August 8, 2006
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. When you respond by actively filling the emptiness you feel lurking in yourself, you cultivate creativity and innovation. If, when in the grip of boredom, you have difficulty acknowledging the merits of any activities you might otherwise enjoy, generate your own inspiration. Before you find yourself beset by boredom, create a list of tasks you can consult when it feels like there is simply nothing to do. Referring to a list of topics you want to learn more about, projects you've yet to begin, or even pending chores can spark your creative energy and reawaken your zest for life.
When we are troubled by boredom, it is not that there is nothing to do but rather that we are not stimulated by the options before us. 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.