Tuesday night was for me the last night of a several-day seclusion—one that is ending more or less as I write this blog post. (The time-honored practice of seclusion is one of silence and of being alone with God.)

During this seclusion, I spent some time outdoors, some time meditating (of course!), some time sleeping (too much?), and some other time writing, thinking, and listening to spiritual talks.

Whether a seclusion seems “good” or “bad,” one thing I usually feel during them is closer to Paramhansa Yogananda, my Guru, whom we at Ananda affectionately think of as “Master.”

And so it was that, as I lay down on Tuesday night, I asked Yogananda, “Master, will you help me fall asleep?”


Ouch… I had missed the pillow by about a foot and hit my head on the wall instead. I’ve lived where I am now for years, and this is the first time I can remember this happening.

I lay in bed, trying to sort things out. Was Master trying to… um… tell me something?

After thinking it over, I decided to accept the new pain in my head as a gift from God, and got up. Once I took the experience this way, its message was clear enough:

The job of the Guru is not to help us fall asleep. It is to help us wake up.


  1. This is a wonderful post and a lesson. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Dear Friend,
    today is happend to be a surgery day for me.After reading you blog and leaving my comment on the website , I left home for the clinic for a small procedure, and forget all about it .
    I was sitting in the chair with the nurse, she was giving me the IV to put me to sleep and I started to feel funny and dizzy – what should I do , just fall asleep ? –
    Then I remembered your article and my own comment -of course, stay awake -.
    I was conscious , calm (and pain free) throughout the procedure .
    Thank you for your help !

  3. Dear Eva, That’s wonderful! Thank you for sharing.

    And thanks also, Gregor. It’s really nice to get comments on the articles now.

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