Category Archives: humanity

Are we heading for an apocalypse?

A barrage of negative news from the mass shootings of innocent people, trade wars and the melting of the polar ice caps from the effects of global warming easily creates the impression that mankind is heading for an apocalypse. But moaning about the state of the world is no solution and creates a mindset of negativity.

Where attention goes energy flows

In the duality of what is life, we are confronted constantly with light and shadow. There is good and there is evil.  Where attention goes energy flows. The human mind is unfortunately hard-wired to perceive the negative before seeing the positive. It is part of the survival instinct of homo sapiens.

Magic of the moment

The downside is that we at the same time have the capacity to dwell constantly in the past or in the future, missing the magic or the gratitude of the moment. I just need to observe my dog, who will jump with joy, wagging her tail, when I just mention the sentence: “Time for a walk, Klara.”

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It is particularly difficult to find the emotional shift to positivity when we are bombarded from all sides by news of negative events.  But instead of falling into the trap of wallowing in the cloud of negativity, we need to ask ourselves the question. What can I do to change it?

The emphasis on the negative puts mankind in a defeatest, “can’t do anything about it anyway” mode. The “fight climate change” campaigns have the opposite effect as intended because the problem seems so overwhelming.

Becoming pro-active

Enormous energy can be released in human beings if they feel they are doing something purposeful for the bigger whole. Ethiopia, India, and China are some of the countries that recently launched massive tree-planting campaigns to restore landscapes and to mitigate the effects of climate change.  If every human being on earth planted a tree or a shrub we would be well on our way to boosting a restorative mindset.

The world today is a better place

Life is living on the edge. Humanity has been on the brink of extinction on numerous occasions in history. But we have come a long way since the plagues of the Middle Ages, the burning of “witches” at the stake or the sacrificing of human beings in the name of religion.  In the bigger picture, humanity today is far better off than it ever was. The average middle-class family in the Western world today has a better lifestyle than any king or queen centuries ago when there was no such thing as central heating or running water.

The problem in the modern era is information overload. We are confronted with the constant pull of countless distractions that have a mainly negative message. Should we then be surprised at the enormous rise in depression and mental illness?  We need a radical reduction in the dosage of negative news and more messages that stir hope.  And, we need to seize those moments for stillness and peace of mind, creating the space for self-discovery and purpose. It is a space that every individual needs to vigorously defend. Do not let your mind be captured by apocalyptic negativity.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Escaping the treadmill

On the Camino recently I met an Italian pilgrim who has walked the northwestern Spanish pilgrimage route several times. He explained to me why he just couldn’t stop walking.

“I was feeling like part of this big machine that just keeps going.  I realized. If you want to know who you are, you have to get out of this big machine,” he said.

It’s one of the reasons a growing number of people are walking the Camino. There is a deep spiritual yearning for the discovery of the true self, of looking within. Treading the treadmill is spending most of your life in the accumulation of things. After a while, things lose their shine. The urge is to buy more things, which for many people means a never-ending spiral of debt and frustration.

When we are treading the treadmill of the big machine there is little time for reflection as we hurry through life instead of aligning ourselves with life. For me walking the Camino each year is taking time out to digest, to reflect and to cleanse body and mind.

Why is the Camino so different than an ordinary hike?

But why not walk the Appalachian Trail in the eastern United States or the Bruce Trail in Canada or some of the many other famous nature trails?

The many conversations, I have had with the pilgrims passing through the pilgrims’ hostel in Najera the past two weeks,  however, confirmed my impression that the Camino is in so many ways different than a normal hike.

The Camino works on many different subtle levels. For one thing, you are literally walking through a history book with every town and village along the Camino steeped in centuries of human architectural and artistic marvel.

A unique cultural and architectural heritage 

Najera, the little village that is the eighth stage of the Camino starting from the little French hamlet of Saint-Jean-Pied-Le-Port, dates back to Roman times, strategically located along the Najerilla river with the hilltop offering a perfect military observation area. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Navarre until it was conquered by the Muslims and then later recaptured by the Christians.

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         Bridge leading into the town of Najera, monastery to the right 

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And, right in the middle of this small town of hardly 3,000 people, you will find one of the most marvelous monasteries on the Camino.

It is believed that the Camino pilgrimage path even predates the Christian era when Celtic priests celebrated ritual walks.  “I started walking the Camino as a sporting adventure and ended it as a pilgrim,”  a young man said in sharing the experience many people make on the Camino.

Celebrating the moment

A precondition to really internalizing the magic of the Camino is in the celebration of the present moment which comes after several days of walking and if you are able to avoid the treadmill trap and falling into the robot and monkey mind by constantly checking your cell phone.

It is the one big advice I would give to pilgrims starting their walk. Limit the use of your cell phone to 15 minutes a day.  So often I’ve observed people talking for hours on their cell phones while walking the Camino, robbing themselves of a truly magical experience.

Walking alone and in nature is a challenge initially. It’s about learning to accept the company of self with all its light and shadow. The feelings and emotions can at times be overwhelming but are part of the process of opening the doorway to within.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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The walk alone

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

Before his enlightenment the Buddha retreated for an extended time in the forests, and often went into silent retreats during his lifetime. He however cautioned that “one who goes into solitude will either sink to the bottom or rise to the top,” meaning you have to do it for the right reasons.

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 can touch the divine.

Confronting distraction

We as a society are obsessed with what the wise ancients called the distractions of the 10,000 things. Countless things pull at our attention every day in this digital age:

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, and be without the constant chatter.

There is such a great quote from Robin Williams that really sums it up nicely:

 “I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It’s not. The worst thing in life is ending up with people who make you feel all 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.

Discover self by being alone

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 the  time when we confront our own shadow, explore the world within, and find out where we need to take the next step.

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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Finding purpose with deep walking

My next book “Deep Walking – for Body, Mind and Soul” will soon be on the market.  It is about finding purpose during that void of inner silence that comes with deep walking.

We need to listen to nature

While writing the book I so often came to a point of writer’s block or procrastination. A new inspiration always came after going for a walk in nature. I think this is a dilemma most of us face in the modern world. We are spending too much time indoors, and it’s making us sick and moody.

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The disconnect from nature and the wisdom of the universe, has separated our species from the web of creation. This is why we are treating ourselves and the environment with such disrespect. What is happening within reflects what is happening in the outer world.

At the crossroads – depression and suicides have reached epidemic proportions

Humans are creative and exceptional beings. But we are very much at the crossroads where decisions made today will determine the future of our species in the next half century. I’ve said it often on these pages: The Western mind has sacrificed its soul to the golden calf of immediate external material gratification.  The result: Depression and mental illnesses have reached epidemic proportions. Something is out of order when one person commits suicide every 40 seconds. It is the second leading cause of death in the age group 15-24 in the United States!

Religious dogma from the past is not giving answers

A growing number of people are feeling this intuitively and are searching for new meaning and purpose. They are not finding the answers in the religious dogma of old that is telling us to believe in this or that. The new spiritual consciousness comes from an individual experience. It is why more than 300,000 people from all walks of life, different nationalities and faith, walk the pilgrimage path in Spain, the Camino, every year.  You can get my tips on preparing  for the Camino here: Preparation Camino.

The difference between a hike and a pilgrimage

It is a phenomenon I came across the very first time I walked the Camino in 2007. There  is a huge difference between just taking a hike for exercise purposes and going on a deep walking experience lasting several weeks, especially on a pilgrimage path walked by pilgrims for centuries.  Get my tips on preparing for the Camino here:

Nobody who walks the Camino with serious and mindful intent, comes back the same. As you walk from day to day through rain, mud and hot sun, passing village after village and climbing mountain top after mountain top, a mystery unfolds from within. When the many external distractions fall away, the empty space where we stop thinking opens and the universe, or God, can finally speak to us.

We can find this experience in meditation and other spiritual practices. I’ve found that deep walking in nature to be an exceptionally meditative experience, taking time out from the rat-race that has become our world, aligning with the above and the below with every mindful step.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Money for Notre Dame? A skewed debate

Why donate for a building when millions are going hungry?

With almost a billion euros donated for the restoration of Notre Dame cathedral, which was almost destroyed by fire last week, the political moralists on the gallery are crying foul.

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Photo by Thomas Millot on Unsplash

France’s super wealthy families opened their pockets for Notre Dame, triggering a heated debate on the wealth gap. The money should’ve gone to the hungry, to the poor, to the refugees etc.

Such a debate is comparing apples with oranges. In comparing things that cannot be compared with each other, the divisiveness in society is being fanned. It is the game of the ego-driven populists. They care less for the poor than for their own aggrandizement.

Notre Dame is much more than just another cathedral. It symbolizes the ingenuity, innate spirituality and genius of man over centuries. It is a powerful symbol that unites mankind beyond the confines of a single religion. The outpouring of horror and grief as the flames engulfed the ancient cathedral, is indicative of the power of Notre Dame.

I referred in my previous blog to why the ancient builders chose this particular spot where once stood an ancient Roman temple and before that probably a Celtic worship site. When such a sacred site is harmed, it tears at the heartstrings at a deeper level.

Victor Hugo, who played a key role in saving Notre Dame with his novel “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in the early 19th century, wrote:

“Great buildings, like great mountains, are the work of centuries.”

Notre Dame embodies the best of man’s creativity and higher sense of purpose over centuries. It is an achievement of many individuals embodied in one work of art, with the common goal transcending individual glorification. It is not a building belonging to the church or an institution but to all of mankind.

Notre Dame will be restored. And, at some time in the distant future it will continue to inspire, unite, and excite generations to come. The narrow-minded current debate will be but a forgotten footnote in history.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

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Thoughts on Notre Dame

When a significant world heritage site such as the Notre Dame in Paris is in flames, a nerve is struck on a global level. The miracle of this tragedy is that the cathedral has once again survived.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Every tragedy both on a personal and global level comes with a deeper meaning.

The most significant aspect that springs to mind is that this happened during the Easter week, one of Christianity’s most important events. It recalls Jesus who died on the cross and rose from the dead three days later more than 2,000 years ago. It is a celebration of the cycle of life: death, resurrection and rebirth. The resurrection of Christ could now become a metaphor for the rebirth of the cathedral.

Fire is one of the most powerful elements. When out of control it burns and destroys, reducing everything to the basic elements. But from the ashes springs rebirth. The old has to be destroyed for new life to begin.

Notre Dame is at the heart of Paris and of France. At the front entrance to the cathedral is embedded in the concrete pavement a copper plaque marking the point zero from which the distance from Paris to all other places are judged. Notre Dame is a sacred site that connects with humanity at a deeper level beyond religious doctrine.

Notre Dame is steeped in many myths and mysteries. Like most of the ancient sacred sites, it was carefully chosen by the builders who had great knowledge of the earth’s energy fields or meridians. It was built on the site of a Gallo-Roman temple dedicated to Jupiter. Four churches then preceded the building of Notre Dame. French philosopher John of Jandun in 1323 described it as “that most glorious church” that “shines out, like the sun among stars.”

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The western mind has in many respects lost its soul with religious institutions in the western world in deep crisis. We are on the brink of a raising of human consciousness.

The mindset of the Middle Ages is almost symbolically burned with the collapse of the roof of Notre Dame, yet the cathedral has been in dire need of repair for years. Curators have had trouble getting the funds for the repairs needed.

But here we see within hours hundreds of millions of euros pledged for the reconstruction.  First reports said it would take at least a generation to restore the cathedral. Later reports said that with the necessary will and funding it could take less than five years. When humanity focuses on a single objective so much can be achieved.

It would indeed be a powerful symbol: A new roof spanning an 850-year-old cathedral, symbolizing the beginning of a new age of raised consciousness.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

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Hate or Love: The language we speak

Much of social media has become a global ghetto-blaster of hate speech and vile language. We should not be surprised that deranged minds run amok with assault weapons in mosques, synagogues, churches and schools.
The language we speak can either unite or divide. A thought brings forth words and words trigger action. It is a frightening reality that there is a thin line between language that stirs toxic emotions and the violence on innocent people. Masses can be manipulated at will by fear-mongering demagogues.
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Hate speech is dividing communities across the globe. It is the downside of the digital revolution. The seeds of genocide are planted by the seeds of hate speech. Psychology has determined seven stages of hate speech leading to the final stage of killing. The boundary has been crossed in several countries with scapegoating of refugees, racial groups, religious minorities and ethnic minorities.
History has taught us lessons that cannot be repeated. There is an old black and white news documentary film of chief Nazi propagandist Josef Goebbels stirring the masses in Berlin with fanatical screams of, “we want total war!” that cost the lives of about 50 million people in World War II.
The Nazi party in Germany was initially seen as a joke when it started parading through the streets of German cities in the 1920s, blaming the Jews for the economic ills of the country. But the hate speech escalated. Jewish shops were ransacked, then synagogues were torched before the mass-killing started at an unprecedented industrial scale.
Negative language not only spreads the fans of hate. It also does something to those who utter vile language. We can and should defuse hate language with words that have a healing energy.
In differential language analysis psychologists have found a correlation between language in social media and general well-being and health. Words such as “human, beings, nature, spiritual” suggested something larger than oneself and an important determinant of psychological well-being.” Happiness is contagious:
There is a stronger feeling of happiness living in a community with people who influence each other in their general feeling of well-being. Through geolocation researchers also determined a link between cardiovascular disease and language used in tweets. https.aaai.org/ocs/index
Negative words associated with disengagement and a feeling of lack of meaning and purpose in life were defined as “sick, hate, bored, chill, wtf, bored, soooo, freakin…” The karmic effect of hate language is that it will eventually trigger serious mental and health issues in the body of the perpetrator.
We know from our own experience that words with a harmonious ring such as love, harmony, beauty and light trigger an expansive energy, especially if they find expression in a choir sung with other people.
Humming the syllable OM has a particularly strong vibrational power. Many of the ancient Sanskrit, Aramaic and Latin syllables are known to have immense healing power across time and space. They also create a matrix of positive neuronal links in the brain and the vital body functions.
Hate language divides, separates and destroys. Positive language unites, heals and transforms.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

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