I have no idea who coined that phrase “cruise control” in the 20th century, but we had the concept long before that, didn’t we? It is also known as “habit”. There are some things we do without having to think of each step, and that is good.
I am not about to suggest that we consciously attend to each action. If we did we would never get too far beyond tying our shoes in the morning. We have set routines, and they are a blessing to the sleep-deprived who struggle to leave home on a daily basis.
What I would like to suggest is that, from time to time, we call a halt to the automatic and think carefully about our words and actions. This is especially important in both our interactions with each other and in our spiritual growth.
We all toss out a casual “How are you today?” but we don’t expect a concrete description of the other person’s physical or mental state. But are there some days when that question needs to be part of a conversation? Is there a coworker who really looks as if he or she is not ready for a “fine, thanks” reply? Stop long enough to permit that.
Or how about eating reflectively once in a while. Be aware of the food on your plate, the arrangement, the texture, and of the various flavors. Just a moment or two of thoughtful dining can awaken something within that is valuable.
We often come to prayer in a similar habitual way. That is not bad, either, but dividends can be paid when we shift gears in the mental processes once in a while to be alert to what we are doing. Is this the Sunday when you will be attentive to the words of the first hymn? Or to one phrase of the Lord’s Prayer that you might take with you for further thought? Have you a greeting for the person in the pew behind you or in front of you? Have you a specific take away from the sermon?
You and you alone can apply this concept to your world of work. It is the one thing that marks us off from the robot who could certainly do parts of our jobs. Why not examine the parts that are beyond these and bless yourself for what you do.
Have a great day!