Author Topic: Dealing with boredom  (Read 6660 times)

khan singh

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Dealing with boredom
« on: October 18, 2010, 01:05:51 PM »
Hi,

First post here. :)

How do we deal with boredom not only during meditation but at other times? The normal method is to turn on the TV, read books, play sport etc. But most meditators say we must 'be with boredom' (or loneliness or any other feeling) and not run away. J Krishnamurti, for instance, say if we stay with it, it gets transformed.

My problem is, even if you do try to be with it, you get a series of random thoughts distracting you. So how can you stay with it when your mind keeps on projecting various thoughts, images etc. without a halt? Second, how long does it normally take for boredom to vanish if we follow this method?

KHAN

Matthew

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Re: Dealing with boredom
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2010, 10:58:11 PM »
It becomes your friend, a sign to meditate. Haven't got a TV any more. Welcome,

Matthew
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khan singh

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Re: Dealing with boredom
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2010, 06:49:27 AM »
Thanks, but what about random thoughts that keep occurring every now and then?

Vivek

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Re: Dealing with boredom
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2010, 06:55:37 AM »
Hi Khan, random thoughts are natural, there is no need to be worried or frustrated about them. Once you start attempting to be with boredom, thoughts could start flooding the mind. If you start identifying with them or reacting to them, they will multiply and our purpose will not be served. The ability to observe one's own thoughts is an invaluable skill, albeit it is very hard to master. But, one has to pay the price to master it and then one can use it to go beyond one's own boredom and frustration. 
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

khan singh

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Re: Dealing with boredom
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2010, 04:07:15 PM »
Thanks, Vivek. Even when I observe thoughts (without going off with them), I feel bored with the very practice of observing them. I hope you see what I mean. Does that mean every activity, including observation, eventually leads to boredom?

Morning Dew

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Re: Dealing with boredom
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2010, 07:51:38 PM »
Boredom comes as a result of the ego self desiering entertainment in any form but facing one self. Instead focus on calming the body let the mind be as it is. Boredom is the same mind crap as the thoughts are.
Let it be as it is.
If still you feel too much about it start practising TaiChi or Qigong or Yoga. Go out jogging. Walking in nature.

If you have too much free time on your hands get a volunteer job.
Find a hobby like painting, growing flowers, pottery, get a dog etc...

Can you tell us do you practice meditation? Thanks

rideforever

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Re: Dealing with boredom
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2010, 08:42:35 PM »
Interesting.  I suppose you need an entry point into yourself ... whatever works for you : it could be 'being with your boredom', it could be watching your breathing, anything.  In the beginning you need a way in.

With boredom : I would say to you - don't believe it.  It isn't really 'boredom'.  There is a game going on, your mind is trying to get you to stop meditating.  It fears you becoming yourself because then the mind will be gone.  Can you observe the boredom with enough intensity to break through - to see the game that is being played ?

Or ... if you are 'bored', why are you sitting at all - are there 2 of you ?  Observe the 2 - what is going on ? 

Or ... Osho would say : when you sit, sit totally.  Be total in it.  Give your heart to it.  If you 'meditate' absentmindedly like you pick your nose sure it will seem boring.

How long will it take to not be boring ?  It will take as long as it takes for you to be total in your meditation.  Some people - 50 years.  Some people - NOW !

kidnovice

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Re: Dealing with boredom
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2010, 10:03:08 PM »
Hey Khan,

From your initial posting, I got the impression that this "boredom" is an issue that goes much deeper than just your meditation practice. It seems like you are feeling bored in your life-- like you are in a bit of a rut. So first off, I wouldn't look to meditation alone to solve this problem. Meditation is a valuable tool, but it shouldn't replace making changes in your life that can make you happier. Sounds to me like you should start there.

Figure out what in your life is leaving you dissatisfied, and then see what you can do about that. Some things you can't change. But somethings you can. And when you start making the right changes, you will find a greater capacity to accept the things that you are stuck with. Try pushing your boundaries to find things you can do that will help you feel like you are growing and flourishing. This can be anything: start a new hobby, meet new people, take up a musical instrument, try tap-dancing. Or like MD suggested, volunteer. Few thing are as transformative as feeling of service to others. Whatever you do, don't be afraid to try things that seem almost absurd. Things that make you laugh at yourself.

With all that said, you might be tempted to see those things as attempts to "run from the boredom."  I wouldn't think of it that way. Its not helpful. Instead, think of these activities as finding new ways to grow and develop; you might even let go of the rigid preconception of yourself that limit who you are. Maybe you are a knitter, and just don't know it! ;D

Boredom can often be your mind/body's way of telling you that you are not learning or growing. Sometimes, you need to change what you are doing. But other times, you need to change how you are "seeing" things, so that you don't ignore the lessons that are being offered to you.

When you are meditating, you can use both strategies.  Trying different things when you meditate can keep your practice vibrant--be playful. This playfulness can also keep you from becoming rigid in your practice, and even loosen up energies (which can get stuck, and thus leave us feeling "bored" or "stagnant").  For example, you can change-up where you watch your breath, or what you even watch (thoughts, bodily sensation, emotions, awareness, visualization)

But perhaps most importantly, try to "see" things differently when you meditate. This is what you do when you sit with the boredom. Watch the bodily sensations that arise and the bizarre patterns of thoughts. You might find this kind of amazing to see. If so, you will stop being bored. :)

But here is something else you might do if you find yourself being very distracted: Stop thinking of your practice as watching the breath. Instead, think of your practice as returning to the breath. Even better, think of your practice as learning to "wake-up."  

Everytime your mind gets carried away by a thought, that is your golden opportunity to wake-up. If you didn't get distracted, you'd never have a chance to wake-up! As you get quicker and quicker at "waking-up" you will find that even in a distracted meditation, you have woken-up many many times. And thats wonderful. Its actually fun. And you can take joy in the fact that you are planting seeds of "waking-up" that will surely help you in the future. The more experiences of "waking-up" you have, the more likely you will spontaneously have these "waking-up" moments during your life (say, when you are angry or depressed). This is the way the mind works. Its karma.

Try deeply internalizing this intention: "I am not here to watch my breath. I am here to return as quickly and as gently as possible."  Its not just a cop-out for when you are distracted. If you take it all the way, it leads to profound places.

Of course, this is but one tool to use on the cushion. Feel free to try it out.

With metta,
KN
« Last Edit: October 19, 2010, 10:07:42 PM by kidnovice »
May we cultivate the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the compassion to change the things we can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Vivek

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Re: Dealing with boredom
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2010, 07:47:59 AM »
As always, you have shared some great inputs, KN. Thanks for sharing.
Let's go beyond this illusion, shall we?

alanStark

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Re: Dealing with boredom
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2015, 01:56:11 PM »
I'm new to meditation, and thanks to Matthew, I think I'm doing it right. Stray thoughts are the cause of boredom. I've been practising samatha, or some part of it that I could understand. During the practice recently there have been times where I have had a taste of a strange phenomenon, which I guess is what concentration looks like. While writing this, I am still in this state. It stays a few minutes after practice. There are no stray thoughts. I am just answering you, and I'm not thinking about anything else. I don't feel the urge to play music or start netflix, which is usually on all the time I'm on the computer (I'ma  software developer). Matthew's statement about not owning a TV is profound for me, which indicates that after a certain time, this state becomes perennial.

On the whole, both are states of minds; the mind with stray thoughts and boredom, and the min with nothing on its mind. And there are instruments to achieve both.

Persevere.

Matthew

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Re: Dealing with boredom
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2015, 10:34:56 PM »
I do have a TV now: I don't watch TV on it. It gets used as a monitor for watching Dhamma talks and some factual stuff such as documentaries. It's on for less than an hour most weeks though I just watched a 2h40 minutes documentary over four days.

Boredom is one of your best friends in meditation: it means you are starting to face yourself in the mirror.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Marc60

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Re: Dealing with boredom
« Reply #11 on: November 04, 2015, 02:40:58 AM »
Good morning,

Quote
Boredom is one of your best friends in meditation: it means you are starting to face yourself in the mirror

I´m surprised to read that. This might be true if you know how to deal with it......no?

clayton

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Re: Dealing with boredom
« Reply #12 on: November 04, 2015, 10:30:17 AM »
that's just it, there's nothing to really deal with... you're just experiencing yourself as you are, maybe it feels uncomfortable or you have the desire to do something else, that's your boredom. with practice, you are accepting your boredom (and yourself) simply as you are, there is nothing you have to do.  you are not dealing with it, you're just letting it be.
Follow your nose

Goofaholix

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Re: Dealing with boredom
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2015, 08:40:24 PM »
I´m surprised to read that. This might be true if you know how to deal with it......no?

Boredom is simply aversion, you are averse to what is happening now and you crave something else.

It's important to be aware of the habit of boredom as it arises and see how this leads to Dukkha.

It's where the rubber hits to road as far as our practice is concerned, if one just gets up off the cushion and turns on the TV every time boredom arises then one is defeating the purpose of practice.

Marc60

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Re: Dealing with boredom
« Reply #14 on: November 05, 2015, 02:22:26 AM »
Okay I agree so far but in this case boredom I would say is neither a friend nor an enemy. It is was it is. It is like any another sensation coming up during Meditation. Be aware of that and continue.

Pacific Flow

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Re: Dealing with boredom
« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2015, 11:19:23 AM »
Strange, in my system somehow there is no more boredom. I used to be bored once a while when i was younger, but after i had an experience of awakening of some kind, it has never been there anymore. If there is nothing else to do, i look at the clouds and find that entertaining. Or even just listen to my heartbeat. Boredom is just gone, but i do remember how bad it can feel.
I share the view with Goof that it is essentially aversion to the current now. Just aversion. Boredom can kiss my bootey!