What is the source of my restlessness?

Commentary by José Parés Pérez, Concepción, Chile

What is unease? Unease is an internal experience that directs our attention towards thoughts related to the past or to the future. I tend to feel uneasy about things I have done, or what I was told about myself, or about something that I will have to face in the future. Generally if we consider that we are guilty or responsible for something we did, we tend to lose our peace of mind because we brood over the issue and we do not find, or do not adopt, a way of solving it. On the other hand, in thinking about the future, we are worried about something that may eventually take place and that we do not consider that we are capable of solving or facing it. It is a sensation of anxiety or fear when faced with a thought. What are we really doing when we are worried? We are wrapped in our thoughts, distracted. We are wandering in a non-existent reality that creates the same inner experience as if it were a reality.

Is it worth investing our present in causing ourselves malaise, pain, suffering, etc. because of our wandering? No, right? It makes no sense at all, particularly as it is so easy to get out of this situation. Set aside the burden that you are dragging along with you, leave it where it belongs: in the past if it belongs there, or deal with it once and for all, if you find that it is making you uncomfortable; or leave it in the future if it belongs there.

Why waste your present life with something that perhaps will never become true?

This unease often comes when we allow ourselves to wander. And, therefore, if this tendency to wander often occurs to you, take an interest in yourself and pay attention to the present. Particularly when you realise that you are on the point of, or are, wandering completely. The easiest way of ceasing to think, when you want to do it, is to pay attention deliberately to what you feel.

Thinking and feeling are not simultaneous activities. If you do not want to think, feel. Feel your breathing, your hands, what you see, what you hear, what you smell, what you sing, how you dance, etc.

There is a great repertoire of sensations available to stop thinking when you need to do it.

What you achieve by doing that is to be present in your own life and even though you may not believe me, it is likely that you are meditating much more profoundly than those who do it with some specific objective in mind. You meditate to be present in your life and that is just living. If you dance by paying attention to your movements, without judging yourself, without trying to call attention to yourself, you are probably meditating much more profoundly than those who do it in particular positions and seeking some specific objective in the future.