9: Taking a nap

Isn’t it great to take a nap? To enjoy the world as it is lying on one’s sofa, bed, or for the more adventurous a chair or even on the floor. Taking a nap is an enjoyment in itself, something to look forward to, an activity that has great intrinsic value. Do not be bewitched by people selling stories of productivity and creativity, turning naps into some superpower that can ‘awaken ones potential’ – no. Naps should be enjoyed in itself as a thing worth doing.

There is no perfect hour to take a nap. I have taken great naps in the morning, a few hours after waking but find enjoyment in the typical post-lunch siesta as well. I like to nap near a window which ushers in air and the feeling of hustle and bustle, close but far away. Napping changes the sound-scape. The world becomes gentle as you close your eyes with the sun warming your face. Even now living opposite a mall in Hong Kong ,the outside world is morphed into a serene state of being of being. The busy outside exists only as contrast, it exists out there, while I am here inside my own space. I am part of my own world for now and can rejoin that other world, far away on the other side of the window whenever I so desire.

What was before a stuffy, humid room now lulls you into a gentle sensation – one between sleep and the waking world, that place where dreams and the conscious imagination blend together. Time has no meaning anymore and the time spent on the nap exists within its own reference. The half hour that the nap lasts, and for my naps, if they are to be labelled good always last half an hour, goes by too as slow as it goes by fast. The mind clicks back into the present moment and I open my eyes to find myself in the room again, images of half baked dreams lingering, but soon forgotten as I enter the the world again.

The best naps are ones you undertake willingly, not out of tiredness but out of a desire to rest and find yourself in a moment free of distraction. Now it is customary in this day and age to, at this point write something about phones and the deterioration attention but this is not my concern now (although, as you can see I have slyly mentioned it, please forgive me). Rather, I am concerned with the sublime ideal of the nap. The sensation of focusing on one activity for the span of thirty minutes. Focussing on a nap might sound strange, after all should a nap not a relaxing activity, where you let your mind drift away? Ideally this should be the case but as many might attest, worries and banal matters (do I have enough eggs in the fridge?) float about intruding upon our serenity. Focus and attention in this case means the devotion to an ideal of rest, to lay down for a span of – what is in the grand scheme of the day – only a few moments, and give yourself a moment of nothing. Doing something where the only thing asked of you is being.

Simply being I believe is the essence of the nap, its core message that we so easily forget. To sometimes simply be. Sit down somewhere and not do anything, existing as it is for nothing but existing. To look at the wall, the dots in between the paint, the moult and water stains, the sensation of our feet as they press against the floor. Lying down I feel at ease in the world. If I am lucky I can hear birds somewhere (and there are always birds if you listen careful enough) as well as a constant zooming of people walking around, talking, arguing, shopping, eating, drinking, driving, living. Lying there with my eyes closed nothing matters, and nothing has to matter except for simply enjoying the nap, which will be always there, waiting for me when I need it.

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