Boredom on the journey is really good news

When you first encounter the nondual teachings, you may be enthralled and inspired by the depth and breadth of the insight that’s revealed. You may have glimpses beyond the veil of the mind’s claustrophobic view of reality into the luminous essence of what is. Life may take on a magical quality, as everything seems to unfold in a mysterious and beneficent way. From being habitual and humdrum, your life now feels like it’s filled with ease and grace.

But over time this infatuation may fade, and you may find yourself feeling that everything is quite ordinary again. The bloom has faded on the rose, the mystical aura has fallen away, and life is just as it is. Nothing special—and empty of any meaning or subtantiality that the mind may superimpose. At this point, many people start feeling what can only be called boredom. The mind starts getting restless as it yearns for a return of the magic and the mystery. “What’s the point any longer?” The mind asks. “What am I getting out of this? Where’s it all headed? What’s in it for me?”

Rather than being a problem, the advent of boredom is really good news, as one of my teachers, the Tibetan master Chogyam Trungpa, used to say. The mind has been doing a very good imitation of being spiritual, and now it’s running out of steam and reverting to its old ego-centered ways. If you’ve been practicing spirituality as a subtle self-improvement scheme, a way to enrich and embellish the ego, you may feel that you’ve failed and it’s time to move on to something else. 

But if you’re really present and open to what is, you won’t identify with the boredom, any more than you would identify with any other passing emotion or mind-state. Instead, boredom, and the self-seeking and dissatisfaction it reveals, will be a reminder to reconnect with your natural state of inherent wakefulness, which is never bored or at odds with what is in any way. This wakefulness welcomes and embraces whatever arises as a precious expression of itself. As I often say, if you’re bored, you’re not really paying attention.