I recently drove in a car outfitted with self driving sensors. On cruise control, the car automatically kept a safe distance between my car and the one in front of me. Yet all the other cars on the highway were jockeying for position, driving much closer to each other. The obvious dawned on me at that moment – if all cars drove with a safe buffer, there would be a whole lot fewer accidents on the road. Then a question arose in my mind – why don’t we have self driving body sensors?
Self Driving Body Sensors
My car sensed when I was getting too close to the car in front of me, and it applied the brakes. A self driving body sensor would let our brains know when behavior was unsafe and get us to stop the behavior. Such an ability would be incredibly helpful in our day-to-day lives, preventing everything from overeating to overexertion. Why don’t we have this ability? How could God leave out this critical self-preservation tool from our gene pool?
God did not leave out this ability. We are choosing not to utilize it. It’s like driving in a car with self driving sensors and choosing not to activate them. Our mind and body give us feedback all the time. Don’t engage in that activity. Serve yourself less pasta. You don’t need that piece of chocolate cake. Stop working – you’re tired. Take your son out for a walk instead of just sitting on the couch watching TV. In fact, our self driving body sensors are talking to us all day long. We’re just ignoring them.
The Danger Is Obvious
When I turned on the self driving sensors, the first thing I noticed was how much distance there was between my car and the one in front of me. The sensor was keeping at least six car lengths between us, way more than I typically left. And cars kept cutting in front of me because I had such a large gap. I imaged all of us driving in self-driving cars. Those sensors would keep every car at a safe distance. We would all arrive at our destinations just as fast – and car accidents would be reduced exponentially.
Here’s the interesting thing. I’ve been driving for over forty years, and it never dawned on me that if all cars kept a healthy distance, there would be fewer accidents. Of course, if someone said that to me, I would agree. But it’s just not something that I “felt.” But driving in that car gave me a visceral feeling where I “knew” how much safer it would be to drive with more distance.
We Live On Autopilot
We live our lives on autopilot, engaging in activities that “feel” right but that are not good for our health. I venture to guess that if we could experience just five minutes of activated self driving body sensors, most of us would have a huge “ah-ha” moment of awareness. We would have a visceral feeling of “Wow, I can’t believe I engage in this unhealthy behavior. I’ve got to stop that right now!”.
But God did not create us with forced sensors. For better or worse, He gave us “choice.” So it’s up to us to choose to listen when our minds tell us to “do this” or “not do that.” One way to increase our odds of doing the right thing is to prepare ahead of time. Lately, I’ve been negligent regarding exercise. I just haven’t felt like working out even though I know I need to. So before getting out of bed in the morning, I can spend a few moments visualizing myself exercising that day. I can add an affirmation saying, “Great job getting through your exercise routine this morning!”
Activate The Sensors
These are ways to prime the pump of our self driving body sensors. It’s all about being mindful instead of mindless. It’s so easy for me to be mindless in regards to healthy behavior. I just put it out of my mind, and I can sail through the day, oblivious to all the good choices available to me. But if I open my mind, those choices start appearing, and my inner voice becomes louder and more persistent. Mindfulness is like activating the self driving sensors in the car.
And once we start taking action, the whole process gets easier. One healthy meal leads to another, one run to another, one walk to another, and so on.
It’s time to activate our self driving body sensors. Why not start today. Be mindful of the food you eat, your activity levels, and what information you choose to put into your mind. Check-in with your body. How does it feel? Are you stiff? Then stretch. Are you lethargic? Go out and take a walk. Are you irritable? Call a friend and vent to get it out of your system. Listen to your inner voice. What is it trying to tell you? Don’t ignore it. Be a good listener today!