Because mindfulness connects us with our primal biological roots.
Our bodies still run on hunter-gatherer DNA, and what did our foraging ancestors do?
They lived in the present moment!—what’s this light? where’s this bush noise coming from? where can we find shelter? where’s food to eat? how can we kill that animal? let’s fuck!
The Homo sapiens of 200.000-10.000 years ago lived in the present moment because, back then, the present was more important than the future.
Foragers discounted the future because they lived from hand to mouth and could only preserve food or accumulate possessions with difficulty. (Yuval Noah Harari)
This saved them from many anxieties. Hunters experienced visceral fear of immediate threats, but not much anxiety about what might happen later, next week, next month, next year.
If you can’t influence the future, why worry about what it might bring? So better not worry about the future; focus on the Now. Better not be anxious about what may come; be mindful of what’s already here.
All this changed with the Agricultural Revolution 10.000 years ago.
Farmers had to think (worry) about the future constantly: when will the seasons change? when will we have to sow? when can we harvest? when will it rain? when will the storm end? what if a drought, flood, or pestilence hits? how many reserves do we need to survive a harsh winter?
Peasants were worried about the future not just because they had more cause for worry, but also because they could do something about it. They could clear another field, dig another irrigation canal, sow more crops. (Yuval Noah Harari)
Today, we still live like peasants, incessantly worrying about the future, frantically working harder and harder to suppress our anxieties, not living in the present moment.
The genetic material of foragers, farmers, and modern humans is substantially the same, but it evolved for survival in the Now, not for worrying about what might happen some day in the future.
Mindfulness takes us back from the future into the Now, connecting us with our primal biological roots—bringing us joy, embalming our souls, and cooling our minds.