Bored to Death

“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”

-Blaise Pascal

The ego or self or default mode network (I should come up with some new term that encapsulates all three) by its very nature necessitates a sense of lack. If we are truly separate, limited beings alone in the world, coming and going into permanent nothingness, then it is natural for us to try and escape this horrible truth. We feel that something is missing deep inside of us, that we are not enough. The usual human behavior we see around us is not all that surprising, viewed from this angle. There is an underlying anxiety or tension there, a need to fill this gap inside, this unresolved question.

So we try and chase after money, we chase after the perfect partner, the perfect distraction “out there” that can complete or fill our sense of being not enough. One seemingly finite being trying to escape its own self-enforced feeling of limitation by seeking another limited, finite thing outside of itself.

It is a fool’s errand. As I discuss in the book, there are a variety of reasons we have committed ourselves to this nonsensical search. And the search is coming from a natural impulse to find wholeness or completeness. But we are looking in the wrong direction. The “me” is looking “out there” for something to bring it peace and relaxation, which is a flawed notion from the very beginning.

The direction has to be reversed, we have to look inside of ourselves. Put the burden of proof on your “self” to prove its own existence, this is what meditation is about. If you are in fact this limited, separate being, then where is it? What proof do we actually have for this me, this ego, with all its problems and worries?

Let the mind exhaust itself trying to bring forth a thousand-and-one descriptions for who you are. None of them last, none of them remain in the fire of meditation. This cosmic boredom and loneliness must be faced head-on. The continual energy that is lost in searching for completion “out there” is reversed and turned inwards, forcing us to confront this machine of the mind.

“I had decided that whatever boredom was, I was determined to live with it. If this was how nature wanted me to be alone, okay, then let nature take its own course. But the strangest thing happened with my determination to live with boredom. One day it disappeared. I was there alone but no longer lonely. And since then it has not appeared again.”


As we confront the essential boredom and incompleteness of the modern mind, we are by definition not feeding the sense of incompleteness. We are literally boring ourselves to death. This is easily observable first-hand or through the neuroscience I outline in the book. The default mode network is gradually diminished, and with the dissolving of the self comes the reintegration into oneness. If there is no longer a “me”, then how can there be anything missing? Who would be there to be incomplete? Those things require duality, separation, a subject and an object.

In these magnificently boring times of quarantine and isolation, we might as well see this thing through to the end. Let yourself be bored to death through meditation, let your self be utterly starved until it withers away. What remains is the answer to our eternal question, our eternal search for wholeness.

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