Integrative Health Blog

Mindfulness and Boredom

Posted by Dr. Charles Gant on Wed, Nov 11, 2020


"In order to live free and happily, you must sacrifice boredom. It is not always an easy sacrifice.”

~Richard Bach - Illusions (1977)

If I recall accurately – despite the handicap of a 70-year-old brain – when I read the book Illusions over 40 years ago, the protagonist who was reaching a state of full self-actualization, phrasing it in Maslow’s terms, finally transcended the last hurdle of his existence, boredom. Those last hurdles can be different for everyone, including those icons – as the stories in religious texts about them suggest – that all religions are about.

The quote that letting go of boredom “is not always an easy sacrifice” is to me an absurd understatement. Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s, I have been privy to every type of pleasure and entertainment there is, and I have benefited from extreme prosperity and technological advances, especially those in the medical area, without which I would be long dead. It’s like the Peggy Lee song, Is that all there is? …or the theme song to Cabaret….stay intoxicated and/or entertained to offset the meaninglessness of life, because it doesn’t matter anyway. Nothing matters, the basic mantra of our nihilism-obsessed, modern era. “Nothing really matters, anyone can see, Nothing really matters, Nothing really matters to me, Any way the wind blows..” are the final lyric’s in Freddie’s "Bohemian Rhapsody" (Queen). Well, either life matters or it doesn’t. It has meaning and purpose or it has no meaning and purpose. One path leads to despair and suicide, the other path leads to fulfillment. I have found fulfillment to be a happier journey, but who am I to judge the Freddies of the world who take the boring, meaningless path to depression and despair.

Boredom Robs Us of Purpose

Boredom can rob us of purposefulness and meaning and consequently, we are deprived of the whole purpose of awakening to the part of the human experience – via our prefrontal cortex – that makes us distinctly human; To care for one another.[1] This sentiment was expressed by one of the preeminent neuroscientists of the 20th century, Paul D. MacLean[2], author of The Triune Brain in Evolution: Role in Paleocerebral Functions. Far after retirement, as the research about the prefrontal cortex rolled in at the beginning of this century, MacLean realized that we actually have a Quadrune Brain, and that the purpose of our 4th brain is to confer consciousness and a conscience, compassion, empathy and to… “care for one another.” These are not the words of a religious leader or a philosopher, but the conclusions of a neuroscientist who authored many studies about brain function. Carl Sagan[3] took up the banner after MacLean’s landmark book appeared, and others through the years. My book just added the latest neuroscience to polish off the idea, that 1/6th of our brain confers self-actualization.

Guided Mindfulness on Sunday nights

Come join the Mindfulness and Healing group this Sunday, November 15, 2020, as we investigate boredom, and perhaps its close companion, fatigue.

Does life matter or not? Does it have purpose and meaning or not?

Modern neuroscience has shown that we all have the magical right stuff hard-wired into the very anatomy of our brain, and all we have to do is practice, regardless of how boring life seems to get to wake it up. I encourage you, even if locked down in your house, to check out the sluggish, yucky feelings of boredom if they show up, and the thinking that usually accompanies them, that whatever is happening, is just not exciting or entertaining enough. I close with a link to one of my favorite songs, We May Never Pass This Way Again:

And see Rob Snyder; “You can do eet!” No matter how boring life gets;


Mindfulness and Healing, every SUNDAY evening at 7 pm

Everyone is invited.

To join, simply call 712-770-4340 and when prompted, enter the code

566853# (pound)


Dr. Gant functional medicine doctor Wash DCCharles Gant MD, PhD,  is a physician, author and teacher and has practiced Integrative and Functional Medicine for over three decades. He specializes in getting to the root cause of health issues to support healing at the molecular level.  Areas of interest include ADHD, chronic diseases, metabolic, hormonal and immune disorders, infectious disease (Lyme and co-infections), genetic testing and more. He is an expert in interpretation of functional medicine testing to diagnose precisely what is deficient in each patient, and then replenish those missing, essential items.


[1] Quote from Dr. Paul D MacLean, Author of The Triune Brain in Evolution: Role in Paleocerebral Functions


[3] Carl Sagan, a famous cosmologist, wrote a book on the triune brain, The Dragons of Eden.m

Topics: mindfulness, mind-body