[The above is substantially the text of the program released for broadcast the weekend of March 22—24 in the radio series, "The Bible Speaks to You," heard internationally over more than 800 stations. This is one of the weekly programs produced by the Christian Science Committee on Publication, 107 Falmouth Street, Boston 15, Massachusetts.]
RADIO PROGRAM No. 51 - The Remedy for Boredom
HOST: People have more opportunities today than ever before for education, travel, and recreation. And yet boredom is still a problem for many. Some youngsters, for example, in spite of their books and games, toys and television, often pester parents with the familiar cry: "I haven't anything to do. What shall I do now?"
Dr. Renè Dubos, of the Rockefeller Institute, talked about the serious side of this problem in his book "Mirage of Health." He said: "Boredom is not easy to define or to recognize, and its onset is insidious. It often masquerades in the passive forms of entertainment, in the dreary hours of aimless driving, in anonymous holidays which have lost their meaning because they are no longer holy, as well as in the attitude of the person who 'couldn't care less' about the events of the world around him. Its manifestations go from the various forms of escapism, such as addiction to drugs or alcohol, to suicide, which relieves the victim of the need to care about anything." [Harper & Row, Publishers. Copyright, 1959, by Renè Dubos.]
That's the problem. What do you think about it?
SPEAKER: As a Christian Scientist, I'd say that the real remedy for boredom is spiritual awakening. You'll find the answer to any feeling that life is empty in the quickening of thought, the renewal of energies and interests, that spiritual understanding brings. The Bible tells us that man's purpose is to bear witness to the nature of God, to express the intelligence, the life, the goodness, and the love which are qualities of God. Man lives to bear witness to God. Our lives take on more freshness and promise as we awaken to see our God-given purpose.
Let me read a few verses from the Bible that bring out something of man's God-derived purpose.
"And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, then it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God" (Hos. 1:10 ).
"Ye are the salt of the earth. ... Ye are the light of the world. ... Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 5:13—16 ).
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (I Cor. 3:16. )
"It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13 ).
"This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart. ... Be renewed in the spirit of your mind" (Eph. 4:17—23 ).
HOST: What do those verses tell us about overcoming boredom?
SPEAKER: "The blindness of their heart" that the Apostle Paul warned against is blindness to the nature of God and the man of His creating. That's what causes boredom: material-mindedness, worldly thinking. But spiritual-mindedness is uplifting, liberating. We need to be renewed in the spirit of our mind, as Paul said.
In Christian Science we strive to gain a clearer understanding of God and of what He gives to man. God is the infinite, ever-active divine Mind, the source of man's activity and intelligence, of his energy and inspiration. We think of God also as perfect and eternal Life, forever unfolding all good to His creation. God expresses Himself in purposeful activity, and His expression is man created in His perfect image. God bestows on man ever-renewing opportunities to express good and to experience it.
You see, you can't feel dull or lethargic or uninteresting to others when you understand that man actually bears witness to the joyous, intelligent activity of the one divine Mind, which is God. And you can't feel bored with yourself or others when you learn to see man in his true nature as always actively expressing God, expressing Him in such Godlike qualities as spiritual love and vitality and goodness.
HOST: Now that's very helpful. Yet many people think of themselves as subject to moods—happy today, sad tomorrow. What would you say about that?
SPEAKER: We can rise above—overcome—such feelings as we learn that man is not a vacillating creature, swinging between good and evil like a pendulum, between activity and inertia, joy and sadness. His real nature is the continuous expression of God. His purpose and his being are immortal, God-governed, and spiritual.
"Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, says (p. 264 ),"When we learn the way in Christian Science and recognize man's spiritual being, we shall behold and understand God's creation,—all the glories of earth and heaven and man."
And so as we awaken to the nature of God and man's real purpose, we express more and more of God's qualities in our daily lives. We become spiritually renewed. We replace boredom with happiness. Moreover, we are able to share our joy and happiness with others. That's important, because one aspect of boredom is selfishness. Living unselfishly is the way out.
As Mrs. Eddy writes (Message to The Mother Church for 1902, p. 17 ), "Happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness: conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can."
We have an experience that illustrates how boredom and its effects can be overcome. Tell us about the woman from Texas.
HOST: She writes: "I drifted away from Christian Science while at college and eventually married a physician. He fell in action in the Philippines during World War II, and I found myself alone. I was bored and full of self-pity. I wanted to be of some help to the war effort; so I joined the Red Cross and was sent overseas. The work there was fairly rugged, with long hours, and to me the routine was rather tiresome. I was devoted to the work; but it seemed to me my particular job didn't lead anywhere.
"Before the war I smoked and drank socially, but now I smoked two or three packs of cigarettes a day and drank a good deal. I struggled to free myself from these compulsive habits. On my return home I shopped the orthodox churches and investigated psychiatry and psychoanalysis, but without success.
"Then one day, when things were at their worst, I suddenly stopped striving, and almost without realizing what I was doing, I called a Christian Science practitioner. She advised me to read Science and Health by Mrs. Eddy. I told her this wouldn't do any good, because I had tried that, and it didn't make any sense. She said, 'You take it and read it, and if you have any questions, you just make a note in the margin, and I'll try to answer them for you.' Well, I got out Science and Health, and to my astonishment I found it to be the most lucid and inspiring book I had ever read. It was just filled with spiritual nourishment.
"This was a turning point for me. I wholeheartedly took up Christian Science again, and life took on new meaning and interest. I yearned to become a church member; so I studied to learn more of God and His purpose for man. With the loving help of a practitioner, I came to realize that God is the only source of real satisfaction. With this realization, I was gently freed from my long-standing bondage to smoking and drinking."