It's Saturday afternoon. My daughter is staying over at a friend, my son's are playing League of Legends and my husband is sick in bed. Nobody is demanding anything of me, nobody is entertaining me and for some reason all the quiet little "me" activities that I fantasize about doing when I'm rushed off my feet don't seem the least bit appealing to me right now.
And so I'm thinking, "What can I learn from being bored?"
1. Being bored really gives me a craving for Ben and Jerry's ice cream. That's interesting. I wonder how often I eat out of boredom?
2. Boredom is only a breath away from contentment. When I ask myself why I feel bored and not content my answer is, "perspective". It occurs to me that boredom and contentment are two side of the same coin and if I shift my thoughts a little I don't feel bored any more, I feel content. The thoughts I've been thinking are, "I don't feel stimulated. I shouldn't feel this way." If I shift my thoughts to thinking, "Maybe I need a break from stimulation. Maybe feeling this way is okay." I start to feel calmer and not so restless and agitated.
3. Using an uncomfortable emotion as a tool is actually quite entertaining and enlightening. I know I'm a bit of an introspective nerd but being able to observe my boredom from a little bit of removed perspective is really helping me to see how, if motivated, I can shift my thinking and therefore the resulting emotions and behavior. It's easier to do with a slight negative emotion like boredom but it's giving me insight as to the process I can use with more energized emotions like irritation and frustration. And doing this is entertaining me in quite a cerebral way.
4. It highlights how reactionary I can be and how quickly I react. I haven't been bored for that long. Just about an hour and I quickly started to label the experience as "wrong" and I immediately started looking for relief from my discomfort. I wonder what would happen if I just sat with the agitation for a little bit.
5. Vipassana meditation has helped me! The fact that I have even been able to look at this with more of a balanced mind shows me that since my Vipassana course I have learned not to be so hooked by emotions and circumstances. I'm bored and I'm able to step back from the emotion a little, notice that I want to eat a tub of Chunky Monkey and redirect my attention to something that will have longer lasting benefit than a sugar rush - like writing a blog post about what I'm learning from it.