How I Cured My Insomnia


How I Cured My Insomnia

“The less you know, the better,” she said.

It was at the end of a meditation retreat and I was exhausted. Not because of the retreat but because, once again, I hadn’t slept the entire time.

I was no stranger to insomnia. Family lore says that even as a baby, I couldn’t sleep. In highschool I would lay awake the entire night without even a nap. And by my twenties, my sleep was curated by a combination of pills that helped me fall asleep and pills that helped me stay asleep. And when that didn’t work, there was always the failsafe cocktail: Nyquil and Jägermeister.

This was the second retreat I’d ever done. I’d assumed the classes, meditation, and natural surroundings would allow my body to relax into a deep sleep. So foolishly (or perhaps smartly), I left the sleeping pills at home for both retreats and quickly discovered how wrong my hypothesis was and spent the entirety of both retreats tossing, turning, and staring at the ceiling.

So there I was with Maya, my retreat roommate, quizzing her about the upcoming Wong Kur Empowerment. She told me the basics of how to prepare for an Empowerment, but when I asked her about what I could actually expect to happen, she wouldn’t budge.

“The less you know, the better,” she said.

At the time, this was unsettling. As a perfectionist, I was terrified to make a mistake in front of everyone. Yet in retrospect, it allowed me to drop all expectations and to surrender to the unknown.

My First Wong Kur

The Wong Kur itself was fast. It was fun, mysterious, and full of surprises. I felt held by the nurturing container created by Qapel and Sensei and supported by the experienced practitioners who walked me through the experience. And I’d surmised that Mahakala, the deity that this particular Empowerment centered around, had something to do with clearing out the fears that hold us back.

Yet that night, even after that beautiful experience, I STILL couldn’t sleep. And this time it was beyond average sleeplessness. It was that anxious, restless insomnia where your heart races and your head spins for hours.

By 3am I gave up and went to the living room. Sitting on the couch in the dark, I was exasperated and gripped with fear. It was a deep, primal fear. It felt as though I was six-years-old, hiding in the dark from a shadowy man and terrified.

Photo by Toni Reed on Unsplash

In reality, nothing of that nature happened during my childhood. I was sleepless long before I was six. This fear felt older than this lifetime.

Paralyzed on the couch, I recalled how most of my sleeplessness seemed tied to this unconscious fear. In fact, I used to pace in my bedroom late at night because I was afraid that if I fell asleep, something bad would happen.

I cried until I grew tired, went back to my bedroom, and drove home the next day.

Grateful for Peaceful Nights

This was over six years ago and I have not had insomnia since. Sure, there’s the occasional restless night, but that deep anxious fear that was unconsciously keeping me awake vanished.

This is not to say that everyone who has insomnia will be cured by their first Wong Kur, but I can say that I’ve yet to find a more powerful healing than a curious mind combined with surrender to the mysteries of the universe.

By Ava Maclean
Ava Maclean - Clear Sky Retreat Center
Ava is a resident of Clear Sky Meditation Center and is our Community and Marketing Manager
She came to Clear Sky in 2016 for a retreat, and stayed.

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