More on running on auto-pilot. The absurd notion that I can “set and forget” my waking self, and respond automatically, mindlessly. There is something to be said for performing in certain circumstances using muscle memory, training and instinct. But, the waking self on auto-pilot is a sleeping self, a self not really awake. I am in a trance.
Perhaps some of the tuning out began out of fear and unwillingness to face reality. Ignore how people are reacting to you, and pretend that they are enchanted by your words. But then, you aren’t ready for reality when it does smack you in the face. You can be very mindful and highly aware of what you are doing when you tune out faces (like to calm yourself down when speaking in front of others), or, you can simply unthinkingly let yourself retreat into yourself (as a comfort-zone reaction).
Being mindful is a difficult way to put it. I read about being mindful a lot in self help articles online, and I am not always sure I understand if what I’m thinking of being mindful is what the author means. I have what I think to be an almost individualized appropriation of the phrase–being awake, alert, aware–all of these don’t quite capture it, either.
The idea of running on auto-pilot as the opposite of what I mean seems to be the closest I’ve ever came to describing what happens when I am not being mindful.
I wish that I could turn on the glow of being initially in love with someone, without needing to fall in love with someone or have it tied in any way to the notion that some reciprocity is expected from anyone or anything in the world. The glow of being so utterly happy and convinced that all is right with the world and will be right for some time to come–it obviously is produced by me, though I might mistakenly believe I need some outside catalyst to bring it about.