Question: Restlessness doesn’t really leave me. Why am I so restless? How can I get rid of my restlessness?
Speaker: Cars these days come with the auto-pilot feature. You can put the car on the cruise mode, especially on long drives, and the driver can relax. There was a research conducted on the vehicles that have this auto-drive feature. It was found out that people who buy cars having this facility do not really use it. Because this facility takes away from them the sense of being the driver. The sense of, “I am the one who is driving,” the car takes that away.
Now, you have set the speed of the car to sixty kilometres per hour, and the car is cruising. And all your pleasure of increasing the speed from sixty to fifty then seventy, for no reason, that is gone. You cannot do anything. And those cars are more expensive than the normal, manual cars. People pay extra money to get that facility, and then they don’t use that feature. Why? Because there is a restlessness, something needs to be done.
(Sarcastically) How can the two feet just stay calm, resting on the floor of the vehicle? They are not being used properly. “God has given two legs, one for the accelerator and the other for the clutch. How can I let them go waste?” So, something needs to be done. Similarly the fingers are there. They must do something. So, what does the restless mind say? “Give me the remote control. Some button have to be pressed. Otherwise the fingers are going waste! What is the point in having fingers if they are not doing something?”
“What is the point in having a throat and a tongue and lips?” Something has to be said. If you have not said something for five minutes, then you have wasted your throat and tongue for five minutes. Will these five minutes come back? Such a sin! It’s like having rented something and not using it. You are paying the total rent and letting the thing go waste. How can you let your throat remain unproductive? So, you must gossip about something.
Same with the mind! “How can the mind remain unproductive? The factory must continue to produce goods.” So, thoughts must keep coming and going. The circulation must continue. Otherwise the asset is lying idle. “I have an asset and it is not producing anything.”
“Fingers are not playing with the remote, or any other thing. Legs are not pressing the accelerator. Mind is not thinking, and calculating, and manipulating. All my assets have gone to disuse. Let me do something. Let me do something.”
“What is this body for? Look at the function of each part and exploit it to the maximum. The tongue is for tasting. So, give it all the tastes that it can have. The abdomen is for digesting and assimilation. So, let it digest everything and assimilate everything that can go down my throat. Lizards, dogs, dinosaurs, aliens whatever I can lay my hands on I will eat. Plastics, stones, nails, bangles, body parts – I will eat.”
“What is the use of having these organs of procreation in the body? Two days without ejaculation. Oh my God! My asset is going unproductive. What is the point? The uterus is there to produce babies.” And women of old days, they were always pregnant. Not even for one month would they allow their machine to remain idle, one baby after the other. There would be households where a couple would have twenty kids, of which only two would remain alive. Obviously when you have twenty, only two would be left alive.
All this is nothing, but a gnawing feeling, a perpetual threat to your existence. You keep feeling as if time is slipping away, as if you are losing out on something. You cannot be blamed for feeling that way because you hope that in the end something is possible, which will not slip away.
Your mistake lies in not recognizing that there is nothing that will not slip away. Everything will slip away. So, there is no point in trying to clutch anything. There is no point in feeling restless.
Restlessness lives on the promise of an eventual rest, that eventually I will get rest somewhere. There is no eventual rest. When you recognize this then restlessness cannot stand on its own. You understand this? You will not get any rest, anywhere, at any point in time. When you see this, then you enter into rest right now!
Do you get this? There is no great future waiting for you. Nothing golden is going to happen to you at some time. Nothing! Absolutely nothing! This is it. If you are an idiot right now, an idiot is what you are, and no wisdom is waiting for you in the future. If you are lonely right now, lonely is what you are, and no great company is waiting for you in the future.
You have nothing except what you think you have right now. This is it. Come to terms with it. Make peace with it.
-Excerpts from Clarity session held at Advait office. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session at: How do I get rid of my restlessness?
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