The third factor that keeps us from living a centered life, according to Ronald Rolheiser, is our unbridled restlessness.

All I can say to this one is ... gulp.

The concept appears relatively simple:

  • Restlessness is not difficult to define. It is the opposite of being restful.
  • Restfulness is being in ordinary life with a sense of ease, gratitude, appreciation, peace, and prayer.
  • We are restful when ordinary life is enough.

But ...

Today, nothing seems enough for us. The simple and primal joys of living ... are mostly lost as we grow ever more restless, driven, compulsive, and hyper.

Within our lives there is less ease, and more fever; less peacefulness, and more obsessive activity; less enjoyment and more excess.

These are the telltale signs of unbridled restlessness.


Of course the human race has been restless from the start. And that primal restlessness has led to incredible achievements! However, Rolheiser is guilty of gross understatement when he diagnoses our current level of restlessness as "beyond what is healthy."

We feel like our lives are tragic if we are not able to do and see and be everything, all at once. As if our bodies are not ok if they are merely average, our homes not good enough if not HGTV material, our lives boring and meaningless if we aren't "living the dream." Our kids all need to be exceptional, our jobs always meaningful, our choices endless. Why eat a mere slice of pizza when we can have the entire thing delivered to our door? We want it all. We want it now. And we are never satisfied with what is.

Unbridled restlessness is a key reason we are all busy and bored.

... our restlessness propels us into a flurry of activity which keeps us preoccupied and consumed with the surface of life, with the business of making a living, with doing things, with distractions, and with entertainment.

We do things and we no longer know why.

We feel chronically pressured, victimized, and hyper-driven.

We overwork, but are bored;

socialize excessively, but are lonely;

and work to the point of exhaustion, but feel our lives are a waste.


I feel this in my own soul, more often that I wish. Don't you?

I see it in people all around me - young and old, rich and poor, educated and not.

Unbridled restlessness is driving us to the brink.

We have access to more of everything than any other nation or generation in the history of the world and yet we are unhappy, unsatisfied, always hungry for more, more, more.

We have lost the ability to be truly restful - allowing ordinary life to be enough.

What on earth is the solution?

How do we find true rest in a restless culture?

How do we find restful faith in a religious culture that often heaps more obligations and demands onto schedules already full to bursting?

Where - aside from a Sandals resort - can we go to find the peace that eludes us? (hint: even that won't work).

Stay tuned. Rolheiser doesn't leave us in despair.

He places his finger on our deepest wounds.

Next he turns to what can heal us.