Friday, 5 March 2010

On Cultivating Boredom

Apparently, boredom is a significant springboard to creativity. Neuroscientists have also found boredom to be a source of feelings of well being and a strong sense of self. In boredom, the brain continues to fire away in those regions that conjure hypothetical events and new possibilities. The wandering mind, the dream world, can be a better world than the real nuts-and-bolts world and for the artist, with the addition of task-positive skills, it can transform into the joyful business of making it happen.

So ... how to cultivate boredom?

1.    Stay here at the lake all the time ... eventually it will become boring.

2.    Stay off the computer when boredom begins ... and just look out the window instead ... or into the fire.

3.    Don't watch a movie ... meditate instead.

4.    Put that book down and just relax.

5.    Don't start working on a new project unless it is one of boredom's gifts.

6.    Don't substitute company or a drive for boredom ... welcome it.

7.    Walk on familiar paths that require little thinking.

8.    Snowshoe ... it is incredibly boring to simply put one foot in front of the other mile after mile.

9.    Kayak around the lake noticing the shoreline, the paddle strokes, the trees.

10.    Relax in the tub with just candles for light and let the mind wander.

11.   Knit without distractions.

12.   Do repetitive chores like sanding wood or patching cracked plaster.

13.   Lie in bed an extra half hour just stroking Kenya's softness.

14.   Doodle in a journal.

15.   Make a zentangle.

16.   Play with clay without intent ... in the same way zentangles happen.

How do you invite your unconscious mind to play?


hybrasil said...

Thanks Barbara; exactly what I need-- a fresh perspective on boredom. I've always run away from boredom, changing jobs, towns, countries, even continents! Maybe now that I've got no choice, it's time to relax and learn to use it? 'Fraid I'm not doing too well so far; watching tv all day seems to be as far as I've progressed. Of course that's boring, but I've never been a very outdoorsy or sporty person, especially in this climate! I haven't had to experience a European winter since 1985, and the first year I find myself in England, is the worst winter since 1963! It's been a little better for the last couple of weeks, but still too cold for my taste.

Oma said...

I used to run away from even the whiff of boredom ... in the same ways you did ... but I think what we must do is let our minds instead of our bodies do the wandering. Turn off the boring daytime tv and let yourself close in on just your own thoughts as you watch the sunlight dapple the walls in different ways at different times of the day. I think you will find it impossible to just contemplate the walls for any length of time ... and that is when your other mind will bring you gifts.

Good luck ... but read my next post about ways to avoid rather than welcome boredom. I think we need a little of both.