The English word ‘restless’ always has a profound impact on me. It’s like I begin to feel restless just by reading the word. But it became even worse when I found out that the word ‘restive’, although sounding much more peaceful and rested, also means restless only! What a curious language!
Anyway, I came across a very nice set of lines by Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh on restlessness.
From time to time you may become restless, and the restlessness will not go away. At such times, just sit quietly follow your breathing, smile a half-smile, and shine your awareness on the restlessness. Don't judge it or try to destroy it, because this restlessness is you yourself. It is born, has some period of existence, and dies away quite naturally. Don't try too hard to make it disappear. Just illuminate it. You will see that little by little it will change, merging, becoming connected, with you, the observer: Any psychological state which you subject to this illumination will eventually soften and acquire the same nature as the observing mind.