Boredom is the pain of existence. When nothing interesting is happening to absorb our attention, it starts to hurt immediately. When we are actively engaged in anything, there is no boredom. When we disengage and begin to think that we would rather be doing something else, boredom has set in.
You could be actively doing something completely enjoyable, then your mind wanders and suddenly you are bored. All it takes to dislodge boredom is to engage with anything, even boredom, but boredom is so repulsive we generally prefer to writhe in its grips. In a vast world of possibilities, there is nothing to do. Boredom completely zaps our creativity. The world not only fails to entertain us, but it punishes us with passing time, monotonous moments.
The incredible choice available to us is part of the pain of boredom. We can imagine a million things we would rather be doing that would be more fun than being bored, but we can do none of those things because we are stuck, bored, where we are. If we were to think about just one of those million things with focused attention, even though we couldn’t do it, our boredom would ease, but, in our boredom, all we can imagine is a nebulous cloud of better places to be, people to be with, and things to do. We feel the pain of where we are and our aversion to that pain holds us captive.
If you’ve read this far, you have either been engaged with these ideas, or fought though boredom, latching on to this verbal cause and remedy for your pain, hoping for some insight to make the drudgery worth it. Bad news, it gets worse here.
Meditation happens to be one of the most boring things you can do, and also the antidote to boredom. Sitting and doing absolutely nothing but engage a wandering mind with nothing but itself is the essence of meditation. Leg cramps body aches, and sleepiness help to break up the boredom of meditation, but those are just more pain. The act of bringing your attention from all the possible ideas and insights you could be having, to your boring, monotonous breath and adjusting your posture to support a basic level of alertness, focuses your mind and momentarily banishes boredom. Then your mind wanders and boredom pops up again. You refocus and it goes away. You do that until the bell rings, and your mediation is over.
Regular mediation helps you practice refocusing your mind, which helps you in the rest of your life break free from the trap of boredom. Boredom will always find ways to seep through the cracks of your activities, but when you know what it is and how to deal with it, it doesn’t hurt so much or stay so long. The world of possibilities is open to you.