Here's how I ended my previous post, "When trying to get back to sleep: to think or not to think?"
Now, does this insight have any Cosmic Significance regarding the Big Questions of Life? Damn, I sure hope so! But that's a subject for another blog post. I'm starting to feel sleepy... very sleepy...
I don't want to leave the question of Cosmic Significance hanging out there.
Sure, I might be the only person on Earth who cares about the answer. But since I'm pretty darn important to me (leaving aside the issue of whether there's any difference between us), I want to tackle the question sooner rather than later.
Here's why I do believe that how I get back to sleep when I wake up in the middle of the night does indeed have Cosmic Significance. Though this seems mundane, it points to profound assumptions about the nature of reality as we humans perceive it.
Things just are. Until we assign meanings to them.
In my current churchlessness, I no longer believe that the cosmos has any meaning other than what is assigned to it by sentient beings. There is no God, no divinity, no cosmic consciousness who assigns some sort of objective meaning. Whatever meanings we find in reality, they're our own subjective creations.
But this often goes unnoticed. We confuse the inherent is'ness of things, with the ought'ness human minds assign to them.
For example, I wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, then return to bed. That's a fact. It happened. It is. Now, I can add an ought, a statement of what should be. This is optional.
"I need to get back to sleep quickly; I've got an important meeting early tomorrow morning."
Problems are mental creations. Real, but not really.
I'm awake in the middle of the night. It'll be a problem if I can't get back to sleep. OK, true enough. However, the first sentence possesses more truth, more reality, than the second sentence.
Even more so are these two sentences: God exists. It'll be a problem if I don't return to God.
In this case I've made a problem out of something that almost certainly isn't true, the existence of God. Yet billions of people around the world devote huge amounts of time and energy trying to bridge the gap between them and God.
(I have extensive personal experience of this, having been one of those people for over three decades.)
So when I stop viewing being awake in the middle of the night as a problem, but simply as a fact, I'm taking a stand for natural reality.
Human-made mental realities are something different. Highly important. Essential, in fact. Yet cognitive creations shouldn't be confused with natural reality.
Embracing what is real typically works better than imagining what isn't.
Here's how I put it in my previous post:
I've found that instead of thinking about some pleasing future state of affairs, or envisioning how good I'll feel if this or that happens (which could be "getting back to sleep"), natural reality as it is in the present moment contains all the contentment I need.
Thus now I walk back from the nearby bathroom, slide into bed, pull the covers around me, and simply... be.
Well, a bit more than that: I simply am aware of my being.
My bodily being, because there isn't anything else to be aware of when it comes to "me." Brain, body, mind, awareness -- these are all physical. It makes no sense to divide myself into physical and non-physical, body and brain, matter and spirit.
Sleep is a physical phenomenon, as everything is.
More: sleep is an entirely natural physical phenomenon. I have a natural urge to sleep, just as I have a natural urge to eat, drink, defecate/urinate, and have sex (though I hasten to add, not all at the same time!).
When I wake up in the middle of the night, bodily me, the only me, knows how to get back to sleep. So I've found that it works better to just be aware of how I feel physically in the present moment, rather than think or imagine something outside of bodily now.
In the same way, I no longer go through my day imagining God or any other immaterial divinity. I embrace the reality of what is really present, which doesn't include a hypothetical supernatural being.
So, yeah, how I get back to sleep after waking up at night sure does have Cosmic Significance. In my mind at least, the only place Cosmic Significance can exist.