Recently the realization dawned on me that it's been quite awhile since I've been bored. In the past there would be periods of time when I'd be infused with a restless energy and yet see no avenue in which to channel it. Even when I seemed to have plenty of legitimate things to do. Boredom would permeate deep into my consciousness, dulling my awareness and stifling my sense of peace. I'm not sure about anyone else but I particularly don't find boredom to be a favorable condition.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines boredom as, "the state of being weary or restless through lack of interest." We are restless yet are unable to focus and become engaged on any one particular pursuit. Boredom is a condition that has the potential to breed misery as it gives rise to dark waters thick with obscure anxieties and random thoughts that infect our actions with their toxicity causing us to bear bitter fruit. I wonder how many destructive habits are first conceived in boredom's fertile womb which teems turbulently with a quagmire of restless energy impregnated with the mundane and illusory?
I have been practicing passage meditation, mindfulness and mantram repetition for some time now and though I have had glimpses of insights and have encountered sporadic spiritual experiences and often share those here, I had not realized until recently how my whole perception of life has been altered. Not just my perception of life but how I am living life itself. In a way much like how one would adjust the settings on a telescope to sharpen the image of the object desired to be viewed, both my gross senses-those which perceive the tangible manifestations of God's energy playing itself out in the material world and my inner senses-the receptors in my consciousness able to receive and open up to His Divine presence, have been sharpened and defined. Making life anything but boring.
To have one-pointed attention at the task in hand is part of Eknath Easwaran's eight point program . To experience life, now, as it happens, and not be caught up by fleeting thoughts, brings rise to an amazing transformation of perspective. Nature itself brings my heart to its knees in wonder at the miracles and wonders that resound in every cell and complex process that defines our physical world. Every leaf, every droplet of water, brings a sense of awe. Even in life's most darkest moments I am finding appreciation and beauty. And hope. For with each new breath we take is a new beginning. I am learning that to be present fully is to live fully.
Being fully present not only reaps the benefit of being able to view each moment with a renewed sense of gratitude but using that technique to apply it in pursuing our tasks helps those tasks, however seemingly banal, become more engaging. Not being caught up in non-related thoughts and being subjected to a state of "monkey mind", we are able to conserve greater amounts of energy to devote to the task at hand. This causes us to perform our actions with greater precision and devotion while noticing the details that we once might have missed.
It is often in the intervals between specific tasks where we get swept up in thoughts that toss us to and fro like the waves of the ocean. Battering our fragile consciousnesses against merciless rocks that jut out within the landscape of our soul's interior. It's easy at times like those to become too fragmented and distracted to ever become focused enough to be firmly situated in a state that is fixed on God or the present. At that point it's easy to become restless. What to do, what to do..and we look towards trivial and mundane pursuits to appease the restless energy that taunts us. Times like these can get the best of anyone. I know they've gotten the best of me in the past. One common example I think that many of us can be subject to, is to eat when we are bored. I know exactly when my children are getting bored. They ask for a snack! Of course there are times when they do need a snack but if they've recently had one and I can visibly see their interest in an activity tapering off I can almost guarantee that soon I will hear a request for one! Over-eating and other unsavory habits are certainly prompted along by boredom.
This is where my mantram has saved me. I could write about it all day. It has become so integral in every area of my life. Many a time it has proven to be the savior of my sanity as it has anchored me to peace and bliss. Between moments of one-pointed attention I draw forth my mantram. Like a sword it slices through illusion freeing me from spiritual lethargy. Depending on the atmosphere where I find myself, if I'm in public or alone, I either chant it vocally or internally. And if I am alone I often implement the aid of my japa beads to keep count and maintain focus. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare Meditating on the names of God, I find myself anchored to the present and lift my thoughts and heart up to Him. In return, a sense of clarity and peace wash my heart clean of its residual stains of attachment and I feel as if my heart is drinking the most luscious elixir, one that could only find its source from the Divine. Such a transcendental exchange leaves boredom's abode safely tucked into the shadowy folds of the past.
In conclusion, the absence of boredom was an unexpected, albeit very welcomed, byproduct of my spiritual disciplines. So my personal formula to eradicate boredom is a combination of mindfulness and chanting/mantram repetition. Do you have a method that helps you stay focused and attentive throughout your day? I'd love to hear it in the comments section. Thanks!
Thoughts? I'd love to hear them. Please share in the comments section. Thank you!
* More information on mantram meditation/chanting can be found on my previous post: here .