Usually, we think that deep sleep is the absence of awareness, which means we assume that awareness disappears in deep sleep. However, this is absolutely incorrect. The truth of the matter is that ‘The experience of deep sleep is the awareness of absence’. I am sure for many of you this statement makes no sense. But if you will read it carefully you will suddenly realize that this is true.
Let’s understand it like this. When you are awake, the experience of the body is there, the experience of mind is also there and above all the awareness of being aware is also present. When you fall into deep sleep, you lose the experience of mind, you lose the very sense of your body, but what you do not lose is the awareness. So in your experience, the entire world disappears, and what is left is just pure consciousness.
Now the next obvious question which will come to your mind is, How can we say awareness is still there in the deep sleep? We can take numerous examples from our day to day life situations to verify this fact. Let’s say you are in deep sleep and somebody comes to you shouting that your house is on fire, Instantaneously you will wake up and run away in order to save your life. Now if the awareness was not present, do you really think you would have been in a position to wake up? The clear answer is No.
Let’s take another example. I am sure each one of you has had this experience. Imagine that on a certain day you worked very hard physically and at night after having your dinner you fell fast asleep and you didn’t even know when the sun came up tomorrow morning. When you woke up, you just said to yourself, Wow! what a sound and peaceful sleep I had last night. What do you think, why you had that feeling? This is because in your deep sleep you just lost connection with everything else apart from your own consciousness.
The nature of consciousness is Peace. So whenever you touch your consciousness, you feel peaceful. This is the reason when you wake up after having a sound sleep, you feel fresh and rejuvenated. This is the reason each one of us wants to have a sound sleep every night. In some way, we want to touch our real nature and want to feel peaceful.
If the awareness was not present in deep sleep, it means we will become non-existent. If that was the case, for sure we will be terrified of the experience of sleep because it is then like going to our own death every night. But that’s not the case, we look forward to our sleep and we expect it to be deep.
That’s why we say ‘Deep sleep is not the Absence of Awareness, rather it is the Awareness of Absence’.
Peace and Love!