For many people it may seem hard not to fall asleep in meditation.
This is common for many people who are beginning meditation for the first time. Sleeping during meditation is common because it is a period of deep relaxation so naturally the body feels like falling asleep. The head may begin to droop at first and then gradually slump over, and for some they may begin to get the head bop. Sometimes sleepiness or drowsiness may be felt as a sensation in the body, and it can gradually become more intense throughout the body.
This is very natural and totally normal, however it is important not to go with the feeling or sensation. The feeling of drowsiness or sleepiness can appear and be noticed but do not go along with that feeling. This will prevent sleep from happening and will be highly rewarding and fulfilling.
It is important not to fall asleep in meditation so that you can actually enjoy it.
When you are asleep you are not aware of anything, not even yourself. It is important to be Self Aware during meditation, so that you can fully realise who you are. Sleep can sometimes come to distract us from who we are, and our natural beingness. It can be an avoidance of the mind that is why it is important not to go with it.
This is the same with all thoughts and feelings. Do not go with them, but be aware of them. They can be there, that is not the problem. The problem is identifying with them, and giving them your focus and attention. Instead, let them be in the background.
Here is an analogy. Imagine you are sat on a roadside and traffic is going by. You are aware that the traffic is going by very quickly. Each car flashes in front of you. Now imagine these cars are just thoughts and feelings. They appear in your awareness, they are seen, and then they fly on by to not be seen again. By watching these cars go by, you notice that you are here to witness them appear and disappear. You then become aware of yourself. You are watching, observing. You do not go anywhere. It is the traffic that is moving, changing. You are not changing at all.
Sleep does not even allow this analogy to happen. Sleep is the absence of everything. You, the cars, the road does not exist during sleep, so how are you to know you are awareness or the witness. That is why it is so important to not fall asleep during meditation.
We hope this quick article helps you not to fall asleep, and that you managed to stay awake for long enough to read it. Namaste, Saul