Setting Aside Restlessness and Worry

This talk continues a review of the Five Hindrances, focusing on the way the instinctual nature of restlessness and agitation can be associated with an internal narrative that reinforces and amplifies this restlessness to the state clinically described as anxiety, which is often experienced during these trying times of pandemic and extreme global weather events.  The characteristic of restlessness can also be investigated mindfully as a component of the other four hindrances.  Various antidotes for restlessness and anxiety are described, with an emphasis on the benefits of simply dedicating attention persistently to investigating the neutral feeling tones while practicing mindfulness of breathing meditation, both formally and, during the day, informally.  There is a guided meditation posted in the archives of this site entitled “Guided Restlessness and Worry Contemplation” that is intended to supplement the information heard during this talk.

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  Setting Aside Restlessness and Worry

The topic for next week’s talk is a review of the fifth hindrance, Skeptical Doubt.


Guided Restlessness and Worry Contemplation

This training meditation focuses on the hindrance of Restlessness and Worry, with suggestions regarding how to discern the difference between restlessness as a feeling and worry as a narrative.  Being able to disregard the narrative and use mindfulness of breathing practices to reduce the restlessness in order to set aside the hindrance is an important goal in the practice of liberating the mind from dukkha.  it is also suggested to investigate the role restlessness as a feeling has in the experience of the other hindrances.  This guided meditation is intended to accompany the Dharma talk of the same meeting: “Setting Aside Restlessness and Worry”, which is also posted on this site.


Notes For Overcoming Sloth/Torpor and Restlessness/Worry May 6 2020

This is the second of three planned reviews of the Five Hindrances, which are the initial focus for contemplation in the Fourth Foundation of Mindfulness Discourse.  Peter described the Buddhist concepts of Thina/Middha (tee-nah/mih-dah), Sloth/Torpor and Uddhacca/Kukkucca (ooh-dah-chah/koo-koo-chah), Restlessness/Worry as imbalances of the energy systems of the body and mind.  Sloth/Torpor is an overactive parasympathetic system, producing too much tranquility, causing dullness and the inability to be clearly aware to dominate consciousness.  Restlessness/Worry is an overactive sympathetic system, creating agitation, anxiety and worrisome, repetitive thought processes to dominate consciousness.  The primary antidotes for these two hindrances is satisampajanna (sah-tee-sahm-puh-jahn-yah), mindful clear comprehension, cultivated through persisting present-moment awareness of the process of breathing.  Earlier in the meeting, Peter provided a guided meditation for the cultivation of satisampajanna with mindfulness of breathing meditation; the recording of that practice can be found on the Audio page of the website.  It is interesting to notice that steadfast investigation of the process of breathing can be beneficial in calming an anxious mind and alerting a dull mind.  Other tactics for overcoming these hindrances were also reviewed.  The review was followed by questions and comments by those attending the Zoom meeting.

Here are the notes prepared for this meeting:  Notes For Overcoming Sloth and Restlessness May 6 2020

Next week’s topic will review the fifth hindrance, Skeptical Doubt.