presence is the antidote to boredom

Wherever you are right now,

stop and look around.

How often do we do this? Just sit and be. For the majority of us, probably not a lot. You have things to do and places to go.

I understand.

But If for one reason or another, those things you have to do and those places you have to go suddenly disappear, how would you react?

Would you reach for your lifeline of a phone, scour through social media, binge Netflix?

What I’m asking is,

How do you deal with boredom?

It isn’t difficult to keep ourselves occupied. We have, essentially, limitless ways to entertain ourselves.

Entertainment is the antidote to boredom. Until it’s not.

I mean, think back to the last power outage you experienced. The first thing you notice are the lights going out. The second? No wifi, no internet access. You probably panicked and complained, checked and re-checked for signal, and frankly, acted like an addict without their fix.

It takes some time, doesn’t it, to sit with that uneasy feeling and accept that you are, in fact, bored.

Fuck. What am I supposed to do? I can’t do anything, I can’t go anywhere. What.the.fuck.

Even the in-between moments of the day like, for example, the commute to work or waiting in an office, or anytime you can think of when you aren’t actively doing something is filled by using your phone.

Imagine what you would do if you didn’t have a phone. What would you use to distract yourself from boredom? Maybe you’d pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read, or maybe- just maybe- you’d talk to the person next to you instead of ignoring them.

Let me set something straight, I’m not saying our phones are a negative thing nor do I believe we’re better off without them. My point is that we are unwilling and completely uncomfortable with being bored.

We will do anything and everything, jumping from one thing (or activity) to the next to not feel bored.

What if boredom isn’t some obstacle we need to overcome, but is instead the way to presence?Instead of immediately trying to distract ourselves from the feeling, why not be bored for once?

Allow boredom to be the object of your focus.

What feelings are associated with being bored? Where does your mind wander when you sit quietly? What do you think about when you aren’t actively doing something?

I think these are important answers we can gather by simply being present amongst boredom. On a psychological level, maybe you’ll be able to learn something about yourself that you didn’t know before. Maybe you’d start to recognise your impulses, thinking patterns, and motives.

Being bored isn’t an excuse to not be present. In fact presence is the antidote to boredom.

How do I know this?

Wherever you are right now,

stop and look around.

Published by

Ryan Quaresma

Writing to understand | Photographing to remember

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