Hot boredom is like being locked in a padded cell. You get bored, you feel miserable and you are irritated. In everyday life, we habitually try to hide the gaps in our experience of mind and body. These gaps are a bit like the awkward silence around the table at a dinner party.
A good host must keep the conversation going with their guests so that they feel comfortable. He can talk about the weather, the latest books he has read, or what is going to be served for dinner. We deal with subconscious chatter because any gap in our conversation with ourselves makes us uncomfortable.
Boredom is an underrated experience in the modern world. The pace at which new information, new opportunities, new entertainment, and new distractions are arriving at us is accelerating at breakneck speed.
Many people seek the benefits of meditation in the hope of simply slowing down the jam in their head: getting a little space, a little clarity, a little "breathing".
We sit in meditation to remember what it feels like to be present. We connect with our breathing to stabilize the feeling of being present and also take note of the activity of our mind that flows. Our practice is to keep coming back to the breath and therefore to the present moment.
When we spend some time practicing meditation in this way, most of us will experience what the teacher, Trungpa Rinpoche, called "hot boredom," actually a kind of irritation based on the contrast between the usual speed and energy of our mind. everyday and the spacious and open quality that we have now begun to cultivate.
Due to our pent-up restlessness, inertia, and hyperactive lifestyles, we've actually developed a kind of allergy to just sitting back and being present without turning it into another sketch.
For those just beginning to explore the practice of meditation, it is suggested that you allow yourself to really experience this "hot boredom" and not just jump off the cushion when you experience that kind of restlessness. Believe it or not, some think that the escape that meditation allows is going to make you narcissistic and self-centered, but don't believe everything they tell you.
If you can stay in the practice and keep working with the speedy energy of your mind without freaking out or going off the deep end, there is a very good chance that you can get through the experience of hot boredom and get to the next door in your meditation practice, which Rinpoche called "cold boredom."
When we suck it up and feel like cold boredom is no big deal, we can begin to experience more ease and relaxation in our minds and lives. We may find that we don't need to rush to fill every possible hole, every possible open space with activities, projects, and achievements.
We may find ourselves at the neighborhood coffee shop, taking time to "smell the coffee," rather than gobble it down to keep the rocket of our life going.
The peace that we experience in meditation is simply this state of doing nothing, which is experiencing the absence of speed.
The purpose of meditation practice is to experience these gaps. We do nothing, essentially, and we see that this brings us discomfort or relief, as the case may be. The starting point of the practice of meditation is the discipline of mindfulness to develop peace.
Often when considering the practice of meditation, the question arises as to what is being meditated on. In this approach, meditation has no object. You work with your body, your thoughts, and your breath, but that's different from concentrating wholeheartedly on one thing. In this case, nothing is meditated on; it is simply present in a simple way.
The practice works with what is immediately available to you. You have your experience of being alive; you have a mind and you have a body. So you work with those things. You also work with what is going through your mind, whatever the content, whatever the current problems, whether they are painful or pleasurable.
You start with whatever you are experiencing. You also use the breath, which is part of the body and is also affected by the mind. The breath expresses the fact that you are alive. If you are alive, you breathe.
The technique is basic and direct: you pay attention to the breath. You are not trying to use your attention to the breath to entertain yourself, but you use your attention to the breath to simplify things.
In particular, you accompany each exhalation. As the breath goes, you go with it. And when the exhalation dissolves, you feel that you also dissolve. The inhalation is a gap, a space, and then you exhale again. So there is a constant feeling of going out and slowing down.
At first, the technique can be somewhat fascinating, but it quickly becomes boring. You get tired of sitting and breathing, doing nothing over and over again. Then, when you relax a bit, you start to invoke past experiences, memories of your life, as well as your emotions, your aggressiveness, and your passion.
Now you have a private movie show, and you can go over your autobiography while sitting down. Then, after a while, you can go back to your breathing, thinking that you should try to be a good boy and apply the technique. In meditation we have the opportunity to meet ourselves, to see ourselves clearly for the first time. We have never felt good about ourselves or spent this kind of time with ourselves.
However, the practice of meditation is not simply being with ourselves. We are accomplishing something by being properly present, within the framework of technique. The technique is simple enough not to entertain us. In fact, the technique may start to wear off at some point.
As we become more comfortable with ourselves and develop a greater understanding of ourselves, our application of the technique becomes less burdensome.
At first, we need technique, like when we use a crutch to help us walk when we are injured. Then once we can walk without it, we don't need the crutch. Something similar happens in meditation. At first, we are very focused on the technique, but over time we realize that we are just there, just there.
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