Boredom, it’s that feeling we know is there. Waiting for us, just beneath the surface. As soon as we stop doing something, it rises to the surface. It can make us reach for a drink, the phone, the TV remote, the credit card or food. We all suffer from it.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in my Yin and Meditation practice, is coming face to face with boredom. For me it starts as restlessness, I get itchy or the urge to move. Then comes frustration as I become annoyed with myself, my surroundings, background noises or my stupid thoughts. If I get beyond frustration, the boredom looms large. Sometimes it can feel like a yo-yo, I get bored so I start to think of something interesting, I catch myself wandering and bring myself back, then I get bored and the cycle perpetuates. Sound familiar?
Boredom is our mind seeking, craving stimulation. It’s hungry for activity and boredom is like our tummy grumbling. Our busy mind loves activity and this activity is addictive. It gives us a pleasant distraction from the otherwise mundane task of being ourselves. The problem is, the busy mind is never satisfied, it can never get enough and this can do our head in.
When I notice boredom, either in my life or my yoga/meditation practice, I now see it as a symptom of my hungry, over-stimulated mind. If we are really engaged in what we are doing and present, we can’t be bored. So boredom for me is also an indication of lack of presence. It signifies some degree of dissatisfaction with the present, a sense of not enough. This is the busy mind in its quest for more and more, an inability to be satisfied and content.
So what to do? The simplest yet also the hardest thing is to just let it be. That’s right, allow your boredom to coexist in your field of awareness. Watch it. When we bring our attention to it, it might be uncomfortable, but that feeling of boredom will begin to dissipate. I see boredom as a transitory step, marking the space between doing and being. That half-way point beneath the surface layer of my mind, on the way to the depths of peace. Underneath the feeling of boredom is nothing, just space. So when we feel boredom we can know we are on our way. The trick is to cultivate detachment or equanimity, distancing ourselves from the feeling of boredom and observing the bigger picture. Watching. Witnessing. Not identifying with mind or believing you are your mind. Boredom is only fleeting, temporary and will dissolve in the light of your awareness. And when it passes you will find space.