Our culture has created so many ways for us to engage with the external world. Television shows, text messaging, and countless hours on the internet allow us to disengage with our own reality. Although we have countless ways to fill our time, we often experience a deep sense of boredom in our lives. Although our minds are occupied, they are not fulfilled. Yogi Bhajan said “To have a poor mind and rich living is terrible; it’s boredom. It is so boring you can’t even believe it.” Kundalini Yoga and meditation are a fantastic way to develop a “rich mind,” but the boredom that we experience in life can plague us in our meditation. Fortunately, Yogi Bhajan had much to say on the subject of boredom and how to combat boredom with proper understanding and through meditation.
Everyone experiences boredom.
Boredom is a normal and natural byproduct of the meditative process. Gurucharan Singh Khalsa says in The 21 Stages of Meditation “As we continue to confront the upsets provoked by taking charge of our mental flow and learning to focus boredom arises; it happens spontaneously.” Feeling bored when you meditate or do yoga does not make you a “bad yogi” or a “bad meditator.” It makes you a normal human being. So the first step in learning to combat your feelings of boredom is to stop making value judgments about your experience. It is not good or bad, right or wrong, to feel bored in meditation.
What causes boredom?
It is normal and natural to set goals for our lives, and to work towards those goals. Whether your goal is to complete a 40 day meditation, or to run a marathon, goal setting helps propel us forward in our lives. But Yogi Bhajan had something very interesting to say about the process of setting and achieving goals. He said that achievement and boredom are two sides of the same coin. What often happens when we achieve a finite goal is that we find ourselves experiencing boredom. The energy that was propelling us towards our achievement is no longer moving to a target, and we become bored. He said, “when you achieve something it’s achieved, it’s over; beyond that achievement, that target, there is nothing…in nothing there is no movement; it means boredom.”
Connect with your Infinity to combat boredom.
Instead of limiting ourselves with finite goals, or looking outside of ourselves for fulfillment, Kundalini yoga and meditation train us in connecting to our own Infinity. By learning to rest in the present moment, and training ourselves not to react to mental fluctuations, we begin to exist in a space of limitless possibilities.
“There is no boredom in unlimitedness. There is no boredom in the experience of infinity. Boredom shall hit you when things are too defined, when your focus is too finite or too known. To defeat boredom, every achievement should continue, should be extended. That is the principle to avoid boredom, defeat, poverty and destruction.” Yogi Bhajan
Have the courage to Keep Up.
Facing our own feelings of boredom can be uncomfortable. We may feel like “bad yogis” because our friends and family seem to be enjoy their meditations while we are struggling to complete them. We can wonder what the point of our practice is, when our minds seem to be counting every second until the meditation timer goes off. If we can use our boredom as a catalyst to keep up, and press onward with a renewed sense of effort we will find that our mind becomes our partner. We will become more alert and more in touch with our own limitless capacity to be engaged in the present moment.
If you are experiencing boredom in your yoga or meditation practice, allow yourself to become curious and see what insights you can gain about your perspective and sense of purpose. Often our boredom can be a teacher if we can be courageous enough to face it rather than run from it.
The book The 21 Stages of Meditation has a powerful meditation called “See Your Horizon” which can help you to combat feelings of boredom. The three parts of this meditation will integrate the hemispheres of your brain, reset your autonomic nervous system, and allow you to relax and surrender to your awareness. By practicing this meditation, “you become fully engaged and boredom flees.”