The loud voice of illness

Nobody likes to be bored and, as we can see, the present age is one in which boredom is next to impossible.

Entertainment and distraction are available at the flick of a switch or the press of a button.
We can choose to sit before the TV, pick up the phone or access the Internet.

The cell phone is a constant companion and people are seen engaged in animated conversation whether walking on busy roads or commuting. We are bombarded by noise, activity and stimuli at all hours of the day and even at night. The good life appears to be one that is a series of stimulating activities.

This is not to find fault with modern gadgets. There is much to be said in their favour. They make communication easier and leisure time more enjoyable. The trouble starts when they stop being aids and turn into obsessions. Seldom noticed and barely acknowledged, undue preoccupation with them causes harm to body, mind and spirit of both children and adults.

Computers have become indispensable tools in education and children have taken to them easily. However, it has also made them slaves of the small screen by providing virtual games and an easy means of chatting with friends. It is not unusual to see children watching TV and, at the same time, playing games or chatting with friends on the cell phone. Games that involve physical activity no longer hold much attraction.

The result is that the immense health benefits they provide are lost. It is no different with adults, many of whom have turned into couch potatoes, victims of lethargy and ill health.

Unremitting external stimuli have a deleterious effect on the mind, too. They turn people into passive observers, whose thinking is confined to what they see and hear. What is worse, excitement of this kind induces a desire for more. The pressure to be always entertained mounts and satisfaction comes only from larger and larger doses. The ability to think independently and come to creative conclusions gets eroded.

The spirit or the soul is affected as well. A person constantly enmeshed in the hustle and bustle of the outer world loses touch with his inner being.

The human being is not a creature who lives and thrives on bread and circus alone. He needs to nurture his contemplative self. It is only in moments of stillness and silence that one thinks clearly and gains insights.

True activity does not always demand action and some ‘boredom’ is, in fact, a desirable thing. It allows us to indulge in reflection and reappraisal and thus return to the core of our being. Here the quiet voice of stillness can bring us peace, serenity and clarity of outlook.

This is what effectively rejuvenates and refreshes the body, mind and spirit. What John Locke said centuries ago is still so true, ‘The thoughts that often come unsought and, as it were, drop into the mind are commonly the most valuable of any that we have.’

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