On the individual and society : insomnia and sleep depravation
A book excerpt from the spiritandflesh.com religion and spirituality online library.
I was also helplessly stricken with unrelenting insomnia, which I had endured for much of my time in the urbane blender but which had reached its peak in the stale air of that loveless mortuary, and which had left me, at the end of my last stay, often walking about in a wearied delirium.
Many people offered their amateur advice on how to get rid of the sleeplessness- none of which I took, because I don't take other people's advice, which is a policy of mine that I cannot remember ever breaking since I recognized its necessity- though in the back of my flustered mind I knew my sleeplessness had nothing to do with the drinking, improper eating habits, or lack of exercise; it had to do explicitly with the false light and false noise of the city. I had become too open and sensitive towards these poisonous intrusions to find rest within their artificial spheres. The tireless internal combustion engine and glowing streetlights became hated enemies of mine. Nowhere could I find peace from the ongoing hum and drone of man's imbecilic rushing about here, there, and everywhere. And the offensive light, oozing into every crevice of even a well-curtained room, would pour in and never let me into the deep tranquility so necessary for body and soul alike. I know this now, because the instant I returned to the wilderness, with its gentle, hushed sounds, lack of obstreperous tintinnabulations, and dark nights- no matter what Luna was up to at the time- I would sleep in dead calm from the moment I closed my eyes until Sol began to peak his head above the horizon. And this without ever changing a single habit: I drank no less, ate no differently, and exercised no more.
This made me wonder if most of the cures and medicines available today are not simply synthetic counterbalances to allow people to continue living unnatural lives, in unnatural settings.
Unfortunately I was now in the unnatural city, and wondering where I would turn to find rest and dream when all options had been exhausted?
Ah, but another simple question merely preceded another simple answer- one which came to me as I was looking towards the north shore mountains from the pit of the tangled and tortured east-side of the city, and I suddenly realized how much wilderness lay just beyond Vancouver itself. I had lived clandestinely in the forest while I was working in Alaska, surely it was possible to find a place to hide somewhere in the vast expanse of woods near the city; a little piece of flat ground to build a small shanty and live like one who exists in two worlds for a while again.
(excerpted from In and Of: memoirs of a mystic journey, by Jack Haas)