By Lori Lines
In our present-day society, we are modern people. Lately, due to governmental mandates, many of us have had time to pause and reflect, whether we wanted to or not. We realize we have become very used to being stimulated regularly. Our minds are addicted to all kinds of buzz and frenzy.
Technology has only exacerbated this buzz as our minds hunger for more. When faced with the notion to be in the present moment, this may make many recoil in panic. In fact we expend a great deal of our money, our energy and our time doing our best to avoid boredom because, to some, this state of being commensurates death.
Seriously! Many of us can remember using phrases like "bored to death" and "bored stiff."
Consider the vast expanse of entertainment, amusements and diversions that we create and indulge in just to keep from feeling bored. And yet, the complaint of boredom still exists.
I once read a story where, ages ago, there was this Zen trainee who complained to his master that he didn't enjoy meditation because he found the practice of focusing on his breath to be boring. "Oh you don't find breathing interesting, huh?" Said the Zen master. "Well, come with me." The trainee followed the master outside stopping at a stream. At the edge of the water, the master told his trainee to gaze at his reflection in the water. As soon as the student bent over to look at his reflection, the Zen master thrust his head deep into the water and forcibly held it there as the poor student struggled not to drown. "Sooo," said the Zen master, "do you still find breathing boring?"
Most of us believe that our boredom is because of our outward circumstances. We think the situation we find ourselves in is simply not interesting. Those who practice presence, on the other hand, regard boredom as a product of inattention. We get bored, in other words, when we withdraw our full awareness to whatever we are experiencing at the moment.
Boredom is not caused by what we perceive as not happening, it is caused by our own mind. The cure for boredom is paying complete attention with focused awareness. Rather than paying attention, though, most of us are inclined to seek out more mental and physical stimulation to keep our minds occupied with trivial matters that just take up useless space in our heads.
The meditative practice of presence encourages us to let go of the craving for stimulation and simply be attentive to what is, in the present moment.
To digress a moment, I recall a time when I was new at practicing presence. My, then, 8 year old daughter came to me complaining, "I'm bored!" Instead of jumping into my usual response to engage her in something entertaining, I said to her, "Many brilliant ideas and works of art were created out of boredom." Then, I left it at that. Reluctantly, she decided to pull out her art supplies and, voila!, she created a masterpiece. A work of art I will treasure for the rest of my life.
When I asked her what she learned about herself when she was bored, her 8 year old self thoughtfully replied, "That I don't have to be bored when I'm bored." Indeed.
When we discipline our minds, we can take something that we perceive to be boring and make it into something that's profoundly interesting. Just as a submerged head can become fascinated with the breath, boredom, itself, can become interesting if we simply observe it without judgment.
When we can let go of our fear of being bored and direct our full attention to our breath, one might be amazed at what discoveries can be made. One might notice the pleasant sensation that relaxed breathing brings to our body. It may be very mild and barely perceptible, but it's there. When we can be wholly engaged with the simple pleasure of breathing, we find ourselves with a refined sense of completeness in that moment. All we need to know is the joy of the breath. In that moment, we know that simply breathing is enough and we want nothing else.
The benefits of practicing presence are immeasurable. When we learn how to be in a state of presence, we develop our intuition, we get to know who we really are, and we find focus in our lives, just to name a few.
I offer 1:1 sessions coaching clients on how to practice presence in their everyday lives. If this sounds like something you would like to do, just let me know and we can discuss it.
In love and truth,
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Author Lori Lines
Disclaimer: Lori is a high-level channel. The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.