Monthly Archives: May 2023

Doing or Being?

Some years ago I was not in a very good place stuck in a dysfunctional relationship and a stressed-out job. My thoughts revolved around starting to live at some point in the distant future. A friend who took pity on me advised me to walk the famous pilgrimage route, the Camino de Santiago in northwestern Spain.

Like many first-time walkers on the Camino, I was obsessed about reaching my destination at a certain time in order to secure my place in a bunk bed in a pilgrims’ hostel. The Camino is in so many ways an analogy of life which is why it has become such a popular destination for modern-day spiritual seekers.

Walking too fast and missing the waymarker

With a backpack much too heavy, poor-quality hiking boots, and a hurting foot I was battling both physically and emotionally. There is a saying that if you walk the Camino like a hiker with physical intent it will force you into humility. While walking too fast, I missed the waymarkers and got horribly lost. At one point I had to seek refuge in a grotto during a heavy thunderstorm in the Pyrenees mountains, far off my route.

How many times in life does the universe send warning whispers that we have missed a waymarker and are on the wrong path? How obsessed are we with things we think we need but insist on keeping them in our backpack?

Forced to go much slower, I gradually felt my senses reawakening to the magic of the moment. I started inhaling the aroma of wild thyme, rosemary and oregano. I added mint to my water bottle. A singing blackbird followed me for part of the way. I befriended stray dogs and cats and met wonderful people who are still friends today. For the first time in many years, I felt an aliveness and vibrancy in my body.

Trapped in doing rather than BEING

Over the years, I’ve observed other pilgrims going through the same process. Hikers would pride themselves on the number of kilometers they had done that day. People doing the route on a bicycle would go into tunnel vision, oblivious to the sights and sounds around them. If you are trapped in the rat race of doing rather than BEING it is difficult to push the reset button overnight. At the end of the day, slow and mindful walkers would converse on the magical experiences they had that day while those in a race would look at them in disbelief.

So much of our lives are wasted carrying the weight of the past, and living in some distant future working for time-off at the weekend, the annual vacation, and the years when we can start living when retiring from a job we always hated. When the day finally comes, we live the final years of our life in regretful grumpiness of what was and is no more.

It helps to train your awareness that life is finite and that you will die one day. With your last breath, you will leave this earth into formlessness. You won’t be taking any of your precious earthly possessions with you. All that remains will be consciousness.

So you might as well stick around a little longer and enjoy the moment. Practicing mindfulness is ideally done in the stillness of nature.

  • Focus your attention on your breath. Observe your thoughts and sensations without judgment. By consistently practicing mindfulness, you can cultivate a heightened sense of awareness and presence in your everyday life.
  • Engage Your Senses: Pause and notice the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and physical sensations around you. Fully immerse yourself in the present moment by bringing awareness to the details of your sensory experiences.
  • Slow Down and pay attention: Challenge yourself to slow down and be fully present in each moment. Whether you’re eating, walking, or engaging in any other daily activity, do it with intention and attentiveness.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Filed under Camino de Santiago, mental health, mental-health, self-development, spirituality

Blinded by the glare of the things

“The five colors blind the eye; The five tones deafen the ear; The five flavors dull the taste. Racing and hunting madden the mind; Precious things lead one astray.” – Lao Tzu

We are living in an age where technological progress has generated prosperity for a vast number of people and created a lifestyle for the average person that the most powerful kings and queens in the Middle Ages could not ever have imagined. Life expectancy, health care, mobility, and hygiene are at unprecedented levels in human history.

Individual self-realization, self-interest, and ambition have been powerful motivators for societal progress. But it appears we are at a tipping point where technological leaps are far greater than the mental capacity to deal with these changes. The unchecked pursuit of wealth and extraction of natural resources are threatening the survival of our species.

We have become blinded by the glare of the 10,000 things. We are drowning in information and misinformation and starving in wisdom that promotes a culture of spiritual awareness, empathy, fairness, and social responsibility.

The biblical story of the dance around the golden calf is timeless in its relevance. The Israelites had become impatient living in the desert, losing their trust in God. They then fashioned a golden calf with jewelry collected from the people, worshipping and dancing around the calf in revelry while their leader Moses was away in the mountains receiving the ten commandments from God.

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The story serves as a warning against losing the moral compass and placing worldly desires above a genuine relationship with the divine, the true self. and purpose in life. Underlying the insatiable desire for new things is the misconception that power and wealth are equal to happiness. The predominant messaging of our culture is consumerism, social status, and material wealth.

There is nothing wrong in enjoying material abundance and prosperity. But making it the primary objective in your life, and becoming overly attached to “things” will inevitably lead to suffering and pain. The perspective changes completely for people suddenly confronting a life-threatening disease or facing the fear of losing a loved one.

The antidote to greed is the reconnection to our interconnectedness with all things living.

Reconnecting with interconnectedness involves recognizing and embracing the understanding that all beings and elements in the world are interconnected and interdependent. Building wisdom is like building a muscle. It’s an ongoing process. Key points to consider:

  • Awareness and Mindfulness: Practice being fully attentive to the present moment, observing the connections between yourself and your surroundings. You can do this by focusing consciously on your inhaling and exhaling breaths. Meditation practices, journaling, gratitude rituals and other self-care habits will help cultivate care for others. ,
  • Deep Walking: Deep walking is more than a hike. It is a spiritual experience where you develop a deeper connection to the natural world, observing the intricate interdependence between yourself, plants, animals, and the environment. By spending more time in the green and blue spaces of nature you extract yourself from the rat race of external distractions. Finding these moments of stillness will make you aware that life is finite. You cannot take your material possessions with you into the afterlife.
  • Compassion and kindness: Cultivate compassion and empathy towards others. Recognize that every person you encounter is connected to you in some way, sharing the same basic human experiences and emotions.
  • Relationships: Recognize that your actions, thoughts, and emotions have an impact on those around you, just as their actions, thoughts, and emotions affect you. Nurture and foster positive connections with others. The five people you spend most of your time with have a major impact on your value system, mannerisms, and state of mind.
  • Service and community: By helping others, you are contributing to the greater interconnected whole. Engaging in acts of altruism and service can deepen your understanding of interconnectedness by experiencing the positive ripple effects of your actions.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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The lucky farmer?

Once upon a time, a farmer lived in a small village in China with his only son. He was a poor man because he had only one horse.

One day the horse disappeared and the farmer no longer had a horse to help him plow his field.

The other villagers came to the farmer, expressing their sympathy. „We feel so sorry for you. This is such bad luck.“

„We’ll see,“ said the farmer. „Good luck or bad luck. Time will tell.“

Some weeks later, the horse returned in the company of several other horses.

Astounded the villages came to the farmer. „You are so lucky. Now you have many horses and are a rich man.“

The farmer listened to them thoughtfully. „We‘ll see. Good luck or bad luck. Time will tell.“

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Soon afterward his son fell from one of the horses and broke his leg.

Again the villagers came to express their sympathies, „such bad luck,“ they said. „Now you have nobody to help you.“

„We‘ll see,“ said the farmer. „Good luck or bad, time will tell.“

The next day, the Emperor’s army came to the village to conscript all able-bodied young men for the war, but the farmer’s son was exempted because of his broken leg. 

Again, the villagers came to the farmer and congratulated him on his good fortune, but the farmer simply replied, “We’ll see.”

As it turned out, the war was a disaster for the Emperor’s army, and all the young men who had been conscripted were killed. Once again, the villagers came to the farmer and praised him for his good luck, but the farmer simply replied, “We’ll see.”

The story’s moral is that good luck can often turn out to be bad luck and vice versa. 

The Taoist teachers telling this story advise their students to remain free from attachment. Wealth or poverty, death or birth, fortune or misfortune are often intertwined with everything underlying the law of impermanence.

If you are currently in a bad spot, be assured that this too shall pass. If you are currently rolling high, enjoy the moment as it lasts but don‘t get attached.

Millions of people playing the lottery each week think all their problems will be over if they win the jackpot. Many of those who indeed then win the lottery end up being miserable and even committing suicide because they haven‘t solved the underlying issue that is torturing their soul. Here you will find more information on the bankrupt statistics of lottery winners.

Or, are you one of the people counting the months and years until you can finally retire and start to live? 

Be appreciative and mindful of life’s small miracles in the here and now. Focus your mind more on BEING rather than HAVING.

Ultimately everything is grace. From the day you were born, you began a journey to becoming who you really are.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing...If you have found this article interesting you might want to subscribe with the “follow” button above or recommend my FREE weekly Blog to friends and family. My books can be ordered at all places that sell good books in both paperback and kindle.

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Filed under mental health, mental-health

The things blocking you from living your soul purpose

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

The ancient mystic teachers believed that the ultimate purpose of the human cycle was to become whole, emphasizing that each person has a unique mission to play in the cosmic order. But with the pull of external distractions, you might feel estranged from this sense of purpose and will need to take concrete action.

Energy-depleting habits can creep into your life and you would have to react with a clear structure to realign body, mind, and spirit.

There is a general misconception that happiness equals external validation of material success and fame. The search for soul purpose is stuck in the “I” as opposed to the “we”. It’s the reason why many of the world’s most “successful” people are successful on one level but terribly unhappy on a soul level. A few of these exceptional individuals have however transmuted this unhappiness into causes that serve the greater good.

One of the most gifted men on the tennis court, Andre Agassi struggled with addiction for most of his professional career, which he details in his autobiography “Open”. He in reality hated tennis but then realized that his fame as a tennis player could be a platform to do greater good.

Coming back after brokenness

He established the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, which focuses on improving the education system in the United States. The creation of the foundation stemmed from Agassi’s own personal experiences of feeling lost and unprepared for life after tennis. He recognized that many children in the United States faced similar challenges, particularly those from underserved communities, and wanted to help provide them with the tools and resources they needed to succeed in life.

“You can’t spread who you are without being broken first. Sometimes, when you’ve been broken into pieces, you come back and give much more to people. You can see my scars and they’re key to me making a difference in other lives now,” he said in an interview.

Soul purpose is a journey. The whole of life is a discovering journey of your soul purpose. Often the end of one journey, the death of one “life” is the initiation process into another life, yet ultimately a journey of growth, redemption, rectification, and wholeness.

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The obstacles of procrastination and distraction

Implementing a daily structure into your life is key to preventing procrastination and distraction, which can be the two biggest obstacles to realigning with your soul purpose. With every year passing you realize that life is finite and that you need to do something to live a life that is more fulfilling, healthier, and happier.

But most New Year resolutions fail after only a few short weeks because the plan you made is too ambitious. Start with a few small steps that are achievable. If you want to write a book start by writing a few words each day. If you want to exercise more start by doing a five-minute routine first and then gradually increasing it day by day. If you want more abundance in your life start by making a mental note of all the small miracles and blessings in your life right now.

We are often the harshest critics of ourselves. The inner voice telling you: “I’m not good enough. I’m not deserving. It’s not worth trying. I will get a no anyway.” The kinder and more loving you are of yourself, and the more you speak to yourself in a positive sense, the more this will reflect in the external world. There are no shortcuts. You have to do the inner work. By understanding and loving yourself you will be in a much better position to do the same for others.

You can boost your vibrational level with the following daily routine:

  • Exercise: Any physical activity lasting more than 15 minutes will boost your metabolism and mood
  • Spend time in nature: Study after study confirms that spending time meditating in the blue and green spaces of nature will reduce stress levels and open your senses to the whispers of the universe.
  • Train the mind: Read good books that will feed your mind with knowledge and wisdom. Make a habit of reading a chapter each day.
  • Understand yourself by journaling and making notes of the key lessons you have learned during the past 24 hours.
  • Gratitude: Implement a gratitude ritual before the start of each day. It is the small miracles of life that really count.
  • Community: Join a community and engage in voluntary work that will connect you to the feeling that your are here to do something for greater good.

Why not just have fun and enjoy the journey in the here and now.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing...If you have found this article interesting you might want to subscribe with the “follow” button above or recommend my FREE weekly Blog to friends and family. My books can be ordered at all places that sell good books in both paperback and kindle.

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Filed under mental health, mental-health