Boredom and Being Present…

What is boredom?

The dictionary defines boredom as: the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest.

I recall a friend saying how she used to hate going to her mother-in-law’s house not because her mother-in-law wasn’t a nice person, but because she was very sedentary, had no real interests, and just watched TV all day. My friend would lament about feeling caged and “bouncing off the walls” because she didn’t want to be rude, but desperately wanted to DO something meaningful.

I’m sure you can relate to my friend’s intense boredom during these situations!

Now, what about feeling bored during your meditation practice, or in your everyday life? What does it really mean, to be bored?

If we’re bored, it’s because we’re not being stimulated. Right?

Well… partially.

It’s actually a state of not being present! When we feel we’re not being stimulated, we tend to feel bored. But look back at the definition of boredom again. “… through lack of interest.”

Any time the state of boredom arises, during or outside of your meditation practise, recognize it as an alarm or alert that you have lost your sense of “Presence.”

Your mind cannot produce the state of boredom while you are in the present moment. You see, boredom and presence are exact opposites. Being fully present means you are engaged and interested in what’s going on – even if what’s going on isn’t “exciting” or “stimulating.”

Your mind will try to suggest that you are bored because of some external condition or environment (such as sitting around all day mindlessly watching TV with your mother-in-law).

This feeling can even creep into your meditation session. Sitting here is so boring, I should get up and do something… there’s so much to do… I don’t really have time for this… this is just the mind’s trick to throw you off the real source of the issue, which is your own ability to stay present.

What do we do when we’re bored?

We move on to the next thing, something we perceive as more interesting or something we feel will stimulate or excite us more. This is one reason “adrenaline sports” are so popular!

Do you struggle with boredom

However, allowing the mind to influence you to constantly search for the next exciting thing or new event will only lead to frustration and more boredom because you will always be chasing something new with the hope that you will finally feel fulfilled.

True fulfillment and peace is only present here, now.

You can’t ever be at peace when you’re chasing something and you can’t be fulfilled when there’s always something more shiny or exciting just around the corner.

When you are in the present moment you experience a sense of peace; a feeling of well-being, and you become totally, happily absorbed in whatever you are doing.

Learning presence is a matter of habit. It becomes more natural to you the more you practice it.

So how can you alleviate boredom in even the most tedious situations?

Here are a few fun tips:

  • Become interested in the details; then close your eyes and recreate the scene in your mind
  • Pick out as many sounds as you can from the environment
  • Try to “feel” one of your body parts without touching it
  • Try not to think about blue elephants

In all seriousness, being present means you aren’t thinking about the past or the future. You are having an experience, right now.

What can you do to enhance the experience?

What can you learn from this moment?

If you approach life from a very curious perspective – one of “everything is new, and I’d better soak this up because this moment will never be repeated” – then you will never be bored!

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