Why We Live On Autopilot

Photo by Eric Marty

At any one time, the human brain is bombarded with thousands of signals through the five senses: touch, sign, smell, taste and hearing.

Alas, the brain is limited in its capacity to understand these sensory signals. It has to choose which to process first. And to do that, it qualifies each stimulus with a simple question:

“Will this kill me?”

And because the brain is overloaded by these sensory signals, it pretty much works on autopilot. This is a practical solution. There’s simply not enough time (and energy) to process each signal in a deep and meaningful way.

In the Inner Zen lexicon, this is known as the Default Mode. Most people operate in this mode the entire time. They will sleepwalk into life, living on autopilot.

The Default Mode is a defense mechanism. It prevents the brain from getting overloaded. The need to weigh the importance of each and every sensory signal is impractical.

There is, however, a catch.

While the Default Mode makes the job of the brain easier, it has an unfortunate side effect. It makes us unhappy.

As you immerse further and further into the world of the Inner Zen, the more power you’ll have in halting your Autopilot mode of living.

See yourself living deliberately, charting your own path, breaking free from the expectations of others. Wouldn’t that be amazing?