Nothing is boring. But there are bored minds. This is an important distinction. People are always saying “This movie is boring, something is wrong with the movie. This is a boring book, something is wrong with the book, let’s get another one. Get rid of what’s boring and get something else, something more interesting.” We treat boredom by changing the circumstances, trying to make things more interesting. We never really address the true cause or essence of the problem.
So what is boredom?
It is the experience that occurs when the mind is not interested or stimulated. You want something else, you are bored. You say, “This is boring.” But it would be more correct to say, “My mind is bored.” And the mind is bored because it doesn’t want this experience. It wants something else. It wants to be somewhere else. It wants to have something else, to experience something else, someone else, somewhere else . . .
It is very important to understand that the source of boredom is within your own mind. The consequence of not understanding this is that you will forever be trying to avoid boredom by finding new situations and experiences.
Why are the young so easily bored? Consider what they’ve been fed on. Look at the speed and the greed of the sensory stimulation that youth is fed on. Watch television and you are bombarded because everything comes at you so fast. The amount of sight, color and sound, particularly in the advertisements, flashing on, bombarding, is relentless. So much is happening and being flung at you. The movies are also a kind of fast lane experience. So when young people have to sit listening to someone talk about slow, reflective things, they get utterly bored. Just the thought of doing something that takes an hour is so boring. They are simply not used to the slower pace because of the overload of sensory stimulations that the modern age is feeding them. They need more to stimulate the same reactions. They need more and more stimulation to generate interest, excitement, and the buzz of life.
They are jaded. Their senses have become dull. With so much stimulation, their senses cannot remain sensitive, otherwise modern entertainment would be too overwhelming. For me, watching modern action movies is a tiresome ordeal because the sensory stimulation is so intense. In order to relax and get used to them, I would have to become less sensitive.
We need to break away from this obsessive craving for something new. It is just a habit, that’s all it is, a conditioned reaction of the mind. It can change. The habit can be broken. We can arouse interest and sustain attention in whatever we wish to be interested in. But it takes practice and improvement of our ability to concentrate.
Relatively speaking, there are some situations that are more stimulating than others. I don’t deny that. But the chief source of the problem is within. If we continue along this path of seeking more and more stimulation, it will become more and more difficult for us to find joy and rapture and the sense of being alive. We will instead become jaded.
The way to recondition the mind is to change our attitude. Redesign your life to be so simple that you experience boredom. Experience it often. Only then will you understand boredom, see the source of boredom, and get over it. You cannot do that by changing the conditions. You must change the attitude and the quality of mind.