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Shift from Autopilot to Reality to Improve Health and Happiness

Autopilot vs. Reality

What is real and what is unreal? Most of us may not contemplate that question much, if at all. However, it is an important one since, without knowing what is real or unreal we don’t get the full benefit of truly living.

As we go throughout our days, we are mainly on autopilot.
On autopilot, we miss life as it really exists.
We get up, skip breakfast, drive to work thinking about anything but driving and then put in a long day at the office (whatever your office looks like to you). At the office, we push papers, write reports on our computers, stamp out the next cog or make the next burger.
Most of us know our jobs well enough to do it on autopilot. Many of us are trying to make it to that first break where we can rejoice in the smell of coffee and a small sweet treat to keep us going until lunch. We take a quick taste of the coffee.mmm, just right, then back on autopilot without ever really enjoying the rest of the sips of coffee.

Ah, lunch time!
Where should we go for lunch today? The same old or something new? Wherever it is, we order our lunch and keep talking with our lunch buddies. The meal comes and we take our first bite to see if it meets our expectations and if it does, we are now on autopilot again, as we eat and talk about work, kids, politics (yuck!) or the latest and greatest “must have” (another yuck!).
Oops, time to get back to work.

We finish out our day waiting for 5 o’clock to hit, then it’s time to head home.
Back in the car (or on the train, bus, plane), we arrive at our final destination without ever really remembering how we got there. We were on autopilot again, thinking about everything else, but the journey home.

Are We Living in Reality? I Think Not!

Is this reality? I suggest that the answer is a resounding NO! Why? Because we missed all that was truly happening during the day.
To start with, most of us miss the gift of waking up each day, as if it’s a right or an expectation.
Perhaps most of us don’t want to think about not waking up in the morning since we have made death into some horrible event. However, we can make waking up a peaceful time filled with gratitude. With the realization of that first breath upon waking, we can be thankful we made it another day and start our day off on a high!

Skipping breakfast just shows the state of our thinking in a few different of ways. First, it shows that we are too tired, perhaps, to get up in time to have breakfast, the most important meal of the day. We haven’t had fuel (my word for food) since 8 o’clock the night before so we have been on a mini-fast for about 10-12 hours. Our bodies need nutrition (another word I use for food) in order to focus, run all of our vital systems and keep us going throughout the day without resorting to sugar and caffeine (which aren’t fuel, but are toxins to the body). Perhaps we are so busy that we go from one place to another as quickly as we can – living in our heads rather than in our hearts and feeding our heads rather than our hearts. This is where we have an opportunity to change our focus and awareness. Let’s slow down a little. We can make a healthy breakfast and start the workday off with nutrition and fuel that helps our body run optimally for us. This will help our day go smoother and easier for us! Who doesn’t want that!

At work, we get stressed out and burned out, working long hours, wondering if we will do enough to get a raise to make ends meet. We often spend a large portion of our hard earned money on things that we think we need to make us feel better about ourselves. Keeping up with the Jones’ or standing in line all night to get the “must have” of the season before they are all gone and you are left out is stressful and out of balance. It is time for a change. What can we do to connect to reality more often?

Why not try something different? Why not do a job you love – one that makes your heart sing?
If that is not an option for you right now, work on plans to get there. Everything is possible. You may experience a new found enjoyment in the job you have to have just now as you prepare for the job you want to have.

You might also try this: Give up one thing you think you have to have in order to live or feel good about yourself.
Is this TV?
Is it the newest game for your XBOX?
Is it the newest fall fashion?
Take the money that you save by not having what you think you need and use it to buy a bird feeder and learn about the birds in your area – the food they like, the songs they sing…then listen for them in the spring and the summer.
Watch them as they enjoy the food you provided. You could buy a membership to a zoo and learn about animals around the world. You might donate the money to a cause of your choice.
I’ll bet after a short time you won’t even miss what you thought you couldn’t live without!

Mindfulness in Everything We Do

Being mindful means being in the present moment. We can be in the present moment anywhere in the world at any time. We just have to understand it and then choose to be a part of it. With a little practice it becomes second nature. What is the Present Moment? It is the moment that exists now. It is not last week, last year or even net year.
How can we apply this to every moment? As we journey to and from work, we can practice really paying attention to driving. Look at driving to work as an opportunity to be peaceful before it gets busy. On the way home, use the drive as a time to distress and let go of all that transpired at work so you will be peaceful and relaxed once you arrive home. All of this helps you arrive safely to your destination which is of paramount importance. Many car accidents occur due to driver inattention. Where is our attention when we drive? Let’s focus on driving again.

Maybe you use public transportation. You are surrounded by people who are different in many ways. You can use this time to notice the differences, but pay even more attention to what is the same. What I mean by this is that someone’s hair, clothes, accent and skin color may be different, but we are all still the same underneath.
Realize that all of the people we see and meet are just mirrors for us – to assist us with what is bothering us in our heads so that we can recognize it, sort it out and be free from it. Know that we are all here to help each other on our sacred journeys and as we give help we also get help. As you journey in your car or take the bus, notice the color of the sky, listen for birds singing, look at the leaves in the trees and notice the healthy green or the brilliant reds and yellows. This is what is truly going on, not the stressed out, angry people or the unending drama on the radio.

With food/fuel, we just seem to eat it without thinking much about it.
If it tastes good, that is our green light to keep eating, but we miss all of wonderful tastes and textures of the remaining bites to a pre-occupied mind that is on everything but the fuel. Become one with your fuel, realizing that it is what keeps your body healthy and running on all cylinders, so to speak. Be aware of the gift of food, understanding that there are millions of people in the world who do not have enough. Don’t buy more than you can eat.
Share meals at restaurants and save not only food from being wasted, but money as well!

Connect to Reality

Can you see the difference?
Can you see that we spend a majority of our life on autopilot – gossiping, addicted to drama, thinking about the past and thinking about the future…but we are rarely connected to reality, that which is truly happening in the Present Moment. If we are continually in our heads keeps, we stay connected to an unreal world and we miss the real world going on around us.

Connect with nature, with your fuel/nutrition, with the souls that travel to and from work with you, with your hearts true desire, with peace, with rest and with love. This is reality. You will find it is healthier, too! So, reality isn’t in all of the thinking that goes on in our heads – reality is in the connections we make through our hearts. See how many reality connections you can make today!

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