without anxiety or dread. I recalled my sister saying, not many months ago, in the clear knowledge that she was dying: "I'm ready." She said it quite peacefully, without a trace of regret. And, even though I am not sick, as she most certainly was, nor ready to go, this was the feeling that I had.
And then, as I was still trying to sleep, I heard the all-too familiar whine of a mosquito exploring the possibility of its next taste of blood; and I quit my comfortable corner in the sitting-room in haste, returned to bed. And there, eventually, I must have fallen asleep, for I did not return to waking consciousness until Ellie stirred, somewhere close to seven o'clock.