Entry 76, May 27th, 2011, 7:10pm (ship time GMT +2)
One Hour Out of Gibraltar
Course: ENE Speed: 15 knots
Wind: West, Seas: Calm
I have been encountering a feeling that makes quieting my mind difficult. It is restlessness, an inability to focus, and it leaves me irritable and self-critical.
When I feel this way, nothing satisfies. I can eat huge meals and still be hungry. I can drink as much booze as they'll sell me and I'm still too sober. I can sleep all day and still be tired . . . there is a gaping maw somewhere inside, and satiating it with worldly pleasures is only a temporary stopgap. I feel like there is a crab with a hundred legs trying to carve its way out of the back of my head. Has anyone else ever felt this way?
When I feel this way, I spend the day in useless activity, darting here and there in brief, nervous bursts of energy. In the evening, I have accomplished nothing, and usually have a lot of trouble falling asleep. The only solution I have found so far is to lie down on the ground somewhere and stare at the ceiling, letting my mind run as fast as it wants. Eventually it gets tired and starts to relax. The crab dissolves. Then I can get up and meditate, exercise, or practice. These activities usually leave me calm and focused.
I don't know what causes this restlessness. It happens more often when I sleep late into the day, but other than that I don't have any idea why. Perhaps it has something to do with the first of what Buddhists call the five fears: the fear of loss of life. This includes the fear of wasting one's time on Earth. Maybe this is what I'm feeling?