“Treat boredom as your best friend.” ~ Swami Shyam

Methods have even been devised to supposedly shut off the left brain by various meditation or sensory deprivation environments. The idea is that the logical left brain, bored by the lack of input, switches off, allowing the right brain to dominate.

Ordinarily, we greet boredom with discomfort to which we reflexively respond with a novel activity. Yet in doing so, we lapse into the habit of allowing the left-sided brain to take control. Awareness of boredom brings us to a border crossing from the last frontier of our left brain into the right brain and imaginative regions. And if we can manage to stay with, even welcome, that feeling of boredom, other ways of thinking and being will naturally emerge.

It is not easy to be “inactive” in a society that so highly values “productivity” and being “goal oriented.” So when we expect our children to deal with boredom we must ask ourselves: How capable are we of getting a little “bored” before rushing on to a new activity?

Patience is not a mindless-kind-of-waiting-for-the-bus-nothingness. It is, in fact, an interesting process of observing reality. We have the opportunity to watch how life situations unfold before deciding how or whether to act.

As Friedrich Nietzsche tells us: “If you stare into the Abyss long enough, the Abyss stares back at you.”

Or in the famous Zen story of the master telling his student that he can’t teach him Zen because his mind is too full; that he needs to empty it out before anything new will go into it.

When we let ourselves experience loneliness and boredom, we come closer to the space from which creativity and contentment emerge. It is out of the disorientation of isolation that new ideas and peace of mind are often born.

The most creative people… are known to have the greatest toleration for long periods of uncertainty and boredom… steeping uninterrupted boredom may be the first step toward feeling connected. It may take a little bit of tolerance of an initial feeling of boredom, to discover a comfort level with not being linked in and engaged and stimulated every second.

If you think of boredom as the prelude to creativity, and loneliness as the prelude to engagement of the imagination, then they become good things. They are doorways to something better, as opposed to something to be abhorred and eradicated immediately.

In the end the words ‘boredom’ and ‘loneliness’ are just negative ways of looking at fundamental parts of human experience.

The trick to benefiting from being bored or lonely is simply to allow it. When you find yourself being bored or lonely or even just scared of being bored and lonely – don’t resist it. Just let yourself experience it.

“The life of a creator is not the only life nor perhaps the most interesting which a man leads. There is a time for play and a time for work, a time for creation and a time for lying fallow. And there is a time, glorious too in its own way, when one scarcely exists, when one is a complete void. I mean — when boredom seems the very stuff of life.” ~Henry Miller

Related Pages:
Value of Adversity
Collapse of Ego

One Response

  1. Very wise post.
    I think boredom is one way for our higher-self
    to tell us that we should slow down and defragment
    or clear up our minds.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s