Mara folds his arms behind his head and sighs, composing the next letter in his mind. The secretary, sensing a break in the work slides off his lap and goes over to the window, the cordless mouse in her hand.
"Gee Mara, you'd sure think that First Army would be enough." Flicking the mouse she spies on all the gods and goddesses. She settles for a while on a scene of beautiful beings cavorting in a lotus pool as swans drift about, little barrels of intoxicating divine nectar about their delicate necks. Sometimes when a godling reaches for a draught the birds dart away playfully amid general splashing and hilarity. "You sure know how to throw a party!"
Mara narrows his dark eyes. "Thank you my sweet. But even the mighty First needs some backup." He watches with a smile as she grows weary of the heavenly skinny dippers and begins flicking through the realms, faster and faster...
" Come on, back to work..."
To my second army, the host of boredom, I extend greetings and congratulations. Your role is to act in coordination with my first host; you are, as it were, the artillery softening up the enemy's defenses for an infantry assault by sensory desire. We must keep beings in a state of dissatisfaction with the present reality. To be bored is primarily a state of aversion; the current input of the senses is not providing the desired kick of pleasure so the being is irritated with what he calls the dullness of his environment. He becomes " bored" and seeks to remedy the situation with new and exciting stimuli, which my first host is eager to provide. He becomes lost in sensuality and once again we have him where we want him; creating the basis of fresh becoming.
What a scam! We keep them craving always something exciting, something new. As a result they keep running on in the Great Sangsara like one of their wretched pet hamsters in an exercise wheel. If they ever catch on and realize how long they've been at it and how there really is nothing new or fresh to be experienced...
Of course we cannot let that happen. The trick is to keep them from paying attention to the present moment. Once they are fully present, here-and-now, then they cannot be bored. Lately we've managed to foster a social climate that positively discourages calmness and clarity. Their whole modern culture is fast and frenzied. Fashions in everything from music to clothing change rapidly and they are all eager to keep up with it. The mass of moderns prefers excitement to subtlety. The last half-century or so has seen many advances in our efforts to fracture the human attention span. Television was a great help but I think the single greatest advance in the triumph of boredom was the invention of the remote control. There are now many millions whose attention span is so pathetic that they cannot sit through a half-hour long story line; they cannot even be diverted that long by a single train of enticing images. Let alone sit quietly by themselves!
We've succeeded so well in this department that being bored is considered one of the great evils of life. This of course never arose when they required all their physical energy just to survive. But now we have a generation of enervated dilettantes who cannot bear their own company (although one can scarcely blame them for that...)
People create virtual hell realms of boredom for themselves. You can see them everywhere in the great modern cities -- riding the subways, waiting in lines, sitting in offices. The dull lethargic look on their faces, the glassy stare in their eyes betoken a mind that would rather be somewhere, anywhere else. Pathetic creatures! If they only realized that the only place they can ever be is here-and-now!
Boredom is based on what our Great Adversary called vibhava tanha, the craving for non-being in the vernacular. They find their current state of existence unbearable, chiefly because of their own mental state, and they wish to blot it out. In the purest form this leads to suicide and a consequent lower rebirth. In a milder form it leads to the petty annihilations of drink, drugs, sleep or mindless entertainment.
As long as we keep them trapped into these two strategies of sensuality and lethargy they will remain in our power. Should they stray close to the true escape, which of course lies in the Middle, then we must redouble our efforts. Whisper in their ears. Don't let them be still. Tell them again and again the good old lies; " This is really boring. Get out and enjoy life!"
Copyright © 1997 Arrow River Community Center