Monday, July 23, 2012

Boredom Ointment

Self-portrait in orange shoelaces
The Vermont Country Catalog came today, and I was leafing through, looking at the supplements they offer us old people - this company is all about nostalgia, and easing old age.  There is a supplement for vertigo, for instance, that you smell to relax your anxiety and help you focus.  It contains lavender and some other essential oils; I approve.  It's fun to think of really old people (older than me) learning to use these hippy-dippy things that came out of the seventies.

I like aromatherapy, which is a science built on the oral tradition. I have a collection of scents I can use to bring me down a little or cheer me up or just relax me.

On the same page in the catalog I came across what I thought was Boredom Ointment.  What?  No, it's Boreoleum Ointment.  Which looks a lot like Vicks Vaporub for your nose.  But I already have a classy Ayurvedic nasal oil from Banyan Botanicals.  Ayurveda is basically another folk-wisdom tradition.

But, Boredom ointment!  If only there were a cream you could dab on and immediately feel interested in yourself and your surroundings.  I googled images for Bored student and got well over 2 million hits.  This seems like a lot, and accurately reflects what my own public schooling was like, but it's only 1% of the number of  hits for Britney.  Why Britney?  I don't know.  I didn't even know  she was the Queen of Pop until I looked her up. 

Anyway, this morning something led me to see that her Facebook page has over 2 million "likes".    Why is that number taunting me?  Because mine has 1,999,62 less, unless it's taken a huge growth spurt since this morning.  I asked why on my personal Facebook page, and haven't had any helpful answers, except that maybe I have too much time on my hands.  I think this difference is a comment on human nature, in fact. I'm a fun person (see photo above), but not as much fun as Britney, I guess.

Actually, these subjects - boredom and Britney- have found themselves side-by-side in my sprawling brain, and pulling weird, anomalous things together is what we artists do.  Britney is not an artist and Buddhist blogger, but an entertainer.  Entertainment is excitement, and seems to fill that big space of being bored or discontented with life or downright unhappy.  It pays much better than art.

Is discontentment the same as boredom?  I think it is, in a way.  There are some writings on boredom in the massive body of work left behind by Chogyam Trungpa, whose page is surprisingly small, with some 21,000 hits, though he was quite entertaining in his lifetime. 

To my surprise, there is no page for Ocean of Dharma, which sends me quotes like the one below from him.  Britney may be the Queen of Pop, but his honorific is Rinpoche, a Tibetan term for a Buddhist teacher which means "precious jewel". 
“Boredom is part of the discipline of meditation practice. This type of boredom is cool boredom, refreshing boredom. Boredom is necessary and you have to work with it. It is constantly very sane and solid, and very boring at the same time. But it’s refreshing boredom. The discipline then becomes part of one’s daily expression of life. Such boredom seems to be absolutely necessary. Cool boredom.” Chogyam Trungpa


  1. Refreshing boredom! I have to think about that, because it knocked me off kilter a little. I have always struggled with boredom, and dissatisfaction, and malcontentedness, so my first reaction is; "REFRESHING BOREDOM!?! THAT'S RIDICULOUS," and yet...that mundanity is refreshing after a long period of something really stressful and trying has occurred.

  2. Scents for relieving boredom. Poplar or pine sawdust.Essence of pipe organ. Warm electronics. Baking bread. Cadogblog

  3. Boredom got a great idea to work with.
    I use peppermint oil on my third eye, or if too intense....earlobes to brighten things up.

  4. Dennis - I knew that was you when I read "essence of pipe organ." Was Once - Peppermint oil - that's one thing I don't have in my collection. I am more likely to want to calm my third eye down. And Karen, if I had your job, I'd really want to sit all alone and quiet and be bored.....When I think about it, I'm seldom bored when I'm alone, unless I'm in a depression; then that's more a discontent or restlessness. But I can have it happen at lunch with someone who feels obliged to talk. all. the. time. For instance. In other words, if I feel captured by someone or some situation. I've grown more adept at not getting into that situation with age.