When things fall apart

During the past week I received reels of video footage from friends and family in South Africa revealing horrifying images of carnage and destruction. Thousands of looters were burning and destroying shopping malls and vital infra-structure with a government obviously too weak or incompetent to restore order.

It appeared as if all social order was collapsing. But amid all the chaos were signs of hope. Communities of all races got together to defend their homes and properties, gathering together for prayer, giving each other hope and volunteering to clean up in the aftermath.

Works by the Majorcan artist Joan Bennassar

South Africa is in many respects a microcosm of global problems highlighting race and gender issues, cultural diversity, and the huge disparity been rich and poor. The economic fallout from the pandemic has entrenched deeply underlying social and political frictions.

Inflection points bring out the best and the worst in humanity

Sharp inflection points, challenges and conflicts inevitably bring out the best and the worst in humanity. During my years as a reporter in South Africa I witnessed clergymen selflessly serving the poor and downtrodden in the poorest township slums. The country has brought forth leaders, poets, authors, musicians, sports and film stars admired all over the world. But some of its people were also responsible for terrible human rights violations and could be described as “the very personification of evil.”

Sometimes such contrasts can be found in individual persons. In the final years of apartheid Adriaan Vlok was the minister of police. He was the man responsible for bombing the headquarters of the South African Council of Churches and trying to assassinate its secretary general. He later publicly apologized for his actions, washed the feet of his former enemies and later ran a child feeding charity funding it mostly with his own pension.

Major paradigm shifts are underway

At the start of the 21st century we are seeing major social, political and economic paradigm shifts. Human knowledge and change has increased exponentially compared to previous generations. The American inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil argues that whenever a technology approaches a barrier, a new technology is invented crossing that barrier. He predicts that such evolutionary shifts will continue to become increasingly common, leading to profound technological change and rupturing old orders.

Digital technology is at the forefront of a doubling of human knowledge every 13 months. Just to put this into perspective: In the year 1900 it took about a century and by 1945 it had been reduced to every 25 years. This “Knowledge Doubling Curve” was first created by Buckminster Fuller in 1982. 

Cultural leaps are not integrated mentally and psychologically

Such “cultural leaps” pushed by technological advances create enormous opportunity for the educated, computer-savvy middle classes with access to high-speed Internet. But we are left with less time to cope and integrate such changes mentally and psychologically. More knowledge does not mean more wisdom. A growing number of people respond to the massive cultural and economic changes by walling themselves off in radical political and religious “tribal bubbles.”

The large pool of people employed in manual jobs are no longer needed in an increasingly automated economy. Whether we are looking at the unemployed in the former industrial cities of the United States, the coal-mining areas of northern England, or the “yellow vest” citizens in low-paying jobs in France the picture is very similar. There is a growing populace feeling left out, having nothing to lose and who are open to the rhetoric of the professional deceivers and demagogues.

Those tech concerns who have reaped the most benefit from the digital revolution will have to learn to share their wealth by at least paying taxes in proportion to their earnings. This revenue can be used to invest in improved education, infra-structure, health and upliftment of poor communities.

The law of yin and yang

When things fall apart during times of crisis it is a wake-up call. It is not a time to blame so-called “instigators” but to look at the bigger picture. We need to ask questions and seek answers as to why there are so many very disgruntled, angry and unhappy people around us.

In the Chinese philosophy of yin and yang an illness always manifests itself when there is an imbalance between the polar laws of life. An imbalance causes first disharmony, then conflict and ultimately leads to destruction. When the scales tip into one or the other extreme we get to a tipping point.

Nature inevitably tries to restore the balance so that all within the system can survive – in the case of the human body, the different organs interrelating and working in harmony with each other to maintain physical health.

Humanity is currently not only battling a deadly virus but also having to deal with huge environmental, economic and social challenges. I would like to believe that humanity is edging ever closer to breaking through that barrier toward a new horizon of elevated consciousness and opportunity.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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The “boiling frog” syndrome

A well-known fable tells us that if a frog is put into boiling water it will immediately jump out. But if the water is only gradually heated the frog will not perceive the danger and be boiled to death. The story is a warning of how a creeping normality of crisis situations delude us into a feeling of false complacency. We fail to act until it is too late.

Our daily habits, thoughts, beliefs and actions play a major part in determining our future. The compound effect of bad or good habits over a period of years and even decades are hugely underestimated.

The compound effect of good and bad habits

Eating for lunch a burger with French fries and a soda drink will affect your body but not harm you in a big way if you eat healthy foods most of the time and you metabolize sugars and carbohydrates with plenty of exercise. But eating mainly processed foods over years and decades will have a devastating impact on your mental and physical health in the long term.

In the same way if your self-talk is mainly negative about yourself or if you incessantly blame others for everything that is going wrong in your life you will most probably be a grumpy, unhappy and miserable person during old age looking back on a life not lived and opportunities missed.

How often have you been buying things you don’t really need because you said: “Its only a few pennies.” But added up over years and decades you could have put aside a small fortune in savings.

Complacency is our biggest enemy

Social and political developments in the recent past should be shaking us out of our sense of complacency and nonchalance. It appears that the general social consensus on values and norms that has prevailed for most of the past decades is seriously being eroded. An independent press, non-partisan judiciary and democratic voting procedures are seriously under threat in countries such as Hungary, Poland, Turkey and first and foremost in the United States. If the United States is no longer the world’s best example of a working democracy authoritarian rule as we see it today in China and Russia will entrench itself in many countries.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Like a physical body gradually weakening from the effects of bad nutrition, you don’t perceive the spiral downward immediately. In my home country South Africa the seeds of maladministration and corruption were sown with the election of a populist demagogue Jacob Zuma as president in May 2009. For a while things, like the national airline, appeared on the surface to still be functioning perfectly. But after nine years the rot was there for everyone to see. Most parastatal institutions are bankrupted, leaving numerous towns and cities in dire lack of basic services such as electricity and water supply. It will most likely take generations to get South Africa back on its feet economically.

We tend to forget that political parties, governments and institutions have been created by bodies of individuals. They are a reflection of who we are. When a social pendulum of change swings into a new direction it is at first always led by a minority that eventually become the majority view.

A crisis is a way marker

Crisis situations, whether on a personal or collective level, always tell us that the status quo is no longer workable and that things need to change. The art is to perceive the small, telling signs that something is moving into the wrong direction and to adapt accordingly. It is the frog sensing when the water temperature is rising to a dangerous temperature and when it’s time to get out.

This is why some companies thrive by adapting to changing market conditions while others procrastinate. It is why some species adapt and others become extinct. Some marriage relationships adapt to changing needs and circumstances while others end in divorce. It is why the enlightened leader picks himself up during a crisis, using it as a tool of change in valuable lessons learned while the other stays in the shadow of self-pity and recrimination.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Beware the false prophets!

“The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.” Jeremiah 14:14

Organized religion arguably provides structure, meaning and community to many people battling with the struggles of life yet during these challenging times we are seeing a proliferation of “false prophets” capturing the minds of individuals with messages of  fear and guilt.

During my lifetime several good friends got caught in the web of religious sects, surrendering their lives including all their material assets to the group.

They would bombard me with enthusiasm of how their lives had been transformed by “the teacher” “priest” or “guru”. I would repeatedly be invited to attend a meeting and made to feel like losing out on something very important.

The common traits of the cult

Fundamentalist groups and cults of all persuasions share a common trait. They are tribally insulating,  separating the convert from all former friends, spouses, family and associates. Anyone not sharing the same belief structure is termed as a non-believer, or as the enemy.

After having made the enormous personal sacrifice of giving up an old life it is extremely difficult to escape. Few people have the courage to admit that they made a huge mistake by believing in an illusion. After all external ties have been severed the individual is at the mercy of the group in providing  a livelihood, food and shelter. The friend, son, daughter, spouse you once cherished as a carefree individual is bombarding you with quotes from the master. You will hear:  “But the guru said …”,it is the opinion of the guru that …” “the guru would not approve that …” “I would first have to ask the teacher if I can …”

At this point the friend or family member is far gone down the road of mind control, repeating the teachings of their leader like a recording device on automatic. They will find numerous excuses if you question the lavish lifestyle of the cult leader while the devotees are donating their last pennies. “Its all ultimately for a good cause,” they would say.

Decent and intelligent human beings are particularly vulnerable to the cult when they are going through a crisis of meaning or mental health challenge.  The “prophet” is the last straw of hope, seemingly offering the perfect recipe. What follows is the complete surrender of personal responsibility to the guru or belief structure of the cult.

The false promise of hope when people are vulnerable

We’ve had this phenomenon of “end times” during several historical cycles. During the Middle Ages most of Europe’s population was decimated by the bubonic plague. Science was at its infancy with the false prophets having easy play in convincing people that the deadly disease was God’s punishment for sinful ways. Persons not conforming to the shared belief were vigorously persecuted and often burned at the stake. The sins could be absolved by paying tithes. The higher the donation the “higher the likelihood” of having a good afterlife in paradise.

We falsely had assumed that humanity had become immune in the 21st-century to such crude preaching and the questioning of basic science. The messaging today comes in the guise of political parties with a charismatic figurehead and bearing all the hallmarks of the religious cult.  Several extremist parties in western democracies essentially are in the business of fear-mongering and xenophobia. They are supported by a billion dollar industry of alternative reality media stirring a cocktail of hate and negativity. The  first step toward authoritarian control is to dehumanize your opponent or the person with a different belief, culture or mindset.

Evil and delusion of the mind can always be identified by language of hate, disrespect for fellow human beings and blatant lies. Social friction points along race, gender and economic lines are over-emphasized. Division, dissent and chaos is sown by an “us against them” propaganda.

We are indeed living in dangerous times. A growing number of people are feeling left out and  stranded during rapid social and economic change. The uncertainty and fear is the feeding ground of the false prophets offering simple solutions for complex global problems.

The chosen few must commit to a strict code of conduct, belief and ritual.  

As human beings we make mistakes with feelings of guilt often deeply submerged in traumatic childhood experience. Self-esteem is shattered after a job loss or family break-up.  There is that underlying promise that by committing to the cult  those bad feelings will disappear. In reality the  guru will repeatedly stir the feelings of inferiority to maintain his stranglehold.

Protecting our vulnerable family members from the false prophet is no mean task. The groundwork is laid in strengthening self-confidence, self-esteem, self-love and a spiritual mindset based on common decency and respect.

Experiential spirituality is freed from the shackles of fundamentalist belief in the awareness that we are fallible and incomplete human beings, learning the lessons of life as we go along.

The truth is that there is no one-truth. God’s garden is made up of a multitude of plants, animals, cultures, religions and languages. The beauty and adventure of life lies in the individual exploration, the  opening of new doors and walking onward new paths of insight and knowledge accumulation in becoming of who we really are.

External belief systems have too often in the past been forcibly imposed, robbing the individual from essentially living a life of meaning, authenticity and soul purpose.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Changing the world by how we think

Groundbreaking research on the connective power of human consciousness appears to pave the way on what might one day have a major impact on how we train our minds, beliefs and thoughts. We have a real opportunity to become agents of positive change.

Experiments conducted by Roger D. Nelson from Princeton University reveal that our consciousness is able to reach across time and space to commune with another consciousness, changing subtle aspects of our world or even the behavior of technical devices.

The collective unconscious mind in a unified whole

It confirms the theories of such great thinkers as Carl Gustav Jung and the sages of old who believed that there is not only innate knowledge passed through generations but a collective unconscious mind of a unified whole.

What we think and how we take control of our emotions and thoughts has a very real impact on the world, according to the research conducted by Nelson and his team. He elaborates on the research in his book “Connected – The Emergence of Global Consciousness.”

Nelson correlated data with major recent global events such as the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the deaths of Lady Diana and Nelsons Mandela, finding that a global consciousness appears to show reactions even prior to the event – in the case of the first plane crashing into the twin towers ten minutes before the event.

The event, as we well know, changed the course of our world post 9/11 fanning wars and hostilities in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and many other countries.

But interestingly Nelson also looked at the growing number of web-organized groups synchronizing their intentions to create a better world. When large groups of people gather in positive emotional acts such as prayer and meditation human interconnection takes on a particularly strong frequency.

Creating a better world through synchronized intention

“Events that are judged to evoke or embody great compassion have a much larger effect size than those showing little or none,” Nelson points out. It is at the heart of the Buddhist tradition taught by the Dalai Lama. “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

Nelson’s research over several decades clearly shows that the human mind is not isolated within an individual body. We are social beings that are very much interconnected. How we treat ourselves and others in “mass consciousness” will very much determine the future of our species in the coming years. There is an interconnection between us and the environment around us.

The world’s most sacred sites of worship were not chosen at random. The pyramids in Egypt, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Stonehenge in England, Notre Dame in Paris, and the Camino paths of Europe leading to the St. James crypt in Santiago de Compostela form a network of the earth’s subtle energy system.

Group meditations, chanting and singing at sacred places such as the interior chambers of the Great Pyramid were measured by the scientific team showing significant deviation from periods when there was no activity. All but one of the ancient sacred sites in Egypt showed a positive trend with one exception which was the temple at Philae. It was moved from its original location before it was flooded by a man-made lake.

Some years ago the British scientists Rupert Sheldrake espoused the idea of a “morphic resonance” with natural systems inheriting a collective memory from all previous things of their kind.” Sheldrake’s theory of “telepathy-type interconnections between organisms” was ridiculed as pseudo-science.

Did our ancestors find places imbued with special powers?

“Morphic fields of social groups connect together members of the group even when they are many miles apart, and provide channels of communication through which organisms can stay in touch at a distance,” according to Sheldrake.

The growing body of research confirms that ritual and prayer connects us to the past and the present in a powerful way. The re-enactment of a founding story or myth, as in the Jewish Passover celebration, the Christian Holy Communion and the American thanksgiving dinner, forms a significant part in creating social cohesion in a body community with a shared culture and past.

It serves also as a powerful warning that we harm both ourselves and our world by mindlessly spending a large portion of our time and attention on the distractive pull of toxicity on social media.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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A tribute to Father’s Day

My father died last year only three months prior to his 90th birthday. His last years in a retirement village in South Africa were spent in quiet solitude reading and reminiscing on the lessons of a long life lived.

Especially during my teenager years we had a difficult relationship. I perceived him as weak with our mother making all the decisions pertaining to important family and other matters. It was embarrassing when he would at times interrupt a conversation with a completely unrelated topic.

I could not understand why he was the complete opposite to his five opiniated and charismatic younger brothers who each in their way had been very successful. They ran profitable businesses, and farms and the youngest was the headmaster of a school.

The veil of silence

It seemed as if my father lived a life separate from the world around him behind a thick veil of silence. Unsurprisingly my two brothers and myself tried numerous methods, especially provocation to break through that veil. In his frustration he would try to discipline us by referring to the all powerful family figurehead. “What do you think grandfather would say?” That worked. We did not want to get in grandpa’s bad books.

We spent most  of our school vacations and weekends on the grandparents farm. Some of those happiest of childhood memories were the swims in the crystal clear waters of the Pongola river in rural South Africa, milking cows by hand, listening to the stories of the Zulus around a fireplace  and riding through the African veld on horseback.

A family secret revealed

Only much later in life my uncle and godfather, his life slowly ebbing away from cancer, took me aside with the words: “I think you need to know a few things about your father to understand why he is the way he is.”

The family secret was finally revealed. I was a toddler when my father had, what they called at the time “a nervous breakdown.” My father had been unable to fulfill grandfather’s high expectations. I can only imagine what the next weeks in a mental institution must have been like. Treatment of mental illness with controversial electroshock or electroconvulsive therapy was common in the early 1960s. From what my uncle confided to me that day a once proud, handsome man was reduced to a shadow of his former self. At that time the therapy was only known to me from the movie “One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” starring Jack Nicholson.

My parents at their engagement in 1956

It took years of family constellation work for me to only begin to understand the deeper underlying structure of the “absent father syndrome”.  My great grandfather died when my grandfather could barely walk. Lacking a real father role model he projected many of his own insecurities onto my father, confusing  authority  with authoritarian control.

Absent father syndrome

Families in countries devastated from the effects of the terrible 20th century wars were affected for generations by the “absent father syndrome”. Those fathers who survived the war seldom if ever spoke about their trauma, leaving sons and daughters grappling with traumatized men unable to fully engage as fathers and role models. Mothers more often than not were overburdened with the task of emotionally handling the affairs of the family while the father was reduced to the role of the “breadwinner”.

Many a single mother knows all about absent fathers unable or unwilling to fully participate because of the chronic lack of role models. There is an African saying that it “takes a village to raise a child”.  Mothers, aunts, grandmothers, fathers, uncles, grandfathers and godfathers were all part of elaborate initiation rituals during the important stages of life.

It is impossible to return to that world where village life remained largely intact, and few villagers left their familiar surroundings but the importance of ritual and the definitive roles of the father and the mother in these rituals appears to be a key factor in determining a child’s mental and physical health.

Reframing the father figure

Especially during the difficult phase of puberty where the child is grappling in finding its own identity separate from that of the parent. Society needs to reframe the role of the father and father’s need to explore role models beyond the dysfunctional family unit. Expression of vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but of strength, and creates real space for intimate relationship. Humility is a powerful antidote to a false image of pride.

Jesus is quoted as saying in John 14:10: “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”

The power within is that which opens the way to a new beginning from the path of pain. It is that innate feeling of trust that all has meaning and purpose in the greater cycle of things.

The twilight years

Today I can look at pride at what my father accomplished. He remained a humble man with  a stoic steadfastness during several family tragedies, earning quiet respect  from several people who had ridiculed and looked down on him in younger years.

During our last conversations he was simply grateful for the grace of a long life lived. I would not have been what I am today without him. Despite his reservations he allowed his sons to make their own choices and to live lives on their own terms free of judgment and parental control.  I will forever be grateful for that.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Lets talk about money

It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.

–Seneca

There is hardly a topic loaded with such emotion as money, seemingly at the root of all trouble including family fallouts, divorces and the end of longtime friendships.

Dave Ramsey once said that “you must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.”

There are numerous life lessons to learn over the issue of money. Self-esteem or the lack of  it is closely intertwined with what we earn or what we perceive we are entitled to. Society especially measures the success of a person in terms of how money assets that person appears to have. Almost the entire spectrum of human emotions can be linked to money issues.

Money is an exchange of energy

The bottom line is that money is basically an exchange of energy. The nature of energy however is that it fluctuates and is impermanent. It can be extremely fickle. Fame and fortune can be accumulated and then lost overnight. Being wealthy does not necessarily mean that you have less fear and anxiety than anyone else.

A study by Boston College reported in The Atlantic revealed a surprising litany of fears and anxieties in persons with fortunes in excess of 25 million U.S. dollars.

According to the study the persons turned out to be “a generally dissatisfied lot, whose money has contributed to deep anxieties involving love, work, and family. Indeed, they are frequently dissatisfied even with their sizable fortunes. Most of them still do not consider themselves financially secure; for that, they say, they would require on average one-quarter more wealth than they currently possess.”

And this appears to be at the core of the problem that does not only affect the super-rich. In a scarcity mindset we are never satisfied with what we’ve got. We think all our problems will be resolved when we earn that first million. But then we are surprised when the anxieties and the fears are still there and we want another million.

Scarcity mindset versus abundance mindset

The sudden accumulation of money through an inheritance or a lottery win will merely amplify basic character traits. For some individuals such a windfall can be a curse. Others see blessings of wealth as a special responsibility. Some individuals, I know personally, are principally giving away regularly a good percentage of whatever they earn and doing most of it anonymously. They see possession of wealth as coming with the responsibility of giving back to society. Using money energy in the right way opens up enormous possibilities, coming from the heart of an abundance mindset.

But our consumerist culture is indoctrinating us with a scarcity mindset that inevitably leads to a “never enough” mentality. It is a culture based on the satisfaction of external needs at the neglect of internal needs.

Numerous psychological studies reveal that the pleasure resulting from such a consumerist mindset soon wear off depending on the frame of reference the individual has. There is a saying that money can’t buy you happiness but that is true only to a certain extent. How much you earn determines the safety and security of the neighborhood you live in, what education your children get, whether you can buy healthy foods and your longevity.

Money is only one factor in creating satisfaction

The craving for money, especially if you don’t have it,  can thus become so obsessive that it can destroy all the simple joys in life. What we do know from most psychological research is that we will remain unhappy if we make our happiness totally dependent on how much money we earn.

Happiness is the ability of dealing with the fluctuations of life’s up-and-down cycles. An interplay of numerous factors make us happy and satisfied human beings. Money is an essential part of it, giving us the means of exploring many new possibilities.

But human beings also have a deep need to be an essential part of a loving and caring community. Every person wants to be loved, seen and validated.

It comes from the foundation of such things as nurturing good relationships, job satisfaction, health, and the ability of finding joy and gratitude in the small things of life. It is why practicing a gratitude ritual or keeping a gratitude journal is so important. It is the stepping stone to an abundance mindset.

Time well spent is one of the most precious assets you will ever have. A higher frequency of vibrational energy flows from a passion that ignites your inner truth and fills your life with purpose and meaning.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Humility and the lessons of adversity

“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels”

Saint Augustine

Humility seems to have lost the battle against pride. Our world of social media has provided the perfect stage for narcissism and self-aggrandizement with the world of illusion taking precedence over what is real and a fake.

On one of my Camino walks in northwestern Spain I met a pilgrim who told me: “If you don’t walk the Path with humility it will force you into humility.”

Walking the Camino is in so many ways walking through life. Every day the path has new lessons to learn where the pilgrim is confronted with new and old emotional demons.

The last section before reaching a destination is sometimes the most difficult. You are relieved that you have reached the top of a mountain and then you find that you still have another even bigger mountain to climb.

It is why so many people who started walking the Camino as hikers ended their journey as pilgrims, learning on the Path that when going slow and finding that inner rhythm, external personality merges with the internal needs of the soul.

An emotional and physical breakdown leads to the breakthrough

When we are confronted with adversity and almost insurmountable challenges, the path of life forces us from pride into humility. The wounded soul is cracked open for the light to shine into that inner truth.

Sometimes you have to shut a door and walk away from everything in order to rediscover who you really are. You are forced into falling forward and opening a new door.

David Bowie once said that “aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.”

The elderly person surrenders to the cycle of life, the inevitability of death. There is nothing more to prove. There is a quiet solitude and acceptance. It is the same when an identity built on the weak foundations of personality breaks apart after a financial disaster, the loss of a job or a divorce.

Transformation begins where the world of certainty crumbles

There is a deep human need to be seen, to be heard and to have certainty. But when the world of certainty crumbles truth is revealed. This is the opportunity for real transformation and recognition of soul.

Pride and narcissism is about self-interest while humility is focused on being of service. If people are in search of their calling and having difficulty in finding an answer the clue is always in finding that niche where individual talent finds expression in the act of service for the bigger whole. You will have surrendered to that bigger plan that the universe has in store for you.

What is humility and what is pride?

Humble people are unafraid of expressing their vulnerability, and pain, and to seek help. They are listeners rather than talkers. They accept the transitions of life and are willing to learn from them while the narcissist in his pride is always right and is immersed in the illusion that the world is owing to him. He will always blame other people for his failures and take accolades for accomplishments that were none of his doing. Too many of such people find themselves in leadership positions causing much pain and suffering to all those around and ultimately to themselves.

Humility and adversity teach us that we always have another mountain to climb during life’s up-and-down cycles. Climbing those mountains make us more resilient. As long as we are alive we are never done as human beings. It is during those moments when we think that we are done that life inevitably throws another lesson at our feet.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Have you found your calling?

Are you having difficulty in finding your life calling? Well, you are not alone with many people stressing out on finding that one silver arrow pointing to meaning and purpose in life.

As a young person you are in a very different place than later in life. But you are confronted with the major decision on whether to take out a massive student loan to train for a particular career path. Finally you follow through with the predominant view of family and peer groups.

During midlife you find yourself in a very unhappy place, realizing that all those years you had placed the ladder against the wrong wall.

Photo by Xin on Unsplash

Are you flying or scratching with the chickens?

Friends and family are sometimes the worst people to ask when it comes to pursuing your dreams and passions. The reason is that they don’t want a member of the tribe to change so much that they leave and seek a new tribe that is a better fit for new ideas, philosophies and visions.

Instead of learning to fly and soar with the eagles you remain on the ground scratching with the chickens, living out a life of quiet misery. All the time there is that inner voice calling on you to plant that seed destined to make you grow into who you are really meant to be.

It is sometimes necessary to leave a relationship that has long outlived its purpose, an unfulfilling but well paid job or even the country you are living in when it comes to living your destiny. Our biggest fear is often the fear that the future might turn out worse than the current situation, so you settle for the status quo because you feel safe in your “comfort zone.”

Life is not a trajectory of predictability

The journey of life seldom takes you on a trajectory of predictability. The ship you are sailing on sometimes has to change course because a hurricane is coming your way. Political systems, institutions, economic sectors and careers are undergoing huge changes.

A choice might be the right decision now in learning certain skills, mindsets and networking you with a particular circle of people. Other times you are getting huge shout outs from the universe in the form of constant obstacles that are telling you to move on and try something different.

Every choice you make whether it is to fall in love with a certain partner, to choose certain friends, a career or the suburb or country you live in is based on your state of consciousness at the time. There is therefore no need to be too hard on yourself or put yourself under pressure.

A calling can change many times during a lifetime

A calling can change many times over during a lifetime. What you are doing now may only set the stage in preparing and giving you the skillset for the next chapter in your life. You need only to take a step back to have a conversation with your 16-year-old self in realizing how much life has sculptured you into who you are today.

It is the trauma from a pain, the effort in finding the answer to an underlying question, a time-out during an illness, an unexpected event that pulls the rug from underneath your feet that catapults you into a new chapter and a new beginning.

But it need not be that way either. Sometimes one event, one chapter just leads into another like a wave washing to the shore. In a 1903 letter to his protégé, the 19-year-old cadet and budding poet Franz Xaver Kappus, Rainer Maria Rilke writes:

“I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Rilke pointedly reminds us that what has broken, destroyed or ripped us apart emotionally are the building blocks of what elevates us to a new level of consciousness and spiritual growth. When all is in flow, the moment arrives when you hear with clarity that inner song, that tune that merges personality with soul purpose.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. Check out the latest online courses for you to download and our special Retreat on the island of Majorca in October this year.

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Unbecoming who you think you are

We all need a purpose closely aligned with our personal philosophy and value system but can easily lose track of that purpose if we feel overwhelmed by life’s challenges and go into automatic mode.

When we let powerful emotions such as anxiety and fear take over we tend to seek gratification in external gods that keep us feeling empty and small. We seek set patterns of predictability, giving us the illusion of security. We function within a framework of the same road to work, the same friends and colleagues, and the same pattern of thought and thinking.

When the comfort zone of familiarity crumbles

It is when we are jolted out of this comfort zone by a crisis, when things go horribly wrong, and when the map of familiarity crumbles that we are freed from robotic habits, and seek new purpose and meaning. We need to unbecome who we think we are.

Every now and then it is necessary to seek out those quiet spaces in meditation, walks in nature, and alone time to recalibrate on whether the road I’m travelling on is in alignment with my personal value system and philosophy.

Our predominant thoughts and emotions determine the outcome of all our actions. If you believe that every person out there is an unfriendly cheat you will inevitably run into just these persons. If you on the other hand question your labelling of people every time and fundamentally believe in the goodness and kindness of human beings you will be mainly surrounded by such people because you emanate what you think and feel to your surroundings.

Taking time out to realign in nature

Mindsetting into a positive framework of opportunity

If you program yourself with a mindset of scarcity and that money is the root of all evil, you will never have enough. If you turn this thinking into an abundance mindset and really believe that the universe always provides at the right time, things will turn out this way.

Walking in new surroundings and going into uncharted territory is a huge challenge for humanity at this moment in time but also a huge opportunity.

Institutions including the big corporations, government, politics, religion and mass media have become dysfunctional. A crisis such as the pandemic has only brought to the open what has been simmering under the surface for some time. These institutions are made up of individuals often in automatic mode in their boxes, losing sight of the bigger picture because these jobs provide ever less opportunity for individual creativity.

Our mind becomes less anxious if we let go of the attachment to things we believe to be set in stone. Life is unpredictable and always in a cycle of change. One door closes and another opens. Those “flat-on-the-ground” moments are an opportunity to heal the wounds of the past, and to rediscover soul purpose and meaning.

Stepping out of the treadmill

It is vital to step out of the treadmill of routine, predictability and habit every once in a while. If you are marking the calendar and counting the months and years to retirement, or to the next vacation, you need to realign and restore meaning.

We have to sometimes carry out unpleasant tasks but the more we go into resistance when we carry out these tasks the more energy-depleting they will be. We can compensate such routines with fun activity that renew and refresh. It is when we do not count the minutes, when we lose the sense of time in tasks of creative imagination and aligned with our own values and soul purpose that we are in flow with the rhythm of the universe.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. Check out the latest online courses for you to download and our special Retreat on the island of Majorca in October this year.

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Are we living in a religious society?

“I have come to the conclusion that whether or not a person is a religious believer does not matter. Far more important is that they be a good human being. ” – Dalai Lama

The other day I took a walk up a mountain in the northwestern part of the island of Majorca where the hiker has a panoramic view of the little villages and towns below. On the highest visible points you can see the convent of Santa Lucia and the monasteries of Santuari de Cura, Randa and Santa Magdalena.

These ancient buildings date back to the early 13th century when the peoples reserved the best and highest places to build their places of worship. The villages, still largely intact and unspoiled by mass tourism, still have a chapel or church as a “central anchor” of a harmonious architecture that blends naturally into the landscape.

Architecture as an expression of human consciousness

Architecture is an expression of human consciousness. During the early Middle Ages the external world was aligned with the inner world of consciousness. The concept of a creator of all things was never questioned. Religion was embedded into the concept of church and society that controlled all aspects of life.

Winchester Cathedral, United Kingdom, AD 1093

The word religion has its origins from the Latin “religio”. St. Augustine followed the interpretation of other scholars who saw the origins in the word “ligo”, meaning to bind or connected to something. Religion is closely associated today with a fixed “belief” in something.

Competing beliefs and religions sowing the seeds of conflict

Religious doctrines of a belief in a God or higher deity, which had a monopoly over thought and belief over centuries, today compete with many other thoughts and beliefs in an age of information overload. Never before has humanity had access to so much information and knowledge. At the same time humanity is losing its compass with increased access to knowledge going in line with loss of wisdom.

Our journey as human beings is ultimately like a river flowing into the sea with our path taking us from the body into the spirit, from form into formlessness and from time into timelessness. The disconnect between external material an inner soul need and purpose is one of modern man’s biggest calamities.

The consumerist “God

The architecture of modern cities are a stark expression of the religion of material and consumerist worship. It is the dominant religion of today. God whispers through nature and nature has been exploited, destroyed and pushed to the outskirts of life.

The difference between religion and spirituality is that religion defines a belief system. The followers of a “belief” have to adhere to a code of conduct in terms of rules, mannerisms, and obligations. Fixed belief has the tendency to exclude, condemn and separate itself from all those who do not share the same belief structure.

Social change and upheaval have the tendency to fan the flames of all the “isms” that we thought we had overcome. Truth is turned into a lie or an illusion. Sound scientific research is labelled as fiction. The validity of democratic institutions and elections are being questioned, especially if those that don’t share the same belief happen to win. As tolerance and acceptance of diversity wanes, the mayhem of chaos and violence increases. Throughout history great suffering has come from narrowminded intolerance.

The worship of personality cult

There is the faint hope that adherence to fixed “belief” is temporary and gradually evolves into something different. During times of uncertainty the temptation to take refuge in dogmatic belief is great but is ultimately unsatisfying as these beliefs feed on fear, hate and other toxic emotions. The need “to be right” comes from insecurity that find expression in the worship of personality cult in political parties, and in the high priests of consumerist culture on Instagram.

In raised spiritual consciousness the belief transcends into tolerance and the constant daily confrontation with the shadow. Who is the “God” that I am attached to? Where does my anger, my jealousy and my hate come from? If we find realignment with the true self we don’t need to feel small and insecure. We don’t need other people to agree with us in order to feel justified.

The purpose of religion is really to practice our true nature, which according to the Dalai Lama, is simply kindness.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. I’ve also recently compiled brand new online courses that you can download onto your computer or smartphone on ways of how you can transform your life on multiple levels. Also check out the recent reviews of my book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

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