Turning Off Autopilot & Being Present
Posted on December 1st, 2016
Do you ever feel like you’re on autopilot? Going from task to task like a robot with no awareness of your surroundings? I definitely do. Recently I’ve been working on being mindful in more aspects of my life. We all talk about how life goes by so quickly which is why I want to enjoy the richness each moment has to offer. I want to really taste the food I’m eating and notice the little things about people around me. I want to turn off autopilot and be present.
Being more mindful is a work in progress for me. Some days I’m better at it, other days I’m not. One way that does help me slow down and become more present is allocating time for self-care. It’s a time when I can check in and recharge. This can mean something as simple as a walk in the park. I set an intention to sloooow down and open my eyes. Other days my self-care is a warm bath with candles and aromatherapy oils. Whatever my self-care is, I view it as time to disconnect and turn inward.
I do self-care rituals that relax me so that it’s easier to connect with my body and feel rooted in the present moment. Furthermore, allocating ‘you’ time can be the perfect reminder to turn off autopilot mode. Your body can serve as a gateway to focus on the here and now.
Nature is the perfect gateway to the present moment. On a spiritual level, Samkhya’s philosophical ideas illuminate our relationship with nature. The text describes the 24 cosmic principles in the universal energy. These cosmological principles, called tattvas, also make up each individual. As we’re made up of the same elements found in our surroundings, it makes sense that we suffer when we are in disharmony with nature.
When we observe nature, we witness how everything operates so peacefully. Animals scurry along. The birds chirp their songs. The sun provides nourishment and life to all living beings. The ego doesn’t play a role in nature. Unlike humans who focus on insignificant issues such as whether they don’t get enough likes on Instagram, animals are living and are present.
Next time you spend time with nature, take a full deep breath in through your nose. Then release all the air out your mouth. Cast whatever troubles you have aside to a higher power. There’s plenty of time to worry. Right now is about being present. Perhaps you can hear a trickling stream or feel the wind in your hair (colours of the wind status ? ??). Let the elements charge you. Feel a sense of presence by observing what you see, smell, touch and feel.
Social Media Detox
Finally, disconnecting from social media is another way I practice mindfulness. Social media can play right into the ego. It disconnects us from the present. It’s so easy to create an illusionary linear narrative. Turning off autopilot reminds us that the past is gone and the future hasn’t happened. Disconnecting from social media can be the break we need to bring us back to centre. We don’t have a distraction when we disconnect. It actually forces us to look up and engage with our surroundings!
We’re human and we’re bound to have days when we revert to our old ways of autopilot. We spend years making a habit. It takes time to change. The first step is making it a point to become more mindful. This helps you tune into the signals when you’ve gone back into robot mode.
While I’m no master at being mindful all the time, I hope these suggestions help you find more richness in each moment. Life is fleeting. Let’s be more present so we can create more beautiful relationships and moments!
Namaste. Om shanti.