What is your unique thumbprint?

„The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

-Pablo Picasso-

There is an ancient story that tells us of the wanderer, who after a long journey arrives in a town. First he comes across a crippled and blind beggar, then he sees an old woman being beaten, and a funeral procession. Witnessing all this suffering in succession, the wanderer runs out into the desert in desperation, screaming at God: “Why, if you are so powerful do you allow all this suffering and pain? Why don’t you do something?”

After a long silence, the wanderer finally hears the words of the Divine: “I did do something. I created you.”

The story is revealing in that what we see and what we hear is often determined by our current state of .consciousness. In our world of polarity with the constant pull between yin and yang, light and shadow, beauty and ugliness, violence and peace it is easy to make judgmental statements that are seldom congruent with the true facts.

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You have been born with a unique gift

It is part of human nature to make the Divine or any other entity responsible for all the misery of one’s own state of affairs or that of the world. According to the ancient Mystics we have each been born with a divine purpose, and been handed the gift of a free will.

Surrendering control to external forces for one’s circumstances is one of the big fallacies of our time. We are to a great extent shaped by the culture and place where we are born. But at the same time we must take responsibility for our thoughts and actions.

The true calling often lies in the wounds of the past that have sculptured us into the human beings that we are destined to become. When reflecting on the past it often becomes obvious how the pain, and the obstacles that we have had to overcome gave us the skillset needed to fulfill divine purpose.

The Hero’s Journey is riddled with obstacles

The Hero’s journey through life is riddled by failures, making the wrong decisions and losing the way on the wrong path.  At the point of complete surrender, when we are completely empty, when we choose to give up everything that once defined identity, we become open to the whispers from the Divine.

It is at this juncture that we can forgive those people that have wronged us or inflicted great pain onto us. When we transmute our “enemies” into positive agents that have catapulted us toward major transformational change and elevation of consciousness, it is much easier to forgive.

Getting stuck in the grievances and the sorrow over that which once was and is no more, is the root cause of much of the collective anger we see currently being played out on the political stage. It is also symbolic of the disconnect between external and internal needs. External gratification is never fulfilling when it is out of line with soul purpose.

What is your unique song?

How we share our unique talents and abilities with the world, is as diverse as creation itself. We each carry the seed pf a divine song within that is awaiting to play its part in the concert hall of creation.

It is what moves and inspires you, to which you are magically drawn and where you fell in rhythm with the heartbeat of the universe. It is what Rumi describes as surrendering to that “deeper pull of what you truly love.”

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Is social media controlling your life?

The pen that writes your life story must be held in your own hand.” – Irene C. Kassorla

You might think that you are in control of what you think, believe and purchase each day but our hurried modern lives are being manipulated in a big way and it’s time to seize back control.

The latest facebook-scandal, with former employee Frances Haugen testifying before a U.S. Senate Committee, has revealed the irresponsibility with which social media is using algorithms to spread misinformation and incite political violence.

Social media can be a wonderful tool to connect with old friends, and family living in faraway places of the world. But what we are hearing in the testimony is that these big tech companies know more about human nature and about your individual life, your needs, wishes and desires than you probably know yourself.

If something is for free like the use of social media then there is a price attached. These companies are there to make a profit and they need your personal data to sell to advertisers. The more clicks and shares, the more revenue for the advertiser on the same page.

This means that the loud, angry voices of outlandish lies and misinformation are getting the most attention. They have occupied the big stage while the majority of calm and reasonable voices are being drowned out. It creates a distortion of reality and what our world really looks like. While printed media bears responsibility and is liable for the content it disseminates, social media has been left off the hook by legislation. That really needs to change.

Multiple studies are in fact showing that too much time spent on social media affects mental health, especially those of young adolescents. It can exacerbate feelings of inadequacy of appearance, loneliness, depression and anxiety.

What you feed your mind with you become

Divisive hate speech, and bullying has always been a dark side of humanity. Social media however is amplifying such dysfunctional behavior on a global level. Scientists have found a correlation between heart disease and negative emotions expressed in language on Twitter, according to a major study.

What friends you choose, what social media feeds you look at and what you read gradually shape you into the person who you are today. You might think that you are in control but you are not. Countless digital media companies are competing for your attention. They have some of the world’s best social scientists and psychologists in their employment and know how to prey on human needs and weaknesses.

We all have the need to be seen, to be heard and to be understood. And, we especially want to belong to a tribe that thinks, feels and talks the same language.

If you happen to come across scientific data or information that might contradict what you think you believe in, you might become confused and then angry. Computer algorithms inevitably lead to opinions becoming cemented in separate information silos. People who see each other from different reality perspectives cannot talk or listen to each other anymore.

Time to seize back control

I have for some time blocked those “friends” on social media that have a tendency to always post negative news or are spreading misinformation. Be careful who you invite into your living room and who leaves big footprints of dirt on your lovely white carpet.

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You need to stand guard at the doorway of your mind.

I would like to make a proposal for this week. Why not exclusively post just positive and uplifting information on social media for the next seven days? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can this information uplift, heal and boost the energy level of a fellow human being?
  • Is the information of a quality that it can elevate human consciousness in a positive way?
  • Will it make you laugh and enjoy the moment?

Lets make our voices heard in a positive way and let the world know that the majority of humanity is not divisive, angry and violent but kind, empathic, calm and reasonable.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Bridging the growing gender divide

There is false of Aristotelian logic, which is so much the basis of Christianity, and to some extent, Judaism in the west. Too rational, too logical, too masculine, chauvinistic, male dominated, head over heart, mind over body, heaven different than earth and so on, rather than yin/yang, inter-being, interwoven, inseparably.— Surya Das

One of the burning issues of our time is the big gender divide as we transition from centuries of male dominance toward more gender equality. There is a real crisis of mentally unstable boys growing up to be unhealthy men while girls seem to crush it at every level from education to job performance.

Just a brief look at some of the statistics reveal some staggering figures. More than nine times as many men compared to women at some point spent time in prison in the United States with men accounting for more than 80 per cent of persons arrested for violent crime. Women have lower arrest rates for all categories of crime except prostitution in almost every country in the world.

Women are at the forefront in the self-development industry and the elevation of awakened consciousness. They are indeed the better half of humanity showing more caring responsibility, empathy, creativity and intuition. In leadership positions their social skillset emphasizes collaboration, rather than the male notion of destroying a competitor.

But is the solution to our global problems the reversal of male dominance with female dominance? There are a lot of males out there feeling uneasy about some of the emanations from the feminist movement. Men are feeling left behind by women on all levels but they just won’t admit it and are resisting to do real inner, reflective work, still perceiving it as a weakness rather than a strength.

The root cause appears to be that there are far too many fathers who have been exceptionally bad role models for their sons and daughters over generations. It is the “absent-father-syndrome” that is cause for many mental problems.

Several studies show that boys growing up without their biological father often feel deserted, insecure, fearful and anxious. A stepfather can never replace that void created by the absent father. I have seen the hurt in a stepchild when a father refuses to engage.

Among the 25 most cited school massacres in the United States, two thirds were committed by boys from broken or fatherless homes! Criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi, found the absence of fathers to be one of the “most powerful predictors of crimes .” Fathers serve as role models for their sons who maintain authority and discipline, thereby helping them develop self-control and empathy toward others, key character traits lacking in violent youth.

According to a UNICEF report “school-aged children with good relationships with their fathers were less likely to experience depression, to exhibit disruptive behavior, or to lie. Overall, they were far more likely to exhibit prosocial behavior.”

While women seek help when they experience mental health problems such as anxiety or fear, men often retreat into typical male dysfunctional behavior such as addiction, political and religious extremism or violent crime. It seems to be completely overlooked in the political narrative that men and masculinity feature prominently in both past and present populist movements.

What is the solution?

First and foremost fathers need to step-up and take responsibility for their children. Abdicating and delegating responsibility solely to motherhood is archaic and stems from a medieval patriarch mindset. A positive father-figurehead understands the art of integrating female caring responsibility, empathy, and intuition with the positive male features such as structure, protection, discipline and authority.

As humanity moves toward the elevation of consciousness it is crucial that we transmute the typical gender narrative to another level.

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Integrating the feminine and the masculine

Integrating the feminine and the masculine aspects of personality is the challenge both on a personal and collective level. The great Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung Jung describes the two primary archetypes of the unconscious mind: The “animus” is unconscious masculine side of a woman, and the anima as the unconscious feminine side of a man, each transcending the personal psyche.

Greek philosophy which found its way into the tenets of Christianity believe that humans are fundamentally flawed and wounded.

Our cultural indoctrination pronounces that finding that “soul mate” will heal that inner wound or void. Disappointment and relationship meltdown is inevitable. It is an illusion and we should never delegate or make our happiness conditional to the behavior of another person. Only the awakened self can heal that wound through the integration of the “shadow”, as Jung puts it.

How do we integrate that “soul mate” within? There is a beautiful image evoked by Plato who describes his idea of “soul mates” as the one longing for the other half “and so they would throw their arms about each other, weaving themselves together, wanting to grow together.”

The encounter, study and integration of the unconscious mind into the mature personality is key to becoming fully human. As a humanity we need to fully embrace our female and male traits. It is that which has the potential to catapult us toward a happier future, giving us that valuable skillset to confront the challenges ahead.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Lessons from the Camino

Walking the Camino in northwestern Spain and Portugal this year was in many respects very different from previous walks on this ancient pilgrimage path that has been massively impacted by the repercussions of the pandemic.

First and foremost the Camino has lost nothing of its magic that has become for hundreds of thousands of modern-day pilgrims, a path of introspection, healing and transformation. About half as many people arrive at the destination in Santiago de Compostela compared to normal years. The good news is that with good planning you can still walk it!

We walked from Porto in Portugal to Santiago, alternating between the coastal and central routes, but booking our accommodation two to three days in advance as most pilgrims’ hostels are still closed and will possibly only reopen next year. Unless you are walking the less popular routes cheap accommodation is very limited for pilgrims with a limited budget.

Can you still stay in a pilgrims’ hostel?

Staying overnight in a pilgrims’ hostel is so much part of the Camino experience where stories are shared over a meal cooked together and often lasting friendships are formed. Although a little more expensive than the municipal albergues, some of the better private albergues are a definite must.

We had one of our most enjoyable evenings with fellow pilgrims at Casa da Fernanda with dancing, singing, great food and good conversations. This was all on a donation basis. Certainly one of the most beautifully run private albergues is the La Cala Pilgrims Inn in Oia run by Tanya Valdes. Tanya is a lovely soul from the U.S. who moved to Spain, fulfilling a heart wish in serving pilgrims in her beautifully renovated albergue, overlooking the monastery in Oia.

The chilling effects of the pandemic

Having had to break off last year’s walk on the Via Francigena in Italy because of another lockdown, walking the Camino Portugues was the first longer walk since 2019. It was at times a chilly experience walking through the small villages where public notice boards bear portraits of locals who have died from Covid and bypassing dozens of closed pilgrims’ hostels, restaurants and curio shops.

Families in the local villages along the Camino route have for centuries earned their income from passing pilgrims and obviously many small businesses have not survived the pandemic. Some had invested all their funds in the expectation of a boom on the Camino for this year’s holy year.

The revival of the Camino pilgrimage in modern days can be largely attributed to Don Elías (1929-1989), the parish priest in O Cebreiro near Lugo. Up to the early 1980s only dozens of pilgrims at the most walked the Camino. But Don Elías had a dream that one day tens of thousands of pilgrims would again be walking the Camino. According to the story Don Elías drove across the whole north of Spain in his old  Citroën packed with tins of yellow paint, marking arrows leading to Santiago.

We were very much aware that this year we were also walking the Camino on behalf of the many pilgrims from other countries who could not walk the path this year because of Covid-related travel restrictions. The Camino can become an addictive ritual and many walkers on the Camino have been doing it several times over. Many pilgrims, who have been unable to walk this year, have been reliving their past walks in the popular Camino forums and social media groups.

Arriving in Santiago

Arriving at the destination in Santiago is always a special occasion. The Cathedral can be seen in all its glory with most of exterior scaffolding removed after years of painstaking renovation work. The interior is especially stunning: Based on the candle-light from medieval times the naves, transept and the Pórtico de la Gloria have been fitted with new lighting. Social distancing still applies and the number of visitors are limited.

The journey begins after the journey

Every journey at some point has to end. You return home but you will not be the same person. A pilgrimage on the Camino takes months to digest. The real transformation begins at home. Life takes on a different meaning when you are in a different rhythm and feel connected to your higher-self. As Marcel Proust is quoted as saying: “My destination is no longer a place, rather a new way of seeing.”

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Another hill to climb

Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” – Napoleon Hill –

It is much easier to climb a mountain if you take it one step at a time instead of looking at the steep peak ahead of you.

Several times I had to tell myself this during the last couple of days walking the Camino de Santiago in northwestern Spain.

There is also a saying on the Camino that the last few kilometers are the hardest. You climb one hill and then you find you have to climb another at the next bend.

Obstacles – the blessings in disguise

Just reflect a little on your life so far. It is mostly the obstacles, the setbacks, and those down on the ground moments that have triggered the biggest transformation.

Sadly, we often throw in the towel before we have learned the lesson or just before we are about to achieve the biggest breakthrough.

Life is not meant to be easy. We whither and die spiritually and physically if we procrastinate in a comfort zone.

A crisis, whether in an institution, in the job or in a personal relationship, is a message from the universe telling us that something is out of balance and needs to change.

The journey has to continue

We can for a moment look back on the winding steep road that we have climbed, appreciating the view and the accomplishment. But at some point we will have to continue the journey.

We human beings are hardwired to explore, and discover. As long as we live on this earth we will constantly be challenged to redefine purpose and meaning.

This morning I found a spiral etched into stone by the ancient Celtic inhabitants of Galicia. The rock site was perfectly aligned to the rising morning sun. Obviously the area had been a place of religious significance eons ago.

The ancient people were acutely aware of the laws of the seasons, closely studying nature. Beyond the perceived chaos of natural phenomenon lies a naural order of all things. The spiral is found in miniscule shells and flowers, and our DNA but also in the shape of our expanding galaxy.

Spiritually the spiral motif represents the path of the soul from the outer ego personality to the divine unity. It is the symbol of constant evolution and growth – a divine song of renewal moving from age to age.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Never giving up on hope

While on my current pilgrimage walk to Santiago de Compostela I was given the gift of a hand-painted stone with the word „Hope“ on it.

I thought it was a fitting message sent by the universe. During these times hope is such an important antidote to negativity and hopelessness.

The hope left by a child in the Cathedral of Guildford, UK.
It seems they follow me around. This one was placed at a waymarker by a pilgrim in Muxia

Our thoughts, beliefs and habits determine so much of who we are. My greatest hopes are:

  • An elevation of consciousness moves humanity from the false belief that one religion, belief, ideology or other „ism“ can ever be imposed and enforced onto others.
  • Humanity realizes that we are part of and not separate from nature. May we move from exploitation to restoration of natural ecosystems. May we have a future where the oceans are teeming with fish and healthy coral reefs. May many newly planted forests across the world echo with the sounds of countless birds, wild animals and rushing crystal-clear streams.
  • May truth and the voice of reason, peace, love, harmony and holistic thinking prevail in the public discourse.

Hope has the power to move us from paralysis and the depths of despair to optimism, trust and faith.

Quoting the American virologist Jonas Salk: „Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.“

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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You are not your opinion

The English writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley once pointed out that “at least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.”

It pretty much describes the current Zeitgeist where “tribal bubbles” confront each other on almost every major issue of our time. Its either true or false, black or white, red or blue with a nuanced debate taking cognizance of the complexity of most issues becoming almost impossible. It is causing the break-up of families, friendships and relationships. What you may be asking is happening?

What we see and believe is selective reality

An opinion or belief is mostly based on a past experience that does not necessarily conform to the true events and is colored by perception of what we believe to have been reality. We know from numerous psychological studies that we humans have the tendency to believe what we want to believe.

What we see and what information we select can be very selective as Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris revealed and their classic test of the gorilla walking through the room.

The platforms offered by social media are fodder for the ego-mind which needs constant validation and attention. An ego-mind is rooted in all the external trappings that come with status, fame, personality, titles and wealth. We fail to grow and expand because the ego-mind has built an image of the self that is an illusion. Opinions and beliefs merge with the personality. Anything that threatens such a carefully crafted “avatar” of the self is seen as a threat. Tribal survival instincts are triggered. Its “us or them” and all sense of a common humanity gets lost as the battle lines are drawn. Fixed belief and opinion is the reason people slide into that fatal abyss of fanaticism and ultimately engage in violence and war.

Ego-mind versus heart-mind

Political and religious demagogues are extremely adept at stoking the underlying fears and insecurities of the ego-mind. An ego-mind refuses to look inward, refuses to take responsibility for self-inflicted wounds and projects all its own shortcomings in fanatic rage onto those opposites that reflect the weaknesses. No rational argument or scientific fact on the ground will persuade the ego-mind from changing its opinion. It is too proud to come down from that ladder once it has been positioned firmly against a wall.

We are seeing at a global dramatic changes on all levels that is very scary for the ego-minded personality. Deep down the ego-mind desperately wants to hold onto an illusion, a world, that was and is no more. Religious dogma prescribes certain doctrines, obligations and rules of obedience that can be particularly attractive to persons battling with the uncertainties and up-and-down cycles of life.

The heart-minded person however sees change as opportunity for growth, and transition into new consciousness.

It is rooted in a child-like humility. It is why Jesus rebuked his disciples when they tried to prevent the children from seeing him, saying: “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God”

He was making his disciples aware that spiritual elevation, finding the Kingdom of God, could only be attained through a childlike humility. Just prior to becoming aware of the self, children are still free from an agenda in a down to earth honesty before pride and position come into play as personality takes shape.

A key principle of creation is diversity with the universe in a constant spiral of expansion and growth. If we are to survive as a species we will have to learn from nature which is an expression of God. Throughout the eons only those species that have learned to adapt quickly to changing circumstances have survived.

We are spiritual beings having a human experience

An inward-looking heart-mind is mindful of the impermanence of all things external and the eternity of soul. The French philosopher, paleontologist, and Jesuit priest Teilhard de Chardin is quoted as saying that “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

In those quiet moments of reflection and meditation we can reconnect with soul nature, that divine spark within and the remembrance of the eternal.

Experiential spirituality is an individual path of exploration and discovery. It is a reconnection to the soul where unconditional love, compassion, harmony, forgiveness, peace and joy reside. From within the true nature is crafted that tool for divine intention and the humility and acceptance that we are born into this life to walk a pilgrimage path of constant growth, creativity, adventure and new insight.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Your sacred path

All the people you have met throughout your life and the experiences you have had up to this moment in time have made you into the person who you are today. Yet, there still might be that inner voice whispering that there is more to life than you have been taught or have learned.

Caroline Myss is quoted as saying that “as a vital part of a larger, universal spirit, we each have been put here on earth to fulfill a sacred contract that enhances our personal spiritual growth while contributing to the evolution of the entire global soul.”

Connecting with the global soul

Our individual souls are connected to a global soul comprising all life on the planet. Each person has a unique destiny and soul purpose and it’s not about what kind of job you are doing or the things you own. These might be a manifestation of what you become in the becoming of who you really are.

It is almost essential to find alone time for contemplation and inner reflection and to walk your sacred path alone. The urge to walk a pilgrimage first starts as a whisper and becomes ever more louder. The need to go on this soul adventure is sometimes met with strong resistance by the loved ones or family members around you. They will sense that you are in a process of shifting your consciousness and will confront you with all sorts of arguments to dissuade you from walking.

The universe will test your willpower

In a way it is the universe testing your willpower but the sad truth is also that most people are too afraid to make the changes necessary to improve their lives. Family members or partners want you to stay in the tribe and share the same beliefs, mannerisms and habits. Often they will be projecting their own fears onto you if you decide to go on a journey of untrodden paths. Partners in this way often block each other instead of lending support and encouragement to the other.

On the Camino Aragonese between Jaca and Puenta La Reina, Spain

In a few days time I will start my 14th pilgrimage walk, walking for the second time from Porto in Portugal to Santiago and then to Cabo Finisterre, the westernmost point of the Iberian Peninsular. Each walk has been different, and unique. Looking back these walks have proven to be truly transformational not only in the way they have led me in making major changes to my external life but what has happened on a spiritual level. My two books on the Camino in essence tell this story that began in early 2007.

When I served in a pilgrims’ hostel as a volunteer in 2019 I had the opportunity of literally talking to hundreds of pilgrims from all walks of life and nationalities on what motivated them to walk this ancient path that at times can be truly challenging both emotionally and physically.

Why do people go on a pilgrimage walk?

Some people start the Camino as a sporting adventure that then turns into a spiritual journey.  An American pilgrim I walked with some years ago said to me: “If you don’t approach the Camino with humility it will humiliate you.”

The Camino is telling you that this journey is not about accomplishing something but in un-becoming from everything that you thought you were and touching that place deep in the soul who you are truly meant to be.

Is the Camino part of the bigger journey of humanity seeking a common spirituality that transcends the boundaries of religious dogma?

The Camino is an analogy of life

The Camino is in many ways an analogy of life. If you can deal with the roller-coaster of the walk’s trials and tribulations, you will be steeled for whatever challenges life throws at your feet in the acceptance of the impermanence of all things.

I’ve heard stories from pilgrims who have suffered terrible personal hurt and tragedy. Others were walking while defying a life threatening medical diagnosis or who had just survived cancer.

Experiential spirituality reveals itself in helping and supportive hands, in the recognition of fellow souls going through tough trials and tribulations. There is a deep sense of that one truth that we are all one humanity.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Finding truth and beauty within

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty – that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know.”

– John Keats –

In his mysterious poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn” the 19th-century poet John Keats reflects on the contradiction between mortality and eternity, equating truth with beauty, portraying how the external perception of beauty is closely linked to the beauty within.

How we perceive our external world is shaped by momentary feelings and thoughts. It is a difficult endeavor for the modern mind suffering from information overload.

The mind is pulled from one distraction to the next. And, if your attention is focused on a grievance or hurt going back weeks, months or years, you will not appreciate the beauty around you. You will miss the way markers sent by the universe and lose your way.

Empty yourself of everything

The Chinese philosopher Lao Tze one said: “The usefulness of a pot comes from its emptiness,” meaning we have to empty our mind of everything and become still. If we are preoccupied with thoughts of the past or the future we miss out on the present moment of real human experience. Thoughts of the past are colored by imagination and have only partial relevance to truth.

Photo by Steve Johnson on Pexels.com

According to Lao Tze we cannot force the boat to go upstream. Everything happens in its own time and place. We cannot control external events or a calamities, but we can control how we respond to them. His teaching emphasized “effortless action” and the acceptance of the “wu wei” which ultimately seeks harmony.

Living according to the Dao means living without attachment. Life itself is the objective and the motivation. Behind a seemingly chaotic exterior lies a natural order of things. Nature has its seasons and cycles. We need to accept the impermanence of all things. There is always change, growth, death, and rebirth.

But as we are all imperfect beings on a path of learning, keeping the mind still can be a lofty undertaking. Toxic emotions such as anger are easily triggered by anything from a news broadcast of an event thousands of kilometers away or finding yourself having to wait in line at a supermarket.

Alignment through stillness

When we are aligned we get into touch with ourselves and our feelings. The first step is acceptance of the momentary feeling be it sadness, anger or anxiousness. The next step is replacing that thought or feeling with a positive experience or an expression of gratitude.

One of the simplest methods of alignment is the act of mindful breathing and mindful deep walking. Inhale to the count of four and exhale to the count of five. Inhale and on exhaling hum one of the most powerful mantras: “Om Mani Padme Hung”. When you practice such meditation methods regularly you will gradually sense a greater calmness and alignment of body and mind.

More than ever during these times we need to practice self-care and self-love. By becoming aware of the divine spark within we become aware of the beauty that is embedded within all things such as in the vibrant images that the poet John Keats saw in the simple contemplation of an ancient Greek urn. It is what inspired the great Dutch painters in the contemplation of everyday objects that led to the creation of some of the world’s greatest works of art.

By learning to BE in the present we learn to simply see things as they are without attaching to them comparisons with the past and giving them a definitive label.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Breathing into health and wellbeing

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Groundbreaking research is revealing that a simple thing like how you breathe can be hugely transformational. Healthy breathing techniques embedded in ancient religious practice improves body posture, sleep, general wellbeing and spiritual growth.

In our stressed out modern lives we as a species have lost the ability to breathe as nature has designed. When the body is flooded with stress hormones we tend to breathe in fast short bursts from the upper throat and chest area with grave consequences for our immune system, mental and cardiological health.

Our ancestors knew better

Western medicine for a long time believed that the nose was more or less an ancillary organ and that it was no problem just breathing through the mouth. But the latest research is revealing that our ancestors had more expansive sinus cavities and larger mouths, creating wider airways for breathing. This is not only related to the better diet where people were forced to chew their food more than the processed food eaten by most people today but by breathing primarily through the nose.

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Scientists, studying the shapes of jaws and mouth cavities from skulls several hundred thousands years old were surprised by the quality of the teeth and jawbones meaning that our ancestors probably never suffered from chronic respiratory problems, sleep apnea, snoring, sinusitis, or allergies so common today.

Rituals performed by ancient peoples and the old religions have always understood the power of breathing and that certain breathing techniques are essential in experiential spirituality and elevation of consciousness.

The power of prayer

Researchers at the University of Pavia in Italy measured blood flow, heart rate and nervous system feedback of dozens of people reciting the popular Buddhist mantra Om Mani Padme Hum and the Latin version of the Catholic Ave Maria prayer. The breathing pattern changed instantly with blood flow to the brain increasing with functions of the heart circulation and nervous system reaching peak efficiency. Both prayer and mantra caused striking, powerful, and synchronous increases in existing cardiovascular rhythms when recited six times a minute.

Breathing through the nose

Inhaling and exhaling naturally through the nose is what you should be doing. As you inhale the nose warms and moisturizes the air. Your nose releases nitric oxide which widens the blood vessels allowing for better transportation of oxygen to vital organs. Your breathing will be deeper and slower increasing the volume of your lungs and diaphragm.

Conscious and focused deep breathing through the nose can instantly bring you from a state of high tension into a relaxed state of mind.

  • Sit upright holding one hand on your lower belly and the other in the heart area.
  • At the count of one inhale and exhale through your nose.
  • Continue until the count of twelve then switch your hands
  • Continue until the count of 24
  • Close by placing both your hands on your belly

You can learn more such breathing techniques in my online video course on mindful breathing exercises.

Low impact body exercises such as yoga, tai chi, qi gong and deep walking in nature will do wonders in reducing stress hormones in the body. When you focus on nasal breathing your body posture will also improve naturally. Especially when walking the key is finding a natural rhythm where you go into synchronicity with your body movement and with your surroundings as you breathe through the nose.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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