Last March I posted Getting Bored and made some commitments to try to let myself get “good and bored.”
And while, for the most part, I kept those commitments, I have not gotten good and bored. Not surprisingly, starting to homeschool my children and moving halfway across the country does not really lend itself to boredom. But I find myself still yearning for the boredom that might quiet my mind enough to allow me to hear my inner knowing and to be more present.
I’m not even sure that boredom is the right word, but rather a step along the path towards stillness and presence. Is boredom what comes just before appreciating the present moment exactly as it is?
The move is behind us now. After two months in a temporary sublet we have now been moved settled into our new home. for almost two months Everything is unpacked and we are all settled. I’m thinking it might be time to try to find this stillness. I’m just not exactly sure how to go about it.
A book I’m reading right now called Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron has a section in it called “The Practice of Mindfulness and Refraining”. It speaks to what I’m trying to accomplish.
REFRAINING IS very much the method of becoming a dharmic person. It’s the quality of not grabbing for entertainment the minute we feel a slight edge of boredom coming on. It’s the practice of not immediately filling up space just because there’s a gap. …… Refraining—not habitually acting out impulsively—has something to do with giving up the entertainment mentality. Through refraining, we see that there’s something between the arising of the craving—or the aggression or the loneliness or whatever it might be—and whatever action we take as a result. There’s something there in us that we don’t want to experience, and we never do experience, because we’re so quick to act. The practice of mindfulness and refraining is a way to get in touch with basic groundlessness—by noticing how we try to avoid it.
So my plan is to not purchase or borrow any new books for the next two months. I will only reread things I already own or have already purchased. I’m not sure if this will do anything to further my boredom, but I know that I tend to fill my free time with reading. Since what I read is mostly non-fiction aimed at health, wellness, self-improvement, parenting—things I am wholly immersed in, I may not find that boredom. I don’t have cable, and I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook. But I do have a bit of a reading addiction, so we’ll see what happens. I’ll let you know.
Not to be able to stop thinking is a dreadful affliction, but we don’t realize this because almost everybody is suffering from it, so it is considered normal. This incessant mental noise prevents you from finding that realm of inner stillness that is inseparable from Being.
ECKHART TOLLE, The Power of Now
from Waiting for Godot — by Samuel Beckett
VLADIMIR: When you seek you hear.
ESTRAGON: You do.
VLADIMIR: That prevents you from finding.
ESTRAGON: It does.
VLADIMIR: That prevents you from thinking.
ESTRAGON: You think all the same.
VLADIMIR: No no, it’s impossible.
ESTRAGON: That’s the idea, let’s contradict each another.
ESTRAGON: You think so?
VLADIMIR: We’re in no danger of ever thinking any more.
ESTRAGON: Then what are we complaining about?
VLADIMIR: Thinking is not the worst.
ESTRAGON: Perhaps not. But at least there’s that.
VLADIMIR: That what?
ESTRAGON: That’s the idea, let’s ask each other questions.
VLADIMIR: What do you mean, at least there’s that?
ESTRAGON: That much less misery.
ESTRAGON: Well? If we gave thanks for our mercies?
VLADIMIR: What is terrible is to have thought.
ESTRAGON: But did that ever happen to us?
VLADIMIR: Where are all these corpses from?
ESTRAGON: These skeletons.
VLADIMIR: Tell me that.
VLADIMIR: We must have thought a little.
ESTRAGON: At the very beginning.
VLADIMIR: A charnel-house! A charnel-house!
ESTRAGON: You don’t have to look.
VLADIMIR: You can’t help looking.
VLADIMIR: Try as one may.
ESTRAGON: I beg your pardon?
VLADIMIR: Try as one may.
ESTRAGON: We should turn resolutely towards Nature.
VLADIMIR: We’ve tried that.
VLADIMIR: Oh it’s not the worst, I know.
VLADIMIR: To have thought.
VLADIMIR: But we could have done without it.