Survival strategies in times of duress

Many people at the moment are feeling their safety blanket pulled away from them with a jolt. Within days lives have been turned upside down. The mental stress triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic is causing illnesses not spoken about much in the public arena.

When you are under duress the body is flooded with stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Blood vessels contract, your heartbeat starts racing, the body is pulled taught like a tightrope. The fear reaction in the brain’s amygdala is triggered even before you have time to process and think rationally.

Creativity and solutions come from a relaxed state of mind

In the fear and flight mode,  you go into tunnel vision. The prefrontal cortex of the brain has no time to process what is happening. In a relaxation mode, the prefrontal cortex can, however, perform its executive function in differentiating between conflicting thoughts and determining future consequences of current activities on a rational level.

This is why creativity and solutions always come from within a natural flow of a relaxed mind and body.  Mistakes and terrible decisions are made when we are in a hurry and under stress.

The fight or flight hormones have played an important role in helping us survive as a species. The problem is if you don’t find time to bring those stress hormones back to normal both your mental health and immune system are affected, opening the body to all sorts of infections.

Transmuting trauma with ritual

Our forbears were well aware of the importance of ritual in transmuting trauma and stress e.g. in all-night ecstatic dancing, singing and drumming sessions – long walks in nature. Animals still have the mechanism intact. A herd of antelope will run apparently haphazardly in all directions after a kill by a predator. Their bodies shiver and shake, but minutes later while the lions are feasting, the rest of the herd resumes grazing as if nothing has happened.

The ancient languages of Sanskrit, Aramaic, and Latin are particularly powerful in their healing vibrational energy. This is why the old Latin hymns and Buddhist mantras are so effective.

Sea

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

Change has a deeper meaning

Humming the mantra oma mani padme hum is the practicing of a path of indivisible union of method and wisdom, transforming impure thoughts and tension. In the original Aramaic language, spoken by Jesus, the biblical third Beatitude: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” takes on an entirely new meaning. “Tubwehun I’ makiche d’hinnon nertun arha,” roughly translates to:

“Renewal to those in emotional turmoil and blessed are those who can soften that which has hardened in their bodies.”

When we take the perspective that change is at the same time evolution it is easier to deal with the challenges of our time.  If you bend your body with the force of the wind you can stand upright when the wind has subsided. It is one of the laws of nature that you can only survive as a species if you adapt, change and realign with changed external circumstances not under your control.  This is not a time to procrastinate in the sadness over that which is no more. Perception creates your reality.

We live in a world of polarity with a constant tug between the forces of yin and yang.  In the acceptance of these ups and downs and the impermanence of all things, inner solitude and peace are found.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

Gevers-DeepWalking CVR.indd               paperback_cover_1

Order here

applepodcast         

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Lessons from nature on Covid-19

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree – Martin Luther – 

From a spiritual dimension, everything has purpose and meaning.

When we look at the coronavirus or Covid-19 crisis from the perspective of the Five Elements, the metal element comes into play.

scott-webb-r4gqCg1iies-unsplash

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Covid-19 is attacking us where we are most vulnerable

We are seeing that the virus is spreading especially fast through contact and touch between humans with most of the deaths caused by an infection of the lung.

The metal element represents the body organs of the lung and large intestine on a physical level. They find expression in the nose, the breathing aspect, and the skin – the sense that we go into contact with our external world. The virus is ignoring boundaries of nations, ethnicity and religion. We are all in this together as a human race.

The insidious nature of the virus is that it is attacking us at the very essence of our behavior patterns. We greet each other with our hands as a gesture of politeness and friendship. We hug and kiss the people we love. We touch hands when we give comfort.

A time for introspection during lockdown?

The metal element moves the body energies inward.  This element represents the season of autumn when nature itself starts contracting. It reaches completion with the water element with plant life withdrawing into the roots and animals going into hibernation.

On the emotional level when the Element Metal is weakened we go into grief. Grief is much about the sadness about that which was and is no more. Our very world has changed and will never be the same.  There is much grief, sadness and fear (fear is the emotion of the water element) over that which has changed in our world and is no more.

Humanity has broken the code of nature

Our skin, which is the outer expression of the large intestine, is about setting and accepting boundaries whether we choose or deny body contact and what we inhale and exhale in energy around us. What we inhale we become. What are we inhaling in negative thoughts, news, and distractions? How much have we broken the code of nature in exploiting and destroying our own and the life systems of other living beings?

Moving from grief into courage 

Metal energy that is in balance has courage. Despite the fear, anxiety and melancholy sadness we are seeing many people rediscovering community. Health workers are working tirelessly to help others. Groups are helping to do the shopping for the elderly. Courage is facing the truth of the moment and regaining control. We don’t have control over the external circumstances but we have control over our reactions to them. Staying in the moment is the big challenge. It is acknowledging what is happening in the world, acknowledging our fears, our grief, and sadness, then to transmute those emotions into courage.
Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

Gevers-DeepWalking CVR.indd               paperback_cover_1

Order here

applepodcast         

3 Comments

Filed under happiness, psychology, self-development, spirituality, Uncategorized

Coronavirus: Lessons for humanity

There are decades where nothing happens,

and there are weeks where decades happen.”

– Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

It was a beautiful sunny spring day in 1986. Nature was awakening from the long winter with white and yellow daffodils blooming on lush green meadows. Birds were singing and looking out to build their nests. Nobody could see the invisible enemy: Airborne radioactive contamination sweeping over northern Europe from the world’s worst nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl power plant in the Soviet Union.

Defining moments of history 

Radio and TV were warning the population, especially pregnant women, to stay indoors. It was one of those defining moments of history that precipitated the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.

These last weeks have been a deja vu experience. Here on the beautiful island of Majorca, we are locked into our homes for at least the next three weeks as beautiful spring days unfold. It is one of the defining moments in a lifetime which we will remember like the 9/11 terror attack – where those of us alive at the time remember exactly what we did that day.

The fear pandemic

The coronavirus crisis is changing our world as we know it and teaching humanity a number of lessons.  The emotional, psychological and economic impact will be far more profound than the impact of the virus itself. I wrote in a previous blog that the uncertainty, global lockdowns and constant bombardment of negativity on social media are creating a global fear and anxiety pandemic.

During such times it is crucial to remain grounded and not to be distracted by the constant stream of coronavirus news trackers and horror scenarios.  Humanity is challenged enormously when everything that we know changes within days and weeks. For some, it is too much to bear and we need to be supportive, mindful and caring to those vulnerable people around us. Not only the old, weak and frail but also those who are feeling mentally on the edge.

sky

Raised human consciousness

The coronavirus crisis is one of the events driving humanity another notch up to a raised higher consciousness. Sometimes we need a jolt and a wake-up call like an alcoholic lying flat on the ground in desperation before he seeks a cure. Interestingly, the coronavirus is also called “covid-19”. In geomancy, the primary root number of the 19 is 1 (1 +9 = 10 = 1+0 = 1).  The one marks the beginning of a new era in the cycle of elements (spring or wood element). The 9 stands for the universal spiritual law, enlightenment, and service for humanity.

Having versus BEING

The opposite of the obsession and attachment to things is Living to BE. Being is opening the senses to nature, is living in the moment, and gratitude. We are social beings and happiness is in friendships and the love we give and get from the loved ones around us. The enemy is not another nation, another race, another religion, or another political party. We are affected globally by this challenge as a human species. We are having to move into a collective responsibility, especially in dealing with climate change and the destruction of our ecosystems of which we are an essential part. Moving from Having into Being is changing our entire economic system from exploitation to one than is sustainable and restorative. It is necessary and essential to our survival as we don’t have much time left.

The power of thought

Already we are seeing a counter-movement to the general feeling of despondency. Social media groups are developing fast committed to posting just positive news and funny stories. Volunteer organizations are being formed in towns and villages to help support the elderly who cannot leave their homes to go shopping. While we have a culture of narcissism focused on individual gratification and validation, the counter-movement is focused primarily on service and uplifting the community spirit. Challenges and crisis situations are also opportunities to rise to the occasion and to bring out the best in us.

Nature needs a break 

Friends living in big cities are telling me that they can hear for the first time the birds singing because there is no traffic noise. Pollution levels are down everywhere. The lagoon in Venice is so clear that fish can be seen for the first time because all the boats and cruise ships are no longer churning up the sediment. Nature is rejoicing in this short break from the human rat race.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

Gevers-DeepWalking CVR.indd               paperback_cover_1

Order here

applepodcast         

 

Leave a comment

Filed under environment, gratitude, mental-health, psychology, raised consciousness, self-development, spirituality, Uncategorized

Dealing with anxiety and fear

Our mind is primarily programmed to focus on the negative. It is part of our survival toolkit as a human species. We are magically drawn to sensational news and images of catastrophes. During this time it is particularly important to protect your mental health and to guard your mind against fear and anxiety.

Guarding the mind against fear and anxiety

The constant dosage of coronavirus trackers with updates on infections and deaths, the lockdowns and drastic measures taken by many countries with the accompanying huge economic fallout is already having a major effect on mental health.

We should be mindful and look after our health during every influenza epidemic because it always has a major impact on the elderly with a weak immune system and those people with a history of poor health.  Bear in mind that we are not reading much about two-thirds of the people who fell ill with the coronavirus who only had mild symptoms and have recovered. 

Learning the lessons from a crisis

Every crisis teaches us something.  We need to look beyond the surface. As a humanity we need to go into deep introspection on what we are doing to our earth and our fellow living beings.  Nature is teaching us that we need to move away from an exploitative to a more sustainable economic model.  Short-term external gratification cannot replace the soul’s yearning for spiritual growth and meaning.

The worst and the best of mankind

A crisis triggers both the worst and the best in mankind. While some folk are fighting over toilet paper and hoarding grocery items others are discovering an entirely new sense of community. We are social animals and need the cooperative support of each other. The image of the Italians singing from the balconies of their homes will be of lasting impact. China is finally clamping down on the meat trade of endangered species, with growing evidence that the virus probably emanated from the endangered pangolin. 

spring flower

Hope springs

Practicing control of emotion and thought

Being locked down in our homes gives us time for reflection on what truly matters. If we stay calm, centered and in alignment with the higher self we can be of much more support to those loved ones around us.  Here are some tips on how to stand guard at the doorway to your soul.

  • Whenever you have a negative thought or feel a negative emotion such as fear replace it with a good thought or happy moment. What image or memory makes your heart expand or makes you laugh?
  • Breathing meditation. Focus your mind on your breathing. At the count of one I inhale and at the count of one I exhale – counting until 21.  Check out my immune-boosting meditation on Podcast.
  • Take a walk in nature – if you can. Find a spot where you can focus your attention on one sound that you find comforting such as a bird singing, rustling of leaves in a tree or water running over a stone in a creek. Just concentrate on that one sound for several minutes.
  • Our environment, our associations and our thoughts have a major impact on our mental well-being.  Radically reduce associations with people who bombard you with negativity. Reduce the consumption of negative media to a minimum. What we read, watch and think is what we become.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

Gevers-DeepWalking CVR.indd               paperback_cover_1

Order here

applepodcast         

 

Leave a comment

Filed under lifestyle management, mass media, meditation, mental-health, self-development, spirituality, Uncategorized

Fear and the coronavirus

The coronavirus panic buttons are omnipresent. The fighting over toilet rolls in empty supermarkets to the social ostracising of anyone looking Chinese is telling us something about the fragile state of human society.

Where conspiracy theorists and professional deceivers on social media dominate the narrative fear takes hold.  Fear triggers stress hormones that switch off rational thought, putting the body into fight or flight mode.

Fear and panic stir the darkest sides of human nature with an “everyone for himself” attitude, nationalism, xenophobia and a fallback to the perilous age of pre-Enlightenment.

olesya-yemets-LyW7pqsP81k-unsplash

Photo by Olesya Yemets on Unsplash

Mass panic takes on its own dynamics and its anyone’s guess how long the economic fallout will be in the next few months: Complete breakdown of the cruise ship industry, and factories closing because of supply chain interruptions?

We know from neurological research that when the mind is under stress or in high emotional turmoil that cognitive and level-headed thought is impossible. You will not perceive or hear the voice of reason if you are in panic mode.

Let’s stick with the facts that come directly from the experts quoted by traditional media: The coronavirus is influenza.  If we take normal precautions the likelihood of becoming infected is relatively small and of dying from it even smaller. The victims so far have been predominantly among the elderly with a weak immune system.  With most people, it is a mild infection.

By early March the global death toll from the virus was just over 3,000 with most of them coming from China.  Both China and Italy have a large elderly population.

Humanity is faced by far greater threats than the coronavirus. Climate change has already claimed hundreds of thousands of lives and livelihoods as a result of flooding, heatwaves and freak storms.  One person dies every 40 seconds from suicide. It is the second leading cause of death in the age group of 15-29-year-olds globally.  And lets just look at the death toll of the normal annual flu: At least 12,000 people have died from influenza between Oct. 1, 2019 through Feb. 1, 2020, and the number of deaths may be as high as 30,000 – just in the United States.

We are all going to die at some point. But in a world of spiritual disconnect, the fear of death is profound. Death is not something we like to talk about. We have banished the experience of it to old age homes and hospices.

Fear of death evaporates with spiritual practice. It comes from the realization that the body is merely a vehicle to higher soul elevation that moves into a different dimension when the sojourn on this earth has come to an end.  Within a different state of consciousness, the mind quietens amid the din of confusion and panic sirens.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

Gevers-DeepWalking CVR.indd               paperback_cover_1

Order here

applepodcast         

 

1 Comment

Filed under humanity, lifestyle management, meditation, psychology, Uncategorized

Is religious being spiritual?

What is religious and what is spiritual?  At its best religion is a ritualized expression of the spiritual. At its worst, it becomes an instrument of dehumanization and control.

While religion focuses on who you are supposed to be by abiding by certain rules of conduct and practice, spirituality is all about becoming who you really are with all your unique, individual, God-given potentials and abilities.

spirituality

Religion is a doctrine that tells you what to believe, what group you need to belong to and what rules you have to follow. Spirituality is experienced from within. You believe because you have felt and experienced. You do the “right thing” because you just know what is good and what is bad for the Greater Whole.

Most of the many fellow pilgrims I have spoken to on my walks on the Spanish Camino would describe themselves as spiritual seekers rather than followers of a certain religious doctrine.

In becoming mindful and watchful for the subtle messages of the universe transmitted in dreams, images, and symbols, life takes on an entirely different meaning. Put in a different way: God speaks to us in many different ways.

We are on the brink of another raised level of human consciousness which is non-divisive, universalist, tolerant, self-reflective and compassionate.

At the same time, elementary and revolutionary changes are always confronted with a backlash from those defending the old order.

In recent years we have seen a frightening rise of movements seeking to divide and separate with fear-instilling messages, propounded by dangerous narcissistic and ego-driven leaders.

It is the natural pendulum of the yin and the yang. Energy is wasted in the hysteria over the actions coming from the shadow.

In going with the higher frequency of the raised consciousness, the danger is that we react with the same patterns as our adversaries. We also become hateful, ranting and vengeful.

Yet when seen according to the law of opposites that is the foundation of life, a different perspective can be taken. Identity is defined in terms of the opposite and it is often when confronted with the extreme opposite that we are galvanized into action.

(This is an extract from “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul”)
Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

Gevers-DeepWalking CVR.indd               paperback_cover_1

Order here

applepodcast         

 

Leave a comment

Filed under meditation, psychology, raised consciousness, self-development, spirituality, Uncategorized

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.

path.jpg (1)

Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

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

Gevers-DeepWalking CVR.indd               paperback_cover_1

Order here

applepodcast         

 

1 Comment

Filed under Camino de Santiago, lifestyle management, Pilgrimage, psychology, spirituality, Uncategorized