Friday, February 08, 2013
The Upside of Boredom
You never know what treasures you will find in a Mickey Dee's. It certainly won't be a new culinary delight, but during a recent pit stop I saw a New York Times (yes, in a MacDonalds) and picked it up to soften the blow of what I was about to eat.
There was an article entitled Be Aware of the Upside of Boredom which maintained that we need a certain amount of dull downtime to stimulate creativity and self awareness. Our lives have become so stuffed with stimulation and activity, much of it electronic, that we can't function without it. We have become less able to dwell in the quiet, unstimulated times which are often the oasis at which we drink up and think up new ideas and outlooks.
The article talks about how Lego used to be blocks for random creativity (and for parents to step on I might add) but now they come with specific instructions to put together the toy related to the latest big movie.
I would suggest that adults are as unable as children to waste time in a worthwhile way. While that may sound like a contradiction in terms, I know that periods spent in monasteries and convents with no agenda other than the worship opportunities have been amongst the most meaningful and insightful for me. I usually begin by feeling that I am going through busyness withdrawal, antsy beyond belief. But then in the walking, and praying, and reading, and drawing I begin to reconnect with what I think is my true self, as well as the God who created me and loves me. In recent years I have taken to holy noodling on the guitar and mandolin.
We are just about at Lent (Ash Wednesday next week) a traditional time of reflection and recollection. Do you think you might waste some time or get bored with God during those 40 days? Are you any good at dull downtime, or do you need to be perpetually occupied? Do you feel guilty choosing to be bored, or at least quiet? Are you thinking of pulling out that bucket of Lego?