Living Consciously – Mindfully Turning Off Your Autopilot

Autopilot

If you were to take a good, scrupulous look at an average day of yours, what percentage of your thoughts and actions would you say were automated? 10%? 20%? 50%? 100%? How much do you actively question information and data you receive? Well there’s a way of mindfully turning off your autopilot.

These habits you’ve formed and the things that you believe are two things which are deeply ingrained within you. After many years of reinforcement we tend to do those things and have those beliefs as if having some kind of autopilot switched on.

Autopilot – are you aware of it?

The question is do you take the time to wake up, switch off your autopilot, and really truly examine whether those things still need to be done, or whether those beliefs still hold water?

How did you come to believe the things that you do? How about the things you do, at this present time, are you doing them because you still need to, or because the habit is so well formed, you almost feel like it’s impossible to break out of?

Living consciously is about two main things

1. Living mindfully i.e. not always doing things on autopilot and also pausing to question the things you do and believe.

Living consciously is about questioning what most people will believe blindly. Most people are unaware of why they do what they do, or why they have the beliefs that they do.

I was born a Hindu, My parents themselves were born into Hinduism. However, I was brought up in a predominately Christian neighbourhood so I ended up going to Sunday school and attending youth groups at church. By the time I was 12 I was much more familiar with Christianity than Hinduism. At the age of 15 I decided that I wanted to explore what else was out there. I then spent the latter part of my teens and early 20’s my finding about different faiths, exploring science and physics, reading philosophy and what I came out with was clear idea of what I believed in because it genuinely made sense to me.

I’m at a point where if anyone were to ask me any question about my beliefs, or to justify why I believe the things I do, I’d be able to answer them succinctly with some research to back up my reasons. Not all beliefs require evidence or research, otherwise there would be no such thing as faith, but it is imperative to question the things that’s expected of us because of our faiths.

2. The real meaning of living consciously is about interrupting routine; it’s about pausing for thought. Any time you manage to catch yourself reacting in a way which is habitual, it’s about saying to yourself ‘stop, lets respond in a new way.’

The path of living consciously means you no longer need to live each day in a mundane, repetitive way, yielding the same results over and over again.

It’s about believing in something, more than it just being about the sake of believing. If you have a strong belief system, that’s great. Did it come from your own investigations? Or did you start believing in it simply because it sounded nice when you first heard it?

“You truly serve god, when you don’t feel obliged to.”

Autopilot is not necessarily a bad thing. You cant consciously control every single thought and action at every second of each day. A more prudent suggestion would be to question your beliefs that drive the majority of your thoughts and actions.

Faith and religion are often based on archaic interpretations that may not necessarily be true. They were based on observation and understanding at the time. However, if you were to take them to scholars now, they may be interpreted in a new way. In fact if you were to take them to 10 different scholars, the chances are that you’d get 10 different interpretations. Who then, is right? 🙂

The core structure of your life, question it once in a while. Are you living your existence on purpose? Do you know why you believe and do the things you do? Remember to turn off your autopilot once in a while and fly the plane!

3 Responses

  1. Hi bro, I think it’s great to questions one’s beliefs..actually, it’s necessary to be curious. It helps to come out of routine and comfort zones. I came across a phrase a few weeks back that put this in perspective…”Do the thing that scares you!”.

    Btw, that paragraph beginning with “I was born a Hindu…” I went through exactly the same thing.
    Great article.

    • Amit Sodha says:

      Milan! Wonderful to hear from you. Heck yeah! I love that about doing the thing that scares you.

      Personally I’ve observed, more so now than in recent years, that people stick by their beliefs even more strongly just for the sake of sticking with those beliefs for prides sake. I don’t see as much questioning going on. People stay put because, it happens to suit their values at that particular moment in time or even because it happens to be the trend.

      Religion must be questioned and scrutinised, to the same extent that we scrutinise economic policy.

  2. John says:

    Although I feel like I’m flying the plane the truth is God already has the flight plan ..

    We make choices everyday. Those choices will determine if you land safely or crash and burn.

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