When was the last time you experienced boredom? Was it a few days back, yesterday, today or now? How do you deal with feeling bored – do you sulk and let it be, seek refuge in any random activity, or do you find a constructive way of being with your own self? Many may consider boredom to be a common feeling, because an increasing number of people are becoming chronically bored. They appear disinterested in whatever they are doing; they feel scared to be with their own selves and are frantically looking for distractions.
These are people who like to be on the move and are constantly busy doing something or the other. Modern technology and a consumerist culture have created novel and unmatched methods to kill time, but do these really help? Usually these distractions work as an anaesthetic, numbing the discomfort for some time. But sooner than later, the person is back to the painful feeling of monotony. Moreover, these distractions seem to mimic drugs – people get addicted to them, need more intense versions to feel good and can’t imagine a life without them. In the long run, this sabotages their growth and evolution because they are forever trapped in activities, relationships and life choices that don’t make much sense at a deeper level.
Let’s not forget that at times, there is a great value in being disengaged, and staying relaxed, silent and quiet. Great discoveries have been made by people when they were happily absorbed in solitude. Alexander Fleming came back from a vacation and observed that a strange fungus had grown on a culture he had left in his lab, killing harmful bacteria, and this led to the discovery of antibiotics. Isaac Newton was relaxing in his garden when an apple fell, inspiring him to understand the law of gravity. Percy Spencer found that the chocolate bar in his pocket had melted mysteriously while he was taking a stroll in front of a vacuum tube and this gave him the idea of a microwave oven.
The Guru Granth Sahib tells us that the real treasure is deep within us, but our mind makes us wander, searching for it. By stilling the mind and connecting with the deeper layers of our being, we can realise our inherent physical, emotional, mental and spiritual potential. The starting point can be developing a profound awareness of our breath. Once we learn to breathe consciously, our breath becomes a thread connecting our body, mind and spirit, uniting our individual consciousness with the cosmic consciousness.
Become conscious of your breath for a few seconds several times during the day. Slowly, conscious breathing will replace unconscious breathing and your inhalations and exhalations will become deeper and full of intensity. This creates the ground for the advent of higher consciousness in simple acts of life. A time comes when you no longer need artificial outer stimulation to feel good, for you start finding pleasure in being with your breath, yourself and the world around you. Remember that the Divine is bliss, the world he created is inherently blissful and this bliss is enshrined deep within you. What you need is willingness, openness and certitude to reclaim this innate bliss and rejoice in yourself.
The writer is a clinical psychologist in Puducherry, India. [Courtesy: ToI]