Monthly Archives: November 2021

Is humanity doomed?

A crew of fishermen sailed far onto the ocean. They waited patiently to pull in their catch when one of the men suddenly started punching a hole in the boat with an ax. Aghast the others pleaded with him to stop as they would all sink and drown. Unperturbed the man responded: “But this is my spot and I can do here as I please.”

The analogy is fitting when I read and hear arguments from friends who are still refusing to get vaccinated against COVID. Apart from arguments that it is “all a plot from big pharma” to the many side effects a vaccine could have, I’m also hearing that “it’s my body and my choice.”

Almost certainly you will also have such friends and family members. Engaging in an argument with them is wasted energy. You can only hope that they will at some point change their mindset.

Once an opinion becomes a belief and part of ego-identity, people hardly ever change their minds. An ego-mind will never admit that it was wrong and had all the time placed its bets on the wrong horse.

The pandemic has many lessons for humanity

The pandemic has many lessons for humanity as it transitions to the higher consciousness and the realization that we are one humanity. At the same time, we are seeing massive pushback from that side of humanity that refuses to progress into the new era and is clasping to outlived egocentric ideologies.

The virus is showing little regard for geographic boundaries and rich nations are beginning to realize that vaccines can’t be hoarded and should be made available to every human being on the planet. Societies are at the same time being torn apart over the question of how much we are willing to sacrifice our individual liberties and freedom of movement to protect the most vulnerable amongst us.

Like the man trying to cut a hole in the boat, there are limits to our high western ideal of individual liberty and freedom. It stops at that cutting edge where individual behavior and choice negatively impact society and humanity as a whole. Our societies would indeed be poorer on multiple levels if we lose our compassion for the weakest amongst us.

Our other big challenge, the climate crisis and humanity’s impact on entire ecosystems, is likewise showing us that we can only survive if we agree on some basic values and truths on how to keep the boat afloat.

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The fear of change

Every crisis at the same time lays bare where action needs to be taken. The solutions to winning the war over the pandemic and solving the climate crisis are well known. But humans are naturally averse to making changes, especially taking action that involves personal sacrifice.

In the same way, people will remain in notoriously dysfunctional relationships for years or stay in unhappy jobs because they are more afraid of change than remaining in the status quo. For, at its lowest denominator it remains a “predictable place of safety.”

However, there inevitably comes a point where the pain of the status quo becomes so painful that you will be galvanized into action. It’s like the alcoholic denying he has a real problem for many years until that one experience or epiphany has such impact that it pivots him into going into rehab.

You do not have to wait for that big moment of pain and darkest night of the soul moment. The universe, God, or divine intelligence, will always be dropping waymarkers along the way when you are moving in the wrong direction.

When you try to force the boat upstream you will eventually lose willpower and energy. By imposing or forcing an issue you inevitably go into tension. A solution can never be found during a stressed-out state of mind. A high level of stress hormones puts the body in a fight or flight mode. The solution might be right in front of you and you will not see it.

This is why we need a good balance between stress and recuperation cycles. Your mind will answer the most vexing question if you learn to put those dancing monkeys in the head at rest by learning to relax body, mind, and spirit.

Stress always begins with a thought and mostly it is about things outside of your control. If you adopt the attitude that ultimately everything serves a purpose and in some way happens for you instead of against you, everything becomes easier to deal with.

Alignment exercises can be a huge help. These could be anything from taking a deep walking nature meditation, alternate breathing, yoga, qi gong, and tai chi. The ancient low-impact body arts are becoming ever more popular methods of reconnection and alignment into that inner space of truth and authenticity.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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When nature moves closer

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

—Lao Tzu

Relationship to the self defines the relationship to nature. For too long we as humans have defined ourselves as a separate entity to the natural world that needed to be controlled, exploited, and subjugated. Gradually the realization is dawning that nature is an expression of the divine and that we are an integral part of the whole.

Feeling, breathing, and aligning with nature during a deep walking experience is one of the most underrated and best forms of healing, especially when you might be feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by all the negativity of the external world.

Aligning and healing with the help of nature

Some years ago I had a profound experience on one of my pilgrimage walks on the Camino de Santiago in northwestern Spain. I started the walk feeling exhausted and stressed out. Inevitably my thoughts would wander back to the daily treadmill of life.

Then, in the following days, as I found my natural walking rhythm I noticed nature coming closer. I was starting to smell the grasses and herbs along the path. Birds would fly close by, stray dogs would follow me for part of the way. On the mountain tops of the Camino Primitivo giant vultures sat motionless a mere two arms lengths away.

I started practicing going in sync with my surroundings by attuning my senses to one element in nature at a time. It would either be the butterflies dancing ahead of me, the calming sound of a creek nearby or just feeling the sensation of a breeze against my skin.

Immersing in nature in this way, I found, has an enormously regenerative and calming effect on all senses. I practice these exercises in nature now as often as I can, having the added benefit of living on a beautiful island in the Mediterranean.

Science confirms the positive effects of the green and blue spaces

Several scientific studies have meanwhile confirmed that the connection with the blue and green spaces in nature has many positive physical and psychological effects. Humans are naturally drawn to a beautiful river or lake.

The Japanese practice of shinrin yoku, or Forest Bathing, has been proven to reduce stress hormone levels and lower heart rate and blood pressure. Trees and plants emit substances called phytoncides which have been found to boost the immune system. 

Studies by Qing Li, a Japanese scientist who has been carrying out shinrin yoku research for many years, showed that Forest Bathing increases the Natural Killer cell activity in people, with at least some of this effect coming from phytoncides.

David Strayer, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, conducted a study in which participants saw a 50 percent improvement in creative problem solving after only three days immersed in nature with all access to modern technology removed.

We are very much a species that has lost its way, having become disconnected from nature while emphasizing technological advancement. It has become more pronounced in recent years with the addiction to digital gadgets with the average person in the United States spending about ten hours a day glued to a computer, smartphone, or television screen.

The sages of old, the Mystics and Shamans, have all tought us that nature offers so many important lessons if we would only stop and listen. Every significant place and and animal has a story and a legend. By reconnecting with nature we return to ancient wisdom, to a place of solitude deep inside – the power of the present moment.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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The monkey in a cage

“Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be obtained only by someone who is detached. ”
― Simone Weil

Much of what I’m seeing and hearing in the public discourse reminds me of how trappers in the wild catch a monkey. All it takes is a small cage with a bunch of bananas inside. The monkey will grab the tasty treat through a hole in the cage. But when trying to pull out the banana the hole is too small. The monkey will refuse to let go of the banana. Even with a real threat, the hunter, coming closer the monkey will still refuse to let go and is captured.

It is much the same with fixated beliefs, ideologies, and political persuasions. I read the other day a report of Covid patients still refusing to believe they had been infected with the virus while dying in a hospital intensive care unit. Everybody is entitled to an opinion. But if you are unable to adapt, change or review your opinion in the light of new evidence or facts you are also refusing to grow and elevate your consciousness.

So many minds, it appears are captured by the drumbeat of information silos where we are seeing debate marked by an extremely negative and divisive narrative. During these times it has become more important than ever to remain aligned with that inner spark of peace and beauty.

How we speak and what we speak about is a reflection of our thoughts. The actions we take are a reflection of how connected we are to the heart mind and soul nature. Evil thoughts and evil actions inevitably lead to evil fortune.

The wisdom of the ancient Mystics can be a good guideline. Basic human nature has not changed much over the centuries. There will always be a segment of people who don’t give any regard to the outcome of their actions. Meister Eckhart, the great Dominican friar of the early fourteenth century, warned against those whose “sole concern is how to gain honors, wealth and pleasure.”

These people, according to Eckart, are those who lack all sense of humility by “running in front of God.” Inevitably their lives will be haunted by what they call bad luck or a bad hand. They will be blaming God, fate, people different from themselves, and basically everyone for what has gone wrong in their lives. They are filled with hate, resentment, and anger. They are the malignant narcissists of our age who seek only personal validation and glory. They will never change their opinion and are captured by attachment.

Letting go of attachments

Attachment can be defined as a strong emotional bond to a person, thing, or cause. In extreme cases, it can be closely intertwined with personal perception and identity.

According to Eckart, there are those “imperfect” people who “walk close by God”, wishing to lead God rather than be led by him. They would like God’s will to be their will. We are seeing much of this behavior in religious and political fundamentalism. They are idealists at heart believing that the world would be an entirely different place if a certain ideology. belief or behavior is adhered to.

The “perfect” ones bow to humility in following God on a path that can also be one of hardship and suffering but ultimately leads to a life of bliss and happiness, according to Eckardt. It is what the Buddhists call living a life liberated from all forms of attachment.

It can also be understood as finding the connection to the inner spark of truth. Joy is found in the truth which all desire that is the pursuit of God’s will, according to Eckart. The Mystic describes walking the path of truth and pursuing the will of God as “an ardent desire” where we are “illuminated and captivated by the depth of our being.” Walking behind is described as “sinking into the essences” of all things.

Surrendering to a higher will instead of trying to impose your will is key to effective visualization practice. If desire becomes attachment you will be held captive to procrastination and be closing the door to the flow of the Tao or the universal energy. This is at the root of much of the unhappiness we are seeing around us. Attachment prevents the view from a different perspective where often the solution lies. You have to let go of everything “to win everything.”

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Difficulty finding your purpose?

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

A great many people are confused by the plethora of literature on finding your purpose in life as if there is one clear trajectory just waiting to be discovered so that you can live the life of your dreams of world fame in a beautiful home with an ocean view and a dozen sports cars parked in the garage.

There is nothing wrong in obtaining material abundance if you have a clear purpose for what you are using it for. The emphasis would be all wrong when there is a craving for the “having” instead of the “giving.”

Every so often I have a person telling me in exasperation: “I just seem to have no clue about finding my purpose in life!”

For most of us, it will be highly unlikely that we will end up being famous movie stars in Hollywood earning tens of millions of dollars. But some of the literature out there is telling people that all you need to do is to create a vision board and to trust in the universe fulfilling that dream.

It’s creating much unhappiness and frustration when hard reality sets in. The divine might have a completely different path set out for you than the outward symbols of what our culture defines as success. Some people who have spent all their life energy on external gratification find themselves in a deeply unhappy state when everything rings hollow and nothing can bring them joy. For, living somone else’s identity be it that of a parent, spouse or societal image would be a betrayal of your own authenticity.

Finding purpose is never done

Finding your purpose in life is a process that is never done. You have to rediscover anew every day your meaning, your authenticity, and your truth. Should I have big dreams? Of course you should. But be sure those dreams are in alignment with your core values and authenticity.

Material abundance is an important element but only one aspect of living your best life. If you are aware that you are an eternal spiritual being having a human experience a lifetime is but one stage in the evolution of soul nature.

“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. …

The life we receive is not short but we make it so;

we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.” – Seneca

Outer symbols of success are merely an emanation of an internal success mindset. In order to have abundance you need to have a mindset of abundance. Your “doing” and your creative nature need to be filled with a meaning that will serve both the world and the elevation of your consciousness.

There is a deep human need connected to soul nature that constantly strives to grow and develop in a creative process that is life’s journey. During the various stages of life we follow different way markers. It’s indeed a rarity when a person has an epiphany in early childhood that sets it on a clearly defined path of blooming into full potential.

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These people have been fortunate enough to be guided by peers with the experience to help nurture with great care that inner light waiting to illuminate the world. For most of us finding purpose is a journey taken on different paths in difficult terrain, getting lost, retracing one’s footsteps, and at some point finding that road converging into a clearly marked route.

The antidote to a scarcity mindset

A first step to finding purpose and meaning is the self-realization that “I am worthy.” “I have a voice and I have something to give”. A materially obsessed culture is infected with the scarcity mindset, the fear that the little I have will be taken away by someone.

Building a gratitude habit is the antidote to a scarcity mindset. It keeps you aligned and keeps building the bridge to your bigger goal:

  • Start your day reflecting on what is good in your life right now. Recognize your wins and what you are grateful for. Share with friends and family what you are grateful for.
  • Taking time out for reflection, play and recuperation is essential. Sometimes we just need time to sit in an armchair doing nothing or to play with the dog. It frees the mind for the bigger things.

The amount of positive vibration that you send out is really what matters. Becoming aligned with your core values is essentially a learning process of when to say “yes” and when to say “no”. When making a decision ask yourself:

  • Is this really aligned with my higher purpose?
  • Will this expand or deplete my energy?
  • Is this my ego seeking validation or does it serve the common good?

Standing guard at the doorway of your soul is key. What distracting and fear-induced voices are trying to pull me into a direction that is completely alien to my inner voice? Most of the time we sense intuitively what is happening but we fail to heed that voice because there is too much noise around.

When you resort to humility. When you fall still as you stand in awe at the beauty of creation, you may hear that whisper that is your destiny.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Do you really love yourself?

“How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you”

– Rupi Kaur

How you think about yourself and how you talk with yourself is key to how you see the world, and how you interact with others.

Much of the divisive anger we see around us each day can be traced to shame, and lack of self-esteem that has its roots in the hurt experienced by the inner child. The quality of all your relationships is determined by how you feel about yourself. The sad truth is that you will never experience a truly fulfilling, loving relationship unless you learn to love yourself.

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Loving yourself is such an important command that we find it eight times in the Bible. The most famous is in a quote from Jesus in Mark 12:30-31: “..Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

In the same vein, the Buddha said: You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

However, the lines between nurturing self-love and loving the ego often become blurred in our narcissistic culture. We are more concerned about how we are perceived and validated in the outside world than really doing the hard work of growing on a physical, mental, and spiritual level.

So what is the difference between loving the self and loving the ego?

In self-love, you will be in acceptance of who you are including all your challenges, weaknesses, hurts, and needs. The mantra is: “I love and accept myself the way I am.” It is a loving and humble submission to the self that is beyond the personality caught in external ideas and concepts.

When the release of “false Gods” or illusory concepts of the self takes place it is almost paradoxical, according to Eckart Tolle, that the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly. Things, people, or conditions that you thought you needed for your happiness now come to you without struggle or effort.

The work starts with getting to know yourself and acknowledging who you are not.

Taking time out for meditation and reflection is crucial. Tolerating alone time with the self is probably one of the hardest lessons for modern man pulled by the distraction of the 10,000 things. The voice of the inner child is often drowned by addictions and the obsession with immediate gratification.

Transmuting the pain of the inner child is a lifelong process. We are never done in the becoming of who we really are. Tracing the curveball emotions that hinder inner growth is best done with guidance from an experienced teacher or mentor who has taken a similar journey through the pain.

In an entitlement-driven culture, the ego-mind is held captive by the hungry ghosts that are never satisfied. The ego-mind is highly judgemental of others. How you are talking to yourself is an indicator of how harshly you judge yourself and others: “Why is this always happening to me?” Why am I always broke?” “Why does everyone hate me?” “Why am I not as beautiful, rich, and successful as…?”

Gratitude: The antidote to negative self-talk

A perfect antidote to negative self-talk is to switch that inner voice to something positive such as gratitude. When you change the perspective your mood will change instantly. Starting the day and ending the day with at least three things that you are immensely grateful for will set the course for how your day or night will be. No matter how bad your current situation might be there will always be things that you can be truly grateful for. We are blessed by the universe with countless things each and every minute of the day. It could be a simple thing such as being grateful to your body for all the work it is doing in sustaining you during your life on this earth. Basking in that feeling of gratitude and really feeling it on a mental and physical level does the trick.

Staying on the path

On the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, yellow waymarkers painted on walls, roads, and lamp posts prevent pilgrims from getting lost. It is not simply a way marker but a symbol reminding the pilgrim that during the walk of life you need to stay on course by showing loving kindness. Over centuries locals greet the pilgrims with the words: “Buen Camino” – a good path. After weeks on the road, the pilgrim will have been blessed in this way thousands of times. It reminded me on my own walks on the Camino that the simple things in life are often the most valuable.

Being greeted by a kind and smiling face from a stranger while struggling up a rugged mountain path makes all the difference. It costs nothing to be kind. Purpose and meaning in life can simply be spreading love and kindness to one’s fellow human being.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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