Take a look at all of the people out on the street. Most of them are completely oblivious to what’s taking place all around them. They’re on their cell phones chatting away, or they’re completely “zoned out” while scurrying off to some pre-planned destination. My “favorites” are the people who bisect the sidewalks with their rolling suitcases in tow, sideswiping everything (and everyone) within a 5 foot radius.
In short, most people are not actively engaged in their immediate environment.
Now imagine how different things would have been, say, 20,000 years ago. Most of your forays outside of your cave or simple domicile would have been for hunting game or for gathering food and water. And each of these scenarios would have involved both danger and opportunity – danger in the form of predators and adverse environmental elements, and opportunity in the form of new resource discoveries.
The only way you could effectively flourish this environment would be to constantly monitor and adjust to the changing dynamics of this “either/or” external world. And the only way you could accomplish this would be to constantly and fully “switch on” all of your senses on a moment-by-moment basis.
The key is to recognize that most of us reside in a world defined by several structured layers of comfort, security, and predictability. And while this may be both pleasant and preferable, it’s also a highly unnatural state.
Remember, nature has hard-wired you for survival by giving you an extraordinary capacity to simultaneously take in, process, and react to all sorts of sensory data coming from your immediate environment. Don’t let this weapon get dull.