Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Light Within

The human mind thrives on novelty.

What was once a source of pleasure can become tedious after a time. Though our lives are full, boredom lurks around every corner because we innately long for new experiences. Yet boredom, by its very nature, is passive.

In the idle state of mind, which is boredom, we may feel frustrated at our inability to channel our mental energy into productive or engaging tasks. We may even attempt to lose ourselves in purposeless or self-destructive pursuits.

I spend most of my time, as I work on my consulting project, either in a state of extreme busyness or extreme boredom. It is during the times of extreme boredom that I wander, both in mind and in body.

While this can be a sign of depression, it can also be an invitation issued from God, asking us to challenge ourselves.

Boredom can become the motivation that drives us to learn, explore the exotic, and harness the boundless creative energies which thrive within us.

In Hindu and Buddhist traditions, boredom is perceived as a pathway to self-awareness. Boredom itself is not detrimental to the soul. However, it is the manner in which we respond to it that determines whether it becomes a positive or a negative influence in our lives.

When we respond by actively filling the emptiness we feel lurking in ourselves, we cultivate creativity and innovation.

When we find ourselves in the grasp of boredom, we have an opportunity to create a list of tasks we can turn to when it feels as though there is simply nothing to do.

Referring to a list of topics we want to learn more about, projects we have yet to begin, or even pending chores can spark our creative energy and reawaken our zest for life.

I always keep a list of chores and of fun things as an agenda. Often, when bored or otherwise preoccupied, I begin a list of annoyances which I would like to correct.

I ask that you take a moment to view this link. It is a "take off", if you will, of "I've Got A Little List" from Gilbert & Sullivan's opera "The Mikado". It's quite brilliant.

Now, I've digressed but I'm certain that the song did something for you.

When we are presented with boredom, it is not that there is nothing to do but rather that we are not stimulated by the options before us. A bored mind can be the canvas upon which innovation is painted and the womb in which novelty is nourished.

When we identify boredom as a signal that we need to test our boundaries, it can be the force that presses us to strive for opportunities that we otherwise thought were beyond our reach and we can indulge our desire for adventure.

Every change that I've made in my life, every addition to Fairview (my home), every new adventure, has come from when my idle mind, in all its boredom, has grasped the opportunity to explore and become inspired.

After all, isn't boredom nothing more than inspiration at rest?

We all know inspiration when we feel it. It is a force that enlivens us and activates us to do something.

We might dance, sing, paint the house, or envision a new change.

We might call an old friend or plan a trip abroad.

Whatever the case, doing what we do from a place of inspiration makes all things seem possible. Inspiration often comes out of nowhere, from boredom, landing unexpectedly in the midst of our lives and lifting us out of our habitual mindset and into a higher level of vision.

We can, however, be more intentional in our relationship with inspiration other than just waiting for it to come to us. There are many ways to cultivate its presence, from journaling, to photographing, visiting with a particularly interesting friend.

Finding what inspires us, and consciously cultivating it, gives us access to new ways of thinking and energy we never knew we had.

Sometimes, we can be inspired by trips into nature. I'll never forget the walks I took with my dog Otto to the stream near Fairview. Sometimes the walks were out of boredom, other times they were out of need for balance.

We often keep mementos, such as a box full of objects, a seashell, an old photograph, or any collection of other items that does the trick.

They offer fond memories to us and provide us with inspiration to live on.

There are as many ways to find inspiration as there are people looking for it.

Once we understand what inspires us, we need to find a way to incorporate it into our lives on a regular basis.

If we aren't sure what inspires us, or if it changes, we need to take some time to prayerfully reflect upon it.

When was the last time we felt the spark of our imagination?

When was the last time we acted on an impulse that felt totally right?

When was the last time we decided to spend a moment together to embrace our friendship?

When we are in the presence of The Spirit that inspires us, we hear our Spirit more clearly, nearly, and dearly, and we have the energy to follow its cues.

If it has been a while since we have been touched by inspiration, we might feel listless and dissatisfied.

It is then that we need to know and remember what it is that can turn things around by embracing what lights us up and bringing that into our lives in order for us to shine brilliantly forward with the Spirit that lives within us so that we may share our light with those whom we are called to love and serve.

So, I ask that we take our times of boredom and see them as opportunities for us to listen to God and focus on those who need us, give thanks for all we have, and find a path on which to shine our own light.

Our light is too precious of a gift to not share.

With Love & light,


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