Imagine you’re pulling an all-nighter trying to meet a deadline, or driving all night trying to figure out which warehouse the Joker stashed Harvey Dent in – whatever the case, you’re incredibly tired and sleep is not an option. Traditionally you’d either take a nap or have some coffee (or a urine-staining energy drink), but it’s one or the other – either try to get a quick nap, or power through on a chemical high.
But science, true to form, took these two seemingly contradictory options and decided to merge them together, like when WCW invaded the World Wrestling Federation. And it worked, and not in the order you’d expect.
Researchers found that a cup of coffee followed by an immediate 15-minute nap is a notably more effective method of staying awake and alert for longer than either coffee or a nap alone. Which is a bit odd when you think about it, since you’d expect the caffeine to keep you awake, leaving you teetering on the edge of falling asleep but not quite going over (this is known in the scientific community as the Edward Norton-Brad Pitt boundary). But the trick to the “caffeine nap” is that caffeine doesn’t act immediately – it takes about 45 minutes to be completely ingested, but the effect of the drug kicks in after only 15 minutes.
Why does the world create so many difficulties for the buddha whenever he appears, in whatsoever form? He may be Krishna, Christ, Atisha, Tilopa, Saraha; he may appear in any form. By buddhahood I mean awareness, awakening. Wherever awakening happens, the whole world becomes antagonistic. Why?—because the whole world is asleep.
There is an Arabic saying: Don’t wake up a slave, because he may be dreaming that he is free. Don’t wake up a slave; he may be dreaming that he is free, that he is no more a slave.
But the buddha will say: Wake up the slave! Even though he is dreaming beautiful dreams of freedom, wake him up and make him aware that he is a slave, because only through that awareness can he really become free.
The world is fast asleep and people are enjoying their dreams. They are decorating their dreams, they are making their dreams more and more colorful, they are making them psychedelic. Then comes a man who starts shouting from the housetops, ‘Wake up!’
The sleepers feel offended; they don’t want to wake up, because they know that once the dream is gone they will be left with their misery and suffering and nothing else. They are not yet aware that behind their misery there is a source of joy that can be found. Whenever something like awakening has happened to them they have always found themselves utterly miserable. So they want to remain drowned in something, whatsoever it is; they want to remain occupied.
The teaching of the buddhas is: Find time and a place to remain unoccupied. That’s what meditation is all about. Find at least one hour every day to sit silently doing nothing, utterly unoccupied, just watching whatsoever passes by inside. In the beginning you will be very sad, looking at things inside you; you will feel only darkness and nothing else, and ugly things and all kinds of black holes appearing. You will feel agony, no ecstasy at all. But if you persist, persevere, the day comes when all these agonies disappear, and behind the agonies is the ecstasy.