You know what’s weirdly unnerving? Looking up at the sky. I don’t mean lying on the grass with a sense of perfect tranquillity. I mean, while standing, pulling your head back and gazing at the clouds above.
So far back you can’t see anything near you.
Especially if there are people around.
Looking up can make you feel vulnerable because you are. An ancient instinct warns you not to pull your sight from the world around you. There are no dangers in the sky, but there are plenty around you.
Some part of your brain tracks what others are doing. That’s how you know if someone is genuinely interested in you or trying to sell you something. When you look straight up, you’re blind to everyone and your neck is exposed.
It’s funny – my cat can look upwards with no problem. Her ancestors lived in a world where death could come from above. She’s vulnerable to taller creatures, predator birds and things that dwell in trees.
As for us, our ancestors roamed the plains. Danger could sneak up on you or lay waiting in the ground, but nothing would come down on us.
It feels strange to look where there are no threats, food or mates.
Nowadays we live in cities. Skyscrapers mean all these things stand above us. We’re still running the same old patterns, though. Civilisation rises above our heads but our instincts keep us focused on what’s before us.
It’s probably not a bad way to live, to be honest. You could focus only on what’s in front of you and never miss anything important.
Being present is always the right move. Your level is what matters. Lofty ideas are nice but there’s only one reality, and it’s here.
So reengage with it.
If your eyes don’t want to drift, then why should your mind.
Learn how to pay attention now. Attention follows an even older pattern than our strange survival quirks. And it’s more useful in the modern world.
Train it like you’ve never trained it before: