Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

The Meaning of Sleep

December 05th, 2017 by G.

God bless Dr. Charlton.  If he did not exist, we would have to invent him (but would be unable to).

Our starting point should be that the basic inescapable features of life are meant and have a point and a meaning in the divine plan.  Things like breathing, eating, talking, sleep, and elimination.Dr. Charlton points to two aspects of sleep.

First, there is the simplicity of it.  You shut down and mostly blank out.  This part of sleep is childlike.  No one sleeps quite like an infant or a young child, and carrying one when they reach that nearly liquid state is one of the pleasures of life.

To my mind, the aspect of becoming like a little child is very important.  If we were conscious all the time, it would be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that consciousness and higher thought were purer and better.  The childishness, even the animality, of sleep, is part of the point.

Second, there are dreams and the free wandering of the mind.  Dr. Charlton associates this with the premortal existence, which complements an intuition I have long had that the purely spiritual state is dreamlike.

Where do we go when asleep? Well, when we sleep we return to the spirit state of our pre-mortal existence; so our conscious-self is no longer localised in a body. We go into the universal and universally-accessible spirit world – inner space (as it used to be conceptualised); an unbounded space within everyone; but not contained by them; so it is a single space into which each person is a ‘portal’. (e.g. The ancient Egyptian dwat, Jung’s collective unconscious – same thing.)

By these sleep experiences everyone has a rich and various life; and sleep life is both complementary to and deepening of awake life. In sleep we can access our own experience, and universal experiences – this mortal life and the Heavenly world of pre-mortal life – also the persons of God, angels, the dead… (Some of whom are misguided and some of whom are evil.)

Thus sleep enables deepening and contextualising of our experiences: sleep makes us wiser persons (if we allow it).

Progress involves adding to and refining what you already have, not leaving it behind.  The full man is the man with full faculties and character, yes–but who embraces all that he has been before, and brings it and his later developments into concert.

P.S.  No wisdom about sleep would be complete without understanding the rhythm of it.  Sleep and wake and sleep again.


Comments (3)
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December 05th, 2017 07:06:17

December 5, 2017

Fascinating. I am reminded of the Australian aboriginal concept of dreamtime.

Bruce Charlton
December 6, 2017

Thanks for your comment.

The current cultural lack of interest in dreaming (in particular) is quite extraordinary – most societies (and our society until only about thirty years ago) are fascinated by dreams, one way or another.

As for sleep in general – my strong impression is that most people regard it as ‘a bad thing’ – to be minimised. They do not regard sleep as necessary, but rather as an indulgence. Presumably, this idea suits the power-that-be.

Even scientifically, interest in sleep has waned over the past decades – sleep research used to be very fashionable in the 1970s and 80s. Maybe the severely-reductionistic and limited scope of such research, and its rather ambiguous outcomes, helped to destroy general interest?

December 6, 2017

Here ya go, from the John Batchelor Show podcast:



each is about 10 minutes, plus 30 second commercial. Listen at those pages, or click Embed, then Edit, and you can download directly.

Also available on itunes, under the John Batchelor Show podcast.

The guest wrote this article:

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