Even higher than the cases of viral infections, especially now more than ever, boredom is a pandemic of its own. It’s passed off as normal, and everybody takes it for granted. The treatment is to seek more and more stimulus – usually from our mobile devices. But why is it ok to just accept boredom as a natural state? It’s not natural. Life is always dynamic and always on, so it should be with us.
Dynamism doesn’t mean always being active, and boredom isn’t the same as inactivity. Inner stillness is the antithesis of boredom – one is still, imbibed with full awareness – dynamic and full of potentiality. So let’s delve a bit more into what boredom is.
Taking an example from one who is never bored, that person is one whose interested is always peaked. Another way to say that is that they have peak awareness. They are always alive with inner exuberance, whether they are active or inactive. So then does it not follow that when we say we are bored, we are saying we are shut off from life’s dynamism? What an unimaginably complex and wondrous creation we live in – every organism an entire mystery of its own – even a leaf or a flower… and we say we are bored. Take this as a clue as to just how deeply unconnected we are from nature and her unfolding, moment to moment.
Boredom is clearly a psychological phenomenon. It’s the feeling of unsatisfaction by an activity, or when we are feeling energetic but have nowhere to direct it. Like so many human short-comings, it’s all in the mind. Afterall two people can be in the exact same situation, one in bliss and the other utterly bored. It’s not the external conditions that elicit boredom at all, despite how everybody defines boredom in everyday vernacular. It’s entirely and solely the internal conditions. We create our own stories, our own dramas, and boredom happens when we tire of our own drama of the moment. Think about this – we give up the fantastic phenomena of life, of nature, of existential dimensions for the meager phenomena of our ego, and then we reside in that. When a human being’s potential is being at one with Creation, is there any wonder that we are bored with the smallness of the ego-dream? Boredom is a hint that we are meant for something bigger. Not only do we not realize that, but on top of it, we find distractions to mask boredom – like work or shopping or social events or whatever. Never before in history have there been so many meticulously designed stimuli by the modern design and marketing engines. But now we are sitting at home with ourselves, far fewer distraction options, and our inner psychology stares us in the face.
You see, every intention reverberates through our bodies. Not only that, in fact through all the web of creation but let’s just stick to what we know through direct experience. Does our mental state not impact our body? Of course, this has been proven in medical science. So, when we send these signals of boredom through our bodies, what are we telling our cells? That we are tired of what life is offering… is that a message we want to send? And not just with boredom, but with our psychological circus, what are we telling our cells? We have hijacked the tools of the body/mind complex, which are actually meant for us to use as a vehicle for Self-Realization.
What can we do about it? Well we established boredom is a compulsive psychological process, so step one is to recognize it and consciously break it. Every ten minutes actively break the boredom stream. It will come back again and again but keep breaking the stream. For a moment, do nothing. For one moment, disengage from whatever is happening. Can we just sit for 60 seconds in quiet stillness? 100% alert, but not involved. Be a witness to life.
We can see the futility of boredom in how Leo Tolstoy defined it: “The desire for desires.”
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