There’s a Pinball Machine Upstairs!

One night last week, I looked at the clock and it was 2.00AM. Sleep wasn’t happening. It was as if I’d forgotten how to fall asleep! I wasn’t worried about anything. There wasn’t a call to prayer that I recognized. I just wasn’t sleeping. I tried my usual ways of gentle music, repetitive prayer thoughts, even counting. It was when I tried to meditate that I realized what was going on. There was a pinball machine in my mind. The lights were flashing and bells were ringing!

I could, very briefly, sit there and watch the activity of my mind. It was racing around. This was no frolicsome roomful of playful puppies. No, this was a pinball machine of racing thoughts, banging into one another, stepping on one another, repeating again and again old or sometimes hoped-for conversations.

Whew. It was exhausting to watch. Unfortunately, it wasn’t exhausting enough to put me to sleep! 3.00AM clicked by and I was still awake.

Was it the stimulating evening I had with friends, the alcohol, abundance of both food and conversation? Most likely any one of those or the rolled-up combination of all combined to awaken in me such stimulation that sleep disappeared.

Have you ever had a time like that, when sleep eludes you, or you recognized the furious activity of your mind? What do you do?

I know for me, the first step is to recognize it. Ah yes, my mind is busy right now. I know I need to be gentle with myself, with my mind and hold the hope that I will sleep again. I know too, I can have a Pinball Brain during the day as well. I’ve come to value the ability to observe the pace of my mind, knowing there is much more to me than my thoughts. I seek the quiet, internal centre. I know that too and want to write about it next week.

Amazing – both a Pinball Brain and a Quiet Centre within one person. Aren’t we amazing beings!

If this is interesting to you, please show support by sharing it with a friend. Let’s broaden the contemplative pathway.

Love and prayers


Contemplative Fire, Community Leader Canada


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