How can Life ever be boring? Well, in many ways, and almost all of them have to do with the choices and decisions we make. Boredom does not come from the outside in, but from the inside out. Boredom is the result of failing to grow or learn or mature, but most of all it is a refusal to love or be awake or simply alive. We can indeed choose to create lives of sameness and routine, and then dig ourselves into a hole we call a rut, and then watch as the rut becomes a spiritual grave. Boredom is a perspective. It is wearing blinders and letting one cloud block out the whole sun. Boredom is coming up to bat and taking our swings, but with our eyes shut tight.
I admit modern living makes it extremely easy to fall into ruts and routines. Ours is a culture of addiction, where we are big on trivial pursuits and champion time wasters. We can spend whole days watching television, being on the phone, texting, or simpy racing around doing nothing and being even less. We know how to avoid Life, and frequently get consumed in making sure we face no conflicts or pains or crises of any kind. This is Life without living. The smooth fast lane expressway allows us to get there quicker, even if we have no idea where it is we wish to go.
In a culture saturated by drugs and other mind numbing “hobbies”, it is always an option not to sell your soul, but misplace it. Soulless living is to be dazed and confused, and refuse to make any choices which would force us to become more mature. We choose instead to grow down. We shrivel and shrink in our morals and ethics, and allow ourselves to become passive followers of pure unadulterated nonsense. Grown adults who spend hours gaming is not uncommon, and a real sign not of decadence, but of a destructive detachment forma spiritual life. When we cease to work at being significant, souls of substance, or simply making a difference, we have in effect chosen to rot on the vine.
Ours is a culture of addiction, and a major symptom of addiction is genuine boredom. Living without a point or a purpose, a rhyme or a reason, and believing each day as something to endure not experience. Think of the millions of Americans who travel great distances at great cost to gamble yet another new casino. Their actions are never questioned or found suspect. But if these same millions were to be donating volunteer time to address the myriads needs of our society, they would be consistently asked, “Why are you doing THAT?” Boredom is not just a sign of the times it could well be its mantra.
Bored to death is quite the turn of phrase. Choosing to be bored is indeed deciding to fill up our days with everything but being creative. We might make a living alright, but we fail miserably to make a Life. We fail to challenge our minds, deepen our hearts, exercise our souls, or strive to make the world a better place in which to live. We choose instead to repeat and repeat and repeat the same old behaviors and experiences, until we can do them on automatic pilot. Simply put, we stop learning, we stop believing we matter, and we stop striving to expand our horizons. We become narrow and rigid and shrink and shrivel and become as dry and dull as dust.
Here are some of the most common ruts we dig for ourselves. We stop reading. We stop listening. We stop chasing beauty. We stop having pure fun. We stop exploring mysteries. We stop challenging ourselves to embrace problems. We stop dreaming. We stop learning new things. We stop making new friends. We refuse to forgive. We carry large weight grudges. We dwell on getting even. We endlessly rehash the past. We set up impossible expectation for ourselves in the future. We let ourselves go physically. We forget what we are feeling. We don’t pay attention. We don’t notice. We don’t give thanks. We don’t sing praises. We don’t serve anyone. We make no genuine sacrifices. We sleep way too much or way too little. We don’t express a strong opinion. We take no risks. We fail to demand courage from ourselves. We grow comfortable marching in place, even if it is quicksand.
Getting out of a rut is often simple but seldom easy. The simple part is to stop digging. The hard part is climbing out. We can get ourselves in pretty damn deep, and often we will need assistance at getting back to the surface. We will often require guidance, encouragement, a helping hand and ear, and making choices which lift our spirits. Each little baby step upward is not only an achievement, but rewards the soul with hope.
Boredom can become decadent, and the decay we experience is often of our spirits and souls. Boredom is a choice, an attitude, and a perspective. It can become a way of life. What a waste! Think about your last really good day. Most likely what made it good was something quite small or even trivial. What made the difference was your being ready to receive, to embrace it, to name it and claim it for the goodness it exuded. Eliminate the pattern of cynical complaint, and we often reveal a deep desire to savor the day from dawn to dusk.