We experience insomnia when we find it difficult to fall asleep or when we can’t get enough sleep to feel refreshed in the morning, so we feel drained during the day and can’t concentrate properly. The causes of insomnia could be many: joint and muscle pain, restless legs, anxiety, fear, acid reflux, and pain from chronic disease.
With all that being said, if you have insomnia there are many natural cures, tasty foods to help you overcome that and I am going to list below. These natural remedies and foods can help tremendously on a physical level, as they relax your nervous system, however if your insomnia is caused by anxiety or fear (same thing), then it needs to be acknowledged, dealt with and overcome. There’s no hiding from it, the only way is through. There are many articles on The Power Within Us to assist you with transmuting fear, you can use the search button on the right.
Also, our mind tends to be overactive at night especially, so you have to simply observe the thoughts flowing without engaging in the chatter and but at the same time, calm the mind. Most recommended is to just relax and maybe listen to some soothing music, nature sounds and just meditate, just be. Make sure your room is not too noisy or hot or cold as that can make you restless and that the energy of the room is just perfect for you. Insomnia can be avoided easily if you take proper care of yourself and your environment, but if you’re already experiencing insomnia symptoms here are a few very practical and simple to do natural remedies.
1. Toast and raw milk – Studies have shown that drinking warm milk releases melatonin — the sleep hormone — as well as endorphins to relax you and encourage sleep. A small amount of complex carbohydrates such as whole grain toast or cereal will fill your stomach, relieving hunger pains at bedtime, and cure insomnia. Whole grains release tryptophan, a precursor to seratonin production — the calming brain chemical.
2. Two tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar mixed with 10 to 12 ounces of water relieves burning from acid reflux that may prevent sleep. Additionally, arthritis and fibromyalgia pain may lessen or disappear after alkalizing with this drink.
3. Tea – Such as chamomile tea, valerian or lemon balm. They both have calming effects and help with restlesness and anxiety. Passionflower and skullcap soothe agitated nervous systems and can help with mental chatter. At the same time, too much of these herbs can actually do the opposite, make you more agitated, anxious and irritated.
4. Jasmine Essential Oil – Put a drop of jasmine essential oil on each wrist just before you go to bed. In studies conducted at Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia, researchers discovered that people who spent the night in jasmine-scented rooms slept more peacefully than people who stayed in unscented—or even lavender-scented—rooms.
Try a soothing aromatic bath before bedtime. Add 5 drops lavender oil and 3 drops ylang-ylang oil to warm bathwater and enjoy a nice soak.
5. Breathing. Inhale deeply through the nose till you feel your belly is popping out a bit and exhale through the mouth as if you are spitting fire. Conscious breathing can help tremendously in so many areas, especially relaxing our nervous system, muscles and mind as well. Repeat that simple breathing exercise for as long as you wish.
“All your restlessness is out of your desire for stillness.” –Rumi.
When we consider anything in life as permanent and separate, we generate dissatisfaction, suffering and anguish. Our attachments to people, things, and ideas are ultimately futile, because everything changes, everything is in a constant state of impermanence. No matter how much we wish things could remain permanent, impermanence will always remain the only true permanent. The good thing: there is more to being human than choice, there’s vicissitude. The bad thing: vicissitude can be a cruel bitch.
Vicissitude and unexpected moments of transformation are conveyer belts of creativity and mystery, shaking up the mind, body, and soul in creative throes of existential ecstasy, and pumping out adventure after adventure for those who are aware enough that “the journey is the thing.”
The more aware we become about the evolution of the self, the more capable we are of learning how to love, how to let love, and ultimately, how to let love go. Thereby achieving a state of holistic consciousness, of flexible, adaptable self-mastery, that is guided by an interdependent ego.
But first: the counterintuitive process of individuation, of distinguishing the individual from the general or universal, must unfold.
The Ontological Plane is crashing into the Existential Black Hole. The oxygen masks have just been deployed. What do you do?
The individuated ego:
“One of the least discussed issues of individuation is that as one shines light into the dark of the psyche as strongly as one can, the shadows, where the light is not, grow even darker.” –Clarissa Pinkola Estes.
As Carl Jung intuited, “Individuation does not remove the individual from the social sphere but enlarges one’s connection to it… No one can individuate on Everest.” Human beings are extremely social creatures. Individuation occurs in a social maelstrom. But in order to discover a healthy sense of who we are, in order to get down deep into our unique soul-signature, we need to discover a sense of who we are as individuals relating to a social environment. In short: Our co-dependence needs to give way to independence.
Understand: The ego is not the enemy. It’s actually the soul’s greatest ally when it is healthy. It’s a very important tool for soul work. In fact, it’s the most important tool in the spiritual seeker’s toolkit. Not even humor, courage, and love can be actualized without it. A robust ego, as it pertains to self-transformation and spiritual development, seeks a healthy transformation, and individuation, from codependent ego into independent ego. The problem with the majority of people in our egocentric culture is that they have become tools of their ego, codependent constructs within a codependent system, instead of using their ego as a tool toward self-overcoming and holistic enlightenment.
A healthy ego is an ego that has been leveraged into a state of perpetual self-overcoming, resulting in the continuous individuation of the ego. A robust ego separates and unites, separates and unites, like breathing. And then lets it all go in healthy non-attachment. All while being open to vicissitude and adapting to unexpected change with selfless, humorous, ego-moral non-attachment to the journey being the thing.
Beware the ego that operates within selfish, humorless, ego-centric attachment to an agenda. Like Lewis Hyde wrote in Trickster Makes This World, “It’s better to operate with detachment, then; better to have a way but infuse it with a little humor; best, to have no way at all but to have instead the wit constantly to make one’s way anew from the materials at hand.”
When the codependent self begins to individuate, divisive boundaries dissolve and horizons expand, there is a broadening of scope that unravels and absolves the self into a permeable, flexible, “wave” of infinite possibilities. Self-actualization is at hand.
The self-actualized ego:
“If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.” –Joseph Campbell
Kurt Goldstein originally presented self-actualization as “the tendency to actualize, as much as possible, the organism’s individual capacities in the world.” Here, the ego has been completely individuated and its peak potentialities are capable of being expressed. Boundaries have been dissolved into horizons and the path becomes open-ended, pivoting around the eternal “now” of the flexible and robust self.
Actualizing is symbolizing. When we self-actualize we are creating a symbolic sense of self, we are epitomizing the self through the process of our own unique mind-body-soul development through a constantly changing cosmos. In short: self-actualizing is creating a canvas out of the self, and then giving ourselves the freedom to create with the “materials” (psychological, social, cultural, physiological, existential, etc.) at hand. Our individuated ego is a giant. The ladder we climb up to reach the giants shoulder is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Our self-actualized ego stands on the shoulder of this giant seeing how everything is connected. It is the aspect of ourselves that can see further and farther than the giant ever could by itself.
Through the “breathing in and out” of individuation (attaching and then non-attaching), and through consistent self-overcoming (not allowing the self to become too inert or stagnate), an artistry of self emerges that can be called self-actualization, and peak experiences become more common. The bridge from independence to interdependence becomes clearer. We begin to see how we are not just artists going through the motions of creating art, we are the world going through the motions of creating a self. Self-development becomes universal entanglement. We see how everything is connected and moving, and we begin to see how we can be the spearhead of that movement.
Self-actualization is the realization of our full potentialities, especially considered as a drive present within everyone.
The interdependent ego:
“Contemplation is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things.” –Thomas Merton
The interdependent ego is that aspect of ourselves with the awareness and actualization of the world-as-self and self-as-world. It’s the dynamic process of being a changing being within a changing universe. It is the cosmic self, the deep-down-self, the “wave” of the self which emerges, infinitely connected and self-similar, from the cosmic ocean. Like Alan Watts said, “What you do is what the whole universe is doing at the place you call here and now. You are something the whole universe is doing in the same way that the wave is something that the whole ocean is doing. The real you is not a puppet that life pushes around. The real deep-down you is the whole universe.”
The interdependent ego is personification of The First Law of Thermodynamics. The ovaries-to-marrow (balls-to-bones) understanding that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but can, will, and must change form. So it is with the self.
From this awareness a holistic consciousness emerges, a deeply profound realization that all things are connected and that infinity is the rule and finitude is the illusion. A kind of cosmic humor envelops us, and we go from being the butt-end of the cosmic joke to being the one who laughs: the enlightened jokester, the almighty tongue-in-cheek trickster of the existential enigma, the super-anthropic quantum-entangled catalyst toward evolutionary and revolutionary progress.
“To be a catalyst is the ambition most appropriate for those who see the world as being constant change, and who, without thinking that they can control it, wish to influence its direction.” –Theodore Zeldin
Indeed, the individual who has individuated (escaped codependency), self-actualized (made an art out of self-overcoming) and become an interdependent force (accepted that all things are connected), is the individual most capable of enacting healthy progressive change.
Try not to look at it hierarchically. The individuated ego is the self-actualized ego is the interdependent ego. It’s all connected. It always has been. It was always the case that these were all aspects of who you are. It’s precisely our awareness that changes. It just so happens that most of us are simply unaware, to a dizzying degree. Labeling the process is merely a tool for leveraging awareness. The more aware we become, the more likely we are to individuate, to self-actualize, and to become more interdependent in the way we perceive and engage the cosmos, the world, and each other. And the more interdependent we become, the more likely we are to discover a sense of stillness amidst all the restlessness.
Featured Images by Luke Brown, Andy Kalin, Larry Carlson