Two butterflies on plant

It’s funny that boredom even exists. We have instant access to the Internet, games, chatting, emailing, and that’s only with a computer. Sports, TV, theatre, yoga classes… the options to act on are endless. The effect of our endless stream of frenetic action is that we’re becoming desensitized to action. We do stuff just for the sake of doing stuff because we’re caught in the swing of the pendulum. The momentum keeps us going, so go we do. The net result of all this doing is that doing stuff no longer holds the same meaning, and we get bored.

Rather than getting an upset stomach from inhaling one experience after another we can chew on them a bit and savour them for all that they are. In doing so we regain appreciation for all we do, and we transform the simple, the mundane, into acts of wonder.

Going for a stroll in the park and watching a butterfly float from flower to flower, dancing around in the sky like a ballerina with wings is no less special than going to see a ballet performed by trained ballet dancers. Flowers stand tall, reaching for the sun with all their radiant beauty, happy to give the fruit of their labours away freely to any visitors who want them. Petals drop to the ground, slowly rotting into food for another soul waiting in the earth.

The wonder of life is ever present and of infinite variety. We just have to open our eyes to it and be in the moment enough to realize this beauty that we have been given.

Being in tune also requires a reassessment of values. Where once we strived to make money to buy those platinum tickets to see a basketball game or to spend hours watching TV every evening, the sight of a sunset sparkling over an ocean or enjoying the ever-present chorus of bird song can deliver the same pleasure.

One way to tune in to the mundane is by paying attention to bells of mindfulness. Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh refers to any reminder to be mindful as a bell of mindfulness. Examples may be audible, such as the ringing of a phone or the honking of a horn, or they could be visual, as with a bird flying overhead or the sight of a particular favourite tree of yours. The possibilities are endless. It’s a good idea to start with one that doesn’t come up too often and is easily recognizable. Perhaps choose one that works with your dominant sense. When we become aware of the bell we just stay present. We can stop what we’re doing if possible and be aware of the beauty presented to us. When all of life becomes full of meaning boredom is no longer because we have added value to once valueless experiences.

Read more on this topic in PAUSE TO WONDER: My sense of god is my sense of wonder about the universe>>

image: Prabhu B Doss (Creative Commons BY-NC-ND)