Have you wondered why a feeling of restlessness seems to stick with you no matter how hard you try to get rid of it? The effort to understand where this feeling comes from doesn’t seem to yield much either. If this is something you experience, it is worth looking deeper as it could open the door for seeing yourself in a different light and knowing where to focus to instigate the transformation you have been hoping for.
To begin this process, it is worth looking closely at how you relate to reality. Do you often relate to things by finding what is not right about them? This is a common pattern that is constantly at work but that we often are unaware of. We look at our family members and see how they could be better. We see their faults or weaknesses and wish they could be different. We look at ourselves and imagine how life could be better if we had this or that or did this or that. We look at the world and feel despondent about the way it is. We are constantly consumed by the feeling of being inadequate and deficient. The present moment is never good enough so we are always on the lookout for something different or better and expect the future to be better.
This way of relating to reality makes it difficult to feel relaxed and calm and settle into the present moment. There is no surprise that the feeling of restlessness can result. Then we must ask why we relate to reality this way? Clearly many unhealthy patterns of the consciousness could be at play, for example, fixed expectations, approval-seeking, self-centeredness, just to name a few. Looking deeper, we can see that the basic needs of human nature play a significant role in the formation of these unhealthy patterns, in particular the need to survive by “seeking self-interest and avoiding harm; seeking simplicity and avoiding complexity”. This need propels us to constantly seek opportunities to increase our chance to survive. Only when this need is fulfilled can we feel more peaceful and contented in our hearts. Patterns are created to accomplish this “mission”. However, patterns only know to use external means to satisfy this need. Peace and contentment are only short-lived because our patterns will soon be on a mission to make us feel inadequate and threatened. In no time the feeling of restlessness comes back.
Why are we on this never-ending treadmill? It is because true peace and contentment come from within, from our own hearts. Our hearts have the natural ability to feel fulfilled. This true sense of fulfillment comes from the nourishment generated by the Xin qualities such as trust, openness, love, gratitude, and Gongjing. These Xin qualities are present unconditionally so the nourishment can never be turned off. Take unconditional gratitude as an example. When it is present, we receive what we have been given whole-heartedly and let ourselves be nourished fully. We make the most of what we already have and turn life into an ongoing process of learning and growing. We also see and relate to others for what they are, without feeling the urge to change them or compete with them to make ourselves feel more secure.
This self-generated nourishment and sense of fulfillment is the true way to achieve contentment and peace. Transforming the sense of restlessness this way means there is no longer the need to seek externally for temporary relief. We have achieved total self-reliance.
Are you still looking externally to fulfill the emptiness you feel inside? It’s time to look within for all the treasures that have always been there awaiting your discovery. Unconditional gratitude is a great place to start.
Experience this message on Unconditional Gratitude as a meditation on REN XUE TV
If you would like to learn more about Unconditional Gratitude, check out our Learn REN XUE website for the Replay of Yuan Tze’s Transforming Patterns for Unconditional Gratitude online workshop that was run in July 2022 as part of the Removing the Barriers to Your Heart series.