Author Archives: Reino Gevers

About Reino Gevers

Author, mentor and trainer

From brokenness into transformation

“Resurrection is not just consolation — it is restoration. We get it all back — the love, the loved ones, the goods, the beauties of this life — but in new, unimaginable degrees of glory and joy and strength.” Tim Keller

There have been times in my life where I have wrestled with the question why an all-powerful God and creator can allow evil, injustice and cruelty to prevail. How can a God of love and compassion want at the same time suffering?

Some beautiful Renaissance paintings depict Jesus bleeding and hanging from the cross with the Pharisees mocking him with the words: “He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.” (Matthew 27:42–43). They missed the point.

The key message of Easter

The key message of Easter is one of hope, rebirth and resurrection after experiencing brokenness, hurt and suffering.

After the resurrection Jesus asks the skeptical disciple Thomas to place his hands into the wounds of his hands and his side. Jesus carried his scars and wounds as the visible signs of having transmuted the pain and suffering.

The idea of God being both a God of Light and a God of darkness comes from a simplistic perception of a three dimensional reality. We have the external world of sensual and material gratification, the dimension of the soul having a human experience and the divine dimension that encompasses the other two. The Mystics compare the external world of distraction to the darkness of the night, the human experience to the morning of life itself in the striving toward the eternal of midday.

What is soul purpose?

Suffering, pain and the brokenness is that part of life that sculptures us into the human beings we are destined to become. The external world is in a constant cycle of change, impermanence and movement. Suffering comes essentially from a mindset of attachment to that which was and is no more. Soul purpose finds connection to that which is aligned to the universal truth.

We are imperfect beings and a “work in progress”. A particularly deceptive part of the “wellness and positive-thinking culture” indoctrinates us into thinking that there is something wrong with us if we have moments of melancholy sadness, depression, anxiety and fear.

Suppressing negative feelings is not authentic and creates inner turmoil and stress. In extreme cases it might even lead to mental illness. The expectation of a narcissistic external world to function and perform in a certain way or to showcase “borrowed” material possessions is a major road block to elevation of consciousness.

The 13th-century Mystic Meister Eckart ruminates on the question on how God can “really destroy a man by himself?” He goes on to say that we should humble ourselves but because we are unable to do so sufficiently, God does it for us.

Elevation of consciousness

“The highest height of elevation lies in the deepest depth of humility. For the deeper and lower the ground, the higher and more immense the height and the exaltation. The deeper the well, the higher it is,” according to Eckart.

Goodness, light, compassion and love comes when the soul is closely joined to God. The greater and harder the struggle, “the greater and more praiseworthy the victory and the honor of vanquishing.”

Evil is defined commonly as the opposite of good. In the view of Mystics such as St. Augustine it is the complete absence and disconnect from inner purpose and God.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. I’ve also recently compiled brand new online courses that you can download onto your computer or smartphone on ways of how you can transform your life on multiple levels. Also check out the recent reviews of my book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

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Is anger controlling you?

Fred was a successful professional sportsman in his younger days. His life began to fall apart some years ago with his anger tantrums leading to an acrimonious divorce and financial disaster. Later his children and remaining friends refused to deal with him any longer. He lives today in a shelter for the homeless in melancholy sadness over the life that was and is no more.

I could go on and on about stories of people whose lives have been torn apart by anger issues.

Negative emotions such as anger have become pervasive with a poll taken just prior to the recent American elections showing that nearly 80 percent of people felt particularly angry about the pandemic and the economic situation.

We are all susceptible to an occasional outburst of anger but when you or a family member fall into a temper tantrum over seemingly small matters by throwing things, and becoming physically abusive professional help should be sought for what is described as “intermittent explosive disorder. The root cause could be anything from a childhood trauma to substance abuse.

The more common anger is an undercurrent of irritability and negativity that will rapidly reduce your vibrational energy, and inevitably turn you into a person people don’t like to be around with. You will lose friends, relationships and risk your job and business ventures.

Negative and compassionate anger

The Dalai Lama points out the difference between uncontrolled and compassionate anger which he describes as anger that “helps us repel forces that are detrimental to our survival and well-being.”

“In some situations strong compassion may give rise to an equally strong sense of outrage—that is anger about an injustice.  Again, feeling angry can, in the short term, make our minds more focused and give us an extra burst of energy and determination.”

This is the “holy anger” that Jesus demonstrated in turning over the tables of the money-changers in the temple of Jerusalem with the words: “My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” It is not relevant whether the incident happened historically.

The message Jesus communicated was the importance of standing guard at the doorway to your soul. What books, newscasts and social media are you feeding your mind with? What associations are making you or have made you into the person you are?

Negative feelings only become destructive when the “intensity is disproportionate to the situation in which they arise.” according to the Dalai Lama.

Are you or your emotions in control?

The problem arises particularly when emotions such as anger start controlling your life. “No one intentionally creates problems, but we tend to be slaves to powerful emotions like anger, hatred and attachment that are based on misconceived projections about people and things,” the Dalai Lama teaches.

We probably have the least understanding of ourselves. When we have uncomfortable feelings and emotions we turn to blaming external circumstances and others. It is the reason why so many relationships go sour. If we expect a partner to fill an inner void, it will inevitably result in disappointment because no other person should be given the responsibility of “making us happy.” Likewise we should not have the expectation that politicians or other professional deceivers are responsible for our happiness.

Beyond the anger lies fear

You don’t have control over unexpected external events such as a pandemic but you can choose how you react. In going deeper into anger there are the emotions of fear and anxiety. When analyzing any situation there are always different perspectives. In the bigger picture all has meaning. If you are experiencing a difficult situation tell yourself: “This too shall pass.” Impermanence is a fact of life. Sometimes we just have to surrender to a given situation and ride out the storm.

Shifting into a positive mindset

If you are having feelings of fear and anxiety it helps to name those feelings. Be truthful to yourself. Write down the feelings in a journal. Before you can transmute the demons you have to name them. Replace the word “Fear” with the word “Trust”. Replace the word “Anger” with the word “Compassion”.

In studying yourself you will become more aware of typical emotional reactions that stand in your way. Anger directed at a stranger is often anger toward the self and the hurt inner child. Emotional shifting is a powerful tool in moving from a negative into a positive mindset. Be mindful and caring of your inner child that is in need of attention.

A negative mindset might be programed by over-consumption of negative news media. Flip the channel to a comedy or a funny video. For me one of the most powerful shifters is taking time out walking. Nature is one of the most powerful healers. When you open the senses to the sights, sounds and smells of nature, your body and mind will start relaxing and falling into alignment. A solution to your problem will come almost naturally as you open yourself to the whispers of the universe.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. I’ve also recently compiled brand new online courses that you can download onto your computer or smartphone on ways of how you can transform your life on multiple levels. Also check out the recent reviews of my book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

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Light from a dark age

It was a “dark age” in the western Europe of the 13th century when pandemics, population decline and economic degradation prevailed. Most people had moved into villages and towns sharing crowded rooms with family members and livestock. With little or no sanitation or semblance of hygiene the stench would have been unbearable for sensitive modern noses.

The exodus from the countryside was exacerbated by repeated crop failures caused by the Little Ice Age triggered by volcanic eruptions and changes in Arctic ice cover. With temperatures dropping for centuries this meant that the winters were particularly long and harsh.

Periods of crisis and challenging external circumstances sometimes force humanity into introspection with the dark ages having brought forth some of the greatest Mystics at the forefront of an individual inward-looking spirituality. The popes and bishops were meanwhile offering little comfort to ordinary people, preoccupied with political power struggles and worldly pleasures.

Pilgrimage walks to Santiago de Compostela

During these times pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela became popular as an inner journey of penance, spiritual rebirth and renewal. The modern-day pilgrim on the Camino is in many respects no different. Spirituality as opposed to religious doctrine is by far the primary motivation, based on my own research and conversations with hundreds of pilgrims on my more than dozen walks on pilgrimage routes in northwestern Spain.

The wise teachings of the 13th-century Dominican monk Meister Eckart (1260-1328), Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510) and Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) are timeless and more topical than ever during these pandemic times. They were the eco-warriors and holistic healers of their time, addressing issues of personal health, nutrition and the environment.

It took the disruption of a global pandemic to remind us that we can be exposed overnight to entirely new circumstances beyond our control. Life can be extremely fragile and uncertain. The mental health repercussions resulting from isolation and lockdowns are only gradually coming to the fore.

A formula for a life of bliss

The Mystics are clear on how to lead a life of bliss. Meister Eckart describes at least five stages of evolution in elevation of consciousness to the “new” man – the “birth of the son” or “birth of God” in the soul. The entire purpose of life he describes as the journey to self-realization and meaning:

  • Contemplation and meditation
  • Doing what is right and acting accordingly
  • Dedication and Love of God
  • Recognition and Differentiation
  • Alignment and surrender of ego

All these Mystics did not retreat to an isolated monastic lifestyle but were engaged in the world. Catherine of Genoa gave selfless service to the sick while at the same time serving as director and treasurer of a hospital. Hildegard of Bingen was engaged in many fields including religion, medicine, music and cosmology, At the same time she was a mentor for many famous personalities of her time.

The common thread is that we are one humanity and that a life of service and dedication for the betterment of all provides solace to inner turmoil during times of crisis.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. I’ve also recently compiled brand new online courses that you can download onto your computer or smartphone on ways of how you can transform your life on multiple levels. Also check out the recent reviews of my book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

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Surrendering to the pain of the past

It is just part of the human condition that we  have about 70,000 thoughts a day with most of those thoughts revolving around cravings such as food or on the past or future.

The melancholy sadness over that which was and is no more holds many a mind captive. If you find that you are caught in such a downward spiral it might be useful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What other avenues did the loss open up in my life?
  • What lesson did I learn from the mistake and how can I avoid making the same mistake again?
  • I blame nobody and take full responsibility

The addiction to please

Relationships between loved ones, family members, friendships and associations are often  the biggest challenge. The fear of being thrown out of the warm cave by our tribe is deeply embedded in our genes. We will therefore bend over backwards to be seen, to be heard and to be liked.

It is the reason why we stay in toxic relationships that have long outlived their purpose. It is why love for another person is often confused with self-love, especially when we expect another human being to compensate for an inner void.

The contract between souls

The ancient mystics believe that no relationship is coincidental. The intensity of a relationship is defined by the underlying current  that brought you together. The soul contract is to be teachers for each other so that we can grow in spiritual consciousness. And, sometimes the teaching can be to set a boundary by going  into isolation from a particular person, especially if this is a family member who  inhibits your growth or prevents you  from pursuing your  full potential.

What timeline in dealing with sorrow?

One of the biggest sins is not to live the life you were meant to live in terms of your individually mapped out destiny. The invisible wall is most often the difficulty in surrendering to the pain of the past. “You need to let it go,” is a saying that often comes from friends and family who mean good. But dealing with sorrow, grief and loss has its own timeline. It is not like just turning a switch and going into “happy mode”. It is not authentic and if your pain is not transmuted it will come back to haunt you later in life.

Photo by Rodolfo Clix on Pexels.com

Remaining in faith and trust

The 13th century Mystic Meister Eckart has some wonderful words of comfort for those having difficulty in letting go of the pain of the past. “God is not a destroyer of anything good. He fulfills. God does not destroy but completes nature.” And in the same vein he recommends surrendering that pain to the “highest order and highest nurture.”

Staying in faith and trust is possibly one of the hardest trainings in patience but Meister Eckart also describes it as the highest schooling in spiritual training and elevation of consciousness.

Even the smallest of actions can be turned into spiritual training of “staying in the moment”, according to the Spanish Mystic Theresa of Avila (1515-1582). There is a story of how she once confronted a nun in her monastery complaining about having to do kitchen chores, telling her off with the words: “If you don’t see the dear God in the pan you don’t see him at all.”

It is in those “darkest night of the soul” moments where the chains of the ego are broken and space opens for change and a new beginning.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. I’ve also recently compiled brand new online courses that you can download onto your computer or smartphone on ways of how you can transform your life on multiple levels. Also check out the recent reviews of my book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

Leave a comment

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From loneliness into solitude

We have all at some stage in our lives had to deal with loneliness or the feeling of being left alone. I’ve always had to deal with different facets of loneliness on my pilgrimage walks on the Camino. There is a subtle but important difference in feeling lonely and finding solitude.

Pablo Picasso once said that without solitude no great work of art is possible and the singer Naomi Judd describes solitude as “refreshment of the soul”. Transmuting loneliness into solitude is a deep dive into the true self.

But the feeling of an empty loneliness is pervasive in our modern society that then turns into an obsession with external and illusory gratification. This comes from the lack of solitude in a noisy world with the echo-chambers of the media world tugging at us. There is a constant drumbeat of how we are supposed to be living our lives.

Living a life of having or a life of Being?

Living a life of having instead of a life of Being is bound to disappoint. But the lie that life begins when we have that house, that car, that perfect spouse or that perfect job is robbing you of the preciousness of the present moment. Ask anyone having heard the diagnosis of a life-threatening disease, or having suffered a great loss on how priorities can change overnight.

A disconnect from the spiritual lies at the core of loneliness. There is a deeper meaning to Jesus’ teaching: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Photo by resa cahya on Unsplash

Self-care and self-love as the path to bliss

It is a commandment to connect the heart to the soul – in essence to connect with God. But this is only possible if you love and respect yourself. If you don’t practice self-care and self-love, you will be constantly pulled out of alignment. What you are you will attract. If you are feeling angry, frustrated and judgmental, you will attract that energy. You will especially be blaming others for your feeling of unhappiness. Current politics is a reflection of society and its its underbelly of unconscious mind that seeks to blame, vilify, distract, distort and turn the lie into truth. Unhappy people have the tendency to pull other people into their unhappiness. It is the fuel of nationalism and xenophobia. Our time is incredibly vicious with its bombardment of noise and visual sensation.

Connecting to the heart, to the innermost being of soul, is only possible during solitude. The 13th century Mystic Meister Eckart describes the process as a “detachment” from the external world and to be empty. “The detached heart does not ask for anything at all, nor has it anything at all that it would like to be rid of. Therefore it is free from all prayer and its prayer is nothing else than to be uniform with God.” He describes what the masters of Zen Buddhism call the bliss in the space of emptyness.

Befriending inner solitude

While personality and ego is still focused on the validation from the external, the soul nature finds connection to the divine during solitude. The divine is felt in nature itself, in the vibration of deeply inspirational music or in the quiet contemplation of a work of art. There is no fear of death as this is merely a pathway to another dimension. We are eternal souls currently having a human experience.

As you start befriending your inner solitude, the contrast between the chatter of external thoughts and the authenticity of the deeper self become clearer. At times you need to withdraw from the world to get a clearer picture of who you really are and for what purpose you were born.

Making room for silence

Having conducted a multitude of workshops on stress resilience and preventive health during the past decade, I am convinced that our modern lives have become so noisy and cluttered with stressful thoughts that too little room is left for silence. It is almost as if we are running away from the blessings of the spiritual.

Fyodor Dostoevsky is quoted as saying:

“A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies becomes unable to recognize truth, either in himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself and for others. When he has no respect for anyone, he can no longer love, and, in order to divert himself, having no love in him, he yields to his impulses, indulges in the lowest forms of pleasure, and behaves in the end like an animal. And it all comes from lying – lying to others and to yourself.”

Recognizing the inner truth is the recognition that soul and purpose are closely intertwined. Growth of consciousness is an ongoing process of discovery, re-definition and reconfiguration. It is part of the wonder and mystery of life.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. I’ve also recently compiled brand new online courses that you can download onto your computer or smartphone on ways of how you can transform your life on multiple levels. I will also host from March 17th every week for eight weeks a live online event of practical Qi Gong exercises to boost flexibility and mindset.

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What comes after the pandemic?

There is a growing sense of optimism that by late summer we can start returning to normal lives when a large percentage of the populace in most countries has been immunized against Covid-19. Little attention is being given to a far deeper underlying problem.

Sometimes a major shock or jolt is needed to change perceptions. A major threat to public health such as a dangerous virus can bring the entire globally economy to a halt.

The people at risk

While not all patients who died from Covid-19 had underlying health conditions, the major number of people at risk were those older than 60 years or who have health conditions like lung or heart disease, diabetes or conditions that affect their immune system, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Lifestyle choices are key

Researchers are still puzzling why some people who contracted the virus had relatively mild symptoms while it was deadly for others. The bottom line is that governments and health institutions are not investing enough resources in preventive medicine. Individuals need to be educated that lifestyle choices made on a daily basis are major determinants of longevity, health and well-being.

WHO defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” But the feeling of well-being is subjective. Some people live in constant pain, are dependent on a host of medications and still describe themselves as healthy because they are still functioning in some way.

Longevity and quality of life

Prior to the pandemic the lifespan of most people in the industrialized countries had steadily increased over the years. But lifespan says little about the quality of life as we get older. When we reach the age of 60 the likelihood of requiring some form of care because of a disability rises significantly. Common diseases in our time such as diabetes II, obesity, heart-circulatory problems and some forms of depression are all in some way related to lifestyle choices.

Relatively little attention has been given to the fact that Covid-19 has been more deadly in patients with obesity. Even people merely overweight were found to be at higher risk, according to an article in Science Magazine.

What we eat, how we move our bodies and how we deal with mental stress are far greater health determinants than the genes we have inherited from our parents.  Scientists speculate that for the first seven or eight decades of a lifetime typical lifestyle choices such as healthy foods and physical activity enable these individuals to stay healthy into old age. Genetics only appears to play a larger role in the longevity scale from the age of 90.

Health perceptions need radical scrutiny

When a body is under stress because of high blood pressure, obesity or another illness a dangerous virus has easy play in breaking down the body’s natural defense systems. There is a general misconception that we can all return to normal lives once enough people have become immunized against the virus. The truth is that if we don’t change our perceptions of health in a radical way it is only a matter of time before the next, possibly even deadlier, virus hits us.

Only a century ago it was common for people in China to visit the local doctor regularly for acupuncture, herbal treatment and lifestyle guidance such as what Qi Gong exercises needed to be done to balance the flow of the body meridians . The doctor was paid when you were well. If you got ill you didn’t have to pay the doctor because it was believed that he hadn’t done his job properly.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is deeply rooted in Taoist and Buddhist philosophy. Man is seen as an integral part of nature and the cyclical laws of the seasons or Five Elements. The microcosm of a person’s health reflecting the macrocosm of nature and the universe.

Eat healthy and save the planet

What we eat not only determines our own health but that of our planet. Eating foods produced from large animal farms and monocultured agricultural methods is a far greater contributor to the climate crisis that our means of transportation. Mass agriculture and the production of animal feed is destroying a large part of our natural ecosystems, in turn increasing the danger of more virus mutations jumping from animals to humans. The climate impact of eating beef and dairy products dwarfs that of a mainly vegetarian diet. The conversion of land for beef production and animal feed is a leading cause of deforestation in many tropical regions.

Each individual has been born with a purpose and you can only live out your full potential if you are feeling vibrant, happy and healthy. German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer is quoted as saying. “The greatest of follies is to sacrifice health for any other kind of happiness.”

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. I’ve also recently compiled brand new online courses that you can download onto your computer or smartphone on ways of how you can transform your life on multiple levels. I will also host from March 10th every week for eight weeks a live online event of practical Qi Gong exercises to boost flexibility and mindset.

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Happiness and the power of choice

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. ”
― William James

Some years ago I met some of the happiest and kindest people in the small southeastern African country of Malawi. Over half the population live below the poverty line and some even in extreme poverty, yet the country is also known as “the warm heart of Africa” because its people have the reputation of smiling all the time.

The trip to Malawi set me thinking. While obviously many people in abject poverty fall prey to lethargy, some people in the very same situation appear to be taking on a very different mindset.

The 2020 World Happiness Report listing factors such as freedom of choice, the environment, social factors and the economy, consistently has the Nordic countries topping the list of the most happy countries. The report attributes happiness particularly to a high level of social and institutional trust as well as the social connections.

But there is much more to it. The United States, one of the world’s wealthiest nations, ranks only 19th on the life evaluation list. The Netherlands and Switzerland, in essence indistinguishable from many other wealthy countries on GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and corruption, nevertheless have a lower overall score than the Scandinavian countries.

How much of your happiness is under your control?

Especially during these times when the pandemic is wreaking havoc on economies and businesses it is easy to blame external circumstances for our unhappiness. The happiness pie chart, first presented by researchers Sonja Lyubomirsky, Kennon M. Sheldon, and David Schkade in 2005, suggests that our perceived feeling of happiness is only influenced by external circumstances by ten per cent. The genes we inherited from our parents play a major part (50 per cent) but the researchers emphasize that it is possible to get happier and to stay happy by making certain choices and changing our mindset.

It appears that by far the major part of our happiness is determined by the way we process the external world and the way we program ourselves with our thought and belief systems. A large body of researchers from the school of positive psychology conclude that it is possible to completely transform a life for the better by changing ones attitude to whatever you have experienced. Thought discipline and taking control of the monkeys dancing in the head has been taught by spiritual teachers for centuries. Here are only some tips of how you can regain control:

Accept the up-and-down cycles.

Life is cyclical. It is part of the human condition to have moments of sadness and despair. The New Age obsession with “being happy all the time” is an illusion. It is only in the honest and full acceptance of the current state that we can take the first step to moving forward to a life of greater contentment.

What foods are you eating?

What we eat matters for every aspect of our health, but especially our mental health. A diet of junk food with a high sugar content and other additives not only affects your physical body negatively but also your mental health. It has inspired a whole field of medical research called nutritional psychiatry at Harvard University.

Practicing kindness and compassion

If we take care of others and practice compassion and loving kindness to each other this will have an immediate effect on your own sense of well-being. We know this from our own gut-feeling It costs nothing to be kind and you will in return attract the same energy in your surroundings. There is a saying called “givers gain” – the more you give the more you receive.

Faith

A core spiritual belief makes you more resilient during stressful times and will improve your sense of well-being. We are social beings and if you belong to a faith community you could be given emotional support. The spiritual seeker is on a journey to understand purpose and meaning in life. Dogmatic religion however could have the opposite effect and contribute to obsessive behavior and mental disorder.

Mindsetting

How you talk to yourself is crucial. If your self-talk is predominantly negative you need to change something. Finding a positively-minded personal mantra could be part of a process you could work at with a personal mentor or therapist. Meditating at the start of your day and at the end of the day with a gratitude ritual could form part of a realignment program.

Exercise

Low-impact exercise such as yoga, tai chi or qi gong helps to realign body, mind and spirit. It includes breathing exercise routines that help you breathe naturally through your nose rather than through the mouth. Your nose releases nitric oxide which widens the blood vessels allowing for better transportation of oxygen to vital organs. 

There is not the one silver bullet that will improve your overall happiness level and feeling of contentment. It is best to start with small steps in changing some of your daily habits. Keeping a daily journal will help you keep track on what you are doing in terms of action. And when you read some of the lines many months or years later you will be proud of what you have achieved.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you would like to learn more about these and other topics, check out my books and online video courses in my store or go to linktr.ee/redfishsword

Leave a comment

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How resilient are you?

“If we have peace of mind, even negative experiences do not upset us. Peace of mind is also good for our physical health. Medical experts have found that anger, hatred and fear eat into our immune system. Being calm and relaxed is better for our physical well-being.” – The Dalai Lama –

During these times it is all-important to look after your immune system. We will have to live with the pandemic for some time with the rollout of vaccinations taking their time and much uncertainty about virus mutations.

In my last Blog we looked at the importance of breathing through the nose. The nose is a natural filter system, releasing nitric oxide which widens the blood vessels allowing for better transportation of oxygen to vital organs.

But there are many other building blocks to a healthy and resilient immune system. When your immune system is weakened your emotional and physical defense walls will break under the strain. The big question everyone is asking: What can I do to protect myself and my loved ones?

Vitamin D deficiency

Early indications are that people with a vitamin D deficiency are more prone to catching Covid. The vitamin is connected to the activation of T cells in the body, which play a key role in immune response. Elderly people and those living in climate zones with little sunlight are especially prone to vitamin D deficiency. When you get older the skin gets less efficient in producing vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. It leads to a loss of bone density and in extreme cases to osteoporosis and other diseases. It is suspected that vitamin D deficiency may also lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and other autoimmune conditions. Known also as the sunlight vitamin you would need exposure of between 10-30 minutes of sunlight per day to get enough vitamin D into your body. But it also depends on the sensitivity of your skin, your age and how dark your skin is. Seafoods, mushrooms and egg yolk are another way of getting vitamin D into your body.

Avoid sugars

Sugar is found in most processed foods and sodas. There are multiple reasons why you should avoid sugar. One of the primary reasons is that sugar is responsible for weight gain and diabetes 2 which puts you in the major risk category for Covid. A recent Spanish study found that 80 per cent of serious Corona patients were overweight. Obesity is characterized by a chronic state of low-grade inflammation with an increase in cytokines, or inflammatory molecules, which reduces the body’s ability to respond to respiratory infection. You are also putting your mental health at risk with a high sugar diet. Researchers believe that blood sugar swings, neurotransmitter dysregulation and inflammation may all be reasons for sugar’s detrimental impact on mental health.

Emotional stress

Negative stress is often triggered by a thought. Negative news media. Negative people around you. Dwelling on the past and the future robs you of the preciousness of the moment. A negative mindset and toxic emotions such as anger, resentment, jealousy, anxiety and fear have a devastating effect on the immune system. It puts your body into fight or flight mode triggering those stress hormones that you don’t want too much of. “Emotional shifting” is a good way of dealing with a negative mindset. Ask yourself what you can be truly grateful for. Recall those moments or memories that expand your vibrational energy. Focusing on a positive experience will relax your breathing and trigger the recovery mode that you need to bring those stress hormones back to a normal level.

Deep walking in nature

Walking in a forest or on a beach, spending time in those green and blue spaces of nature has an enormous impact on boosting your immune system. Exposure to the natural sounds of nature will reduce your blood pressure, muscle tension, heart rate and the production of stress hormones. Spending time in nature also provides a welcome respite from those countless distractions pulling at our minds throughout the day.

Relationships

We human beings are social beings. We need people around us to make us feel seen, cherished and wanted. Social bonding is essential for our health and a good immune system. Social support systems play a pivotal role in managing high stress levels. Loneliness and social isolation have a huge effect on mental health. Connecting with friends, family and loved ones should be a primary focus, even if the pandemic currently prevents direct physical contact.

These are only a few guidelines to help you navigate these difficult times. But Challenging times can also be important stages of transition, elevation of consciousness and restructuring of soul purpose.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you would like to learn more about these and other topics, check out my books and online video courses in my store or go to linktr.ee/redfishsword

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Stress and how you breathe

During these times of high anxiety the body is flooded with stress hormones that have a major impact on how you breathe, exacerbating problems for people with pre-existing respiratory and other health conditions. The good news is that you can do something about it by changing the way you breathe.

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.

Stress is a survival mechanism that we require to function properly. Short periods of stress can help sharp-focus the mind to accomplish an important task. It enabled our ancestors to scamper to safety up the next tree when faced by a predator. Stress hormones such as adrenalin or cortisol are essential tools, enabling for example the driver of a car to slam on the brakes if a deer runs across the road.

Breathing and stress

The hypothalamus in the brain sets off the alarm in a dangerous situation. Nerves and hormones signal the adrenal glands near the kidneys to release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These cause the muscular system to tense up, raises the blood pressure, enabling that quick burst of energy to address an emergency situation. As we use more body energy our inhaling and exhaling breaths come in short bursts from the mouth, circulating in the upper throat and chest area. After the threat has disappeared the body normally calms down with the cortisol levels dropping as we go into relax mode.

The problem in our modern world is that our stress is mainly triggered by thousands of thoughts circulating on events of the past or future. The body is in a constant state of alert. The sprint and recovery cycle is out of balance. A constant high level of cortisol will eventually break down the body’s natural defense systems, weaken the cardiovascular system, and impair brain and memory function. We are constantly “stressed-out”, not breathing properly and thus not getting enough sleep.

Our ancestors never had the problem of chronic stress. Scientists, studying the shapes of jaws and mouth cavities from ancient skulls, determined that they probably spent most of their lives in relaxed breathing through the nose. However, probably from dietary and other effects our mouths have changed dramatically in less than 200 years. Our heads have become more shallow, vertically oriented, with smaller teeth and a tongue extending well into the neck. This contributes to a smaller and narrower airway.

What you can do to change your breathing patterns?

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

Nourishing your mind and body during times of crisis cannot be over-emphasized:

  • Avoid the consumption of negative news media
  • Surround yourself with positive-minded humorous people
  • Avoid white sugar and processed foods as much as possible

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.

So what about high-impact exercise such as jogging and cycling? The bottom line here is that you will probably be forced to take big inhaling breaths through your mouth to get more oxygen. This will decrease carbon dioxide in your blood levels inhibiting the body’s ability to release oxygen into your cells. The point here is to slow down again so that you can breathe naturally through the nose.  

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you would like to learn more about these and other topics, check out my books and online video courses in my store or go to linktr.ee/redfishsword

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How healthy are your relationships?

“You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”
— Epicurus

Humanity’s greatest challenge in the 21st century is ultimately about relationships that manifest themselves in the crisis of political, educational and religious institutions as the degradation of life systems on earth hangs like a sword of Damocles.

From the day you are born, you are defined by your relationships. It makes you into the human being you are today. Family, friends, marriage partners and associations influence who you in multiple and subtle ways.

German philosopher Martin Buber in his book “Ich und Du (translated as I and Thou) finds finds that human life essentially finds meaning and purpose in relationships.

Know thyself and thou shalt know the Universe

Ultimately it is also the relationship with the inner self and God. “Man, know thyself: then thou shalt know the Universe and God,” according to Greek philosopher Pythagora.

A traumatic relationship breakdown, the loss of a loved one or boundary issues in a marriage are often reasons why people seek help from a therapist or a counselor. An experienced therapist will then guide the client along the lines of for example:

  • reflecting on the major issues that led to the relationship breakdown;
  • communication patterns in a relationship and or
  • identifying positive relationship traits and conflict resolution.

Falling in love is not enough

Falling in love is simply not enough to make a relationship work. Its one of the things I had to learn the hard way in my own relationship history. There has to be at least some consensus on basic values, interests, life philosophies, and expectations.

While healthy relationships based on mutual respect and trust make out a huge part of personal happiness, it is primarily the walking over the hot coals during times of crisis and transmuting that experience that helps to solidify that relationship.

Yet, far more significant is the relationship to yourself that will ultimately define all your relationships. Some of the issues that have profound importance are the following:

  • What is your self-image? Is it authentic or defined by external factors such as social media?
  • How are you talking to yourself? Is that inner conversation with yourself positive and uplifting or constantly filled with self-doubt, recrimination and negativity.
  • Do you love and accept yourself unconditionally and at the same time take full responsibility on how you respond to circumstances outside of your control? You cannot change the behavior of people. You can however determine how you respond to that behavior.

The misconception of “soul mate”

If you are lonely and seeking the love of your life, you will never find that person and inevitably be disappointed if you expect the other person to fill an inner void. A “soul mate” is a misconception. You will only find that soul mate within. Ask yourself instead:

  • What do I need to change within myself to attract the person or persons that will make me shine and develop?
  • Rephrase, “what I want” to “what I can give and contribute.”

We are being distracted with the preoccupation of the crisis in our institutions while these are only reflections of an inner state of mind. Fundamentalist belief structures appear to provide clear answers and solutions to complex human problems but inevitably disappoint. They initially provide an anchor of hope but cannot replace that inner voice of authenticity, found in that quiet space of introspection and peace.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you would like to learn more about these and other topics, check out my books and online video courses in my store or go to linktr.ee/redfishsword

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