Coronavirus Lockdown – How to Deal with Boredom
Question: Sadhguru, I always thought that I can spend my whole life binging on shows on Netflix, but in the last few days of lockdown, I am totally bored of everything on the internet!
Sadhguru: Boredom is a psychological thing, not an existential thing. If lousy things are happening in your head, you will be bored. If you sit here and think of wonderful things, you will be invigorated. What is happening in your head is your drama. If you are getting bored with your drama, can you imagine the plight of others who are stuck with you for these three weeks? Earlier there were distractions of various kinds which we call work, shopping and other social responsibilities. Now people are stuck with your drama.
All television channels go for a commercial break every few minutes. I know that you cannot close your drama, but at least do this much for your drama. Every ten minutes, take a two-minute break from it; you will be doing something very fantastic with yourself.
What to Do When Bored
If I ask you to act out something, you can ask, “How?” But if I say, “Don’t do anything,” and you ask, “How to do nothing?” then what do we do? Nothing is not a thing, so it cannot be taught as such. Nothing means simply nothing. How to teach that? Doing nothing means that you withdraw your involvement with what is happening around you, that you are not engaged in that. This includes your physiological and psychological activity because both of these you gathered from outside.
Let your body say what it says – you simply sit. Your mind says what it says, but you simply sit without getting involved. You don’t run after some specific thought that you think is good, nor try to avoid something that you think is bad. Nor do you think that you will put this time to good use and let your mind overwork. Anyway, you cannot think up an absolutely new possibility; you can only think up an improvement of what is already there. New dimensions of life become visible to you not because you seek them – how do you seek something that you do not know? It is just that if you are not mired in your own present situation, new possibilities become visible to you. They are always there, but they are not visible right now because you are fully drowned in your own past and present situations. Things that happened ten years ago are still buzzing in your head. You could have done all these antics if you had a million-year lifespan. But even if you live a full life, it is still a very brief life. And now this virus is threatening to end you in fourteen days if you do not take care.
When Boredom Strikes, Pay Attention!
You have a very phenomenally sophisticated and complex creation around you. In this, you are getting bored? This is unbelievable! If you pay attention to one leaf, you can spend years looking at it because it is so intricate and sophisticated. There are ants, insects, birds, animals – a whole phenomenon of life – and the vastness of the sky. If you engage with dimensions which are existentially true, there is no room for boredom because it is too fantastic a phenomenon. Because you are only involved with a petty phenomenon in your head, you are getting bored. Do not think that you are bored of life or people – you are just bored of your own stuff, of what is happening within you; you do not even know what is happening around you.
Boredom and Death
Boredom means that in some way you are seeking death. In some way you are saying that life is not worth living. “No, no, I was just bored for ten minutes.” Yes, for those ten minutes you are seeking death. This body, this whole mechanism, is structured in such a way that your consciousness, the way you think, feel and look at life, is the message going to your whole system. What kind of message is going into the system decides how robust, integrated, sensitive and how much of a possibility it is. Your entire system is running on a certain kind of software, but you are the lousy software developer who got bored five times in a day, for ten minutes each. For those ten minutes you said, “This life is not worth living,” and the message went all over.
When you say, “I am bored,” you are a “no” to life. When you get angry, depressed or frustrated, you are a “no” to life. Now, your physiology, the ways of the body, and the nonsense of the mind will keep you busy for the rest of your life, because it has become a problem. The idea of Yoga is to become a hundred percent “yes” in such a way that you can put this body and this mental mechanism aside and use them as platforms to look at larger possibilities of life. This is a good time, three weeks of sadhana time. This is not boredom time, this is not Netflix time, nor the time for you to get a PhD in virology. This is a time to become a hundred percent “yes” to life, because that is the way the possibilities of life will open up for you. Otherwise, saying “yes, no, yes, no” – life does not know whether you want it or not. Because it is taking every message from you, and at the end of the day it cannot make out what you want. Make it very clear to everything that is working here that you are a hundred percent “yes” to life.