"So, Mr. Smarty-Pants hiker boy, I read your comments about finding some quiet time and about silence and darkness and early mornings, but how do you keep from falling asleep?"
Excellent question my young apprentice. This is a practiced technique and falling asleep is a very real possibility but it is also part of the process and part of the discipline. First is to decide to keep the time brief - really only five minutes to start - and then gradually allow your mind to go into a neutral place where you will need to gently set aside thoughts as they come up. No berating yourself here, we have been programmed to fill the empty spaces in our minds with thoughts and the challenge is to resist it. It will happen anyway and you will catch yourself "thinking about not thinking" and then something else will arrive and you won't even realize it but you've gone off on a trip to your "to do" list or the grocery list or someplace. This is all part of the process and part of the learning but the constant vigilance against unwanted thoughts should keep you awake for five minutes and then stop the process. Keep at it every day until you have mastered your five minutes and you will find that your mind has calmed, you feel more peaceful and more in control of your life - I promise (money back guarantee printed on reverse side of this page.)
A couple of more comments on feelings, instinct and intuition: we all have experience with this gift and can point to various times when we just "had a feeling." We know of people who have expressed this verbally and have heard stories about how someone didn't get on a plane or drive a certain roadway, etc. only to learn later about an accident. I can tell you that there are numerous times when I have slowed down for no apparent reason only to discover a radar trap a little ways ahead. By the way, that "feeling" doesn't happen all the time unfortunately, but often enough to have gotten my attention. Now I know there are a few neanderthals out there who think that this particular gift is the specific purview of women (don't worry, they don't know what that word means) and still insist that it is "women's intuition" and simply dismiss its importance. Too bad, but each of us has this ability and each of us can tap into its power. This is a physical feeling but we need to be listening for it. It's just below the surface of our thoughts and you might just discover it in the early morning, if you can stay awake.
The truth is that this gift works full time, all the time, daytime and night time whether we want it to or not and whether we recognize it or not. Once we are aware of it, we can't put the genie back in the bottle. It may be the closest connection many of us find to truth, infinite intelligence, the universe, spirit or that other character that people insist on calling God.