When the honeymoon period with meditation is over resistance often arises is in the form of boredom. Boredom is actually a stage of development in sitting practice because it is often the excuse we use to decide that sitting is a waste of time; that we can be developing our spiritual lives in a much more dynamic and interesting way. But what if you just sit with the boredom, watch it arise and pass?
Zen Master Suzuki tells the story of teaching a nine year old girl to meditate. After five minutes, she asked, “Is that it?” “Yes,” he answered, “that’s it.” “You just sit here like this?” “Yes,” he answered, “You just sit here like this.” “That’s boring.” The little girl immediately found something more exciting. But we aren’t children. We meditate because we know it’s good for us, and that it will, in the end, bring us enjoyment that is not dependent on pleasure. Boredom in meditation happens when you imagine that your enlightenment is not being realized.
It is crucial to recognize that when you are in a bored state of mind, you are still being controlled by conditioning. However, if you just say, “Okay, so I’m bored. I’ll just sit and be bored,” you are challenging your conditioning. If you are bored with sitting for six months but sit anyway, you have already changed your relationship with your conditioning.
Part of the work of sitting practice is to be watchful for the ways in which our conditioned minds stop us from making the shift from struggling with our resistance to simply sitting. Meditation opens the possibility of wise discernment that allows you to act out of something deeper than conditioning. Our egocentric nature is endlessly creative when it comes to preventing us from true freedom of thought. Over and over again, resistance will arise. Don’t stop meditating, because pretty soon, all resistance will be futile and you will walk through the gateless gate to a new life where sitting does sitting and where you have, in a very permanent way, created a natural space for the deeper parts of your mind to blossom into enlightenment.