Monthly Archives: August 2021

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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Filed under Camino de Santiago, deep walking, Pilgrimage, self-development, spirituality

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.

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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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Filed under mental health, mental-health, Uncategorized

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.

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Pexels.com

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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Prioritizing your core values

I recently had the privilege of visiting one of the most stunning chapels in the United Kingdom. Positioned in the Surrey Hills southwest of London, Watts Chapel is a masterpiece of architecture, Celtic imagery and terracotta clay artwork.

The interior design follows the medieval notion of God in heaven and moving downward to earth with the dome of the chapel representing heaven with God depicted in the form of a circle with no beginning and no end. Four messenger angels closest to God have their arms raised in blessing each representing values and symbolizing the divine connection to these principles.

The non-negotiable principles

Your values should be non-negotiable and define who you really are. It as an ideal to strive for and commonly referred to as virtues in past generations.

Pope Gregory the Great first defined a set of seven values in the 6th century based on older Greek religious values. These are:

Faith the belief doing the right things
Hope a trust that good will prevail
Charity a voluntary giving and help for others
Fortitude overcoming fear and remaining in trust even when facing obstacles
Justice being fair and equitable with others
Prudence exercising moderation and caution
Temperance moderation and self-control, especially regarding toxic emotions

There are several methods in defining those three to five core values most important to you. They could be some of those above or such values as dependability, reliability, positivity, integrity, kindness, authenticity or loyalty.

Passing decision-making through the filter of your core values

If your core values and principles are not congruent with the work you do on a daily basis or in your relationships you will become increasingly fatigued and exhausted. Soul purpose is closely aligned with your principles. Your five key core values, essentially define the ideal you are striving for in life.

We are almost faced daily with important decision-making. At times we are at the crossroads of having to change jobs ,undertaking an important business venture or to go deeper in a relationship. We mull over the decision-making process for days but it all becomes a lot easier when you pass the “yes” or “no” through the filter of your core values.

During a time when we are experiencing a gradual elevation of consciousness as a humanity an increasing number of people are questioning their roles in corporations or institutions. Especially, when values, actions and statements of a company are no longer congruent with personal values and norms we have an increase of job burnout among the employees.

It might be time to move the ladder

If you are feeling over a lengthy period of time this inconsistency of public and individual ideal you need to make a change. In my case I got clarity over my future and my personal core values after taking a time out on a pilgrimage walk lasting several weeks. I knew that I had to get out of a dysfunctional marriage and leave my journalist job that once enabled me to live my ideals but was no longer doing so in the digital world.

You could well also be in a situation where you realize that you have placed the ladder against the wrong wall for many years and that its time to move it to another space. After hosting numerous stress-management workshops in the corporate world I compiled the essentials in a 40-day online course: “Stepping into authenticity. Living to BE”

Typically when illness, constant obstacles and frustrations come your way, it would often be the universe telling you to make that change. On the other hand if you are congruent with your innermost values everything seems to fall into place. The universe enables you meet the right people at the right time who help open the door for you to a new beginning. Or you realize in an instant that you are just in the right place at the right time. You just happen to come across that book that opens up an entirely new perspective.

American entrepreneur, speaker and author Jim Rohn once said: “The major value in life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become.” And the Greek philosopher Aristotle defined the ultimate value in life as “awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.”

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing: If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. Check out also the latest online courses for you to download my books and our retreats on the island of Majorca.

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When the lie becomes the truth

We need more understanding of human nature, because the only real danger that exists is man himself. He is the great danger, and we are pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man, far too little. His psyche should be studied, because we are the origin of all coming evil.Carl Gustav Jung

We know so little about ourselves and how susceptible the mind is to external manipulation and deception. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung was passionately concerned with the survival of the human race warning with growing concern in the 1920s of the destructive collective forces in neighboring Germany.

Prophetically he observed that fascism flourished in an environment where it was becoming harder and harder for the average person to discern truth from fiction. People lose their ability to perceive reality. A collective psychosis had taken hold of Germany where ordinary people were showing signs of battle eagerness. Moral judgement became clouded as people stood by when the Nazis burned synagogues, looted Jewish shops and took away neighbors to concentration camps.

Evil and the capturing of the collective mind

When there is no longer a clear distinction between truth and the lie, evil starts capturing the collective consciousness. Jung described what was happening in Nazi Germany as a “collective totalitarian psychosis.”

Recently the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk described our current situation as something akin to “the late Middle Ages where there is a refusal to join the path to modernity and science-based civil society…There is a flourishing of sectarian opinion groups that have a euphoric experience together assuming a shared privileged access to truth.”

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The individual separated from soul purpose and integrity

When a collective totalitarian psychosis starts taking root the individual is being coerced by the professional deceiver and demagogue into lying to himself. There is inevitably a separation between soul purpose, integrity and authenticity. The individual is swept away by a type of totalitarian mass hypnosis.

When evil is unleashed on a mass scale such as in Nazi Germany ordinary citizens start serving “Satan” by being obedient citizens in following the group consensus and adopting behavior that would normally be suppressed in the shadow consciousness.

Bearing in mind the Nazi’s ability to distort the truth, Jung warned: “Nothing has such a convincing effect as a lie one invents and believes oneself.”

Jung’s recipe against becoming trapped by the totalitarian psychosis, was training one’s own mind to become conscious of its own forces of darkness.

“Unfortunately, there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants himself to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”

The twofold nature of man

It is what the great Mystics and spiritual teachers have taught over the centuries. The 13th-century monk Meister Eckhart wrote of the twofold nature of man. “Whoever knows himself knows all creatures, for all creatures are either body or spirit.”

St Jerome describes the moment of incarnation into flesh as the individual being possessed by the good spirit, an angel, and an evil spirit, a devil.”

The evil spirit converses at all times with the outward man and lies in wait for the inward man like a serpent. Therefore the Greek philosophers Cicero and Seneca recommended a constant awareness and training of the mind in cultivating the good and the wise or the divine spirit.

Disaster is inevitable where a character who has not transmuted the shadow is entrusted with too much wealth and power. Personal inferiority is projected onto an illusory threat. Fuel is poured onto the fires of inflection points along race, gender, class, nationality and religious issues.

Transmuting the shadow is cultivating self-love, compassion, and gratitude. It is the acceptance that we remain incomplete beings on a path of becoming who we are meant to be.

Johannes Tauler, another 13-century Mystic, had a deep understanding of what it means to be human and how our very human mistakes can be transmuted into purpose and meaning:

“The horse drops dung in the stable. Although the dung is unclean and evil smelling, the same horse laboriously pulls the same dung to the fields where fine wheat and good sweet wine grow from it, which would never grow so well if the dung were not there. Now your dung is your own faults which you cannot rid yourself of or overcome. These you should carry with much effort and labor to the field of God’s will in true detachment from yourself. Scatter your dung on this noble field and without any doubt there shall spring up noble and delightful fruit.”

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing: If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. Check out also the latest online courses for you to download my books and our retreats on the island of Majorca.

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