Even on a Rainy Sunday Afternoon

the buddha is not bored

by Sw Dhyan Vishram

(1) Escapism – but no escape!

oredom is a dirty word. Don’t say that word! – Pretend it doesn’t exist!

When I experience “negative” feelings like anger, sadness, jealousy I might share them with a friend. But admit that I am bored? Over my dead body!

But I am bored. Not with something in particular, but generally bored. And it is embarrassing to admit that I am. You might get the impression that I am simply too dumb and clumsy to go out there and get a life, right? You’ll ask, who wants to be bored? So why don’t you do something about it? If you are bored don’t you have a holy duty to change that right away? Do something! Don’t let life slip away! There are so many wonderful things out there ... but when the movie has happy-ended and the lights come on and you notice the worn upholstery and the candy wrappers on the floor and everything is back to normal. . . there’s the boredom. Boredom sits at the bottom of it all. The surface of things looks glitzy but deeper down they are boring to me, not satisfying, not fulfilling. They are ever-frustrating.

I could fill every minute of my life with something to do. . . music, a new girlfriend, intoxication of every sort, or maybe a new guru. . . just to not notice that I am bored. But it never works. I stare into the pale face of boredom every time the polished shoeshine of things has worn off. And it wears faster every time.

Yet I still try to run from boredom. I still try to flee it, to escape into doing. Doing is cool and boredom is frustrating.

So I go out and take pictures of rot and decay. No, no I’m not pointing my camera at humanity. I take pictures of rotting leaves, tattered, brown, blown together by the wind; of dried, shrivelled grasses; of fungoid bark on a dead snag. In our wet Vancouver winter, decay, mold, fungi reign supreme! The epiphany of Fuzzy Fungus. The glory of Green Slime. Oh, what a fine allegory: All my activities smothered by boredom at last.

Whatever I do, no matter how exciting it seems at first, boredom is always ahead of me, as in the fable of the race between the hare and the hedgehog: Every time the hare had raced to one end of the field, panting hard, tongue hanging out, legs trembling, the hedgehog or his look-alike wife would pop up and taunt, “Na -na -na -na -nah -nah, I’m here already!” The hare could not believe that he was beaten by the hedgehog. He ran again and again. In the end he fell down with a busted heart. They buried him. They had to. Dead, you know.

So, there’s no escape. Every time the doing ends boredom is there waiting for me.

(2) Rainy Sunday afternoon:

A rainy Sunday afternoon, the paper is read, the phone is silent, the backyard is wet and bleak – that’s the environment of boredom. Boredom falls over me like a grey blanket when nothing gives my senses a kick. When nothing “interesting” happens that captivates my awareness and takes it away – away from myself. Now that’s interesting, wouldn’t you think? Why do I feel bored when I am left just with myself? I should be rejoicing instead! Why do I want so badly for my senses to take me away, ever away from myself?

Does a Buddha experience boredom when there is nothing to do? Does He feel frustrated when He is left just with Himself? Can you imagine a bored Buddha? Can you imagine a Buddha thinking, “I have to go out and get a life”? I can’t! So I have to conclude that the Buddha is never bored. Not even on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

What is the difference between a Never-Bored-Buddha and a bored Buddha-to-be? That’s the question. And maybe the answer goes like this:

. . . Uh. . . wasn’t there something. . . maybe there is still some cheese left in the fridge. . . maybe I could phone somebody . . . catch up on some gossip. . . ? So I do something, just something. . . anything. Anything is better than nothing. The doing feels good and it leads to an interesting lifestyle too. Then I have something to talk about. And if I succeed in making my friends believe that I have an exciting life, very satisfying emotionally and endowed
with the showering of good fortune, it might be true, who knows?

Or, if I were a more masochistic kind of guy, I could create a drama. Not a play drama. An emotional upheaval! Maybe jealousy? Yeah, jealousy works really great to get me out of being bored: now I feel, no I FEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLL. . . dejected, rejected, miserable, sad, mistreated, abandoned. . . and entertained.

(3) Ah, this spaciousness!

Something strange is happening. I begin to like this undercurrent of boredom that runs through my life. It is part of my life, no, it is my life! Looked at from one side it is boredom; seen from the other it is sheer s p a c i o u s n e s s. My excitements, my activities are small islands in a vast ocean of boredom-spaciousness. Islands come and go – the ocean is. Why would I want to fill this boredom space with something to do? Is it not beautiful and perfect? It was its emptiness that scared me. But it is not only empty, it is also spacious. And this spaciousness is wonderful, like sitting on a mountain peak with nothing around but translucent blue space. So let there be spacious boredom!

What would I be without boredom? Just a bundle of activities tightly packed together and not a shred of space between them. I couldn’t breathe there! Boredom gives me room to be who I am.

I am bored, therefore I am. Descartes forgive me.

At this point I’d like to introduce my idea for a new group ~ the boredom group. I always wanted to be a group leader. There’s my chance! Leadership is a German passion after all. Jawoll!

The group will be held preferably in a stark and bleak room, something like Chaitanya Chambers in Pune One – do you remember the padded walls there? – no windows, no flowers, no sound system. We will just sit and be absolutely bored. Bored to the max. That’s it! That’s all! And we won't do anything about the boredom. We just let it be. After all, what’s wrong with boredom? It belongs to us! It is ours to cherish!

Slowly we discover that our boredom is not boring at all. We only thought we were bored and when we leave the thought behind, where is the boredom?

An old Japanese Haiku:

Bored, bored, bored ... watching
the moon rise into the sky ...
Ah, this spaciousness!

And then we just sit back and enjoy. Spacious boredom, yes! Then we don't feel compelled to monkey around constantly and do things. Then we don’t need to pretend to have an interesting life with much to do and with a lot of relationship going on. Then we just relax. And then relax some more. Without impatience. Without waiting for the relaxation to end. Without waiting for the boredom to end! Without looking forward to doing things. Just slowly disappearing into this vast space of boredom. . . so soothing. . .

Sounds weird? You're right. . . Probably. . . maybe. . .

But the beauty of it is that you don’t even have to join the group. Save your money! You can just do your own boredom group. Just by yourself. In your own room. Just sit there and be bored. And see what happens.

One last Haiku:

Bored to death! – But
whose death is it anyway?
And then. . . Relaxing. . .

Unless you are completely disillusioned – that means now you don’t think of tomorrow at all – you will not know the pure truth of existence, which just exists in this moment. You will not fall in tune with it. You are always moving away, postponing. You are going, you are always on the go.

It is time for you to be completely disillusioned – of worldly illusions, of otherworldly illusions, of love, of money, of enlightenment. Just simply be whatever you are, and you have arrived home.

In fact you have never left it.

You have always been here.

Osho – Om Mani Padme Hum

The very word “meditation” is wrong because it gives the idea that you have to meditate upon something. Meditation simply means that you don’t have anything left to meditate upon. All is empty: there is no object, no chanting, no mantra, no sutra ... just pure emptiness. And suddenly all your energy of awareness turns upon itself, without any effort on your part.

And the turning of the energy of awareness upon itself is the ultimate experience of life, of light, of everything that is valuable.

Osho – The Great Pilgrimage from Here to Here

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