I had suffered severe insomnia from the time I was eleven. With many years of therapy, I had learned how to cope. Yet, I still had occasional nightmares that would cause me to wake up yelling or to wake up scared. I still suffered panic attacks if no one else was in the house and I had to sleep alone.
I did my best to “master” the difficulties of insomnia. I used a long list of tools to help me deal with the fact that I didn’t sleep enough. I would take certain herbs, practice a particular type of yoga or meditation or write in my journal.
I thought that I was successful because I was functioning. No one had ever told me anything else was possible.
Nobody had ever said that sleeping eight hours a night was within my reach. Nobody had told me, “You have your well-being within you. When you look there, you will know what to do.”
Instead they said things like, “Well, you had these early childhood traumas. They impacted you so greatly that you’ll be coping with them for the rest of your life. So we’re going to give you some coping tools so that you can be a functioning, ‘healthy’ human being.” I had no idea there was a healthy possibility, far beyond the coping one.
In 2011, I signed up for Michael Neill’s Supercoach Academy to add some skills to my coaching. Within that, I had the opportunity to go to a three-day retreat in Ojai, California. I didn’t know at the time that he was teaching The Three Principles. I didn’t even know The Three Principles.
On the third day, he invited each of us to do some individual coaching with him in front of the room. When it was my turn, I talked about struggling with the Nia trainer program that I was enrolled in at the time.
I told him I was having a hard time getting it finished. I felt like I wasn’t good enough. Then I started talking about fear. And, Michael said, “What does fear mean to you?”
I replied, “Well, when I was three…” I started telling him the story of what happened to me as a kid. I told him about traumatic events in my childhood. When I finished the story, he looked at me and said, “I want you to know I heard your story, but I didn’t ask you that.”
I looked at him and said, “Well, what did you ask me?” He asked again, “What does fear mean to you?” I said, “Fear means STOP.” He replied, “What if fear doesn’t mean that?”
I knew in that moment that he was asking me, “What if fear doesn’t mean anything?” This was my first introduction to the power of thought and the power of consciousness, two of The Three Principles.
Then, I had a rush of thoughts. I had empowered fear with that meaning. If fear didn’t mean anything, then, so much of what I had been doing in my life was wrong, was unnecessary. I remember for three days after that, my brain just went offline.
I didn’t know how to reconcile what I had thought all that time because this new understanding felt true. I didn’t know how to put it all together. I couldn’t see my way through. And, I wasn’t sleeping.
Luckily, we had a follow-up with Michael that week. I said to him, “Michael, what have you done to me? My insomnia’s back even worse. What should I do?” He replied, “Well Jeanne, what if it’s not insomnia? What if you’re just not sleeping?”
It was the same kind of new understanding as with the fear. He pointed me toward the power of thought and I was floored. Nobody had ever said anything like that to me. I always had insomnia since I was eleven, and this guy was saying, “What if it’s not insomnia? What if you just didn’t sleep last night?”
After that, I decided something like, for the next three nights when I can’t sleep, I’ll try the idea that I’m just not sleeping. So, for three nights, when I couldn’t sleep, I just didn’t sleep. I watched movies and read books. I didn’t have insomnia. I just wasn’t sleeping.
On the fourth night, I slept.
And, I’ve slept ever since.
I sleep eight hours a night regularly without any problem. Not because I made it happen, took the right drugs or got the right attitude. I began sleeping through the night because I became aware of and started to understand the power of my thinking.
So now, if I do occasionally wake up at 3:30 in the morning, which happens to anyone, I hear the thinking or the noise that woke me up.
I say to it, “Oh you’re at it again.” Then I go back to sleep because that doesn’t have anything to do with me. I can sleep. That was an insight that came from looking in the direction of the gift of thought. The insight changed me immediately.
At that point, everything was up for grabs. All the panic attacks, the fear, the tools, the “To Do” lists, the ways of doing things properly – they were all up for grabs.
When the form (that was really only thought) dropped away, then suddenly I was living in a moment-to-moment experience. I no longer had to try to control everything with my tools, strategies and ways of doing things properly.
How Understanding Might Happen for You: Instantaneous and Gradual
For me, my life completely changed within a couple weeks of understanding The Principles.
I’ve seen something similar happen for others. I’ve also seen people change over a period of time. And, I’ve see some people experience both instant and gradual change.
Some people have a little bit of one and a lot of the other. What seems to happen for almost everyone is that the changes simply happen once a person has an awareness and understanding. They aren’t trying to muscle it into being. What used to look like a problem, simply no longer looks like a problem.
I would love to connect with you. You can reach me by phone at the Center at 434-531-9493 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.