Didi, quoting from your message “Constantly remind yourself that ‘this restlessness is a reality’. Let me try NOT to suppress it or cover it up”. Does one have to get past the struggle to just ‘BE’ with the restlessness? I have always had this restlessness and knowingly or unknowingly have tried to cover up doing samsaric things. Spiritual practices have helped. Is there a way to go thru it without getting hopeless? I don’t know what will help.
There are 2 kinds of restlessness. Identify clearly what kind of restlessness are you experiencing.
1] Material restlessness:
It is the craving arising from the material world conditioning that gives birth to this restlessness. Conditioning simply means looking at others and craving to be like them. Conditioning means craving to possess objects that others possess. Conditioning means craving to be/have what one is not/does not have in the present. This craving produces a constant feverishness inside you and the feverishness to attain is restless energy. This restlessness quietens down only at the culmination of the craving. When the craving culminates, there is peace [sukoon] that one experiences. This peace is not from acquiring/attaining the object of craving. This peace is actually the die-down effect of restless energy. It is clear that the restlessness is born out of craving and dies after the culmination of craving.
2] Spiritual restlessness:
Now there is a similar restlessness that arises on the Spiritual path for an advanced spiritual seeker who has been authentically practicing for a while.
A sincere spiritual seeker dives within and recognizes the futility of the material conditioning. He figures out that it only leads to more agitation on account of continuous craving. When this starts becoming clearer, the conditioning starts waning automatically.
The dwindling of craving and automatic minimizing of the initiative to attain is also accompanied by a restlessness created by the Ego. The great empire created by the Ego is crumbling so it is obviously restless. It develops an aversion. It does not know what to do but create doubts in you. This phase is full of restlessness caused by doubts. When the aversion culminates, the doubts die-down, and you experience a temporary peace.
But as the recognition of the futility hits back again, the cycle repeats – Recognition of Craving/Aversion leading to restlessness -> Doubts created by Ego -> Restlessness -> Culmination of Craving/Aversion -> Temporary but stronger than before Peace. In the constant repetition of this cycle, your desires keep weakening. Peace keeps strengthening.
This is the ‘Slowing Down of the Mind coupled with Sharpened Awareness’ due to the dwindling of craving. As the noise [in the mind] of craving has now reduced, there are larger gaps of silence in between thoughts. The reduced thirst to achieve now increases the futility of life manifold. This spiritual restlessness now becomes a very strong feeling of hopelessness. The Ego loses all hope that it can get you back and thus the hopelessness sensations are very heavy.
The Ego gives up its struggle and rests. There is acceptance in you that there can be a life devoid of the feverishness to attain/achieve. Though it seems totally futile, you still respect and honor life. This is where you don’t see a point anymore to live for accomplishing petty desires. You naturally feel like devoting life to help others. You clearly see that the world is suffering from delusional thinking that there is a greater purpose for it all & thus moving on the merry-go-round and reaching nowhere.
You make friends with the Truth that – There is nowhere to go. There is nothing to achieve! Just where you are is the Truth! There is complete Peace here because Peace simply means the absence of craving/aversion.
You will have to burn through these stages like gold ore burns several times before it comes out shining and bright. Keep burning. Keep chugging! I am right by your side!
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