Category Archives: gratitude

Coronavirus: Lessons for humanity

There are decades where nothing happens,

and there are weeks where decades happen.”

– Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

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

Defining moments of history 

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

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

The fear pandemic

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

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

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Raised human consciousness

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

Having versus BEING

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

The power of thought

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

Nature needs a break 

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

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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A clue to happiness: How are you talking to yourself?

Humans are hard-wired to live in the past or in the future because planning and learning from the past has been crucial to the survival of our species.

Real joy comes from those magical moments of being absolutely present and experiencing spirituality, love and peace of mind.

Researchers have found that distraction, one of the major scourges of our time, is also a major cause of unhappiness.

Psychologists at Harvard University conducted a study with 2,250 volunteers, monitoring their thoughts and feelings, to find out how often they were focused on what they were doing, and what made them most happy.

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Photo by Aaron Huber on Unsplash

More than half the time people’s minds were wandering to other things. The researchers concluded that reminiscing, thinking ahead or daydreaming tends to make people more miserable, even when they are thinking about something pleasant.

Matthew Killingsworth, a doctoral student in psychology and lead author of the study, wrote in the journal Science:

“A human mind is a wandering mind and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. The ability to think about what is not happening is a cognitive achievement that comes at an emotional cost.”

The human mind has between 60,000 – 70,000 different thought monkeys dancing through the head on one day. Becoming aware of these thoughts is the first step toward focusing on the moment.

It is an empowering thought to realize that you are in control of your thoughts and that with a little training you can regain control of these monkeys.

Thoughts are energy waves and they create reality. Where energy flows, the energy goes. The first step is to become aware of your current feeling. Is it predominantly, sad, angry, resentful, happy, or joyful? Negative emotions can sometimes be triggered by banal events, like a driver blowing his horn at you in a traffic situation. This then suddenly triggers an anger explosion that is completely out of proportion to the event. It would be one example of anger that has its roots elsewhere but hasn’t been transmuted.

Out of control emotions have a close connection to scattered thoughts and an uncentered state of mind. For me, deep walking retreats on the Camino in Spain have been a real eye-opener. While walking alone I was inevitably confronted by countless thoughts, especially during the first few days. It is part of the process of dumping old emotional garbage – some of which lie buried in the subconscious mind for years, sometimes to early childhood.

You will have made progress when you find your senses tuning in to the surroundings and becoming aware of the sights, sounds and smells around you.

What thoughts you have immediately after getting up in the morning have a major impact on your day. A dream could have stirred a negative emotion. But you are in control. You can reset your mind. You can set a positive anchor for the day with a meditation, a gratitude ritual, an exercise routine, a mantra, or a prayer.

Every time you catch yourself with a negative thought, you can train the mind to concentrate on breathing. Consciously counting the inhaling and exhaling sequence of breathing will immediately transmute that thought. If you click on my Podcast link below you will find a powerful meditation from ancient Qi Gong practice which I find enormously powerful and the effects of which can last for hours.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Walking alone

The ancient masters of all the great religions recommended time alone as a crucial means of discovering true self.

It was the 40 days that Jesus took for time alone in the desert to confront his own shadow and the demons of temptation.  Moses removed himself alone to Mount Sinai to receive the ten commandments from God.

It is in the time spent alone that we come closest to the divine and our life purpose, especially if it is time alone in nature.

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The Chinese masters of the body arts such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong called the empty space between the spokes of the wheel more important than the spoke itself.

It is in that empty dark space between the stars where you touch the divine.

We as a society are obsessed with what the wise ancients called the distractions of the 10,000 things.

The news media feed on negative news, the constant subliminal messages working our emotions instill a need for material things we mostly don’t need. There is confusion between necessity and want.

It is no coincidence that with the addiction to distraction there are very few people who can truly bear to spend time alone.

We are thus constantly seeking the accolades through social media as a reassurance. But it will seldom lead you onto the path of deeper spiritual experience.

It is during the walk alone, the time-out during a silent retreat and the alone time in nature where the gateway to the soul opens and you begin to realize who you truly are.

It is during the alone time that we discover the heart, the love and the divine within. It is who we truly are and that which soul wants to illuminate.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

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Abundance and gratitude

The rise of extremism in much of the western world comes at a time where there has never before in the history of mankind been so much material abundance which bodes the question why many people remain frustrated and angry.

Obviously the comforts of the modern world are not providing the contentment and inner peace that is desired.

Even until the late 1960s owning a car was regarded as a luxury. If a family owned two cars it was considered extremely wealthy. It wasn’t until the  mid 1970s that most households started owning a TV. I grew up in South Africa which only introduced nationwide television in 1976. Travelling abroad for a holiday was likewise considered a privilege for the very few.

When I tell the youth of today that we always carried a pocket full of coins for the phone booth around the corner, they look at me in disbelief.  My grandparents were self-sustainable farmers. My grandfather was regarded as progressive because he produced his own electricity from a water wheel. Few people owned cars and most traveled with a horse cart or ox-wagon.

Technologically mankind has made a huge stride forward but it has come at huge personal and environmental cost. Our lives are extremely high-paced and stressed-out. We have more time than any other generation at the same time it has become our most precious commodity.

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Most people live in crowded cities, resulting in a disconnect with the natural rhythm of nature. Modern man is constantly in a hurry, anxious and fearful. It is the perfect breeding ground for frustration and radicalism.

We can’t go back a generation. We are rather at the threshold of another technological revolution that will create and destroy jobs.  Much of the social frustration we encounter probably stems from the cultural gap in absorbing the changes of the past decade – Donald Trump`s most ardent supporters are from the rust belt and coal mining areas.

The technological revolution confronts us with the age-old question: What makes me a contented and happy person? The fascination with a shiny new object at most lasts a few days.

Every extreme carries the seeds of a new beginning. The technological revolution rides the wave of left-brain analytical, “excel-sheet” thinking while the right side of the mind lies neglected. It is the intuitive side of our human nature that needs more attention.  As human beings we have a “juvenile” playful, creative, spiritual and artistic side. Bringing both sides of the brain into balance is the challenge.

I only need to look at my dog’s joyful playing with a simple stick to appreciate that frustration, happiness or contentment is all in the mind. Appreciating that moment of deep gratitude of what we already have is the first step. Happy Thanksgiving!

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

 

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Gratitude

There is a saying that if you aren’t grateful for the things you have now, you will never be grateful for the things you are wishing for.

Being grateful for what you already have is a key aspect of happiness.

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It is not about mumbling off five daily gratitudes like a “must-do-happiness-ritual” but really feeling into that which you are truly grateful for.

“I’m so grateful that I have been given this opportunity, that I’m healthy, and that I have been given the time and the financial means.”

You feel that gratitude energy flow like a wave through every cell of your body in one big exhaling breath, while you move your lips into a gentle smile.

The advanced spiritual teachers even give thanks for the unfortunate events that come into their lives, because they view this is an opportunity for the soul to grow.

Most prayer emphasizes the wanting of something: better health, finding a job, a marriage partner, getting out of debt, having more money, or a new home.

It often comes out of a feeling of privation and deficiency.

Expressing in a prayer gratitude comes with an entirely different mindset of abundance, empowerment, and the wisdom that all is grace and interwoven within the bigger matrix of higher meaning.

Gratitude comes from within and it is entirely different from the consumer-orientated mindset, that is insatiable and never satisfied.

Being grateful puts things into perspective, and gives true meaning to being grateful for every day where we are healthy, breathing and alive.

I met several people on my Camino walks who really put my own difficulties, rather than problems into perspective and gave me a new sense of meaning when they told me of their own battles.

On my first Camino, I met a cheerful, lanky guy from Scotland in his early 60s. Only later did I find out that he had walked all the way through England, France and Spain. It was his way of dealing with the grief of losing his beloved wife of many years to cancer.

There are always things to be grateful for, especially those things we just take for granted. Nothing is permanent.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant 

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

 

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Embrace Your Self

When I watch an animal, like my dog Klara, I cannot but help think that we humans are just about the most disconnected species around.

Animals are totally connected to their immediate environment, sniffing, smelling and using all their senses to imbibe the immediate moment with no past or future.

I mentioned in a previous blog that it seems that much of the Western mind seems to have lost its soul in the mad rush for immediate gratification, and the addiction to external approval  in its many variations.

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Photo by William Farlow

It has become very difficult to discern who we really are on a soul-purpose level when we are bombarded by countless distractions from the moment we get up in the morning, and take that stretch toward the smart phone.  Most of these forces want to make us believe in self-images, or “false Gods”, with a manipulative purpose. Many of the rich and famous “role models” on glitzy magazine covers show exceedingly dysfunctional behavior. Some are obviously very unhappy people.

A growing number of neuroscientists even believe that we are a species with no free will, and can be manipulated in any direction if the communicator knows how to play the reptilian part of the brain – the oldest part of the brain – with strong emotions such as anger and fear.

The historian and author of  the book “Sapiens – A brief history of humankind”, Yuval Noah Harari, said recently that he is most concerned that “we are close to the point when an external system can understand your feelings better than you. We’ve already seen a glimpse of it in the last epidemic of fake news.”

Knowing and embracing your true self can thus become a matter of survival. If we don’t live our true self, we can become very unhappy, and fall ill because the body is always reflecting what is happening in the mind.

Finding and embracing yourself is pretty easy by taking time out for introspection. This can be anything from time for prayer, meditation, pilgrimage walks, body-mind retreats and other methods that bring us back into alignment with the higher or true self. We need to learn again who we really are.

Liberating yourself from the powers of distraction, that alienate you from your true self, is the real challenge of our time. 

Each one of us alive today has a spark of the divine, has desire and purpose, unique abilities and something precious to give back.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant 

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

 

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Is facebook really the problem?

Facebook has rightly come in the firing line for its shoddy handling of personal data but I have a problem with the hysteria around the issue which seems to miss the point.

Social media sites are abusing our data because we allow them to do so. The contract is that services like facebook are free and we give them our data in return. Its up to the user to practise personal media responsibility, and very little of that seems to be happening in the fast digital world that demands immediate reaction.

dreamstime_xxl_109902089We unfortunately live in a time where we are constantly being bombarded with toxic emotions such as anger and fear. These are emotions that appeal to our primitive mind. Negativity gets our attention first. We are programmed that way as humans to avoid possible danger.

Social media and the technical means of spreading hate mail or fake media around the globe within seconds is something we have never experienced before in the history of mankind. Whether we jump for the bait is a personal choice, however.

The downside of social media is the complete lack of a fact-checking system, allowing every stupid and dim-witted user to spread his hate-mail. A case in point was this weekend when a deranged German crashed his van into a crowd, killing two people and injuring 20 others. Authorities were quick to point out that there was no evidence of an Islamic background.  But a leader of Germany’s rightwing AfD party, Beatrix von Storch, only minutes after the incident implied in a tweet that a migrant was the perpetrator. The objective was clear: Stir up us much anger and hatred against migrants even if the facts aren’t clear.

Hatred and fear are emotions that easily spiral out of control. They are the biggest hindrance to living a healthy life of happiness and abundance. Emotions of fear and anger are so powerful that they will lock you into a negative mode, pulling you into a continuous negative spiral. You are no longer in control of your thoughts and open yourself to manipulation by demagogues and rogue politicians. Worse they are detrimental to your health.

Using social media responsibly would be to keep on posting positive messages that make us laugh, that lift our energies and open our hearts to love and compassion. Those are the energies that indeed change our world and have the potential to lift humankind to a higher consciousness. The Internet is a wonderful invention of our time – if we use it in a responsible way.

Reino Gevers – Mentor for Leaders and Achievers – Your Health Matters

Awakening the Fire Within – key principles of health and success. Enrolling now will give you a 25 per cent discount.

 “Walking on Edge – A Pilgrimage to Santiago” available both in Kindle and paperback.

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