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Mastering the Jedi Art of Pillow Zen: How to Meditate in Bed

"Meditating in bed without dozing off requires the stealth of a ninja, the balance of a tightrope walker, and the mental focus of a Jedi - basically, you need a superhero cape

just to avoid taking an unplanned trip to dreamland!" - R.H

2 super heroes meditating in bed

Table of Contents:

You have had a long day at work and all you want to do is sleep. You know you should meditate but the overwhelming urge to sleep is consuming your every thought. "Maybe I'll lay down in bed and meditate - That way I can just drift off to sleep when I am done."

What do you think is going to happen in this scenario? I give the scenario a statistical probability of about 95% that you will fall asleep in the first 3 minutes of meditation! This type of meditation isn't meditation at all. It's procrastination and since procrastination is a trauma response, maybe meditating in bed isn't the best thing to do.

2 BIG reasons why NOT to meditate in bed:

You will fall asleep.

Diving into meditation while in your bed naturally sets the stage for a swift journey to dreamland. It's like trying to have a serious conversation with the universe but nestled in the fluffiest, most inviting pile of pillows and blankets at the same time. The call to sleep is often too strong to resist.

Your mind associates your bed with sleep. It's a place to relax, let go, and drift away. If you want to explore the hazy area between wakefulness and sleep and learn to hover in that sweet spot of restful awareness, that's cool. I get it... but this is not what usually happens. Your 'meditation' will probably turn into an express train to Snoozeville.

​Your bed isn't a Dedicated Meditation Space.

Creating a dedicated meditation space outside of your bedroom serves as a powerful declaration of your commitment. Make a physical boundary that separates the realm of active meditation from the passive relaxation of sleep.

Your meditation spot should be solely tailored to encourage concentration and a deep connection with yourself, your God, and the universe and nothing else. No TV. No Phone. No family interruptions. No Sleep.

3 instances when it's OK to meditate in bed

There are a few instances when meditating in bed is acceptable or even useful. As far as I am concerned, the following 3 instances are the ONLY reasons why you should meditate in bed.

You are using a sleep meditation

Sleep meditations serve as a bridge to the realm of dreams, harmonizing your breath, body, and mind in a rhythm that assists in restfulness. By focusing on guided imagery, calming sounds, soft music, or mindful breathing techniques, these meditations lower the heart rate, ease the mind into a state of peace, and release the day's tensions, making the transition into sleep smooth. Here are 2 sleep meditations that I have found useful in the past.

You are sick

Meditating in bed when you're feeling under the weather is not just comforting; it's a move that helps promote healing. When you are sick and meditating in bed, you may fall asleep... but this time it's ok as sleep and relaxation are crucial allies in the battle against illness.

This relaxation doesn't just feel really good—it's a signal to your body to switch gears from the fight-or-flight mode of the sympathetic nervous system to the rest-and-digest mode of the parasympathetic nervous system. When this system is activated, your body focuses on healing and recovery. It slows down your heartbeat, relaxes your muscles, and increases intestinal and gland activity. This creates a wonderful environment for the body to repair and restore itself.

In essence, meditating in bed when sick is like offering your body a peaceful retreat, a space where healing is the priority, and every breath draws you deeper into a state of calm, fostering recovery from the inside out.

You have a physical condition.

I remember a time when I could not get out of bed. I spent roughly 23 hours a day in bed so my meditation space had to be in my bed and nowhere else. Likewise, if you are also navigating a physical condition that keeps you in bed, it's perfectly okay—actually, it's wonderful—to embrace meditation right where you are.

Meditation is adaptable. If there is no other way to do it, accept and embrace your bed. Make it your sanctuary of mindfulness, a place where healing begins with acceptance. Being easy on yourself is key. This isn't about achieving a perfect kundalini pose or state of being but rather just connecting with yourself in the most compassionate way possible.

Let go of any and all self-judgment or expectations of what meditation 'should' look like. Your practice is valid and powerful and set on your own terms. Every meditation, moment of mindfulness, and every breath taken with intention, is a step toward healing and a better you! Remember, your journey is unique, and meditating in bed can be a deeply nurturing part of that journey, offering peace and comfort on the path to healing.

Things to Consider when Meditating in Bed

If you are not procrastinating or trying to fall asleep, you aren't sick, and you have no physical condition but you still want to meditate in bed, here are some things you might want to consider.

Room Temperature

Keeping the room temperature slightly cooler than normal for meditation purposes helps create an environment of the slight discomfort needed to hinder sleep. Michael J. Breus, a renowned sleep expert and author of "Good Night," talks about "The Sweet Spot" for sleep being 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit... but you aren't trying to fall asleep. You are trying to fall into a deep state of meditation so keeping the temperature outside of these ranges is optimal for meditation.

A cooler temperature helps to lower the body's core temperature, encouraging the body to release tension and the mind to clear. Meditating in a cooler room creates a physically refreshing environment but also one that is slightly uncomfortable, keeping you just aware enough to not fall into a state of sleep. Dr. Joe Dispenza often keeps the room freezing in his retreats for this exact purpose.

man wearing a coat, shivering

Keep your head off the Pillow

Maintaining an upright posture during meditation, especially with your head off the pillow, is crucial in walking the tightrope between wakefulness and sleep, known as the liminal state. This deliberate positioning serves as a physical cue to your body and mind, balancing comfort with alertness.

When you sit up straight, straighten your spine, allowing energies to flow. You also enable your breath to flow freely, enhancing concentration and facilitating a deeper meditative experience. It prevents the all-too-easy slide into sleep that a more reclined position might encourage.

woman laying on a bed of pillows

By avoiding getting too comfortable, you allow yourself to explore the richness of the liminal space—a realm of creativity, deep relaxation, and introspection. This sweet spot of the present moment is where meditation reveals its most profound benefits, allowing you to access a state of consciousness that is both restorative and enlightening.

For the Superhero!

Even though I have argued against lying down during meditation, up until this point, becoming a superhero of the lying-down meditation is entirely within your grasp. You can learn to transform the challenge of staying awake into an opportunity for a deep meditation practice and if you do it right, you may just have some uniquely mystical experiences.

If you were to master lying flat on your back and elongating your spine while tethering your attention to heavy breathing in five-minute intervals, you might find some unique experiences starting to happen. Each time you find your mind wandering or sleepiness creeping in, gently guide your focus back to the rhythm of your breathing.

This regular redirection of focus acts like a gentle nudge to your consciousness, keeping you in the sweet spot of meditation without falling asleep. This method doesn't just prevent dozing off; it deepens your meditation practice by reinforcing your ability to maintain awareness and control over your state of mind, proving that even in complete repose, you can harness the power of your breath to remain a vigilant observer of your inner world.

The 19 Steps for Opening up Mystical Energy, while lying down 'According to Ryan'

The following instructions may cause mystical or out-of-body experiences in some individuals.  Make sure you are in a space where you will not bump your head if you fall over, fall off the bed, etc...

I have had 3 conversations with people this week asking me about this method so I figured I would just share it. A different version of this is also mentioned in our group, on Feb 1, 2024

If you are looking for the actual steps I use that allow me to 'ding my pineal gland', as Dr. Joe puts it... Here is exactly what I do... to the T. Try the steps and maybe you will have a unique experience too. I can't teach you how to do it. I'm simply regurgitating the things I have learned.

I have been able to do this, almost on command, since July 2023 at a Weeklong Joe Dispenza Retreat. It took years of trying and doing the wrong thing until then... so this is not something that I take lightly.

The Rules:

  1. Meditate every single day. This prepares your body and mind. It tells the universe that you really want the experience.

  2. Realize that when it does happen, it may be a bit scary at first but you can surrender into it and have a wonderful experience. You can read a little more about that here:

  3. Do the breath at least once every day. This is simply an exercise that helps you learn what you are doing right. It trains your body to push that energy.

  4. Don't try too hard. The harder you try, the more likely that nothing will come of it. Simply do the exercise and see what happens.

Steps I take during the breath:

  1. If you learn to do this properly, there is a possibility that you will pass out.

  2. Do about 5 minutes of a calm meditation to prime your mind. Here is a meditation that should get you in the zone. I can actually get tears in my eyes with this song. Mei-lan Maurits "After the Storm"

  3. Now do the breath but do it lying down. If you don't know what the breath is, search "Dr. Joe The Breath" on Google and you should find something.

  4. Squeeze your perineum muscles like you are holding your urine.

  5. Then squeeze your belly muscles like you are protecting yourself from a punch to the gut.

  6. Inhale and focus your mind on 3 things... energy moving up your spine, on the top of your head, and the back of your head all at the same time.

  7. When you have inhaled as much as you can, hold your breath and once again squeeze your perineum and stomach muscles.

  8. Lean your head back so that the back of your head is touching the base of your nape.

  9. Pull your shoulders down and elongate your neck.

  10. Try to inhale without inhaling. It may make your throat feel funny. That's ok.

  11. While doing all this, focus on the top and back of your head.

  12. Release and rest.

  13. Start again.

  14. Do this about 3-4 more times.

  15. On the 5th time, instead of doing the above, follow these new rules...

Breathe in BIG! as much as you can. Breathe all the way out. Breath in. Breath out. If you have been to a weeklong event by Joe Dispenza, you can mimic what was being done in the Body Electric. I would say breathe in and out, really big about 10 times.

  1. On your last breath, breathe in, squeeze your perineum and stomach muscles, stretch your legs to keep your spine straight, shoulders down, elongate your spine and neck, head back to touch the base of your nape. Focus on the top and back of your head.

  2. Squeeze and hold.

  3. Look for the white light behind your eyes.

When you do this, pay attention to what you are doing. Watch your body and learn how it is reacting. Don't try too hard - just follow the steps. The universal force knows your intention already. You may just have a new experience!


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