Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Death of Boredom

 by Bryan Stevenson (2012)

At work the other day I was struggling with a difficult programming problem. I worked on it for a couple of hours straight and then got up to use the restroom and grab some water. I don’t have a cell phone, so my 120 second break was the perfect opportunity for my brain to disengage and wander. On the way back to my desk the solution to the problem I was facing suddenly clicked. I wasn’t thinking about it, or concentrating on it, but my brain was still working in the background. The brief respite was all my mind needed in order to get a different perspective, and a creative solution. That programming epiphany was quickly followed by another … we don’t give ourselves enough time to meditate and simply do nothing. Our bodies and minds are over stimulated and starved for relaxation and meditation. We’re never bored, and we’re losing our creativity, our critical thinking, and our inspiration, as a result.

Society views boredom as a bad thing. It is lazy, unproductive, and worthless. We strive to “cure” boredom like a disease. A recent article on CNN talks about how every idle moment is filled with technology, and asks the question. “Is that a good thing?” I submit that it is not a good thing. It reminds me of an old Bill Gaither children’s song. The refrain, “God loves to talk to boys while they’re fishing”, expresses in simple terms the beauty of a quite moment. Many of our most powerful and precious memories stem from moments like these. I remember holding my children in the hospital after they were born and looking at them in wonder and awe. The world around me dropped away as I drank in those cute little features. Driving, fishing, hiking, sitting next to your wife on the couch in the evening with the TV off. Each of these moments provide an opportunity for introspection and meditation. It activates the creative and problem solving parts of our brain. So, what does instant access to mind numbing entertainment do to our psychology? I think it is truly dumbing us down. Our inspiration is dying in a flood of lights and sounds. We need to turn back to the simplicity that was found in earlier times.

The Bible is filled with instructions to meditate. We are admonished to think on the good and lovely things. Many religions recognize this need and meditation is the cornerstone of societies around the world. It truly does offer us an opportunity to ponder the divine. So, the next time you think about picking up your cell phone to fill an empty minute, think twice. Set it down and just do nothing. I guarantee you will have a refreshing and enlightening moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment