Of necesity this means that on any given day we related to possibly many people while on complete autopilot. Whether our autopilot has been trained to say please and thank you or holds the door curteously for someone else, or is selfish, in a rush, and obnoxious, it's all autopilot. It's not us. Because simply, we don't have time.
Elul is the time to take time. Think about how many people we might not have helped or even listened to seriously because of our cocoon of time-saving rules, our autopilot. Think about how many times we may have dismissed a person in genuine and desperate need with just a few coins because of standard operating procedures.
Yes, of course if we knew that that person was truly in dire need and we had what to give, we would have given more, we might have taken the time to really help, it wouldn't have cost us very much. But we were on autopilot, we weren't even present enough to let it register.
The goal is to take time and think about it. Not to feel bad or guilty about it, just to think about it. Be aware of how many lives cross our own daily, of how little we know or are willing to care about all those lives because each one in a way threatens our own. Not life and death threats, just the threat of valuable minutes that could have been spent getting elsewhere, doing something else more important.
The goal is to check in on the autopilot from time to time, make sure it's only getting us where we need to go and not making us more cold and more harsh than we need to be.
Elul is the perfect time to take your autopilot for a little diagnostic check-up. What new features do I want to add to my autopilot for next year? In hindsight which features can I do without?
Did any of those features lead to situations that I might regret? Maybe I should iron out some of the wrinkles with HaShem.
It's Elul and the King is in the field, which means easy access to one and all.
Ask HaShem to help you debug your autopilot.