I am leading a concentration and jhana retreat in France now, and it is a delight to introduce these practices. One student shared that by learning to settle the mind upon the breath, he gained deeper insight into the meaning of restlessness. Restlessness is a descriptive term: a mind without rest. The mind that does not know how to rest exists in a suffering state. The encouragement of this practice is to learn to rest—deep rest. It is a balanced attention that is fully committed yet utterly without strain. Train your mind to rest at ease, not pulled by habits, and not trying to grasp spiritual attainment. Sometimes people think of concentration as being a whole lot of work, and bring a tense striving to the practice. But a more successful approach involves the discovery of rest—what is profound rest? How can the mind rest deeply in the present moment, and rest completely upon its chosen meditation object? Let your attention rest upon the breath. Explore the dynamic of effort that allows the heart and mind to rest at ease. It is not that you need to do anything special to rest. It is a matter of undoing the habits that seduce the mind into desire, aversion, grasping, planning, and fear.
May you abide with profound rest, free of the hindrance of restlessness.