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What does it mean when we say "living on autopilot?"
It means we usually follow our minds wherever they lead, without much conscious intervention. Here's a simple example: someone says or does something, you have "X" thought, you feel "Y" emotion, and you take "Z" action.
When you live on autopilot, this process (from thought to action) is a conditioned path - someone says or does "this," you usually say or do "that."
Put another way, we spend much of our day "lost in thought," and - as a result - our decisions, actions, and reactions are usually dictated by them. Short tempers, bad habits, stress and anxiety: all of these are symptoms of being caught up in our minds and living on autopilot.
But, they are only symptoms. And, if you focus on treating them, other symptoms will take their place because you aren't addressing the root cause.
That's why our problems don't stay gone when we try to eliminate them by changing jobs, moving, getting a different partner, buying a new gadget, et cetera. They always find you, because changing something external only brings temporary results.
One of our favorite quotes sums it up nicely:
No matter where you go or what you do, you can't escape your mind.
Address the root cause.
Your struggles and suffering - whether it's stress, feelings of anxiety or depression, low self-confidence, extreme emotions...or anything else - are caused by the difference between the way things are and the way the mind thinks they should be.
Does it make sense to continue trying to control everything "out there" to conform to the mind's expectations? Or, is a more skillful use of your time and energy changing the way you deal with the thoughts and stories the mind constantly churns out?
If you believe it's the second option, continue reading...