Bored, bored, bored.
The bane of 21st-century existence is boredom. More common than depression, more universal than anxiety, boredom plagues the masses nowadays the way lice once did some centuries ago.
But what IS boredom, really?
There’s the thought, “I am bored.”
There are some sensations… tension, urgency, or perhaps torpor, fatigue.
There is a judgment: “This is bad, I hate being bored.”
There are stories: “If I had picked a better profession, I wouldn’t be so bored right now. If I had married someone different, if I were different… if, if, if…”
Which one of these is “boredom”?
Are there things which are intrinsically boring?
Probably not. I have enjoyed copying the same Chinese character over and over again hundreds of times. Some people would rather eat glass because at least it would hold their attention. I personally find watching football games INCREDIBLY boring, but apparently millions of people in the US feel differently about the game.
When we practice mindfulness, we take everyday activities such as seeing, hearing, walking, eating, breathing, excreting, falling asleep — and see what they are really like in the present moment, not how our minds imagine them to be, but what they are really like, right now. Like pure gold ingots instead of a bad check, the experience of this moment is solid currency, the thoughts about the experience are like counterfeit bills.
When we pay close attention to anything in this moment, it becomes interesting–even the sensations in the body when we are telling ourselves the “I’m bored” story.
Let’s all try this mindful awareness of the times we say “boring.” I’ll even watch a football game.