VBT – Meditation 90.5

Boredom Is Human

Life is a festival, a celebration, a peak of joy – but that is only in poetry, in dreams, in philosophies. In reality we feel boredom. So let’s understand our boredom.

Once it happened in a church that after a very long dry sermon, the minister announced that there would be a meeting, a brief meeting of the board, right after the benediction. After the services a stranger approached the minister; he was the first man. The minister thought, ‘There has been some misunderstanding,’ because the man was absolutely a stranger. He didn’t even look like a Christian; his appearance was that of a Mohammedan, so the minister said, ‘It seems you have misunderstood the announcement. There is going to be a board meeting.’

The stranger said, ‘So I have also heard – and if there was someone here more bored than me then I would like to meet him.’

But this seems to be the situation of everyone. Look at people’s faces, or at your own face in a mirror, and you will feel you are the most bored, and it seems impossible that there can be someone else who is more bored than you. The whole life seems to be a long boredom – dry, dreary, meaningless; somehow you are carrying it as a burden.

Why has this happened? Life is not meant to be a boredom. Life is not meant to be a suffering.

Life is a festival, a celebration, a peak of joy – but that is only in poetry, in dreams, in philosophies.

Sometimes a Buddha, a Krishna, appears to be in a deep celebration, but they look like exceptions.

Really, unbelievable; not real, just ideal. It seems they never happen. They are our wish-fulfillments, myths, dreams and hopes, but not realities. The reality seems to be our face – bored, in anguish, and with suffering impressed on it – and the whole life is just a ‘carrying on anyhow’.

Why has this happened? And this must not be the basic reality of life, this cannot be, because this happens only to man. The trees, the stars, the animals, the birds… nowhere else does it happen.

Except for man, no one is bored. And even if sometimes pain happens, it is momentary; it never becomes an anguish. It never becomes a constant obsession; it is not always on the mind. It is a momentary thing, an accident; it is not carried over.

Animals can be in pain, but they are not in suffering. Pain looks like an accident; they get over it.

They don’t carry it. It doesn’t become a wound. It is forgotten and forgiven. It goes into the past; it never becomes a part of the future. When pain becomes a constant thing, a wound, not an accident but a reality, essential, as if you cannot exist without it, then it becomes a problem – and that problem has arisen only for the human mind.

Trees are not suffering. There seems to be no anguish. Not that death doesn’t occur to them; death occurs, but it is not a problem. Not that painful experiences are not there; they are there, but they don’t become life itself. Just on the periphery they happen and disappear. Deep down in the inner core, life remains celebrating.

A tree goes on celebrating. Death will happen, but it happens only once. It is not carried over constantly. Except for men, everything is in a festive mood. Only man is bored – boredom is a human phenomenon. What has gone wrong? Something must have gone wrong.

In a way this can be a good sign also. Boredom is human. You can define human beings through boredom. Aristotle has defined the human being as rational. That may not be exactly true; it is not a hundred percent true, because the difference is only of degree. Animals are also rational – less rational, but not absolutely irrational. There are animals which are just below the human mind. They too are rational in their own way; not as much as man, but not completely devoid of reason. The difference is only of degrees, and man cannot be defined by reason alone. But through boredom you can define him: he’s the only bored animal.

And this boredom can come to such a climax that man can commit suicide. Only man can commit suicide; no animal commits suicide. That is an absolutely human phenomenon. When boredom comes to such a point that even hope becomes impossible, then you drop dead by yourself, because then there is no sense in carrying all this. You can carry this boredom, this pain, because somewhere tomorrow is yet hopeful. This is bad today, but tomorrow something will happen. Because of that hope you go on carrying.


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