Dear Jumbo: Vu Deja

You may have heard of Deja Vu, but have you heard of its alter ego, Vu Deja? If Deja Vu is the feeling of having already experienced a seemingly new situation, then Vu Deja is the exact opposite. It is seeing something we already know as if it were the first time.

I first experienced this at a silent meditation retreat. Sitting still with my eyes closed for several hours got really boring. I had no choice but to stay with that boredom, because I’d signed myself up for the challenge and I was too ashamed to quit.

After the first day, I told my meditation teacher about it, to which he said, “You have to explore what boredom is.That frustrated me even more. I protested, “What else is there besides the fact that I’m really bored?”

I’m glad I sat through it for the next few days, for I now know boredom more intimately. What I first thought of as boredom was a kind of numbness, a thick fuzzy blanket that I could not see through. My untrained mind was like a low-resolution camera; no matter how much I tried to zoom in, I could not enhance the scene. Only when I sharpened my concentration could I see the vast sea of details under that blanket.

I emerged from the retreat with a profound insight. *Boredom is a sign of inattention.* As such, the antidote to boredom is the freshness of the moment. In other words, it is Vu Deja.

*Who cares? Why do I need to see everything fresh?*

The short answer is it makes life more fascinating. If you ever skip around Netflix too much, you know how dissatisfying that feels. It is like going to a restaurant, flipping the menu pages and then leaving hungry.

Vu Deja can also cure FOMO. By definition, FOMO happens when we fantasize something new *out there* instead of appreciating what is *in here.* Vu Deja is getting so absorbed in the moment that you forget about time and place.  

It goes even deeper than making you enjoy Netflix more. When practiced at a more advanced level, Vu Deja becomes a life orientation. It is fascination by default. What allows one to see opportunity while another sees banality? Vu Deja.

Vu Deja is noticing a falling leaf and then dancing with it. It is seeing your best friend for the 1,000th time as if it were the first time. It is yelling at boredom, “I don’t believe you are boring!”

The bad news is that Vu Deja is not easy. While endlessly chasing after something new is way too tempting, looking at the same thing with a stubborn fascination takes disciplined practice. But the reward is better, for if we know how to appreciate, we will never cease to see the magic behind the mundane parts of life.

The good news is that you don’t have to go to a meditation retreat to learn it. In fact, it’s better practiced in daily life. The next time you are in a conversation with someone, take a brief pause to savor the moment. Look at their nose and how it is expanding and contracting, and remember to write me at bit.ly/dearJumbo


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