What does boredom mean?


I can’t remember that last time I was bored, but I work a lot and have plenty of interests. My meditation practice also helps me to be present and conformable even when nothing is going on. From my perspective, it is difficult to understand how people get bored. When I was a child, however, I did get bored as many children do. Even in my twenties, I found myself experiencing periods of boredom, so I assumed that boredom is something to overcome. Like all feelings, boredom also has something to tell us.  

We do ourselves a disservice when we try to keep our minds occupied in every moment. Unfortunately, more than ever, we try to keep our minds busy at every opportunity. There is a behaviour I have observed on trains, at airports, on the subway, in supermarket checkout lines, at a doctors office or any other place where people are waiting for something to happen. It is rare that people do not pull out their smartphone and keep their minds occupied in such situations. What do you do when you are waiting? If you have a busy working life, you may want or need to spend every free moment productively. This is, after all, the great benefit of our modern technology. It also has its drawbacks. 

Feelings are communication, so what is the feeling of boredom trying to tell you? It can be a call to action, an opportunity to engage creativity and explore new ideas. If you are a person who is used to keeping your mind occupied every minute of the day, boredom may just be a recognition of the contrast between stillness and being busy. If you feel uncomfortable with silence, it may be worth exploring why this is the case. If we do not allow ourselves moments of stillness, we may be robbing ourselves of creativity and inspiration.  

To feel bored is an opportunity. It is a call to challenge yourself, to explore new things and break out of your routines. It may also be a call to face stillness, to resist the compulsion to occupy your mind in every free moment. You can be busy and bored by the routines in your life. In any case, boredom reminds us of things that we need but are missing. It could be a signal to stop and scout around for something you are overlooking. Feeling bored could also be the nudge to get you out of your comfort zone. The fact that I do not get bored signals to me that I am making the right choices. I spend enough time reflecting but also challenging myself and engaging in creative endeavours. I am fortunate to have a lifestyle that allows this. What is your boredom telling you?