I've been living in the monastery now for over a year and a
half, and to be honest, I'm bored. I hope that doesn't come as a
shock, because to some extent, that's exactly what this life is
intended to do.
Day after day, we get up at the same time, go to the same
church, pray the same prayers, with the same people. Some of us
eveneatthe same thing every day! So it is indeed boring,
intentionally so, but why? So we are forced to come face-to-face
with our worst enemy: ourselves.
Michael Casey, in his book An Unexciting Life, writes,
"Exterior dullness is a condition for inner excitement." As
monastics, we intentionally live a highly structured and "boring"
life (by today's standards), so that something in ushasto
We cannot expect the things around us to change, we cannot
expect to change the exteriors of our way of life,wemust be the
ones who change. This is the wisdom behind the Benedictine vow of
stability, namely, that I bind myself to this monastery, to these
people, and I do not expect them to change, but I must be the one
who changes. We renounce exterior freedoms in order to pursue an
But this is such a hard sell! Boredom is good?! In our society,
boredom is seen as the enemy, something to avoid at all costs; it
is certainly not our friend.
I recently saw a video on YouTube (don't be shocked!) of
pedestrians in Germany playing a "Pong" video game on the crosswalk
traffic light pole (http://youtu.be/C3Ozz6_pdMI).
What does this say about us?! Do we really need to be entertained
constantly? Can't we even wait at a traffic light for a few minutes
without having this need to be entertained?
Boredom is not the enemy. Boredom is our friend. In our boredom,
we face ourselves, and when we face ourselves, we inevitably
realize that there are things about us that we must change.
Christ wants us to look inward deeply. He wants us to "cleanse
first the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may be clean"
(Mt. 23:26). By creating this highly structured and "boring" life,
that is exactly what we intend to do.
So I am glad that I am bored. It is a sure sign that this life
is actuallyworking. The challenge, though, for all of us, is to see
that boredom as a spiritual friend and to welcome it as a chance to
look inward deeply at ourselves, to clean the inside of the