The Antidote to Boredom is Not Change
When I listen to a song for the first time, I experience it as a whole, perceiving the many layers of sounds that are overlayed as a single piece. I am the kind of person who plays a song I like, on loop. Listening to it when I enjoy my coffee in the morning, while taking a shower, during my commute to work or right before I hit the bed, among other times. On one such occasion, while listening to one of my all-time favorite song “Time by Pachanga Boys”(I had been listening to this song for over 6 years at this point) while in the shower, I started paying attention to the underlying beats, rhythm, and harmony that I had never perceived before. I was in a state of complete awe, appreciating both the individual layers and the song as a whole while being completely consumed by the music. It felt deeply meditative to experience this. In my perception:
Like with music, the sense of wonder, awe and peace in an activity is only kindled the deeper you engage with it, as you slowly spiral towards its core. To experience this deep sense of flow you must allow the activity to consume you by repeatedly communing with it.
In the book ‘Ikigai’, Albert Liebermann and Hector Garcia talk about how the people of Okinawa, a Japanese island with the most number of centenarians alive, never actually retire. Once they find their Ikigai or the reason for being, they repeatedly engage with it, all through their lives. They attribute their long, fulfilled lives to the consistent and complete immersion with their ikigai.
Osamu Tezuka, the father of modern Japanese manga, shortly before he died, his last words before he drew one final cartoon were “Please, let me just work!”.
Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi called this state, “flow” and described it as the pleasure, delight, creativity, and process when we are completely immersed in life. It is the state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter and the sense of time vanishes.
Hence, in my perception, boredom is usually a result of stopping at the surface level. The antidote to boredom is infact not change but consistent and complete immersion with a renewed sense of awe.
What is your favorite activity to reach this blissful state?