A Mind of Ease Concentration creative imagery Integral Awareness Integral Meditation Meditation techniques mind body connection

Shifting Down the Gears – On Meditation and Power Napping

Dear Integral Meditators,

I’m a great believer in power napping, in fact I am quite a believer in napping in general! This is not just because it is a good way of relaxing, from a meditation training point of view a nap offers a great opportunity to bring the experience of our ordinary everyday mind together with states of deeper, formless awareness. The article below offers a simple technique for making greater and more effective use of a power nap.

Just in case you missed it, here is the link to the Shadow Meditation free audio recordings that I sent our midweek, they are simple and effective ways to start developing an experience of working with your shadow.

If you enjoy the shadow meditations, then do consider joining us on the 27th October for the Shadow Meditation Level 1 Workshop.

Yours in the spirit of effective power napping,


Upcoming Courses at Integral Meditation Asia:
Sunday October 27th, 9.30am-12.30pm – Finding Freedom From What Holds You Back in Life: Practical Meditations And Techniques For Working With your Shadow-Self – A Three Hour Workshop

Tuesday 19th  November, 7.30-9.30pm – An Introduction to Meditation from the Perspective of Zen Level 1

24th November – An Introduction to Meditation From the Perspective of Zen Levels 2&3 (full details shortly)

Sunday December 1st – Shadow Meditation Level 2: Developing the Language of Your Shadow Self

Shifting Down the Gears – On Meditation and Power Napping

Let’s say you have ten minutes for a power nap during your day. The problem is that, by the time you get to the end of ten minutes your mind only has only just started slowing down fully enough for you to become truly relaxed, so the amount of actual fully rested time you get is not that substantial.
The following technique is one that you can use to slow down your mind in order to achieve a state of mental and physical deep calm and lucid resting relatively quickly. The key is not to try and go from active mind to totally still mind in one leap; rather it needs to be done progressively in stages.

Once you are lying down or sitting comfortably simply become aware of the current activity in your mind. Think of this natural activity and momentum as being like a car in fourth gear cruising along the road at say 50 kmh.
After watching the activity in your mind for a short time, deliberately try and reduce the amount of momentum/activity in your mind just slightly, as if you were shifting down from fourth to third gear in a car, and reducing your speed from 50kmh to 30-35kmh. You can use the exhalation if you like; as you breathe out feel the pace of your mind gently reducing…
Once you are in “third gear” then after a minute or so take the pace of your mind down another increment, like going from third gear to second gear, or from 30kmh to 15kmh. Again, use the exhalation of you like as a way of doing this.
After another minute or so of “second gear”, take your mind down another incremental level, down to first gear, or 5kmh or so. Again use the breathing to do this, or just mentally “reduce speed” just slightly.
Now you are down in “first gear”, your almost at a standstill, the mind is slow and relaxed. When you are ready try and let go of all activity in the mind and simply move into a state of deep, still resting. Stay there for the remainder of your power nap. Even if you can’t keep your mind totally still for the rest of the time, the state of relaxation that you will have achieved by this progressive “winding down” of your mind will still be deeper than it would otherwise be.

You can also use this technique as a method for going to sleep at night, or as a meditation technique for slowing down the mind in general. From a meditative point of view the interesting thing about power napping is that when you do it you can often find yourself in a state of “lucid napping”, where you are technically asleep, and yet you still have an element of conscious awareness. This state of mind resembles (note, not quite the same as) deep states of formless meditation that are achieved by proficient meditators who have meditated for long periods of time. Thus power napping, as well as making us more effective at work can also give us a glimpse of the deeper and higher reaches of consciousness that lie beyond our ordinary waking awareness.
© Toby Ouvry 2013, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website