Chapter 3 How to Combat Boredom

 

Whoever you are, wherever you are, you likely experienced boredom.  Likely you experienced this every day of your lives.  This is the reason why everyone seems, “On the go.”  Many of the reason why you are bored is because of repetition.

 

Human beings are innately creative creatures.  This distinguishes us from lower forms of life without self awareness.  One of the problems with modern society is that every year the cost of living goes up and up.  This fact makes all people work more and more for less and less.  This could be a symptom of burn out.  Many people thus lack the time to be creative and do things that involve creativity.  Usually, people do things more creative in their leisure time.  With less and less time being available for leisure, people, especially modern people, find themselves bored because they are forced into a routine that they detest.

 

One way out is to diminish your need for material comforts.  Much of what you work for involves satisfying that which you think you need to survive.  What you are doing then is trading your life away for money and goods.  This is a sure fire recipe for unhappiness and boredom. 

 

To get more leisure time for experiencing creativity in your life, curtail all financial debt.  Don’t be led astray with promises of happiness by say buying a new car with all the frills if you have to get into debt.  All this does is put another nail in your coffin of exiting boredom.  Financial indebtedness puts undue pressure on you to continue working harder and harder in a routine that saps time away from your creativity.

 

The key to an activity that escapes your cycle of boredom is to find things to do that is inspiring, or fulfilling.  Take time to write down on a sheet of paper all the things that “inspire” you.

 

Much of that will entail helping others.  When the focus is shifted away from yourself and onto others, it is harder to get bored, because you are loving and serving others and are not so “into yourself”.  To focus on helping others, you must begin the process.  You cannot get anywhere by not walking.  You must make your feet move one step in front of the other. 

 

Also, do things that involve your creative spirit.  Everyone has a creative side to them, and harnessing their inner creativity is paramount to happiness away from boredom.  Do you feel creative when you write a song, a poem, draw a picture, play a musical instrument?  What about if you write a story?  Think of a way to do something new and create a patent for it. 

 

Don’t expect the world to automatically satisfy your boredom.  Much of what modern society does is give you television and boring stories about reality TV stars (famous only for being famous) and movies that are just eye candy.  Many psychology studies proved that PASSIVE engagement is only a very temporary solution for boredom.  As soon as the TV program ends, the boredom comes back, with even a greater fury. 

 

In addition, ask yourself, “What is the meaning of Life?” and address that issue.  Everyone has a different answer, and addressing your own is yet another key to solving your boredom/burnout/unhappiness.  If one has meaning and purpose to one’s life, it is nearly impossible to stay bored.  If you are doing something that has real “meaning” to your life, you won’t even stand still long enough to be “bored”. 

 

Pursuing your own meaning for life keeps you focused, on purpose, and inspired.  Maybe you find meaning in family and friends.  Others find meaning in poetry and maybe in cooking.  Others in charitable work…  When you witness people in the news helping tornado victims working, or those helping feed hungry people, do they look bored?  Of course not.  They are “on purpose”, and have found their own meaning.  Finding meaning in the agenda of a big corporation whose only motivation is profit is just ridiculous.  Just like finding a virgin in a “red light district”. 

 

The meaning in life must be explored and found within an individual.  The meaning of your life will NOT just come to you.  You must work to find it.  Once you do, you can leave the ghost of boredom behind.  It doesn’t mean you won’t encounter that “demon” once in a while, but it will surely keep such phantoms away.

 

Also, awaken your inner child.  Find the beauty and the small miracles in your everyday life.  I recall a movie called “Big” with Tom Hanks.  Children are always fascinated with new things.  It is highly doubtful that you know and understand everything in your everyday routine life. 

 

Like children do, change things around in your day.  Add new activities every week to your “to do” list.  Join a new organization, a new club, take classes at a local community college.  There, find and meet new friends.  Even the closest of friends can incite boredom if the relationships do not challenge you.  Take up a new sport.  Join a bowling league, a golf team, an adult tennis league.

 

Be like water.  When water stands still, it stagnates and rots.  Water must keep flowing to be crystal clear, healthy, and free of rotting smells.  Create a “things to do before you die” list.  Having a “bucket list” like countries to travel to, states to visit on a car road trip, all will help you constantly stave off boredom.  Start your list with small things, and then move the list to bigger things.  For example, you may put on your list that you will visit the nearest nature museum in your city, and then at the far end of your list you may put that you will visit Venice in the summer.  Just move…  Like the Nike shoe company exhorts, “Just Do It”…

 

Whatever you do, engage in activities that are of permanence.  Not of zero substance.  Drugs and reckless activities fall into this category.  There is no “soul” in drugs and reckless endeavors.  For example, taking a hit of cocaine will stave off boredom for certain, but that high lasts only a few minutes (not to mention will empty your wallet and bring the lawman to your door).  Like John Lennon wrote, such drugs are a dirty dirty thing.  Examine closely what you do decide to combat your boredom.  Make sure it entails things that are soul fulfilling.  Make sure you “own it”.  Don’t engage in activities that only entail staring at the shadows of others…

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About youngkim3000

I grew up in Virginia and went to a top tier high school, being so ambitious and wanting fame and fortune like the next kid. I received good grades and then I went off to the University of Chicago where I majored in Psychology and Economics. After a brief but successful "Wall Street" career, I realized that I was not happy and left thinking that a career in the medical field would satisfy me. Then, I did some post Bac work at Northwestern and UIC, and then ended up at UIC Medical School. The problem was I was not happy there either. The structure, the repetition, and lack of being able to be free and spontaneously creative really knocked me down. Having to be subject to constant subjective evaluations sucked my soul dry. As I sought another chapter in my life, then came the financial collapse of 2008-9 which destroyed the "nest egg" and saving that I had worked so hard to build after college--which I so "identified with". I was so depressed at the loss of career and the loss of money that I fell into self pity and a deep seated depression. For weeks on end, I could not even get out of bed. I went to many doctors who could not really help me. I took so much anti-depressant medication and also self medicated with alcohol to dull my mind. One day though, I went to the public library in Niles, IL, and picked up some books on "Self-Help". I figured what do I have to lose? I was already so depressed I could barely get through a day. I picked up books by Wayne Dyer (Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life), Deepak Chopra, Louis Hay, Ram Dass, Osho, and Eckhart Tolle (A New Earth), The Dalai Lama, and revisited my faith in Catholicism. I devoured so many books to unearth just why I was suffering so much. I learned so much about myself and realized that my deep suffering was actually a gift for me to discover myself. Simply put, those words in those books saved my life. I was taking so many drugs and my physical health was in serious jeopardy. I realized that I could not live with myself any longer, and I needed to be free. I realized...that it was my own thoughts that were making me so depressed, as was my own "life story" that I replayed over and over. I realized that my mind was busy creating negative thoughts. Thoughts are "things" and expand. I understood that you do not "normally" choose your thoughts. Just like the digestion of a meal, the mind automatically creates all kinds of thoughts whether you like it or not. Just like you do not "choose" to breathe with your lungs or "choose" to make urine from your kidneys, you "normally" do not "choose" your own thoughts. They just happen, just like digestion. And if you had a bad experience, your mind recreates the negative thoughts without your conscious consent but you are forced to relive them endless times per day. It is only through CONSCIOUS INTERVENTION that you can make your mind change course from recycling negative thoughts. This is just like your breathing. You breathe automatically, but you CAN choose to influence your breathing, you can hold your breath if you are going to dive deep in the water, or you can consciously "slow down" your breath if you are relaxing in meditation and prayer. Once I realized I did in fact have an ability to control my thoughts, I consciously redirected the thoughts to positive uplifting notions. I noted that I had built such a large ego that the collapse of it dragged me down in catastrophic fashion. A big ego is different from self esteem. Both were destroyed, but I learned to regain self esteem through positive affirmations and knowing that the negative thoughts are not reality. I was choosing definitively to live in the past via my repetitive thoughts. I was also choosing to live in an uncertain future that I painted with dreadful possibilities. I realized that if I live in the "now", the present moment, I really did not have any reason to be depressed at all. I discovered I really only live in the "now". The past and future are fictions. It is akin to a motorboat on the water on a lake. The "wake" that the boat produces is the past, my vision of the future is what I can see in front of me, but I really only exist ON the boat in the present moment. I was living my life only on the "wake" created many meters before. Soon, my self-pity slowly subsided as I learned to accept "what is" and not grasp for anything and everything that is valued by Society. I concurred that it was my own "expectations" not realized that were causing such waves of discontent. Once I dropped my self imposed sad "life story", my yesterdays, I came to my senses that there was no need to feel upset at all. That realization hit me like "a ton of bricks" and quickly lifted me out of the well, like a rope thrown down the dark walls of the deep well. I would like to share that it was only that single moment of enlightenment, a "satori" event that forever changed my life, but that was not so. It was a gradual climb out of the abyss (over about a year). I realized that my mind was like a superhighway of blazing thoughts that went through my mind over and over based on the recent past. While my "life story" was going great, I believed in those thoughts, and my ego grew such that I became arrogant and sometimes unkind. Then when my "life story" changed for the worse, I similarly believed in those new negative thoughts with the same passion (which hurt me so deeply throughout my waking hours). I noted to myself that this was why I craved so many "tranquilizers" and medicines that would halt my thoughts. I realized that I was drowning in my negative thoughts and that I was CHOOSING to believe in them. But I learned through focusing on positive affirmations, meditation and prayer, I did not need any more drugs to "halt" my mind from stabbing me to death. Through the filter of society's measure I had evaluated my own life, unable to fully realize that it was all a fiction that my mind had created. I was completely unable to live in the present before this profound awakening. My life had turned into a constant "replay" of the past, the anxiety of the uncertain future...and my destroyed ego. Because of my belief that my thoughts were the ultimate truth, I suffered so deeply... but needlessly. Once I changed the direction of my thoughts, everything changed. The way I looked at my own life changed. I realized that LIFE is not a long emergency where the one with the most toys at the end wins. I realized LIFE is something to be lived fully, and joyfully...not some series of problems to be solved. Once I realized these insights, I realized that I was the creation of my own depression. Although a devout Catholic, I am also deeply moved by the ideals of Buddhism. About Karma and "Dependent Arising"...both of which are also in the Bible (Galations 6, Do not be deceived, God will not be mocked, a person always reaps what they sow). And I was...for the better part of my life, a runaway train into disaster that I was blind to...that I had planted the seeds onto. Putting money, fame, accolades, trophies, and so forth as the ultimate end to my goals sowed the seeds of psychological calamity when the inevitable tides of change occurs in every life. A person who extols those superficial qualities dooms himself/herself to disaster. The only variable is "time". Would it take a long time to find yourself in a train wreck or a short time? It doesn't matter. What matters is how soon can you realize the truth of existence and your place in it...and rise above what Society tries to focus you to believe. Society always makes you compare yourself to others, Society never leaves you alone to just be yourself. You have to exert effort and unlearn what Society has poisoned you with. I am now doing various "work" (not holding down any soul sucking corporate job), teaching, making money through various income sources like buying items at rummage sales and reselling them through Craigslist, asking neighbors and doing work they need, trading stock options when my financial tools indicate that there is a good trade. I am not focused on any "ladder to climb" or any "prestigious career"...and I am so much happier and at peace. I'd rather be "waterboarded" that go back to Corporate America. I have also a solid equanimity, and i am OK with whatever happens, and thus accept what God and the Universe wish for me. I wish to share my newly found wisdom and hope that my story and my interpretation of my newly found contentment can benefit others and I also wish to hear similar stories of awakening. God Bless, thanks for reading my "profile" and leave me your stories of awakening. Outside somewhere is a field where all of us are the same, I cannot wait to see you there...Namaste...
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One Response to Chapter 3 How to Combat Boredom

  1. Eddy says:

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