Pagans are a rather innovative bunch, aren’t we? We are constantly reworking and rediscovering our belief systems. We take joy in tweaking our formulas, doing research of various kinds, and conducting experiments. Who says we aren’t scientific? But sometimes we find ourselves in a slump. Our muses seem suspiciously silent. The altar starts to gather dust, and we start to say “should” a lot.
Based on personal experience and pure guesswork, I believe that boredom is the answer to our prayers! I was in a spiritual slump for months. You don’t even want to know what I found in my offering bowl when I went back to clean it out. This winter, I got bored. Really bored. I complained to my journal about how bored I was. Next thing I know, it’s Pagan Blog Project! And New Statues! And Actually Showing Up to a Dua for a Change! I wasn’t doing these things because I felt that I “should” do them. I did them because I wanted to.
Despite what most people think, boredom doesn’t just happen, especially in a culture where we demonize it and go to great lengths to keep it away. Boredom has a similar quality as hunger. How often do well-off Americans actually get hungry when there are food commercials reminding us to constantly stuff our faces with junk food? When you go on a diet, you realize that hunger, though not always welcome, is your ally. It tells you when to eat, and also when to stop eating. People who aren’t hungry can really shovel those potato chips!
To cultivate boredom, you must cut down on the mental potato chips. Sitting and staring at the wall actually is a better use of your time than flipping through a dozen memes or reading a long list of articles that aren’t very interesting. Your mind is moving, but it’s not getting nutrition. You’re not bored, but you’re also not really thinking. I tackled some of that problem a few months ago by putting my monitor on a shelf, making it a standing desk. If I want to waste time on the net, I have to stand up while doing it, either that, or squint at the screen from a distance. I don’t know if I’m burning any extra calories, but it has cut down on the mindless surfing.
Once you have achieved that annoying groan and slack jawed appearance we often associate with children and teens, then what? That is the perfect time to finally put all that self-help advice about following your passion to use. You didn’t know what your passion was before, did you? Or if you did, you lost it somewhere along the way, didn’t you? With a sufficient level of boredom coursing through your system you will be primed to recognize it when you see it, because you will fall upon it like a hungry vulture when it appears.