Living on Autopilot

Living on Autopilot

Written by Ade

Not sure about you, but every so often on leaving my apartment in the morning, I get halfway down the street and then start wondering whether I locked the front door. In my mind that simple task did not happen and right then and there, my imagination starts running wild about what might happen if the door was indeed left unlocked.

I have on a few occasions walked back home, only to discover that the door was locked.  On the days that I have walked back home, I cannot help but wonder where my attention was, as I locked the door earlier.  On reflection, I often notice that my attention could normally be found somewhere in the past or future – planning for a meeting later that day, recollecting a conversation with a friend, wondering whether I will catch my regular train, contemplating on an unsettling news story that might have caught my eye the day before; the list is endless.

In examining my thoughts and behavior, I am conscious that there are a number of things that I do automatically on a day-to-day basis, without paying much attention to the activity I am performing – brushing my teeth, eating lunch at my desk or vacuuming the rug. Yes, that list is endless too. I also notice that often it is whilst performing what I consider routine or mundane activities, that I am mostly not present.

A lot has already been written by various people about ‘living in the present’ or ‘embracing the now’. Yet, the ‘present’ or ‘now’ continues to be an area where many of us run from – as if we could really run from it.

In learning more about the present and how to dance with it, I have come to understand that it is not the fact that I might be missing the gift of the present that is an issue – for I now take it as a given, that being human means that from time-to-time I will miss or try to run from the present. What I now recognize is that, it is what I do when I notice I am not in the present that really matters. What choice do I make in that moment - to stay in autopilot, denial or to respond consciously. And yes, sometimes that might mean walking back home to see if I did lock the front door!

So, where was your attention this morning as you locked your front door?

Categorised Under: Inspiration, General Interest,


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