On Mindful Monday, my readers and I practice the art of pausing, TRYING to be still, or considering, ever so briefly, the big picture. We’re hoping this soul time will provide enough peace of mind to get us through the week!
The human mind thrives on novelty. What was once a source of pleasure can become tedious after a time. Though our lives are full, boredom lurks around every corner because we innately long for new experiences. Yet boredom by its very nature is passive. In this idle state of mind, we may feel frustrated at our inability to channel our mental energy into productive or engaging tasks. We may even attempt to lose ourselves in purposeless or self-destructive pursuits. While this can be a sign of depression, it can also be an invitation issued from your mind, asking you to challenge yourself. Boredom can become the motivation that drives you to learn, explore the exotic, experiment, and harness the boundless creative energy within. ??
In Hindu and Buddhist traditions, boredom is perceived as a pathway to self-awareness. Boredom itself is not detrimental to the soul–it is the manner in which we respond to it that determines whether it becomes a positive or a negative influence in our lives.
A bored mind can be the canvas upon which innovation is painted and the womb in which novelty is nourished. When you identify boredom as a signal that you need to test your boundaries, it can be the force that presses you to strive for opportunities you thought were beyond your reach and to indulge your desire for adventure.
The wisdom in these words is especially important to depressives and addicts. Because the depressed person often looks to a person, place or thing, to take away her pain, and an addict does the same to dumb himself, or to avoid the uncomfortable feelings hidden underneath the addiction. In his book “The Addictive Personality,” author Craig Nakken writes:
Any addictive relationship begins when a person repeatedly seeks the illusion of relief to avoid unpleasant feelings or situations. This is nurturing through avoidance–an unnatural way of taking care of one’s emotional needs. At this point, addicts start to give up natural relationships and the relief they offer. They replace these relationships with the addictive relationship.
In other words, addicts, even if they have given up the addictive object, remain vulnerable to swapping the right and peaceful and sometimes-boring path with an exciting one that could get them into lots of trouble.
Boredom, then, is the door to addiction, distraction and danger or creativity, innovation, and growth.
The trickiest part is that first move. Beginning a healthy alternative. Signing up for a club. Registering for the new class. Trying a new program.
I have been inspired lately by my seven-year-old boy, David.