The three states

Williams, Pat WilliamsP at ZEUS.DT.UH.EDU
Wed Dec 10 08:18:28 CST 1997

> And that there was no awareness in that state, only proves
> > the subtlety of the state.
> >
> I have read similar statements about the deep sleep state that when we
> wake up (from deep sleep) we say we had a peaceful or happy sleep etc.
> I would like to ask in this context: How could we say that we slept
> happily ? Deep sleep, by its very definition, is beyond happiness and
> sadness. Can a jeeva in a wake-up state gauge how happy (or sad) the
> deep
> sleep is (unless the reference is to sat-chit-ananda, the bliss
> without
> opposite) ? Further, it is significant that the statement "I slept
> happily
> ... " is made only in the wake-up state.
Deep sleep is not the highest state but it is analogous to Pure
Consciousness because in both the mind, senses, etc., are absent.  So
from our investigation of deep sleep, which is something we've all had
much experience of, we may learn something more about the highest state.
That's one reason why deep sleep receives so much attention.

The first quote above says there's no awareness in deep sleep.  For most
of us, that's true.  But as our identification expands beyond its
typical imprisonment, awareness enters the deep sleep state too, that
is, we watch ourselves sleeping, just as we watch ourselves going
through the motions of the drama in the other two states.

It's correct that there is no experience in deep sleep, and so the
question of how we can say, upon awakening, that we slept well, is an
apt one.  Again, deep sleep is analogous to the highest state.  Those
who "return" from the highest state sometimes attempt to tell others
about it.  That state is impossible to describe, of course, yet they try
it anyway and, apparently, to some good effect for the rest of us.  What
they say about it can only serve as pointing toward it.  The same is
true for what we can say about deep sleep.  It can't be described, yet
we sometimes wish to speak of it nevertheless.  And it seems that the
most straightforward thing to say about the deep sleep "experience" is
that we slept well or happily.  The words are not literally accurate,
but they may be metaphorically apt.

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