Just as this human self falls asleep, and wakes up, some of the layers of how we are put together are revealed.
As I sometimes listen to radio before falling asleep, it is especially noticeable.
The three clear shifts I notice, over and over, are...
- Voice and understanding (regular awake functioning)
- Voice but no analysis
- Voice, and any other sensory input, fading out
Each of these shifts are relative sudden, happening over maybe just a second or so, and a very clear shift - from understanding to just the sound without understanding, and then the fading of sensory input to an absence of these. For the sounds, it is just as a relative quick volume fading, from normal volume to zero, and then up again to normal as this human self wakes up again.
This helps me see how much energy goes into analyzing and making sense of input. At some point in falling asleep, this energy and attention is just not available anymore, and the sensory input remain but with no analyzing of it at any level. They are just sounds, but not even known as sounds. There is not even the most basic level of analyzing, such as adding labels of sound, voice and so on. Just the pure input and awareness.
It also helps me notice awareness as distinct from its content. First, the thinking mind falls away. Then sensory input themselves fall away, fading into an absence of any input. But even then, there is awareness that this takes place within (and as). The awareness remains as the thinking mind fades out, and it also remains as sensory input fades out.
Sometimes, it goes out with the thinking mind, or with the sensory input.
Other times, it remains as those two goes out, and then itself goes out a little later.
And some other times, it remains throughout the night, even through the dreamless sleep phases, without any content apart from itself as pure awareness.