We Spend Most of Our Lives on Automatic Pilot!

Our days are filled with activities we perform automatically without bringing them into awareness. We walk, talk, drive a car, or play a piano without using our conscious awareness at all. For a skill such as playing the piano, the experiences that come to mind that activate the arms and legs have been acquired through practice over decades. During practice, the pianist tried actions on the piano while practicing and eventually learned the correct notes, pedal activities, score tempos, and the rest of what makes good piano playing. The right combinations became experiences the pianist calls upon to perform the right actions to create a beautiful piano solo. The experiences that make great piano playing come to the pianist automatically as the pianist performs, without using the tiny area of awareness at all.

The estimate is that the larger part of the mind where these automatic actions come from, called by some the subconscious, processes information at 20 million bits per second. That is why we can talk and play the piano at the same time, drawing from the subconscious for these complex activities that require remarkable processing speed. Our tiny awareness that focus on what we are seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, or smelling processes information at 60 bits per second. That is just enough to listen to one conversation at a time. Our subconscious, which is where walking, talking, driving a car, or playing a piano is coming from, performs 20 million bits per second. The pianist can be playing a piano concerto, talking about Mozart’s genius, smelling the roses arranged on the piano, and reacting to the expression of someone standing by the piano—all at the same time.

As a result, nearly all of our daily lives is living on automatic pilot. Very little is using our conscious awareness to act and think. 

To change ourselves so we feel more love and compassion, we must change what is in our automatic pilot. When we see someone in need, we must change from viewing them with disdain and avoiding them to viewing them with compassion and going to them. As we do that, we change the programming in the subconscious. We become loving and compassionate.