Friday, September 24, 2010


...hiking at high elevations reminds me of advice given to people who get bored following the breath in meditation...

Take the thumb and first finger of either hand, clamp them tightly over your nose, keep your mouth closed, and notice how long it takes before your breathing becomes very interesting to you!
Jon Kabat-Zinn

...ten years or so ago, was sitting on a rocky beach in Maine reading To the Lighthouse, a novel in which the most commonplace situations are described with stunning color and intensity...making for a beautiful reading experience, though it made me think that, if Virginia Woolf actually experienced passing moments of life like that, without any kind of, I suspect, she’s not hard to to understand why she filled her pockets with rocks and took that last fateful walk into the pond...

There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
T.S. Eliot

...maybe twenty years ago, was backpacking in the Weminuche Wilderness in southern Colorado, just north of Durango, and, one afternoon, was in kind of an...ummm...ahem...altered state....things got kind of intense...way too much happening in mountains or groves of trees or the sky to keep looking at, decided to simplify things....told myself I’m just gonna look at this rock here...nothin’ too intense or scary, there.....except there was...once I bothered to see...

Look: the sun gods, the gods
of fire, dawn, sky, wind, storm,
wonders that no mortal has ever
Bhagavad Gita

...boredom, it occurs to me, is really a defense mechanism...guarding our eyes from the truly dazzling nature of everything around us...


Bob Weisenberg said...

Love this whole blog.

And a quote from Mitchell's Gita. Now no one can say about me at my funeral, "He never really accomplished anything with his life."

Highly related passage from Yoga Demystified, just after I've explained why a paper clip is as wondrous as a galaxy (I mean it):

What’s surprising is that we are not in a continual state of gaga just perceiving whatever is in front of us at any given moment.

Really, living is like walking though an incredible kaleidoscope. Consciousness would be like a perpetual hallucination if we didn’t have automatic mechanisms for just getting used to the pure wonder of what we see, hear, and feel.

But instead, most of the time we are simply oblivious to it.

This blog is a real gem, Jay. I love the way you pull together great quotes from diverse genres and combine them with the new great quotes you are creating magically before our very eyes.

Bob Weisenberg

Brooks Hall said...

Whoa! Thanks for the wild psychological ride, Dr. Jay. Yes. I, too, think that boredom is a self-induced smog.

the walking man said...

Boredom could also be a defensive mechanism to prevent becoming over excited and reckless.

earthtoholly said...

If there's one thing I'm not, it's ever bored...more likely 'cause I'm usually distracted, rather than appreciating the moment. Something to work on... .

And I think I've seen that rock...once...though I found it hilarious...couldn't stop laughing.

More beautiful, the western landscape is great!

WR said...

Greetings Dr. Jay. The photos are lovely. As for interesting mechanism of the human mind. Sometimes it may help one to slow down and pause but it usually seems to mean something is shut down and noticing is not happening. Perhaps it is the human version of 'cyber hybernate'?

Anonymous said...

Great post - I love the way you weave in literature and poetry. (Although To the Lighthouse bores the knickers off me - but that is quite appropriate seeing as your post is about boredom!)
If I am feeling 'bored' one of the things I do is close my eyes and just listen, really focus on how many different sounds I can hear. Not only does it make me feel grateful to have my hearing, it also pulls me out of whatever lassitude I have climbed into.

Laura said...

And so my wise friend, why is it, do you think that so many of us shield ourselves from what is right in front of much beauty, and yes it is often mixed with ugliness, pain...but much beauty is missed when we put on the cloak of boredom...or indifference...I am trying to understand why I choose this veil from time to time...fear of my own suffering, I suppose is my own answer...but that fear only creates more suffering. And so it is a practice, to look closely, to listen deeply, to be truly present as often as possible, a lifetime worth of practice.

Lana Gramlich said...

That last line is absolutely perfect.

Eleanor said...

I hadn't read your blog when I posted mine on 'most boring blog in the world'.

Your blog is stunning and this entry in particular. The philosophy, images - the whole deal. I particularly like the quote at the very beginning!

Peace Dr Jay.


Eleanor said...

Have you had a look at Georg Feuerstein's blog? Well worth it, he is a philosopher of note.

Pearl said...

Oh, that was lovely.