I become restless when I am idle.
A perfectly running automobile purs when it is idling. It is ready to spring into action. But I am so distracted, disoriented, disturbed when I am idle. Why is that so? Because I am a thinking machine?
It is the thinking part, the thinker in me that is pushing towards something. Anything. Smoke, TV, iPad. Talk to someone. But whatever I do, it ends sooner or later and then the restlessness begins again. What is this restlessness? Why do I feeling it? Why do I feel that I ought to be doing something?
The dictionary meaning is
- ceaselessly moving
What is restless inside of me? What is it that wants to do something? What is it that wants to be active? To be working? To be occupied?
Where does this feeling spring from? Is it in the mind?
This activity of writing it down has a quality of calming the mind, perhaps because it is now occupied. And when this is over, as it must, it will begin again and will not rest until I pick up something else.
Disquiet. A deep abiding disquietude. A sense of worthlessness. A sense of uselessness. All this can also be added to describe that feeling of restlessness.
But its cause remains elusive.
Dealing with restlessness by doing something – anything – is to deal with the consequence.
As long as the cause remains unknown, unconscious, the consequence is inevitable. So what is it that causes this restlessness?
I am not even trying to rest, so I don’t know really why I can’t rest. Is that it? To rest, to simply be, do nothing, keep still, be quiet. It seems so difficult, even impossible. To relax and let go. Relax completely so that I don’t move my eyes or the limbs, or the posture. Just sit comfortable in a chair and do absolutely nothing.
But as soon as I attempt it, the mind is full of thoughts. They begin with something I see and before long I am dealing with a thousand different thoughts. It is like a flood, a glut of thoughts, like a damn burst. How do they come up? Why do they spring up? What is causing this outburst?
I seem to swing back and forth, between what has been and what would be, between the dead past and the uncertain future. A clock in the mind that is ever in the past or in the future. Never in the now, this moment, unlike the one on the wall. Everything is a reminder of some experience in the past. Every anxiety is a reminder of something that might happen in the future. And so I swing between memory and fantasy.