Walking your walk

Faith in the biblical sense can truly move mountains. Theresa decides to walk the Camino in an act of defiance after her doctor tells her that the cancer in her body will reduce her lifespan to six months at the most and that she should settle her affairs.

She walks the Camino with soft feet, sending her backpack ahead to the next town with a taxi. She completes her walk and returns home a different woman.

“That was five years ago,” she tells me as we drink our café con leche in one of the many bars dotting the Camino. This time she is walking the Camino the second time.

We are only in the infancy of discovering the true connection between body and mind. So many fellow pilgrims I’ve met on the Camino were told by family, friends, and associates that they would never be able to walk almost 800 kilometers over five weeks. We are capable of so much more than we think possible.

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The Austrian-born Jewish psychiatrist Victor Frankl (1905-1997) is renowned for his breakthrough research on the power of meaning. In his book Nevertheless, Say “Yes” to Life: A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp, also known under the bestselling title Man’s Search for Meaning, he narrates several observations in the Nazi death camps.

While incarcerated in Auschwitz, Frankl counseled fellow prisoners with his philosophy that a striving for meaning, even in the most harrowing of circumstances, is what keeps us alive.

Inmates who gave themselves up became suicidal and died, while those who saw some meaning, like telling the world about the Holocaust after liberation, survived.

It was the “will to meaning” that looked to the future, and not to the traumatic events of the past, that sustained people.

Despite losing his wife and nearly all his family in the holocaust, Frankl refused to dwell on the past.

Even in the worst possible situation, man still has freedom of choice and the ability to seek meaning in whatever situation he finds himself in, he argued.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way,” he wrote.

It’s a simple but profound truth. It all begins in the mind.

It is why a cancer patient will very often give up when told of the diagnosis. The word itself is so loaded with fear and mortality that the patient sees no hope. The shocked reaction of family and friends is often not conducive to the healing process either when the patient is asked on a daily basis how “the cancer treatment is going.”

We also know from research that patients who overload their friends and family on a daily basis with all the details of their illness do much worse than those who refuse to mention by name the illness, merely telling everyone that they are in a healing process.

Most fitness and weight-loss programs fail because of a negative mindset.

After an initial loss of weight or a couple of exercise sessions, most people give up and return to old habits because they haven’t found the real reason in their mind why they want to reduce weight or get fit. Some people even end up being more obese because they have subconsciously tricked their mind into putting on more weight. “I don’t want to be fat. I don’t want to be in debt,” are a double-negative with opposite the intended effect.

Reformulating that wish into a realistic feeling that is actually felt as emotion and pictured as an ideal outcome really works.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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A clue to happiness: How are you talking to yourself?

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.

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

Researchers have found that distraction, one of the major scourges of our time, is also a major cause of unhappiness.

Psychologists at Harvard University conducted a study with 2,250 volunteers, monitoring their thoughts and feelings, to find out how often they were focused on what they were doing, and what made them most happy.

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More than half the time people’s minds were wandering to other things. The researchers concluded that reminiscing, thinking ahead or daydreaming tends to make people more miserable, even when they are thinking about something pleasant.

Matthew Killingsworth, a doctoral student in psychology and lead author of the study, wrote in the journal Science:

“A human mind is a wandering mind and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.”

The human mind has between 60,000 – 70,000 different thought monkeys dancing through the head on one day. Becoming aware of these thoughts is the first step toward focusing on the moment.

It is an empowering thought to realize that you are in control of your thoughts and that with a little training you can regain control of these monkeys.

Thoughts are energy waves and they create reality. Where energy flows, the energy goes. The first step is to become aware of your current feeling. Is it predominantly, sad, angry, resentful, happy, or joyful? Negative emotions can sometimes be triggered by banal events, like a driver blowing his horn at you in a traffic situation. This then suddenly triggers an anger explosion that is completely out of proportion to the event. It would be one example of anger that has its roots elsewhere but hasn’t been transmuted.

Out of control emotions have a close connection to scattered thoughts and an uncentered state of mind. For me, deep walking retreats on the Camino in Spain have been a real eye-opener. While walking alone I was inevitably confronted by countless thoughts, especially during the first few days. It is part of the process of dumping old emotional garbage – some of which lie buried in the subconscious mind for years, sometimes to early childhood.

You will have made progress when you find your senses tuning in to the surroundings and becoming aware of the sights, sounds and smells around you.

What thoughts you have immediately after getting up in the morning have a major impact on your day. A dream could have stirred a negative emotion. But you are in control. You can reset your mind. You can set a positive anchor for the day with a meditation, a gratitude ritual, an exercise routine, a mantra, or a prayer.

Every time you catch yourself with a negative thought, you can train the mind to concentrate on breathing. Consciously counting the inhaling and exhaling sequence of breathing will immediately transmute that thought. If you click on my Podcast link below you will find a powerful meditation from ancient Qi Gong practice which I find enormously powerful and the effects of which can last for hours.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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The power of choice

As a young newspaper reporter in South Africa in the early 1980s, I once covered a trial of a man accused of brutally raping and murdering a young girl.  Once during the trial, our eyes met and a cold shiver ran down my spine. I had the feeling that I was looking into a dark cold abyss. The man was eventually found guilty and sentenced to death.

Eyes reveal your true nature 

Eyes are a window to the soul and we intuitively feel whether they are kind, compassionate and loving or the direct opposite. We live in a world of polarities. There is good and there is evil.  The pull between the tides, night and day, summer and winter, expansion and withdrawal is part of the yin and yang that make up our world.

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The story of Good and Evil is deeply embedded in our subconsciousness from the first story in the Bible. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was planted by God with the commandment to Adam and Eve not to eat from it. Pain and evil started in the world when Adam and Eve broke the commandment and ate from the tree. The question often asked is: “Why did God plant the tree in the first place?”

Co-creating with the power of choice 

One of the answers: By giving man the freedom of choice, God separated him from other beings, giving him the power of being a co-creator.  Choice separates us from other beings who do exactly what they have been designed for.  Choice separates us from being mindless zombies to being human with all our doubts, our pains, and emotions. By experiencing the dark night of the soul we appreciate all the more rejuvenation and happiness. It is in the dark night that we often gain the greatest spiritual insight and wisdom.

The lines between good and evil are getting blurred

By seeing and confronting evil we know what needs to be done. But in today’s world of information overload, professional deceivers have been given a massive platform for mind control.  The lines between good and evil get blurred when a lie becomes a truth through repetition in the echo chambers of social media.

Where there is spiritual disconnect, the loss of alignment between the above and the below, lack of purpose, and emotional turmoil the power of evil will manifest itself. Put in another way:  There is evil where there is a complete absence of God. It is that power that destroys the air we breathe, the waters we drink and the earth from which we are nurtured. As within so without.

In the past religion taught us that doing good was by following commandments, certain rituals, and a certain belief system.  It excluded all others who did not follow this belief system.  The preachers, themselves very often fallible human beings, were those who defined right and wrong.

The spirituality of the New Earth is internal rather than external. It is alignment with true self and soul purpose. From that grows the intuitive wisdom and power of discernment. We do the right thing and make the right choices from the base of mindful inner awareness that comes with continuous spiritual practice.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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2020: Our biggest challenge

In the northern hemisphere, the time between Christmas and New Year is characterized as the time of the “rough nights” with cold winds and snow battering the shutters. I like to use the time for reflecting on the blessings of the past year and working on my vision board for the year ahead.

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One of the great highlights of my year were the unforgettable conversations with the wonderful people I met while serving as a volunteer in a pilgrims hostel on the Camino in the village of Najera, northwestern Spain.

What are you doing with the rest of the days of your life?

People from numerous different age groups countries, cultures, religions and traditions are walking the Camino with burning questions such as: What do I need to do with the rest of the days of my life?  What are the ingredients of a happy, fulfilled and contented life of bliss? What can I do to make the world a better place for my children and grandchildren? Who am I on a deep soul level beyond what the world outside there is trying to tell me who I am and what I need to believe, consume and do?

I have delved into some of these questions and lessons learned on the Camino with my new book Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

Taking time-out for reflection and alignment

The idea and purpose is to inspire readers on how valuable our time on earth really is. We need a time-out every day to perceive our inner world and one of the best ways of doing so is taking a walk in nature. It is the start of healing self and when we heal self we can start healing the world outside. The state of our world is a reflection of our inner consciousness and state of mind.

Much of the western world has lost its spiritual compass with the over-emphasis on external gratification. “Things” can never compensate for the yearnings of the heart and soul. There is a reason why depression and other mental illnesses have become a scourge of our time. We no longer know who we are? It is not surprising when we are bombarded almost non-stop with information overload, and confused by professional deceivers on social media. On the threshold to a new decade, we are faced with possibly the biggest challenge of our time:

Moving to a restorative, sustainable mindset

We need to move from the exploitative, consumerist mindset that is rapidly destroying our ecosystems and foundation of life to one of sustainability and restoration.  The firestorms and unprecedented heatwaves in many parts of the world in the past year, the tornado winds and flooding have come much earlier than the climate scientists predicted. We don’t have much time left to make the turnaround and Nature is trying to tell us something.

We need to change how we are transporting ourselves, what we are eating and what we are consuming.

The Western diet of junk and processed foods is not only ruining our individual well-being and health. Mass agriculture and animal feed production is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. We need to eat less meat and we need to eat what comes from the local farmer.

The next decade is going to be defining in many ways. We are either going to make it or break it. Already the battle lines are drawn between raised human consciousness and the pushback from the fossil fuel-based industries and the exploitative mindset of the past.

The delusion the deceivers are putting out there is that the new consciousness wants to push us back into a poverty-stricken hunter and gatherer lifestyle.  The opposite is true. Imagine a much better carbon-free world in 2030 with cutting edge clean-energy transportation, clean air and rivers, oceans, lakes, and forests teeming with life, and foods that keep us healthy and fit.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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After the walk, the real journey begins

Limiting beliefs planted from early childhood can have a powerful hold far into adulthood preventing the fulfillment of a purpose-filled life and the expansion of soul consciousness.

So many fellow pilgrims on the Camino, especially women, told me of the huge pushback they faced from husbands, parents, siblings, friends and even children who tried to dissuade them from going on a pilgrimage.

The pushback often comes from close friends and family

Very often those people closest to you pull you down when they hear you talk of an “outlandish” business idea, or going on that trip you have dreamed about taking for so long.

When you move to a higher energy frequency and start becoming strong, you will awaken demons with some of the people you surround yourself with. These are people stuck in their own fears and uncertainty who feel threatened when a member of their tribe breaks out.

If you take time out to walk the Camino in Spain for a four- or five-week period, you will come back a changed person, and this is sensed by the people around you.

Many pilgrims find it very difficult to fall back into the same old rhythm they left prior to walking the Camino. It is like going back to a different world.

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The real pilgrimage begins after the pilgrimage

“I was hardly back home when I broke down. Everything seemed so strange. Everyone was going about their business and I just couldn’t find my place anymore,” a German pilgrim said after her return. After the pilgrimage, another pilgrimage begins- the pilgrimage of reflecting on and integrating all the experiences made on the path.

We have many associates but when it comes down to it, we have very few real friends who truly understand us and are supportive of our soul growth process.

Be careful who you open up to 

Fellow pilgrims, who shared the deep spiritual experiences after returning from the Camino, were sometimes ridiculed by friends or family members. My advice, therefore: Be careful who you open up to. Few people are genuinely interested. Most people are just curious or have hidden motives. Probably the only people who will really understand you are those people with whom you shared the same experience on the Camino.

And, sometimes it is better to keep the deepest spiritual experience to yourself because words only limit what has been felt on a soul level.

We often stay too long in relationships that have long outlived their purpose. Some people are givers and some are takers. The question that needs to be asked is: Do I feel comfortable, uplifted and energized when I’m in the company of that person? Or do I feel emotionally drained, exhausted and in a bad mood after spending time with him or her?

Getting support from those who give rather than take

A partner, family member or friend who really is focused on your well being will resonate with your enthusiasm, see the opportunity rather than the danger and offer unconditional support while you are on the path.

What is the main reference group that influences you on many levels?  Every so often it might be necessary to reflect on this.

It’s not that you want to hurt and exclude some people from your life. But the time might have come just to spend much less time with them and to spend more time with those people who really uplift you.

A good exercise is: Who are the five people you would choose to live with on a lonely island? Who are the people you would only want to spend a weekend with? Who are the three-minute people you want to remain polite with but keep at a clear distance?

A good guideline is the content of your conversations. Are you sharing uplifting ideas and thoughts or are you spending your time gossiping about other people and wallowing in negative things that happened in the past?

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Mastering your emotions

Human relationships are extraordinarily complex and wrought with conflict as we soon realize when we are forced to spend time with people we would never have chosen as friends.

What emotions do you trigger in people?

There are people whose company we enjoy and there are people that make us feel uncomfortable as soon as they enter the room.  Mostly it is about what emotions they trigger within us. Sometimes our mere presence might trigger the demons within another person.

Our narcissistic culture is encouraging the right to vent and rant. Its why we are seeing so much online bullying that is causing great suffering and pain, especially among teenagers.

Putting the need to vent above the relationship

When one person in a relationship puts the need to vent over the impact this has on the long-term relationship, the consequences are inevitable.  A petty difficulty becomes a problem and the downward spiral begins.

The art is to learn mastery over negative thoughts and emotions, and to be giving, kind and living a meaningful, purposeful life.

Awareness is the first step

The root cause of an angry outburst often has its origins in an old pain that has not been transmuted. Leaving the “blame-game” and entering the process of self-reflection sadly mostly only begins after divorce, separation and other trauma.

Becoming aware of what emotion surfaces in any situation is always the first step to self-awareness. What makes me so sad, and so angry? What am I really angry about? Is it about the spilled milk or does that emotion go deeper? It is helpful in such a situation to focus on breathing. Inhale and exhale a few times before you respond to that hurtful email message.

Tapping is another good method of not losing self-love and respect despite being in a cycle of negative emotions. For me,  “Deep Walking”  in nature is one of the best ways of shedding those negative shackles that lie embedded in the subconscious.

Negative people are masters at manipulation!

Negative people are powerful manipulators. They feed on the drama they trigger and the attention from being the talk of the day.

In being human, we all have bad moments whether we are rich, famous, poor, beautiful or just ordinary.  The difference between the happy, successful people and those that are in a permanent cycle of negativity is the ability to transmute every experience and to move on in the understanding that life is cyclical.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

(Read more on this topic in my new book “Deep Walking for Body Mind and Soul” Ebook scheduled for publication by Morgan James in New York on May 5th, 2020. Printed edition scheduled for the major outlets in August 2020)
https://www.reinogevers.com

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Deep Walking to the inner self

Walking the Camino in Spain is a profound experience and many pilgrims have turned their daily journals into books.  Why another Camino book? It was a question I also asked myself before starting my second book on the Camino.

It is almost three decades ago that the actress Shirley Maclean chronicled her pilgrimage in “The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit.”  For Maclean, who was in her 60s at the time, the Camino was an intense spiritual and physical challenge with her journey also taking her back to past lives.

Paulo Coelho, one of the world’s most influential authors, wrote  “The Pilgrimage” in 1986 after walking to Santiago, inspiring numerous people to walk the Camino. German comedian Harpe Kerkeling’s “I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago followed with his bestseller in 2006.

Some of the world’s greatest artists found inspiration on long walks

After walking my twelfth Camino in 2017, I delved into more research and was surprised to find that some of the world’s most creative and talented artists, including Johann Christian Bach, William Blake, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau explored their inner worlds on long walks.

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When a hike turns into a pilgrimage

Several of the many pilgrims I met during my walks said that they started their journey on the Camino as a hike and ended it as a pilgrimage.

In a world of constant digital distraction, the search for new spiritual meaning by “knowing and embracing the true self has become a matter of survival.”  I hope to inspire people to explore their inner world while deep walking in nature.

Walking “things off” in releasing the shadow and hurts of the past, gradually opens the cracks to the soul. By healing the inner we heal the outer. Walking is not only the most effective and underrated form of exercise but can be a real walk to spiritual renewal.

When nature whispers to the soul

Deep Walking on a pilgrimage is not just a walk.  Walking on paths where pilgrims have walked for centuries works on many subtle levels.

A pilgrimage walk is a mindful becoming aware of the simplicity with which nature can heal and whisper to the soul.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

(Read more on this topic in my new book “Deep Walking for Body Mind and Soul” Ebook scheduled for publication by Morgan James in New York on May 5th, 2020. Printed edition scheduled for the major outlets in August 2020)

https://www.reinogevers.com

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