As you sit here and read this article, what else are you thinking about? Dinner plans? To do list? Worrying over finances? Relationships? We all do it. We are sitting present, but our minds are elsewhere. We do not think about what we are doing or even saying because our brains are auto pilot. DBT Awareness stops this behavior.
Our autopilot makes choices for us. It gives us a sense of ease and comfort to be able to have life routine. Routines are a form of security. Yet, auto pilot and routine can also prevent us from living fully present, from being completely engaged in every experience. When we operate in this routine mode, we are more likely to have those “buttons” pressed by others. As we move around in auto pilot, the experiences and events surrounding us become dulled. In this state old habits and thinking can be triggered without our even realizing it.
Becoming mindful and present in the moment increases our awareness of all that is happening to us, around us, and within us. This awareness gives us freedom of choice, we can step out of the ruts of auto pilot. We choose rather than react.
Becoming Mindful and Present
It begins with acknowledging that we are auto pilot and making a choice to disengage the auto pilot button. The conscious choice to disengage is the first step in becoming mindful and present. Once we make the choice we must put it into action consciously.
Beginning with one moment each day pausing and asking ourselves what are we doing, what are we thinking, and why are we here? By pausing we become present moment-by-moment in the here and now.
- Choose one activity each day that you do in auto pilot such as brushing your teeth
- Do it fully mindfully. Pay attention how the brush feels on your gum. How you breathe while you brush your teeth. The noise, the taste, what you see, and how you feel. When you find your mind wandering, pull it back to brushing your teeth.
Beginning the practice with a mundane activity is retraining the subconscious to be present during normal everyday activities. As we practice, it becomes a habit. The key is to focus upon every sensation that is occurring in the moment. The touch, sight, sound, taste, and smell sensations.
How many times do you feel as though you go through life’s activities and are spaced out not even realizing that you are doing them? That auto pilot in overdrive. So is it a bad thing to space out? The short answer is no. The ability to space out gives the mind creative choice in thinking and manifesting. Spacing out, day dreaming, imagining, contemplating, or zoning out are all vital in our creative process. They give us the opportunity to have a mental break and enjoy the inner world. Yet, when we spend too much time in this spaced out living, auto pilot is in overdrive and we miss the present completely. We make fewer and fewer conscious choices allowing the auto pilot to make them for us. As with all things, it is balance. Learning to disengage from the auto pilot allows you to make the choice of when you go into the creative process and when you are present in the moment. DBT Awareness is a skill that give you back the power to choose when to use auto-pilot and when not to.
The Gifts of Disengaging
Disengaging the auto pilot is stepping into a mindfulness energy that allows us to recognize the conditions that are present in our lives. The opposite of mindfulness is forgetfulness. Forgetting that we are alive. We begin to get lost in the worry, fear, anger, and regrets. We begin to operate as thought that is life. Mindfulness brings us back to the present moment. The breath of life being a miracle in itself. Mindfulness can bring us back to joy. Mindfulness can bring us back to authentic freedom. The freedom to make choices for ourselves.
How often to you pause to step outside and look up to the skies and breathe deeply. Focusing upon the sunset and all its beauty. Try it. That present moment of consciously taking a moment to enjoy the beauty of the skies is effortless. That is mindfully aware. Every moment that you take steps to become mindfully aware brings you in touch with the joy and beauty of life.
As you contemplate the beautiful, colorful sunset each day as a new practice, more beauty and colors will be revealed to you. The experience becomes one of wonder, joy, happiness, and peaceful. Your subconscious mind becomes in the habit of being wonder filled, joyful, happy, and peaceful replacing the worry, fear, resentment, and anger.