We spend our lives avoiding boredom.
It’s easy to do in this giant amusement park we call Western civilization where vast industries keep us entertained.
Our tedium tolerance is now so low our collective motto is “Boredom? No Way!”
One of the most dismissive and deflating things we can say about someone is that he or she is boring.
What we really mean is that this person has nothing to offer us. The same goes for anything else — movies, music, ideas, books, and living arrangements.
It’s a superficial way to live.
Calling someone or something “boring” destroys interest and refocuses our attention on something else. Something less dull.
Shunning boredom is time-consuming, tiring, and expensive. We spend hours online and in shopping malls searching for new clothes, new entertainments and new accessories. Have you noticed how zapped you feel after all this?
What’s more, fleeing boredom costs money –- lots of money –- and keeps us trapped in Debt City.
When our entire species spends its time and energy boycotting a state of being maybe it’s because we’re afraid.
We’re afraid to face our inner emptiness.
Our refusal to be bored entails a curious combination of religious fervor and blind panic. We’re like a bunch of rabbits petrified that boredom will catch us in its headlights.
So we skulk and shuffle in the darkness, oblivious of the possibility these headllights do not bring danger and we will not be bored to death.
Instead, perhaps the light will illuminate a beautiful and neglected territory: our inner world.
Is it possible that this thing we avoid could be one of our most profound spiritual teachers?
One way to find out is to cultivate tedium.
It’s called meditation.
There’s nothing more boring in today’s world than to sit still and focus on our breathing and body sensations. And the mind hates it.
So, day after day, I bore my mind stupid by meditating for an hour.
Boredom, I’ve discovered, has its place; it’s forced me to look within and to find stillness.
Boredom may still be chasing me, but I’ve stopped running.
At least for an hour a day.