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I'm going to talk today about the problem of boredom. Now, it's true, we encounter boredom less and less, with all of our gadgets and with the totality of human knowledge and artistic output always available to us. When you can always hear your favourite song or watch a great film or read a great book or text a friend because you can do all of these things with the device that you have at your side 24 hours a day, you might successfully avoid boredom for the rest of your life. But you might also never discover what's on the other side of boredom. And you might not recognise the price you are paying for being compelled to distract yourself, for having lost or having simply never acquired a capacity for doing nothing. A productive capacity for doing.
Once you learn to meditate, you realise that boredom is simply a failure to pay attention. If something as simple and repetitive as breathing can become a source of blissful contemplation, and it can, and if the feeling of boredom itself can become an object of intense interest, and it can, there's no way to be bored, if you're paying close attention to your experience. So training in meditation is the true cure for boredom. It's a kind of permanent inoculation. Once you learn how to meditate, you will never be truly bored again. Now, this isn't to say that you won't still make choices in life. Certain activities might still feel like a waste of time, and they might be a waste of time, given all the other things you could do. So you might still walk out of a movie or stop reading a book because it's, quote, 'boring', but when left alone with yourself, how do you feel? Are you desperate to be distracted by some stimulus? Or can you find a deep feeling of well-being as an intrinsic property of just being conscious? The gulf between these two conditions is enormous and in my experience only meditation allows us to reliably span it.
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What do you usually do when you're bored? Have you ever tried meditation? Would you like to try it?