Boredom: The Enemy no 1
Ever wondered why most people can’t meditate? Even the most enthusiastic people start out meditating with full zeal, yet they too lose motivation much sooner than later. And, if you ask them why they quit, the standard answer is: I can’t concentrate no matter how hard I try.
This standard answer makes sense to most people, but solves no problem. However, if you scrutinize carefully you will discover that the real reason is boredom. No matter what style of meditation one tries it is a repetitive activity – and dull too. Either you are chanting some mantra or syllable monotonously or trying to keep the mind focused on breathing or some image; if you are practicing Vipassana you may be just trying to sustain awareness on yourself. So, no matter what you are doing it is dull and repetitive; it has no element of fun or enjoyment which the mind relishes.
The end result is that your mind soon loses interest in the activity and you suddenly come up with excuses why should quit.
What is Boredom?
Boredom is an emotional state experienced when an individual is without any work or is not interested in his surroundings. The first recorded use of the word boredom is in the novel Bleak House by Charles Dickens, written in 1852. The French term for boredom is ennui; it is also sometimes used in English.
In psychology, boredom has two associated factors: one is a pervasive lack of interest and two, difficulty in focusing attention on the current activity. Speaking from a practical angle, boredom is a situation when a person finds his environment dull, tedious, and lacking in stimulation. There is an inherent anxiety in boring situation and people will go to any extent to prevent or remedy it. This is how we try to cope with boredom.
Success in Meditation means Overcoming Boredom
The following are the words of great master, Osho. He underscores the importance of overcoming boredom. It is provides both inspiration and guidance to every meditator.
“Boredom has been used as a technique, it is a device in meditation. In Zen, boredom is used as a device: you are bored to death, and you are not allowed to escape. You are not to go outside, you are not to entertain yourself, you are not to do, you are not to talk, and you are not to read novels and detective stories. No thrill. No possibility to escape anywhere.
What exactly is meditation? Facing boredom is meditation. What does a meditator go on doing? Sitting silently, looking at his own navel, or watching his breathing, do you think he is being entertained by these things? He is utterly bored!
The whole effort in meditation is this: be bored but don’t escape from it; and keep alert, because if you fall asleep you have escaped. Keep alert! Watch it, witness it. If it is there, then it is there. It has to be looked into, to the very core of it.”
Therefore, as long as you don’t develop familiarity with boredom, it will remain a problem for you. The only correct way to handle boredom is to face it and see it as an opportunity for growth.
Some more Advise to Meditators
- Miss the present and you live in boredom. BE in the present and you will be surprised that there is no boredom at all. Start by looking around a little more like a child. Be a child again! That’s what meditation is all about: being a child again — a rebirth, being innocent again, not-knowing.
- Boredom and restlessness are deeply related. Whenever you feel boredom, then you feel restlessness. Restlessness is a by-product of boredom.
- If you really want a life which has no boredom in it, drop all masks, be true. Sometimes it will be difficult, I know, but it is worth it. Be true and Drop Your mental Load.