We all know how Vyvyan felt
Take a minute to picture this ….. Maybe at the weekend when you have no more work to do, when the chores are done, the washing put away, the children content, when you have nothing planned, no responsibilities and no deadlines. Maybe then you get to sit on the sofa for 5 quiet and peaceful minutes with no TV, no radio, no computer, no internet, no music and no book for distraction…. Doesn’t that sound good?
Or maybe imagine the same situation but instead of 5 minutes maybe 10. Or instead of 10 maybe 30 or an hour or even the whole day with nothing: uninterrupted and undisturbed stillness and inactivity for a day. Who could do that? Who would want to do that? How long till you were BORED of it?
In my first job I was bored. If I hadn’t checked the clock until after 09:30 I considered it a good start to the day. But they paid me and I quickly understood that the cash in the brown envelope given to me on Friday afternoon was compensation for my 37 and a half hours of boredom that week. That was the contract we had. And with the money I could buy myself away from boredom over the weekend.
Boredom is unnerving and scary. It is never invited in. It is no one’s friend. I was taught that boredom was a sign of failure. “If you are bored, it means that you are boring.” The insinuation being I should be able to use my own initiative to find something to do; something to cover over the boredom and if I couldn’t, well then I was the one to blame. In other words, the bored are lesser people than the not bored.
My boredom arises when things things aren’t going as I would like: which is either when a) I have to do something I don’t want to (“tidying up is SO boring”) or b) I can’t do something I want to do (“its so boring without my friends here”). Yet it is so stupid to try ironing out all the parts of my life that are not perfect, to rage against the changes and vacillations when they will NEVER stop. Life won’t ever be perfect; there is dukkha and boredom is just one example that. So maybe there aren’t bored people and not bored people – all of us get bored
I have just started to look at my meditation as 20 minutes of boredom every day. Which has made me wonder if our life long boredom avoidance strategies are just skin deep, attachment driven, pointless chasing of distraction after distraction and pushing away of unpleasantness after unpleasantness. Maybe it would be better if we all just got a little bit more comfortable with our boredom, to breathe it in and let it go.