The lightning lit up the house like a strobe. The thunder rattled the windows. The wind bent the treetops. The rain whooshed down in torrents. The excitement was palpable while the thunderstorm was overhead. Then it had passed. What did Mother Nature have in store for an encore?
The clouds cleared to once again reveal the Sun. The July heat returned, and with all of it, an oppressive mugginess. It was difficult to do anything. Even sitting in the shade took up too much energy. The cats and dogs searched for relief.
The Sun rules the days and Canis Major (Large Dog) with Sirius rule the humid nights of this time of year in the Northern Hemisphere. The Dog Days of Summer are the central reality. It used to be the norm, that the Dog Days were the most boring days imaginable for kids. To me, July was designed specifically for masochists. It’s only natural that somebody would come up with the unofficial designation of July as Anti -Boredom Month.
If you’re looking for techniques to battle boredom, you won’t find them in this little post. However, you might find some stimulation in the archives section of bluejayblog. Instead of a feeling of anti-boredom, I want to indulge and look into this unpopular state of mind.
Why am I not celebrating anti-boredom month? Well, I don’t think this month has been boring. So many things are going on. From the comfort of shade and some sort of fan or air conditioning we have the luxury of being able to entertain ourselves silly with technology. It seems like people are constantly in a battle to stifle boredom, not only during the Dog Days of Summer, but all the time. We involve ourselves in social activities, sports, and overwork. We make sure that children don’t get bored, too.
If you grew up as a baby boomer or earlier, you knew boredom was a thick, humid cloud that hung over our formative years. The heat and humidity made us either dull-witted or brought out the worst sort of mischief. The overarching boredom brought on a deadly weariness that we felt compelled to kill.
We look in many directions to relieve our boredom. Television, the Web, or hanging out with friends offer instant solutions. Maybe it’s time for shopping. When we feel boredom, we regress to childhood. We tire of one toy and pick up another one to amuse us. There are thousands of things to acquire.
When toys fail to satisfy, we look to acquire knowledge, religion, fame, riches, and power. Some of us find sleepy comfort in some organization, get bored again with that, then move on to another, then, in turn, to another and never wake up. We call this anti-boredom an expansion of thought, the acquisition of “wisdom”, or progress along the path.
Acquisition enables boredom in a manner similar to drug addiction. We obtain a new thing or idea and feel some enjoyment or thrill. We eventually lose interest in it and look to get another new item or indulge some other ideology.
We lose interest in that, too. Then we begin again. We have the same situations with people, too. If we don’t find pain or pleasure with a particular person in our lives, we get bored. The desire to be free of boredom is just another expression of acquisition. We wish to be in a state of non-boredom.
How do we become free from the cycle of boredom to acquisition, over and over? Isn’t the desire to be free of acquisition just another thing to acquire?
As in most other challenges, the cycle of acquisition/boredom is to experience it head-on. Some of us allow the boredom to have its way. Instead of trying to run away from boredom, we accept it. We meditate with it. It becomes a subject of contemplation. The purpose of the meditation is not to get rid of boredom. There is only the encounter of the experience of boredom.
This is a slippery activity. Just as you feel the wash of boredom over yourself, the thought may enter the mind that this meditation will alleviate boredom. At that moment, you’ve reentered the boredom/acquisition cycle. Just as is done in meditation with other thoughts, we can accept the worrisome thoughts about boredom, then let them go.
We understand that all things and concepts come and go anyway without any effort. This is simply the nature of existence. Life is just a matter of the flow of continuous movement. The mind is full of thoughts and concepts. One thought follows another, and another.
Sometimes we just need to let go and allow our lives to unfold, with or without boredom. The efforts to fight boredom only make boredom stronger.