Transforming Boredom into Curiosity

One Christmas I distinctly remember being at a lively party. The room was filled with merry people and humming with a symphony of laughter and music. After a while dancing I collapsed in a chair next to the Christmas tree and began to gaze at a large silver bauble (tree decoration). I slowly became mesmerized when I saw the reflection of the whole party within the surface of this single bauble. Time stopped and I realized I was profoundly entertained while doing nothing. The bauble was just as interesting as the party. It had nothing to say, yet was filling me with wonder. And for those of you who are curious, no, this awe-inspiring moment was not created by drugs! This special moment was a gift that triggered five insights: everything is magic; we know nothing; meditation is the key; curiosity kills boredom; and the now is always new…

1) Everything is Magic

We may chase after experiences to alleviate boredom or to create a feeling of being alive. We also may choose to alter our daily reality through taking drugs, or we may feel the need to partake in elaborate events. If we do these out of a sense of lack, rather than curiosity, we have not opened our eyes. Imagine this…we wake in the morning to a blazing ball of fire in the sky (the sun) and mystical beings walk around (humans) while we hurtle at 67,000 miles per hour in space (the earth orbits the Sun at 18.5 miles a second). Life is truly magnificent. When we awaken everyday life can be the best drug. May we never forget the wonder that is right in front of our eyes.

2) When we think we know, we don’t know

When we name or label anything it tricks us into believing we know what it is. With beginner’s mind we acknowledge that life is a mystery and that we actually don’t know what many things are.  We think we know what an object is because we give it a name. Whether it’s a flower, a person, a place or anything else -the truth is we don’t know. When the mind puts something in a box, it limits our experience of it. When we experiment with seeing things as if for the first time or the last time, boredom dissolves and creativity is enhanced. If we treat every moment as if it were our first or our last we become open and receptive, like a child. We can enter the realm of the unknown, by letting go of labelling things; in doing so we become curious, open to wonder, and are able to re-discover the world. We become a blank canvas, empty of second hand information and preconceived ideas.

4) Now is always new

Practicing a beginner's mind has a trickle down effect into our everyday life. When we let go of thinking we know what everything is, we become wiser. We become more open-minded and better listeners. We are more able to explore others and ourselves without pre-judgement. As a beginner we assume nothing and have no expectations. When we make assumptions we cannot see things as they are in the present moment and live in the past. We assume we know our partners and our friends based on their previous behavior, however they are constantly changing. We miss who they have become if we assume they are the same. Nothing stays the same.

5) Boredom and curiosity cannot co-exist

We are so overstimulated in our busy lives that when we pause it can trigger boredom. When we are bored we are less able to enjoy the simple pleasures of silence, the aliveness within our bodies and the subtle beauty of our environment. If we return to a child-like, curious state a whole new world can unfold. The ordinary becomes extraordinary when we see it with fresh eyes.  For example, while in the shower, rather than thinking about what we are going to do that day, we appreciate the smell of the soap and warm sensation of water running. This water came from the mountains all the way into our homes. A shower is not boring; it’s miraculous and blissful.

By Aruna Shields (CHP, CMT)