Can autopilot and awareness coexist? I think so.
One definition of autopilot is "a cognitive state in which you act without self-awareness," so it would seem that they are opposed to one another. But what I'm talking about here is how routine and awareness can actually work together in your life to keep you sane and curious, grounded and growing, organized and truly living.
The Benefit of Autopilot
Life seems to fly by - there is so much going on. I have a schedule because it keeps me sane! It helps me remember appointments and deadlines and gives me a routine. Established rhythms are good for my brain. I know what to expect and how to deal. I don't have to work too hard here - I know what I'm doing.
Rhythms and routine solve the problem of being over-scheduled. I have space for me, space for the unexpected. I never run out of toilet paper. I know how long things take, how people will react, what works and what doesn't.
Autopilot happens when this way of daily living becomes well-ingrained in my system. I get up at 6, do my meditation, drink lemon water and start my day. On it goes. I can juggle what comes at me and return to my routine. I can do this each day and manage my life. I can feel like a rock star.
This is how we take care of the basics of life. This is a sum of my past. It is who I have evolved to be at this stage of my life. But this is not all there is.
If moving from one thing to the next is all we do, we ARE BLIND to so much more.
Awareness Makes Us Truly Alive
What makes me feel really alive is being present - right here, right now. Not looking to what's next and merely crossing things off the autopilot list. Awareness of what is now, what is changing, what is amazing.
How does one practice awareness?
Pay Attention to your life.
What do you love?
What makes you feel good?
Be open, curious and teachable. In the NOW. There is so much we do not know. Be willing to find out that you know nothing.
All of the magic is in practicing awareness. Stop yourself. Breathe. What are you feeling? This is your adventure. Be in it. Make a change. Take a risk.
If you aren't paying attention, you could miss the opportunity to evolve.
There was a time about 11 years ago when I left my past career and pursued healing as a vocation. It was a huge change. It came from little whispers at first that led to great clarity over time.
Is it time for a new friend? A new book? A new church? A new way of seeing yourself or others? What's next for you?
I keep seeing hawks. Everywhere, all the time. This is unusual. I looked it up. Hawks are masters of timing. They rise above and see the big picture. They are spirit messengers and more. I decide to go to Feather Fest at the local nature center so I can take a look up close. I'm thinking there is a reason I am connecting to hawks. As long as I feel led, I will keep learning.
The Value of Both
In Autopilot, you know what to expect, you've done it before. Contemplation is not required.
In Awareness, you are present, learning, practicing, experimenting, being shown something new.
Both are valuable and necessary to lead a happy, healthy life.
In practicing awareness, we become better at living in the present. This is the only space you truly live.