Our inheritance as hunter-gatherers is something we carry with us.
Your DNA is their DNA. The world we live in is far removed from our prehistory, but genetics hasn’t caught up.
It’s funny to think that we built a civilisation that we’re not optimised for. Our bodies assume that we’ll walk most of the day, hunt and maybe know a few hundred people.
Then again, civilisation has its benefits. Most people would call it a fair trade.
This distance between who we are and what our bodies evolved to do is worth keeping in mind. It explains some of the more powerful ways to shape your unconscious mind.
For example, we have excellent memories for locations. Yes, even if you’re the sort of person who gets lost easily. You can easily imagine the floorplan of your home, office and favourite restaurant.
And you might not remember the address of your childhood home, but I bet you could mentally walk through its halls right now.
Before GPS, before cars, even before farming, humans had to navigate using what they knew. They had to know which tribes lived where, how far it takes to reach the lake and where the best vegetables grow.
You have an instinct for locations that is more powerful than you might appreciate.
And your unconscious mind doesn’t just store this as raw geographical data. Maybe one shore of the lake represents relief, comfort and safety. The other shore belongs to enemies, so anger comes to mind when you think of it.
There’s the grassland where you triumphed over a large deer – your first hunt – that fills you with a sense of power.
A tall, rocky hill that lets you see for kilometres in every direction. It’s a great place for scouting and for thinking about the future.
Nothing in your mind exists in isolation. Something as fundamental as landscapes attract many associations. One place becomes a symbol for so many things.
This is how your mind works. The more you pay attention to something, the more ideas, concepts and memories link to it.
Your mind always tracks where you are and where you’ve been.
Even when you don’t think about it.
Even when you’re lost.
And even when you’re asleep.
This feature keeps you grounded in a complex world. Once you know this, you can use it. However you access your unconscious, use landscapes that mean something to you.