Just how conscious are you?

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I wonder just how silly a question it is?  We actually spend a lot of our time unconscious and by this I mean running on auto pilot. You know that feeling when you have driven somewhere, to work perhaps and when you get there, you think 'hold on, how did I get here'. Maybe you can't remember the roundabout or what colour car you were following. To some extent you will probably have been on autopilot for some, or even all of the time. This, autopilot mode, also happens when you are reading a book and find yourself five pages further into the book without really remembering what happened.

This process of autopilot is really useful because without it, just how much harder would the process of driving a car be.Imagine if driving today was just like when you first started. Awful right?  Even walking would be way less easy.  It would be difficult remembering which muscles to consciously fire to get us to move our legs and feet so that we could walk.

Whilst there are great things about this autopilot mode there are also some less great things.  The autopilot will accept any programs you give it, driving, walking,and this includes our bad habits.

What I want to focus on right now though is the fact that, if we let the autopilot run in an unchecked manner we end up reacting to things happening around us in a knee jerk manner.  Literally just like in the automated muscle response when your knee is hit by that little hammer at the Dr’s surgery or hospital.

When we run in autopilot mode we tend to react automatically and not always the way we would prefer.  Animals live life this way more or less all of the time.  Event happens, animal reacts.  This is where we differ.  We can take time to think how we want to react.

Creating the gap for us to react in a way of our choosing rather than an automated response is achieved through becoming more aware during the autopilot being in operation.

To achieve this awareness, start of with this simple exercise.  When you are doing something on autopilot, perhaps brushing your teeth or doing the washing up, start to think consciously.  What are you feeling in your hands, how do your feet feel against the floor, your clothes against your skin.  Is the air temperature cooler than you or warmer.  Start to think consciously about what you are doing.  After doing this for a while you will learn how to become conscious on demand.

Take this new level of awareness into the work place.  You will be amazed just how much is going on that you were not aware of before. You will also find that if you switch on your awareness at the right times, it will reduce your knee jerk reactions.