Time out is crucial for your health

Most people living in an urbanized environment live highly stressful lives, spending most of their lifetime in closed indoor environments or on noisy streets. It is crucial for health and well-being to reconnect with nature and the natural rhythm of the universe.

Sprint and recovery

An integrated sprint and recovery system that integrates work and recuperation time spent outdoors in nature, should be built into our daily routine.

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In order to function as human beings we need lazy time for rest, recovery, creative play and the digestion of the countless distractions vying for our attention round the clock.  There is a huge amount of scientific evidence showing that stress factors such as high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and high cortisol stress hormone levels begin to fall as soon as we focus our attention on the rustling of leaves in a green forest or hear the sound of ocean waves gently washing to shore.

Natural light is crucial for your body metabolism

Natural sunlight affects our bodies in many ways.  It is a catalyst for the secretion of hormones such as serotonin and melatonin. Melatonin is an important antioxidant and can neutralize some agents that damage cells and DNA that are believed to be a contributing cause of some cancers.

Indoor toxins may threaten your health

When we spend most of our lives indoors we also expose ourselves to countless indoor toxins that come in the form of mold, dust mites, fabrics and chemical compounds.

After going through a period of massive job and personal stress that left me badly fatigued, grumpy and in poor health, I went on my first pilgrimage hike in northwestern Spain some ten years ago. It changed my life and since then I’ve taken time out every year to spend between three and four weeks at a time walking in nature. I’ve interviewed numerous people from all walks of life on the Camino, who have confirmed my own observations that walking is a wonderful way of reconnecting with the universal rhythm.

Great thinkers found inspiration while walking!

During research for my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul”, to be published later this year by Morgan James Publishing in New York, I was surprised to discover that some of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, found inspiration while walking.

Henry David Thoreau wrote in his journal, “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.

The poet William Wordsworth was said to have walked as many as a 290,000 kilometers (180,000 miles) in his lifetime. This translates to an average of six and a half miles a day starting from the age of five.

Humans are hard-wired to live in the past or in the future because planning and learning from the past has been crucial to the survival of our species.

Listen to thoughts when walking

Real joy comes from those magical moments of being absolutely present and experiencing spirituality, love and peace of mind.

It is an enlightening experience to “listen” to your own thoughts when walking. Becoming aware of your thoughts is the first step toward focusing on the moment.

Take a break, savor the nature around you by opening your sense of smell to the herbs by the wayside, open your ears to the chorus of bird song and feel that cool mountain breeze caressing your face.

Nature is the best healer!

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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The walk alone

The ancient masters of all the great religions recommended time alone as a crucial means of discovering authentic self.

It was the 40 days that Jesus took for time alone in the desert to confront his own shadow and the demons of temptation.  Moses removed himself alone to Mount Sinai to receive the ten commandments from God.

Before his enlightenment the Buddha retreated for an extended time in the forests, and often went into silent retreats during his lifetime. He however cautioned that “one who goes into solitude will either sink to the bottom or rise to the top,” meaning you have to do it for the right reasons.

It is in the time spent alone that we come closest to the divine and our life purpose, especially if it is time alone in nature.

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The Chinese masters of the body arts such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong called the empty space between the spokes of the wheel more important than the spoke itself.

It is in that empty dark space between the stars where you can touch the divine.

Confronting distraction

We as a society are obsessed with what the wise ancients called the distractions of the 10,000 things. Countless things pull at our attention every day in this digital age:

The news media feed on negative news, the constant subliminal messages working our emotions instill a need for material things we mostly don’t need. There is confusion between necessity and want.

It is no coincidence that with the addiction to distraction there are very few people who can truly bear to spend time alone, and be without the constant chatter.

There is such a great quote from Robin Williams that really sums it up nicely:

 “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all alone.”

We are thus constantly seeking the accolades through social media as a reassurance. But it will seldom lead you onto the path of deeper spiritual experience.

Discover self by being alone

It is during the walk alone, the time-out during a silent retreat and the alone time in nature where the gateway to the soul opens and you begin to realize who you truly are.

It is the  time when we confront our own shadow, explore the world within, and find out where we need to take the next step.

It is during the alone time that we discover the heart, the love and the divine within. It is who we truly are and that which soul wants to illuminate.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Finding purpose with deep walking

My next book “Deep Walking – for Body, Mind and Soul” will soon be on the market.  It is about finding purpose during that void of inner silence that comes with deep walking.

We need to listen to nature

While writing the book I so often came to a point of writer’s block or procrastination. A new inspiration always came after going for a walk in nature. I think this is a dilemma most of us face in the modern world. We are spending too much time indoors, and it’s making us sick and moody.

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The disconnect from nature and the wisdom of the universe, has separated our species from the web of creation. This is why we are treating ourselves and the environment with such disrespect. What is happening within reflects what is happening in the outer world.

At the crossroads – depression and suicides have reached epidemic proportions

Humans are creative and exceptional beings. But we are very much at the crossroads where decisions made today will determine the future of our species in the next half century. I’ve said it often on these pages: The Western mind has sacrificed its soul to the golden calf of immediate external material gratification.  The result: Depression and mental illnesses have reached epidemic proportions. Something is out of order when one person commits suicide every 40 seconds. It is the second leading cause of death in the age group 15-24 in the United States!

Religious dogma from the past is not giving answers

A growing number of people are feeling this intuitively and are searching for new meaning and purpose. They are not finding the answers in the religious dogma of old that is telling us to believe in this or that. The new spiritual consciousness comes from an individual experience. It is why more than 300,000 people from all walks of life, different nationalities and faith, walk the pilgrimage path in Spain, the Camino, every year.  You can get my tips on preparing  for the Camino here: Preparation Camino.

The difference between a hike and a pilgrimage

It is a phenomenon I came across the very first time I walked the Camino in 2007. There  is a huge difference between just taking a hike for exercise purposes and going on a deep walking experience lasting several weeks, especially on a pilgrimage path walked by pilgrims for centuries.  Get my tips on preparing for the Camino here:

Nobody who walks the Camino with serious and mindful intent, comes back the same. As you walk from day to day through rain, mud and hot sun, passing village after village and climbing mountain top after mountain top, a mystery unfolds from within. When the many external distractions fall away, the empty space where we stop thinking opens and the universe, or God, can finally speak to us.

We can find this experience in meditation and other spiritual practices. I’ve found that deep walking in nature to be an exceptionally meditative experience, taking time out from the rat-race that has become our world, aligning with the above and the below with every mindful step.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Are you living in a tribal bubble?

Our world is becoming dangerously fractured into tribal bubbles and we are losing our sense of a common humanity along the way.

As our world becomes more globally connected on a digital level, there is a growing tendency to align with a “tribe” that thinks, dresses, talks and believes in the same things that we do.

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Photo by Surya Prakosa on Unsplash

Tribes have a tendency to build defensive walls against all those who are not members of the same community.  It is then only a small step away to see them as the enemy targeting our watering holes.

The divisive narrative on both sides of the political spectrum in the current politics is symptomatic. Extremist leaders whose narrative is threatening the very fabric of societies are being democratically elected.

We desperately need such wise leaders as Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi , Theodore Roosevelt and Dag Hammarskjöld who were multi-lateral and holistic in their thinking. Their narrative was one of serving a common humanity rather than a political ideology.

When wise leaders are at the helm,  the rest follow and an immense sense for the common good and higher purpose can result.

The western mind has very much lost its way. When there is a spiritual vacuum, loss of purpose and direction, it is fertile ground for demagogues. They fill the void in playing the “angst” game with nationalist or tribal rhetoric. Its us against them!  Political ideology has all the trappings of a pseudo-religion. Its black or white. A religious cult has the philosophy of either you believe what we tell you to or you will suffer eternal damnation.

An innate spirituality is liberated from belief.  It intuitively feels rather than believes itself connected to what is the fabric and the web that holds everything together on a different level.

When you live in a tribal bubble you will listen only to those people, and media outlets that share your opinion. You have a fixed belief and it becomes part of the ego and the self. Different opinions, irrefutable evidence and scientific fact are slated as “fake news” because they might threaten the image of a false identity that has been created.

If there is no willingness to even listen or to discern between the opinion and the humanity of the other, the inevitable result is confusion about those root cohesive and common values that solidify society.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

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Nature and the Respect of the Sacred

Respect for that which is holy and sacred is closely aligned to respect for the self and self-love.

It is telling for humanity that the sacred house in which we live is being treated with such lack of mindfulness.

When you hike for hours along a country road you soon begin to notice the huge amount of trash such as plastic bags, tin cans, plastic bottles and cigarette butts that are carelessly thrown out of car windows by passing motorists.

IMG_2135It has a devastating effect on other living beings. I’ve seen cows munch plastic bags and hedgehogs trapped in rubbish.

Much can be attributed to the disconnect of modern man to his natural surroundings. Nature is a manifestation of God and not without reason have the wise teachers of old described time spent in nature as our best healer.

Any person who has spent alone time in the African bush or hiked alone for hours in pristine nature will soon become aware of the awesome marvel of creation and the interconnection of all living beings. God can be seen live and working in slow motion.

But never before in the history of mankind are we seeing such a rate of extinction of biological and animal species. The ocean waters are being polluted with plastics and the atmosphere brought into imbalance with excess burning of fossil fuels.

Humanity will only survive when we recognize that the sacred within is also the sacred without.

For centuries Christianity has had a false understanding of man’s role in nature based on misinterpretation of the old testament of the bible in Genesis 1:28 in which man is given the cultural mandate to subdue and rule over the earth.

The lost gospel of St. Thomas, that was discovered in Egypt in the 1940s, has a far more mystical interpretation of many of the biblical interpretations. Rather waiting for the Second Coming of the Christ, the lesson espoused here is all about nurturing and discovering the Christ Within−closely resembling what is described in Buddhism as discovering the Buddha Nature.

The Medieval interpretation of Nature was that of a harsh alien environment, that needed to be conquered. Paradise and a life of bliss could only be expected after death and resurrection.

In contrast the eastern Daoist tradition is all about the yielding to the laws of nature. The philosophy of the Five Elements in essence is about the right timing in accordance with the laws of nature. The harmony of objects and things in Feng Shui, the cultivation of the life-force energy of Chi in the body with nutrition, Qi Gong and Tai Chi and the ancient Book of Wisdom, the I Qing, all are built on these foundations.

We desperately need to revive the sacred places of old to help realign human consciousness. We need places of solitude, and places for meditation to quieten the mind. These also includes saving the sacred buildings of old that were often built at places with a high natural energy frequency.

Maps of medieval towns show how mindful our ancestors went about in planning their cities. The place of worship was always built on the highest plateau or center with all the other buildings in circular form around it. Shamans and geomancers were consulted so that the buildings conformed to the harmony principles of the universe.

We seem to have lost something elementary in sacrificing so much on the altar of materialism.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

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Money for Notre Dame? A skewed debate

Why donate for a building when millions are going hungry?

With almost a billion euros donated for the restoration of Notre Dame cathedral, which was almost destroyed by fire last week, the political moralists on the gallery are crying foul.

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Photo by Thomas Millot on Unsplash

France’s super wealthy families opened their pockets for Notre Dame, triggering a heated debate on the wealth gap. The money should’ve gone to the hungry, to the poor, to the refugees etc.

Such a debate is comparing apples with oranges. In comparing things that cannot be compared with each other, the divisiveness in society is being fanned. It is the game of the ego-driven populists. They care less for the poor than for their own aggrandizement.

Notre Dame is much more than just another cathedral. It symbolizes the ingenuity, innate spirituality and genius of man over centuries. It is a powerful symbol that unites mankind beyond the confines of a single religion. The outpouring of horror and grief as the flames engulfed the ancient cathedral, is indicative of the power of Notre Dame.

I referred in my previous blog to why the ancient builders chose this particular spot where once stood an ancient Roman temple and before that probably a Celtic worship site. When such a sacred site is harmed, it tears at the heartstrings at a deeper level.

Victor Hugo, who played a key role in saving Notre Dame with his novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in the early 19th century, wrote:

“Great buildings, like great mountains, are the work of centuries.”

Notre Dame embodies the best of man’s creativity and higher sense of purpose over centuries. It is an achievement of many individuals embodied in one work of art, with the common goal transcending individual glorification. It is not a building belonging to the church or an institution but to all of mankind.

Notre Dame will be restored. And, at some time in the distant future it will continue to inspire, unite, and excite generations to come. The narrow-minded current debate will be but a forgotten footnote in history.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

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Thoughts on Notre Dame

When a significant world heritage site such as the Notre Dame in Paris is in flames, a nerve is struck on a global level. The miracle of this tragedy is that the cathedral has once again survived.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Every tragedy both on a personal and global level comes with a deeper meaning.

The most significant aspect that springs to mind is that this happened during the Easter week, one of Christianity’s most important events. It recalls Jesus who died on the cross and rose from the dead three days later more than 2,000 years ago. It is a celebration of the cycle of life: death, resurrection and rebirth. The resurrection of Christ could now become a metaphor for the rebirth of the cathedral.

Fire is one of the most powerful elements. When out of control it burns and destroys, reducing everything to the basic elements. But from the ashes springs rebirth. The old has to be destroyed for new life to begin.

Notre Dame is at the heart of Paris and of France. At the front entrance to the cathedral is embedded in the concrete pavement a copper plaque marking the point zero from which the distance from Paris to all other places are judged. Notre Dame is a sacred site that connects with humanity at a deeper level beyond religious doctrine.

Notre Dame is steeped in many myths and mysteries. Like most of the ancient sacred sites, it was carefully chosen by the builders who had great knowledge of the earth’s energy fields or meridians. It was built on the site of a Gallo-Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter. Four churches then preceded the building of Notre Dame. French philosopher John of Jandun in 1323 described it as “that most glorious church” that “shines out, like the sun among stars.”

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The western mind has in many respects lost its soul with religious institutions in the western world in deep crisis. We are on the brink of a raising of human consciousness.

The mindset of the Middle Ages is almost symbolically burned with the collapse of the roof of Notre Dame, yet the cathedral has been in dire need of repair for years. Curators have had trouble getting the funds for the repairs needed.

But here we see within hours hundreds of millions of euros pledged for the reconstruction.  First reports said it would take at least a generation to restore the cathedral. Later reports said that with the necessary will and funding it could take less than five years. When humanity focuses on a single objective so much can be achieved.

It would indeed be a powerful symbol: A new roof spanning an 850-year-old cathedral, symbolizing the beginning of a new age of raised consciousness.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

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