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Asleep, Not Meditating

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He has got the relaxing part down but perhaps a bit too much.

"You're not meditating, you're napping. I can tell the difference!"

A character appears to be meditating, perfectly still, sitting legs crossed, and... snoring?

Oh, guess they weren't meditating after all, but sleeping. A common trick of the not-so-spiritual fake guru or lazy student. Alternatively, they might have fallen asleep by accident, which actually happens in real life fairly often.

This is difficult to happen in real life given that most meditative traditions have measures for it — postures like the Lotus Position are specifically designed to prevent the meditator from falling asleep by being comfortable enough to relax but still uncomfortable enough that they stay awake — not to mention, as a general rule, if you fall asleep, you were meditating wrong. It is not always enough, however, as many a novice can attest.


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    Comic Books 
  • In Sturm Truppen, the visiting Japanese ally claims that they spends the night in transcendental meditation, but he is heard snoring soon after he begins.

    Comic Strips 
  • In one Garfield strip Jon claims he's about to meditate, after Garfield sarcastically remarks that he didn't know Jon meditated he hears him snoring and decides to do some "meditation" himself.
  • Bloom County: Opus falls asleep at the wheel and tries to claim his "eyelids were meditating".
  • In U.S. Acres, Sheldon will regularly sit on a hill and muse about life. At one point, Orson and Booker see him sitting on the hill again, and decide it's best not to bother him and let him concentrate. We then hear Sheldon snoring.

    Fan Works 
  • From the Teen Titans/+Anima crossover The Family We Choose: Happens in chapter 6 when Raven tries to get Cooro, Senri and Nana to help her seek Husky's aura (since he's being held captive somewhere in the city). Cooro falls asleep and Senri completely zones out, leaving Nana the only one who's actually trying (and even then, she keeps getting distracted).
  • The Pretty Cure: Magic of the Rainbow chapter "Meditation" ends on the punchline that Homare was asleep the whole time, much to Yuri's irritation.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the opening of Bedazzled, the captions on a group of Muslims praying in a mosque read "Praying" "Praying" "Sleeping".
  • Haunted Mansion (2023): Harriet informs Ben and Gabbie that she is going to enter into a trance. She then begins to snore. Ben and Gabbie then argue about whether she is actually in a trance or just fell asleep. Harriet then wakes up and gets mad at them for talking too loudly.
  • In Sanshiro Sugata Part II, Sugata and a Buddhist priest try to stay up all night meditating; the next morning, Sugata is sprawled on the ground, having fallen asleep. When he looks over at the priest, he sees the priest sitting upright and thinks the priest has succeeded, but then he hears the priest snoring.

  • In The Book of Three, the first book of the The Chronicles of Prydain, it is strongly suggested that the wizard Dallben, who purportedly spends a good deal of his time meditating, is in fact sleeping instead.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Citizen Khan: A variation. One episode begins with the Mosque-goers discussing how tiring it is getting up for the early morning prayers, only for Dave to suggest they save it for later as Mr Khan is seemingly still praying and they don't want to disturb him. It's only then he starts snoring revealing he's actually dozed off.
  • Daredevil (2015). When Stick is teaching Matt Murdock as a boy, he recommends meditation. Matt asks if that's like when Stick pretends he's not asleep, which Stick finds Actually Pretty Funny.
  • A really dark variation appears in One Foot in the Grave: Victor and Margaret attend a yoga session, where the instructor teaches everyone to relax, sitting in the lotus position. After a while, she falls silent... then suddenly flops to the floor dead. Supposedly, she'd relaxed so much that her heart stopped beating entirely.
  • Pee-wee's Playhouse: Pee-Wee begins by meditating, then falling asleep and dreaming that he's Super Pee-Wee.
  • Stargate Atlantis: In one episode Teyla tries to teach Ronan how to meditate, and catches him snoring mid-lesson. At the end of the episode they try again, and he gives her permission to whack him with a wooden sword if he falls asleep again.

    Video Games 
  • One ending in Cute Knight has your character achieving this by doing nothing but sleep for days. People will notice her thinking that she's meditating, but she's really dozing off.
  • In Final Fantasy IV's Fabul, one of the monks is lying in a bed, and when spoken to, he insists he's meditating.
  • Granblue Fantasy: When the party first encounters Narmaya, she has fallen asleep in the midst of meditating — her profile lists meditation as a dislike because this seems to happen often for her. This was even worked into Granblue Fantasy Versus, where her intro animation on the Player 1 side shows her asleep in a meditative pose, waking up only when the Player 2 character addresses her.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart: When Prophet Gary is found a prisoner he's in a chair, snoring loudly, though after Rivet wakes him up he claims he was meditating.
  • Resident Evil 3: Nemesis: Justified. Jill lies in the chapel as she was wounded, so she needs rest to restore her health. Although it might seem that she is in meditation.
  • Stardew Valley: During the "Rock Rejuvenation" event, Emily leads a meditation session with 4 other women from the town. When Emily asks them if they feel anything, they all respond apart from Haley, who's fallen asleep.

    Web Animation 
  • In the DEATH BATTLE! episode "Naruto Uzumaki vs. Ichigo Kurosaki", the battle animation begins with Ichigo coming upon Naruto, who is sitting under a waterfall in the lotus position, looking as though he's meditating. Kurama warns him he senses a presence... and then Naruto's head tips forward as he lets out a particularly loud snore.

    Web Videos 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged: In this version, Nail's conscience still resides in Piccolo and chimes in every so often. At one point Piccolo claims he's meditating. But Nail, being inside his head, isn't fooled.
    Nail: You're not meditating, you're napping. I can tell the difference!

    Western Animation 
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Cage", Mr Corneille tries to prepare for a fight by meditating, only to fall asleep with Comical Nap Drool coming out of his mouth.
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Bridge over Troubled Rudy", Mort tries to teach Bob and Linda meditation. While Bob gets the hang of it, Linda just falls asleep on her feet and is startled awake when the session is over.
  • Justice League: At the beginning of "Only a Dream", the Martian Manhunter is standing in place, his eyes glowing in what appears to be some form of meditation. He only snaps out of it when the League receive an alert. When the Flash asks him what he was working on, J'onn replies "Nothing, I was taking a nap."
  • The Legend of Korra: In Book 1 Chapter "A Leaf in the Wind", while Korra is learning airbending from Tenzin and his family, at one point Tenzin and his kids try meditating with Korra. Tenzin tells Korra to be more like Meelo because of how deep in meditation he is... and then they hear Meelo snoring.
    Tenzin:: Well, at least he has the "relaxing" part down.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "A Rockhoof and a Hard Place", Rockhoof tries taking up meditating with Somnambula's help. However, Rockhoof ends up taking the relaxation aspect too far and falls asleep on another meditating pony behind him.

    Real Life 
  • Japanese Buddhist meditation practices often include measures specifically to address this issue. These include having the head monk roughly tapping meditators' shoulders with a stick and screaming a kiai while slamming the ground to shock any snoring people awake.
  • The 6th-century monk Bodhidharma allegedly got so angry with himself for falling asleep during meditation that he cut off his own eyelids. The eyelids fell on the ground and became the first tea plant, which has since been used by monks to stay awake.


Video Example(s):


A Rockhoof and a Hard Place

Rockhoof tries a hand at Somnambula's motivational meditation, but it works too good.

How well does it match the trope?

3.67 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / AsleepNotMeditating

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