- Education and Science
How to banish boredom
Boredom is too common a phenomenon to require a description or explanation.
All of us experience it some time or the other - some more than others - but nobody is exempt.
So the only relevant issue is - is it avoidable? How can we deal with boredom? Are there any coping strategies?
The root cause
Quite too often we hear friends around us protesting that life has become too boring. And if you enter into a discussion and try to understand the cause of the boredom, you will be told that it’s because there is nothing worthwhile to do. If you offer suggestions, all of them will be turned down for some reason or the other.
‘It doesn’t suit me.’
‘I don’t like it.’
‘Oh, that’s so boring!’
And then sometimes you will wonder why it should be so in an age when modes of communication, entertainment and mobility are virtually unlimited.
I would think that it’s because we are too busy searching for what we want and stopped looking around to see the treasures strewn around us in our lives.
If only we learnt to look around. If only we observed……
Let me share two pages from my life experiences to elucidate.
I had a friend in college who was three years my senior. He was a man of multifarious talents and interests. Once I met him to find a solution for my boredom.
‘It’s simple – let’s go for a walk,’ he suggested.
When we reached the road, he asked me whether I had observed the trees planted on the roadside.
‘No, I have never observed it but now that you are asking me – it’s a nice tree,’ I said.
‘This is called Gul Mohar in India. It’s also called Royal Poinciana. It actually belongs to Madagascar but is now seen in India, United States, Bahamas, Australia and quite a few other countries. By the way it belongs to the pea family. And while the pea plant is a low growing plant this is such a big tree. But both are legumes and host symbiotic bacteria that can make use of atmospheric nitrogen to make proteins. Just imagine how useful this tree is. See the shade that it provides. Now you realize why it is planted on the roadsides. And look at the flaming red flowers. Look how much color they bring in.‘
‘I never knew all this!’
‘That’s how it is. Because of our ignorance, we pass by without noticing, and then say life is boring, and this world is uninteresting-‘
‘I get the drift,’ I said.
‘Look over there. See that tree with yellow flowers – isn’t it beautiful?’
‘That is the Amaltas or Indian Laburnum. The botanical name is Cassia fistula. If you just focus on the bright yellow flowers you will know why the tree is also called Golden Shower. It is of course a very beautiful ornamental tree but do you know that it’s fruit pulp is a very safe laxative? It has so many medicinal uses that it is called a disease killer in Ayurveda (Traditional Indian medicine system).
‘Amazing,’ I said.
‘See near your feet. If I ask you what it is you’ll dismiss it as grass. But there are so many varieties of what we call grass and this one is actually Dhub grass or Bermuda grass. The botanical name is Cynodon Dactylon. Its juice is a diuretic-‘
‘My God! I never imagined-‘
‘That’s it. Ignorance is bliss, but also the cause of boredom. We came for a walk but as you can see we hardly walked. If you look around and observe everything around you’ll realize that one lifetime is hardly sufficient to observe and understand all that is around us.’
That was it. My boredom dissolved.
A world of wealth from a pile of boredom
A few more experiences of this kind led me to open my eyes and ears and try to observe and take in all that is happening around me whenever there is a hint or onset of boredom. And what it did was to add unexplored worlds that added a lot to my understanding and made me feel blessed for all that life has to offer.
Boredom is truly in the mind and it is our individual choice whether to live with it or turn it around to discover the wealth hidden behind it.