If you are bored, why not be bored? Why not be that?
Become a social worker or a political worker or a religious worker-is that it? Because you have nothing else to do, therefore you become a reformer! If you have nothing to do, if you are bored, why not be bored? Why not be that? If you are in sorrow, be sorrowful. Don't try to find a way out of it, because your being bored has an immense significance, if you can understand it, live with it. If you say, "I am bored, therefore I will do something else", you are merely trying to escape from boredom, and, as most of our activities are escapes, you do much more harm socially and in every other way. The mischief is much greater when you escape than when you are what you are and remain with it. The difficulty is, how to remain with it and not run away; as most of our activities are a process of escape it is immensely difficult for you to stop escaping and face it. Therefore I am glad if you are really bored and I say, "Full stop, let's stay there, let's look at it. Why should you do anything?"
Why Are We Bored?
If you are bored, why are you bored ? What is the thing called boredom? Why is it that you are not interested in anything? There must be reasons and causes which have made you dull: suffering, escapes, beliefs, incessant activity, have made the mind dull, the heart unpliable. If you could find out why you are bored, why there is no interest, then surely you would solve the problem, wouldn't you? Then the awakened interest will function. If you are not interested in why you are bored, you cannot force yourself to be interested in an activity, merely to be doing something-like a squirrel going round in a cage. I know that this is the kind of activity most of us indulge in. But we can find out inwardly, psychologically, why we are in this state of utter boredom; we can see why most of us are in this state: we have exhausted ourselves emotionally and mentally; we have tried so many things, so many sensations, so many amusements. So many experiments, that we have become dull, weary. We join one group, do everything wanted of us and then leave it; we then go to something else, and try that. If we fail with one psychologist, we go to somebody else or to the priest; if we fail there, we go to another teacher, and so on; we always keep going. This process of constantly stretching and letting go is exhausting, isn't it? Like all sensations, it soon dulls the mind.
We have done that, we have gone from sensation to sensation, from excitement to excitement, till we come to a point when we are really exhausted. Now, realizing that, don't proceed any further; take a rest. Be quiet. Let the mind gather strength by itself; don't force it. As the soil renews itself during the winter time, so, when the mind is allowed to be quiet, it renews itself. But it is very difficult to allow the mind to be quiet, to let it lie fallow after all this, for the mind wants to be doing something all the time. When you come to that point where you are really allowing yourself to be as you are-bored, ugly, hideous, or whatever it is-then there is a possibility of dealing with it. What happens when you accept something, when you accept what you are? When you accept that you are what you are, where is the problem? There is a problem only when we do not accept a thing as it is and wish to transform it-which does not mean that I am advocating contentment; on the contrary. If we accept what we are, then we see that the thing which we dreaded, the thing which we called boredom, the thing which we called despair, the thing which we called fear, has undergone a complete change. There is a complete transformation of the thing of which we were afraid.
Is Our Interest in Something Based Only in Reward?
What do you mean by interest? Why is there this change from interest to boredom? What does interest mean? You are interested in that which pleases you, gratifies you, are you not? Is not interest a process of acquisitiveness? You would not be interested in anything if you did not get something out of it, would you?' There is sustained interest as long as you are acquiring; acquisition is interest, is it not? You have tried to gain satisfaction from everything you have come in contact with; and when you have thoroughly used it, naturally you get bored with it. Every acquisition is a form of boredom, weariness. We want a change of toys; as soon as we lose interest in one, we turn to another, and there is always a new toy to turn to. We turn to something in order to acquire; there is acquisition in pleasure, in knowledge, in fame, in power, in efficiency, in having a family, and so on. When there is nothing further to acquire in one religion, in one savior, we lose interest and turn to another. Some go to sleep in an organization and never wake up, and those who do wake up put themselves to sleep again by joining another. This acquisitive movement is called expansion of thought, progress. "Is interest always acquisition?" Actually, are you interested in anything which doesn't give you something, whether it be a play, a game, a conversation, a book, or a person? If a painting doesn't give you something, you pass it by; if a person doesn't stimulate or disturb you in some way, if there is no pleasure or pain in a particular relationship, you lose interest, you get bored. Haven't you noticed this? "Yes, but I have never before looked at it in this way." You wouldn't have come here if you didn't want something. You want to be free of boredom. As I cannot give you that freedom, you will get bored again; but if we can together understand the process of acquisition, of interest, of boredom, then perhaps there will be freedom. Freedom cannot be acquired. If you acquire it, you will soon be bored with it. Does not acquisition dull the mind? Acquisition, positive or negative, is a burden. As soon as you acquire, you lose interest. In trying to possess, you are alert, interested; but possession is boredom. You may want to possess more, but the pursuit of more is only a movement towards boredom. You try various forms of acquisition, and as long as there is the effort to acquire, there is interest; but there is always an end to acquisition, and so there is always boredom. Isn't this what has been happening?
The difficulty is for the mind to be still; for the mind is always worried, it is always after something, acquiring or denying, searching and finding. The mind is never still, it is in continuous movement. The past, overshadowing the present, makes its own future. It is a movement in time, and there is hardly ever an interval between thoughts. One thought follows another without pause; the mind is ever making itself sharp and so wearing itself out. If a pencil is being sharpened all the time, soon there will be nothing left of it; similarly, the mind uses itself constantly and is exhausted. The mind is always afraid of coming to an end. But, living is ending from day to day; it is the dying to all acquisition, to memories, to experiences, to the past.