Restlessness is my vice. There's always more I can do, more I can learn. I crave to sit and do nothing, but when I actually get the chance to do just that I find ways to be productive. Whether it be through yoga, other physical activity, reading, learning music, journaling, talking to friends, planning the future, etc. I never seem content to just be. The overriding feeling of guilt and the need for advancement/productivity takes over. Any thoughts?
If there is no end to productivity, which is fine, then can you wait for productivity to end before being at peace? In other words, you will not find peace as a result of your productivity.
Outwardly, there is always something you can be doing for the sake of your schedule or work or hobbies or whatever. But inwardly, there is nothing you can improve. All you can do is come to know that inner stillness.
If your productivity is due to the urge of restlessness, you will find it to be unhealthy for you at times. A warrior who doesn’t know when to sheath her sword, a surgeon who doesn’t know when to stop cutting, a writer who can’t figure out when to put down his pen, all of these cases of excess take the individual’s original intent and warp it beyond their control.
If you cannot be still and at ease when you want to, regardless of what is happening in your mind, body, or world, can you really suppose yourself to be in harmony with this moment? Or are you a victim of the mind’s constant need to be chewing on something?
Real productivity doesn’t come from guilt and restlessness but clarity of intent and strength of intellect. If you make your productivity about yourself, about your ego, then you will always be trying to improve it to some idealized perfection because you can’t stand to be imperfect. But if you keep your sense of self from trying to find itself in your work, then you can be productive according the terms of your project.
Otherwise, as you grow older, you may get the sense that you are some cog in a giant machine called progress. You may lose your sense of self and connectivity to the whole of aliveness. That kind of suffering is all too common in the modern era.
The place to begin is with daily meditation. In order for you to find encouragement and inspiration to do so, I recommend the book The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.