Beyond Boredom

MANY of us have to wrestle with boredom from time to time -- or perhaps frequently. But it's not a normal state of thought. Nor is it inescapable. This is not to say that there aren't times when a feeling of boredom is a natural response to what may be genuinely uninspiring. But if we find ourselves regularly bogged down, not interested in life, we have a right to be healed of that feeling.

Sometimes we may find temporary relief in a change of focus -- a new activity, a diversion. But a lasting solution goes deeper. This has become clear to me when I've desperately wanted a change of activity only to find mere change didn't help matters.

The culprit, essentially, is what St. Paul termed ``the carnal mind.''1 There may be a sense in which the particular activity we're engaged in is the culprit, or seems so to us. But on a more fundamental level, we're being imposed upon by thinking that would make us feel separate from God, from the one divine Mind and its inherent satisfaction.

Divine Mind, our creator, is man's true source of thought. There's nothing dull in Mind, nothing uninspired, and it's possible to feel the divine influence refreshing our outlook. One step we can take to bring us more into harmony with the divine source of inspiration is to resist the inclination to accept boredom as something natural to us or legitimate. What's legitimate is what comes from God. It's fresh, inspiring, life-giving, strengthening.

In prayer, in communion with God, we can begin to feel this and to discern our unity with the divine source of all good. We can come to see that we're not helpless victims of boredom because we're not, in truth, subject to a dead-end mentality. This is the essential error to be refuted, regardless of how dull we may feel an activity is. This is not to say that we must stick with something uninteresting but that the primary need lies deeper.

God has not saddled us with a dull mind or a dull activity, because our true selfhood, created by God, is always satisfied and eternally expresses the vitality of His nature. Man is the very expression of the one Mind, the spiritual image of divine Spirit. And we can come to discern that reality in prayer and so experience the joy that only Mind can give. ``Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,''2 the Bible urges us.

In striving to have the Mind of Christ, the Mind that confers true joy, we may need to make a greater effort to silence the sensual thoughts that dull our view of life. A constant focus on physicality, for example, can lure us into a mental state that is unavoidably bored because we're shutting out the pure, life-giving thoughts of divine Spirit. In such a state we're likely to look for relief through a temporary shift of attention to something equally empty, though perhaps outwardly glittering.

Obviously, we all need refreshment. A harmless, relaxing activity can sometimes renew our joy. Variety is important, because it's expressive of the infinite nature of God. But there's also the ongoing demand for the purification of thought that alone can relieve us of boredom in the long run. We need to become more acquainted with our true Mind, which is God. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``Let us feel the divine energy of Spirit, bringing us into newness of life and recognizing no mortal nor material power as able to destroy. Let us rejoice that we are subject to the divine `powers that be.'''3

Boredom can impel us to become better acquainted with our true Mind, in which there is perpetual satisfaction.

1Romans 8:7. 2Philippians 2:5. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 249.

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