Spending the day going from item to item on my agenda until I find myself in bed at the end of the day, without being able to recall how I just spent the past 10-12 hours. First, I want to add that doing things on autopilot isn’t always bad. Most of us do this from time to time. Sometimes putting ourselves on autopilot is a good thing. It can help us get through uninteresting, rote activities, or help us stick to an exercise regime like regular walking, swimming or biking.
However, autopilot is not good when we allow triggers like anger, frustration, stress, depression or beliefs to push us into an autopilot mode. If we happen to have a lot of triggers, we can spend our lives on autopilot, sort of like an ant in a line on an anthill. We can spend time just doing the next thing we have to do, without any thought or consideration, or enjoyment to it. It’s a humdrum existence and we can avoid falling into that trap if we can learn how to live life more consciously.
Living consciously didn’t require making extreme changes; just little changes are bringing me back into the present moment. For example, several times throughout my day, I try to stop what I am doing to take in details of my surroundings and what’s going on around me. I try to pay attention to my senses to see what they pick up. I am surprised by the things I notice, like the sounds of the birds outside or the steam rising from my cup of tea. It is these little things that will bring me into the present moment and brighten me day, if I just keep trying.
If I want to live in the moment, I also want to be a lifetime learner. That doesn’t necessarily mean I have to go back to school. It also mean setting aside some time to learn something I know a little (naive photographer that I am), to pick up a new skill (guitar and pottery) or to explore an interest I have never taken the time to delve into (reading as much as I want and regularly blogging which I will now be regukar with). I can easily find myself with blossoming new interests that will make “living in the moment” even more satisfying…my hunt continues! And if someone has more creative ideas, feel free to leave a comment.
BTW, I also learnt another good way to help sustain “living in the moment” is to become more and more aware of my breathing. Breathing is the essence of life and interestingly enough we take this amazing ability for granted because we don’t have to think consciously in order to do this. But when we become conscious of our breath—how it feels to breathe in then out, how our body responds with a sense of relaxation as oxygen washes through our system—we find ourselves consciously being in the present moment where we are likely to feel less stress and more satisfaction. I am not passing any yoga lessons, but still try it…it feels good, right?
So, how often do you find yourself going through the day on autopilot? If you do, try to consider my suggestions and give one a try the next time you are feeling yourself on autopilot. It will help to bring you back into the present and living consciously to have a much more interesting and happy life!!