P.S. on sleep

The last tricky piece of the puzzle about sleep, for me, is the difference between a traditional model of how the body works, and the tensegrity model. In the traditional model you have activity and effort, and then you 'relax' to recover from that activity and effort. Activity and effort involve exertion and 'doing' things, and relaxation is a sort of collapsing and doing-nothing.

In the tensegrity model, which is how our body works (it just hasn't flowed through into the common biology teaching yet), there is no distinction like that. Both activity and what looks like non-activity e.g. sitting or lying down, involve exactly the same mechanisms. You don't have to exert yourself to do things, like walk or run or lift something, because your whole body is elastically pre-sprung to release into those sorts of things, you just need to let it.

This was a challenge for how to think about sleep, for me. In the traditional model you go to bed and you collapse and relax, in the traditional model. But if you use your body as a tensegrity system, you don't ever collapse like that, you just are, in whatever you're doing. So once I'd learned that, hopping into bed was quite strange, because I'd lost that need to 'relax'. So it was as if I had to reinvent what it meant to sleep.

That seems to have developed now, to some sort of understanding. I needed to drop that need to feel like I had to let go of something, like the day itself and tiredness. It was a different way to think about tiredness, just as it makes all the difference in the world to think of disorder not as the opposite of order, but as the creation of a new order i.e. there are only orders (plural), not order versus disorder. The universe as a whole doesn't work in those good versus evil, order versus chaos and decay sort of way. And nor does being awake and being asleep, there seems to me to be much more a continuity there than a division.

More on that next time.


  1. David,
    I agree. Everything in life is continuity and a continuum.
    As with the tensegrity model, the key is "lightness", both literally and metaphorically, which allows events or things to happen, be it falling asleep, or whatever. The less "weight" we burden ouselves with, the more we will be become aware of being in the flow.

  2. Hi Peter

    It's interesting how important the metaphors can be. Weight and lightness also carry some not helpful meanings for some people, with weight being what they feel they're loaded down with, from gravity through to their everyday troubles. And lightness being the release of those burdens. Which sets up another division. Your use of it is different, with lightness being just allowing things to happen as they happen.

    'Letting go' is another one. That can so easily tip over into hold-and-release thinking, with alternating cycles of exertion and collapse. But it can also just mean going with the flow.


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