The Benefits of Boredom

Posted on 2008-06-27. Filed under: Quotes, Thoughts |

Here is a great quote from Reader’s Digest that I read recently. It’s originally from The Joy of Boredom by Carolyn Y. Johnson.

“Boredom’s doldrums were unavoidable, yet also a primordial soup for some of life’s most quintessentially human moments… Increasingly, these empty moments are being saturated with productivity, communication and the digital distractions offered by an ever-expanding array of slick mobile devices… We are most human when we feel dull. Lolling around in a state of restlessness is one of life’s greatest luxuries – one not available to creatures that spend all their time pursuing mere survival. To be bored is to stop reacting to the external world, and to explore the internal one. It is in these times of reflection that people often discover something new, whether it is an epiphany about a relationship or a new theory about the way the universe works. Granted, many people emerge from boredom feeling that they have accomplished nothing. But is accomplishment really the point of life. There is a strong argument that boredom – so often parodied as a glassy-eyed drooling state of nothingness – is an essential human emotion that underlies art, literature, philosophy, science, and even love.”

I tore that quote out planning to blog about it because it goes against my nature so much. I am a very task-oriented person trying to learn how to become a people-oriented person. I have been reading a lot by Henri Nouwen lately on the hesychastic life. In the book

Weaving Sorrows And Blessings into One Joyful Step

The Dance of Life: Weaving Sorrows And Blessings into One Joyful Step by Henri J. M. Nouwen and Michael Ford, I read this before I got to blog the RD quote:

The great value of spiritual reading is that it helps to give meaning to our lives. Without meaning, human life quickly degenerates. The human person not only wants to live, but also wants to know why to live… It is remarkable how much of our life is lived without reflection on its meaning. It is not surprising that so many people are busy but bored! They have many things to do and are always running to get them done, but beneath the hectic activity they often wonder if anything is truly happening. A life that is not reflected upon eventually loses its meaning and becomes boring.

I am continuing to learn how to purposefully do nothing in order to become someone more…

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