So the "counting sheep" theory, my daughter in all her 13 year old wisdom, discovered that actually imagining a peaceful scene in your mind (seashore, field of flowers, gorgeous mountain top) is actually MORE effective than counting sheep in assisting folks through the gates of dreamland. We did discuss the idea behind counting sheep and it does seem to have a semblance of a meditative practice However, the reason for it being sheep did stump us, perhaps because shepherds had insomnia? You could easily, without your awareness really, allow each leap of sheep over that fence to be your inhale and exhale. The counting to follow your breath, a very useful meditation technique.
My recurring dream has always been of flying. I always start out in my bed and then am levitated up and out of my bedroom, often just flying over my town or a beautiful field or apple orchard. My first baffling and vivid memory of such a dream was when I was 13, conicidence, or maybe the age of grasping dream concepts? I have control of myself while I am flying, I can go higher or lower and steer myself. I often have an obstacle (thanks Ganesh!) a tree or power lines I need to clear. When I awake I feel blissful full of hope and possibility, so maybe awakening from a dream and crossing it over into your "awakened self" into your life, isn't so bad after all.
Written for: Bali Malas