The Gifts of Boredom

I think there are a lot of misconceptions out there about boredom: that it’s what happens when we’re not doing enough to keep ourselves entertained, engaged, and stimulated, that it goes away as soon as we get moving and start doing stuff.

But I’ve found the opposite to be true.  Boredom is my reliable cue to move toward the stillness and quiet, not away from it.

Because in my experience, boredom is the thing I feel when I’m pushing away something that’s trying to enter my awareness.  It’s what happens when I try to bypass whatever messy, uncomfortable somethings are rising up to be felt.  In other words, boredom is a product of repressing and resisting what’s real (in an attempt to get to peace, contentment, joy, etc. prematurely.)

I discovered this on a 9-day silent meditation retreat.  With 10 hours of daily meditation, I expected the boredom of it all to crack me a little, but much to my surprise, I was never bored.  I learned silence and stillness aren’t boring; they’re endlessly fascinating.  Boredom is about what I do with the feelings that come up in the stillness and silence, not the stillness and silence themselves.

Boredom also happens when I do too much action, resisting the quieter, slower parts of the growth and healing cycles.  Basically: when I forget (or refuse) to do things like receive, digest, listen, compost, fall apart, unwind, rest, heal, regenerate, feel, and exhale.

So, what might boredom be signaling for you?  What is asking for your attention and focus in the still and quiet places of your life?

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