Category Archives: mental health

You are not your opinion

The English writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley once pointed out that “at least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.”

It pretty much describes the current Zeitgeist where “tribal bubbles” confront each other on almost every major issue of our time. Its either true or false, black or white, red or blue with a nuanced debate taking cognizance of the complexity of most issues becoming almost impossible. It is causing the break-up of families, friendships and relationships. What you may be asking is happening?

What we see and believe is selective reality

An opinion or belief is mostly based on a past experience that does not necessarily conform to the true events and is colored by perception of what we believe to have been reality. We know from numerous psychological studies that we humans have the tendency to believe what we want to believe.

What we see and what information we select can be very selective as Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris revealed and their classic test of the gorilla walking through the room.

The platforms offered by social media are fodder for the ego-mind which needs constant validation and attention. An ego-mind is rooted in all the external trappings that come with status, fame, personality, titles and wealth. We fail to grow and expand because the ego-mind has built an image of the self that is an illusion. Opinions and beliefs merge with the personality. Anything that threatens such a carefully crafted “avatar” of the self is seen as a threat. Tribal survival instincts are triggered. Its “us or them” and all sense of a common humanity gets lost as the battle lines are drawn. Fixed belief and opinion is the reason people slide into that fatal abyss of fanaticism and ultimately engage in violence and war.

Ego-mind versus heart-mind

Political and religious demagogues are extremely adept at stoking the underlying fears and insecurities of the ego-mind. An ego-mind refuses to look inward, refuses to take responsibility for self-inflicted wounds and projects all its own shortcomings in fanatic rage onto those opposites that reflect the weaknesses. No rational argument or scientific fact on the ground will persuade the ego-mind from changing its opinion. It is too proud to come down from that ladder once it has been positioned firmly against a wall.

We are seeing at a global dramatic changes on all levels that is very scary for the ego-minded personality. Deep down the ego-mind desperately wants to hold onto an illusion, a world, that was and is no more. Religious dogma prescribes certain doctrines, obligations and rules of obedience that can be particularly attractive to persons battling with the uncertainties and up-and-down cycles of life.

The heart-minded person however sees change as opportunity for growth, and transition into new consciousness.

It is rooted in a child-like humility. It is why Jesus rebuked his disciples when they tried to prevent the children from seeing him, saying: “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God”

He was making his disciples aware that spiritual elevation, finding the Kingdom of God, could only be attained through a childlike humility. Just prior to becoming aware of the self, children are still free from an agenda in a down to earth honesty before pride and position come into play as personality takes shape.

A key principle of creation is diversity with the universe in a constant spiral of expansion and growth. If we are to survive as a species we will have to learn from nature which is an expression of God. Throughout the eons only those species that have learned to adapt quickly to changing circumstances have survived.

We are spiritual beings having a human experience

An inward-looking heart-mind is mindful of the impermanence of all things external and the eternity of soul. The French philosopher, paleontologist, and Jesuit priest Teilhard de Chardin is quoted as saying that “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

In those quiet moments of reflection and meditation we can reconnect with soul nature, that divine spark within and the remembrance of the eternal.

Experiential spirituality is an individual path of exploration and discovery. It is a reconnection to the soul where unconditional love, compassion, harmony, forgiveness, peace and joy reside. From within the true nature is crafted that tool for divine intention and the humility and acceptance that we are born into this life to walk a pilgrimage path of constant growth, creativity, adventure and new insight.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Finding truth and beauty within

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty – that is all ye know on earth and all ye need to know.”

– John Keats –

In his mysterious poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn” the 19th-century poet John Keats reflects on the contradiction between mortality and eternity, equating truth with beauty, portraying how the external perception of beauty is closely linked to the beauty within.

How we perceive our external world is shaped by momentary feelings and thoughts. It is a difficult endeavor for the modern mind suffering from information overload.

The mind is pulled from one distraction to the next. And, if your attention is focused on a grievance or hurt going back weeks, months or years, you will not appreciate the beauty around you. You will miss the way markers sent by the universe and lose your way.

Empty yourself of everything

The Chinese philosopher Lao Tze one said: “The usefulness of a pot comes from its emptiness,” meaning we have to empty our mind of everything and become still. If we are preoccupied with thoughts of the past or the future we miss out on the present moment of real human experience. Thoughts of the past are colored by imagination and have only partial relevance to truth.

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According to Lao Tze we cannot force the boat to go upstream. Everything happens in its own time and place. We cannot control external events or a calamities, but we can control how we respond to them. His teaching emphasized “effortless action” and the acceptance of the “wu wei” which ultimately seeks harmony.

Living according to the Dao means living without attachment. Life itself is the objective and the motivation. Behind a seemingly chaotic exterior lies a natural order of things. Nature has its seasons and cycles. We need to accept the impermanence of all things. There is always change, growth, death, and rebirth.

But as we are all imperfect beings on a path of learning, keeping the mind still can be a lofty undertaking. Toxic emotions such as anger are easily triggered by anything from a news broadcast of an event thousands of kilometers away or finding yourself having to wait in line at a supermarket.

Alignment through stillness

When we are aligned we get into touch with ourselves and our feelings. The first step is acceptance of the momentary feeling be it sadness, anger or anxiousness. The next step is replacing that thought or feeling with a positive experience or an expression of gratitude.

One of the simplest methods of alignment is the act of mindful breathing and mindful deep walking. Inhale to the count of four and exhale to the count of five. Inhale and on exhaling hum one of the most powerful mantras: “Om Mani Padme Hung”. When you practice such meditation methods regularly you will gradually sense a greater calmness and alignment of body and mind.

More than ever during these times we need to practice self-care and self-love. By becoming aware of the divine spark within we become aware of the beauty that is embedded within all things such as in the vibrant images that the poet John Keats saw in the simple contemplation of an ancient Greek urn. It is what inspired the great Dutch painters in the contemplation of everyday objects that led to the creation of some of the world’s greatest works of art.

By learning to BE in the present we learn to simply see things as they are without attaching to them comparisons with the past and giving them a definitive label.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Breathing into health and wellbeing

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Groundbreaking research is revealing that a simple thing like how you breathe can be hugely transformational. Healthy breathing techniques embedded in ancient religious practice improves body posture, sleep, general wellbeing and spiritual growth.

In our stressed out modern lives we as a species have lost the ability to breathe as nature has designed. When the body is flooded with stress hormones we tend to breathe in fast short bursts from the upper throat and chest area with grave consequences for our immune system, mental and cardiological health.

Our ancestors knew better

Western medicine for a long time believed that the nose was more or less an ancillary organ and that it was no problem just breathing through the mouth. But the latest research is revealing that our ancestors had more expansive sinus cavities and larger mouths, creating wider airways for breathing. This is not only related to the better diet where people were forced to chew their food more than the processed food eaten by most people today but by breathing primarily through the nose.

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Scientists, studying the shapes of jaws and mouth cavities from skulls several hundred thousands years old were surprised by the quality of the teeth and jawbones meaning that our ancestors probably never suffered from chronic respiratory problems, sleep apnea, snoring, sinusitis, or allergies so common today.

Rituals performed by ancient peoples and the old religions have always understood the power of breathing and that certain breathing techniques are essential in experiential spirituality and elevation of consciousness.

The power of prayer

Researchers at the University of Pavia in Italy measured blood flow, heart rate and nervous system feedback of dozens of people reciting the popular Buddhist mantra Om Mani Padme Hum and the Latin version of the Catholic Ave Maria prayer. The breathing pattern changed instantly with blood flow to the brain increasing with functions of the heart circulation and nervous system reaching peak efficiency. Both prayer and mantra caused striking, powerful, and synchronous increases in existing cardiovascular rhythms when recited six times a minute.

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.

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

You can learn more such breathing techniques in my online video course on mindful breathing exercises.

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. Especially when walking the key is finding a natural rhythm where you go into synchronicity with your body movement and with your surroundings as you breathe through the nose.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Health: We need a paradigm shift

May your body be blessed. May you realize that your body is a faithful and beautiful friend of your soul.“

– John O‘Donohue

You could be feeling a little „battle weary” by now from the daily dosage of Covid-related news. We wish it to be finally over but the pandemic still has many lessons in store for us mankind.

For one thing the issue of public health, and our integral role in a fragile environment has moved into the mainstream.

However, most mass media continues to be fear-based, propagating a one-dimensional perspective, and deflecting from the real underlying challenges. When fear rules the game our vision becomes clouded and our senses become susceptible to mind control and manipulation.

The elephant in the room

The elephant in the room is that two-thirds of Covid victims have had a medical precondition such as obesity, diabetes or stress-related problems that weaken the immune system. Young people with obesity appear to be particularly at risk.

Between a quarter to a half of nurses and health care workers suffer from obesity with experts pinpointing understaffing, stress and bad working hours as some of the reasons. An estimated 115 000 health care workers lost their lives to Covid.

Vaccines are a short-term necessity but not a long term cure. Covid has only highlighted to what extent a large portion of people in the industrialized countries suffer from medical preconditions that will keep on impacting entire economies.

A lifestyle feeding the epidemic

Our modern lifestyle contradicts the very way our bodies have evolved over thousands of generations. Poor exercise, a diet of mainly processed foods and high stress levels cause havoc to the body‘s natural defense systems. Its the perfect feeding ground for a virus that keeps attacking in different mutations.

The „health industry“ is largely in the vice grip of the pharmaceutical industy that is interested in longevity but not quality of life. The processed food industry‘s primary interest is not your health. It is to increase profits by boosting the shelf life of its products with artificial additives that flood the body with toxins, causing a multitude of health problems.

Covid will not be the last virus so we had better start looking at ways of how we can motivate ourselves and others in looking after our body, mind and spirit.

The discipline of maintaining a vibrant body and mind is that bridge toward becoming who you are truly meant to be.

If you don‘t take the time to look after your health, your body will soon force you to take the time to do so.

Just take a walk

Walking is one of the easiest and best ways of how you can start improving your body metabolism. Its one of the most underrated and best ways possible to exercise your body. We have literally been hard-wired by evolution to walk. I go into more detail on this in my book: Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

What you feed your mind and your body with is what you become. If you are addicted to news channels and social media propagating fear and anxiety you will start feeling emotionally drained and stressed.

Your brain and body need the essential nutrients from foods our ancestors have always eaten, mostly freshly harvested from the ground and the trees without pesticides. Meat was from animals that ate grasses and herbs. Fish came fresh from a clean ocean and river waters.

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Aligning body, mind and spirit

Its a no-brainer but we need a real paradigm shift when it comes to personal health and self-care.

By getting enough sleep and exercise, eating the right foods and surrounding yourself with positively-minded people you will have taken the first step to making yourself more resilient in coping with life‘s up-and-down cycles.

When you feel strong in body and mind you become centered and empowered. You will be more resilient to the constant pull of such toxic emotions as anger, hate, fear, envy and frustration.

Reino Gevers – Author – MentorSpeaker

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The “boiling frog” syndrome

A well-known fable tells us that if a frog is put into boiling water it will immediately jump out. But if the water is only gradually heated the frog will not perceive the danger and be boiled to death. The story is a warning of how a creeping normality of crisis situations delude us into a feeling of false complacency. We fail to act until it is too late.

Our daily habits, thoughts, beliefs and actions play a major part in determining our future. The compound effect of bad or good habits over a period of years and even decades are hugely underestimated.

The compound effect of good and bad habits

Eating for lunch a burger with French fries and a soda drink will affect your body but not harm you in a big way if you eat healthy foods most of the time and you metabolize sugars and carbohydrates with plenty of exercise. But eating mainly processed foods over years and decades will have a devastating impact on your mental and physical health in the long term.

In the same way if your self-talk is mainly negative about yourself or if you incessantly blame others for everything that is going wrong in your life you will most probably be a grumpy, unhappy and miserable person during old age looking back on a life not lived and opportunities missed.

How often have you been buying things you don’t really need because you said: “Its only a few pennies.” But added up over years and decades you could have put aside a small fortune in savings.

Complacency is our biggest enemy

Social and political developments in the recent past should be shaking us out of our sense of complacency and nonchalance. It appears that the general social consensus on values and norms that has prevailed for most of the past decades is seriously being eroded. An independent press, non-partisan judiciary and democratic voting procedures are seriously under threat in countries such as Hungary, Poland, Turkey and first and foremost in the United States. If the United States is no longer the world’s best example of a working democracy authoritarian rule as we see it today in China and Russia will entrench itself in many countries.

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Like a physical body gradually weakening from the effects of bad nutrition, you don’t perceive the spiral downward immediately. In my home country South Africa the seeds of maladministration and corruption were sown with the election of a populist demagogue Jacob Zuma as president in May 2009. For a while things, like the national airline, appeared on the surface to still be functioning perfectly. But after nine years the rot was there for everyone to see. Most parastatal institutions are bankrupted, leaving numerous towns and cities in dire lack of basic services such as electricity and water supply. It will most likely take generations to get South Africa back on its feet economically.

We tend to forget that political parties, governments and institutions have been created by bodies of individuals. They are a reflection of who we are. When a social pendulum of change swings into a new direction it is at first always led by a minority that eventually become the majority view.

A crisis is a way marker

Crisis situations, whether on a personal or collective level, always tell us that the status quo is no longer workable and that things need to change. The art is to perceive the small, telling signs that something is moving into the wrong direction and to adapt accordingly. It is the frog sensing when the water temperature is rising to a dangerous temperature and when it’s time to get out.

This is why some companies thrive by adapting to changing market conditions while others procrastinate. It is why some species adapt and others become extinct. Some marriage relationships adapt to changing needs and circumstances while others end in divorce. It is why the enlightened leader picks himself up during a crisis, using it as a tool of change in valuable lessons learned while the other stays in the shadow of self-pity and recrimination.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Changing the world by how we think

Groundbreaking research on the connective power of human consciousness appears to pave the way on what might one day have a major impact on how we train our minds, beliefs and thoughts. We have a real opportunity to become agents of positive change.

Experiments conducted by Roger D. Nelson from Princeton University reveal that our consciousness is able to reach across time and space to commune with another consciousness, changing subtle aspects of our world or even the behavior of technical devices.

The collective unconscious mind in a unified whole

It confirms the theories of such great thinkers as Carl Gustav Jung and the sages of old who believed that there is not only innate knowledge passed through generations but a collective unconscious mind of a unified whole.

What we think and how we take control of our emotions and thoughts has a very real impact on the world, according to the research conducted by Nelson and his team. He elaborates on the research in his book “Connected – The Emergence of Global Consciousness.”

Nelson correlated data with major recent global events such as the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the deaths of Lady Diana and Nelsons Mandela, finding that a global consciousness appears to show reactions even prior to the event – in the case of the first plane crashing into the twin towers ten minutes before the event.

The event, as we well know, changed the course of our world post 9/11 fanning wars and hostilities in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and many other countries.

But interestingly Nelson also looked at the growing number of web-organized groups synchronizing their intentions to create a better world. When large groups of people gather in positive emotional acts such as prayer and meditation human interconnection takes on a particularly strong frequency.

Creating a better world through synchronized intention

“Events that are judged to evoke or embody great compassion have a much larger effect size than those showing little or none,” Nelson points out. It is at the heart of the Buddhist tradition taught by the Dalai Lama. “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

Nelson’s research over several decades clearly shows that the human mind is not isolated within an individual body. We are social beings that are very much interconnected. How we treat ourselves and others in “mass consciousness” will very much determine the future of our species in the coming years. There is an interconnection between us and the environment around us.

The world’s most sacred sites of worship were not chosen at random. The pyramids in Egypt, the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Stonehenge in England, Notre Dame in Paris, and the Camino paths of Europe leading to the St. James crypt in Santiago de Compostela form a network of the earth’s subtle energy system.

Group meditations, chanting and singing at sacred places such as the interior chambers of the Great Pyramid were measured by the scientific team showing significant deviation from periods when there was no activity. All but one of the ancient sacred sites in Egypt showed a positive trend with one exception which was the temple at Philae. It was moved from its original location before it was flooded by a man-made lake.

Some years ago the British scientists Rupert Sheldrake espoused the idea of a “morphic resonance” with natural systems inheriting a collective memory from all previous things of their kind.” Sheldrake’s theory of “telepathy-type interconnections between organisms” was ridiculed as pseudo-science.

Did our ancestors find places imbued with special powers?

“Morphic fields of social groups connect together members of the group even when they are many miles apart, and provide channels of communication through which organisms can stay in touch at a distance,” according to Sheldrake.

The growing body of research confirms that ritual and prayer connects us to the past and the present in a powerful way. The re-enactment of a founding story or myth, as in the Jewish Passover celebration, the Christian Holy Communion and the American thanksgiving dinner, forms a significant part in creating social cohesion in a body community with a shared culture and past.

It serves also as a powerful warning that we harm both ourselves and our world by mindlessly spending a large portion of our time and attention on the distractive pull of toxicity on social media.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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A tribute to Father’s Day

My father died last year only three months prior to his 90th birthday. His last years in a retirement village in South Africa were spent in quiet solitude reading and reminiscing on the lessons of a long life lived.

Especially during my teenager years we had a difficult relationship. I perceived him as weak with our mother making all the decisions pertaining to important family and other matters. It was embarrassing when he would at times interrupt a conversation with a completely unrelated topic.

I could not understand why he was the complete opposite to his five opiniated and charismatic younger brothers who each in their way had been very successful. They ran profitable businesses, and farms and the youngest was the headmaster of a school.

The veil of silence

It seemed as if my father lived a life separate from the world around him behind a thick veil of silence. Unsurprisingly my two brothers and myself tried numerous methods, especially provocation to break through that veil. In his frustration he would try to discipline us by referring to the all powerful family figurehead. “What do you think grandfather would say?” That worked. We did not want to get in grandpa’s bad books.

We spent most  of our school vacations and weekends on the grandparents farm. Some of those happiest of childhood memories were the swims in the crystal clear waters of the Pongola river in rural South Africa, milking cows by hand, listening to the stories of the Zulus around a fireplace  and riding through the African veld on horseback.

A family secret revealed

Only much later in life my uncle and godfather, his life slowly ebbing away from cancer, took me aside with the words: “I think you need to know a few things about your father to understand why he is the way he is.”

The family secret was finally revealed. I was a toddler when my father had, what they called at the time “a nervous breakdown.” My father had been unable to fulfill grandfather’s high expectations. I can only imagine what the next weeks in a mental institution must have been like. Treatment of mental illness with controversial electroshock or electroconvulsive therapy was common in the early 1960s. From what my uncle confided to me that day a once proud, handsome man was reduced to a shadow of his former self. At that time the therapy was only known to me from the movie “One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest” starring Jack Nicholson.

My parents at their engagement in 1956

It took years of family constellation work for me to only begin to understand the deeper underlying structure of the “absent father syndrome”.  My great grandfather died when my grandfather could barely walk. Lacking a real father role model he projected many of his own insecurities onto my father, confusing  authority  with authoritarian control.

Absent father syndrome

Families in countries devastated from the effects of the terrible 20th century wars were affected for generations by the “absent father syndrome”. Those fathers who survived the war seldom if ever spoke about their trauma, leaving sons and daughters grappling with traumatized men unable to fully engage as fathers and role models. Mothers more often than not were overburdened with the task of emotionally handling the affairs of the family while the father was reduced to the role of the “breadwinner”.

Many a single mother knows all about absent fathers unable or unwilling to fully participate because of the chronic lack of role models. There is an African saying that it “takes a village to raise a child”.  Mothers, aunts, grandmothers, fathers, uncles, grandfathers and godfathers were all part of elaborate initiation rituals during the important stages of life.

It is impossible to return to that world where village life remained largely intact, and few villagers left their familiar surroundings but the importance of ritual and the definitive roles of the father and the mother in these rituals appears to be a key factor in determining a child’s mental and physical health.

Reframing the father figure

Especially during the difficult phase of puberty where the child is grappling in finding its own identity separate from that of the parent. Society needs to reframe the role of the father and father’s need to explore role models beyond the dysfunctional family unit. Expression of vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but of strength, and creates real space for intimate relationship. Humility is a powerful antidote to a false image of pride.

Jesus is quoted as saying in John 14:10: “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”

The power within is that which opens the way to a new beginning from the path of pain. It is that innate feeling of trust that all has meaning and purpose in the greater cycle of things.

The twilight years

Today I can look at pride at what my father accomplished. He remained a humble man with  a stoic steadfastness during several family tragedies, earning quiet respect  from several people who had ridiculed and looked down on him in younger years.

During our last conversations he was simply grateful for the grace of a long life lived. I would not have been what I am today without him. Despite his reservations he allowed his sons to make their own choices and to live lives on their own terms free of judgment and parental control.  I will forever be grateful for that.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Lets talk about money

It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.

–Seneca

There is hardly a topic loaded with such emotion as money, seemingly at the root of all trouble including family fallouts, divorces and the end of longtime friendships.

Dave Ramsey once said that “you must gain control over your money or the lack of it will forever control you.”

There are numerous life lessons to learn over the issue of money. Self-esteem or the lack of  it is closely intertwined with what we earn or what we perceive we are entitled to. Society especially measures the success of a person in terms of how money assets that person appears to have. Almost the entire spectrum of human emotions can be linked to money issues.

Money is an exchange of energy

The bottom line is that money is basically an exchange of energy. The nature of energy however is that it fluctuates and is impermanent. It can be extremely fickle. Fame and fortune can be accumulated and then lost overnight. Being wealthy does not necessarily mean that you have less fear and anxiety than anyone else.

A study by Boston College reported in The Atlantic revealed a surprising litany of fears and anxieties in persons with fortunes in excess of 25 million U.S. dollars.

According to the study the persons turned out to be “a generally dissatisfied lot, whose money has contributed to deep anxieties involving love, work, and family. Indeed, they are frequently dissatisfied even with their sizable fortunes. Most of them still do not consider themselves financially secure; for that, they say, they would require on average one-quarter more wealth than they currently possess.”

And this appears to be at the core of the problem that does not only affect the super-rich. In a scarcity mindset we are never satisfied with what we’ve got. We think all our problems will be resolved when we earn that first million. But then we are surprised when the anxieties and the fears are still there and we want another million.

Scarcity mindset versus abundance mindset

The sudden accumulation of money through an inheritance or a lottery win will merely amplify basic character traits. For some individuals such a windfall can be a curse. Others see blessings of wealth as a special responsibility. Some individuals, I know personally, are principally giving away regularly a good percentage of whatever they earn and doing most of it anonymously. They see possession of wealth as coming with the responsibility of giving back to society. Using money energy in the right way opens up enormous possibilities, coming from the heart of an abundance mindset.

But our consumerist culture is indoctrinating us with a scarcity mindset that inevitably leads to a “never enough” mentality. It is a culture based on the satisfaction of external needs at the neglect of internal needs.

Numerous psychological studies reveal that the pleasure resulting from such a consumerist mindset soon wear off depending on the frame of reference the individual has. There is a saying that money can’t buy you happiness but that is true only to a certain extent. How much you earn determines the safety and security of the neighborhood you live in, what education your children get, whether you can buy healthy foods and your longevity.

Money is only one factor in creating satisfaction

The craving for money, especially if you don’t have it,  can thus become so obsessive that it can destroy all the simple joys in life. What we do know from most psychological research is that we will remain unhappy if we make our happiness totally dependent on how much money we earn.

Happiness is the ability of dealing with the fluctuations of life’s up-and-down cycles. An interplay of numerous factors make us happy and satisfied human beings. Money is an essential part of it, giving us the means of exploring many new possibilities.

But human beings also have a deep need to be an essential part of a loving and caring community. Every person wants to be loved, seen and validated.

It comes from the foundation of such things as nurturing good relationships, job satisfaction, health, and the ability of finding joy and gratitude in the small things of life. It is why practicing a gratitude ritual or keeping a gratitude journal is so important. It is the stepping stone to an abundance mindset.

Time well spent is one of the most precious assets you will ever have. A higher frequency of vibrational energy flows from a passion that ignites your inner truth and fills your life with purpose and meaning.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. Check out also the latest online courses for you to download and our special Retreat on the island of Majorca in October this year.

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Humility and the lessons of adversity

“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels”

Saint Augustine

Humility seems to have lost the battle against pride. Our world of social media has provided the perfect stage for narcissism and self-aggrandizement with the world of illusion taking precedence over what is real and a fake.

On one of my Camino walks in northwestern Spain I met a pilgrim who told me: “If you don’t walk the Path with humility it will force you into humility.”

Walking the Camino is in so many ways walking through life. Every day the path has new lessons to learn where the pilgrim is confronted with new and old emotional demons.

The last section before reaching a destination is sometimes the most difficult. You are relieved that you have reached the top of a mountain and then you find that you still have another even bigger mountain to climb.

It is why so many people who started walking the Camino as hikers ended their journey as pilgrims, learning on the Path that when going slow and finding that inner rhythm, external personality merges with the internal needs of the soul.

An emotional and physical breakdown leads to the breakthrough

When we are confronted with adversity and almost insurmountable challenges, the path of life forces us from pride into humility. The wounded soul is cracked open for the light to shine into that inner truth.

Sometimes you have to shut a door and walk away from everything in order to rediscover who you really are. You are forced into falling forward and opening a new door.

David Bowie once said that “aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.”

The elderly person surrenders to the cycle of life, the inevitability of death. There is nothing more to prove. There is a quiet solitude and acceptance. It is the same when an identity built on the weak foundations of personality breaks apart after a financial disaster, the loss of a job or a divorce.

Transformation begins where the world of certainty crumbles

There is a deep human need to be seen, to be heard and to have certainty. But when the world of certainty crumbles truth is revealed. This is the opportunity for real transformation and recognition of soul.

Pride and narcissism is about self-interest while humility is focused on being of service. If people are in search of their calling and having difficulty in finding an answer the clue is always in finding that niche where individual talent finds expression in the act of service for the bigger whole. You will have surrendered to that bigger plan that the universe has in store for you.

What is humility and what is pride?

Humble people are unafraid of expressing their vulnerability, and pain, and to seek help. They are listeners rather than talkers. They accept the transitions of life and are willing to learn from them while the narcissist in his pride is always right and is immersed in the illusion that the world is owing to him. He will always blame other people for his failures and take accolades for accomplishments that were none of his doing. Too many of such people find themselves in leadership positions causing much pain and suffering to all those around and ultimately to themselves.

Humility and adversity teach us that we always have another mountain to climb during life’s up-and-down cycles. Climbing those mountains make us more resilient. As long as we are alive we are never done as human beings. It is during those moments when we think that we are done that life inevitably throws another lesson at our feet.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. Check out the latest online courses for you to download and our special Retreat on the island of Majorca in October this year.

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Have you found your calling?

Are you having difficulty in finding your life calling? Well, you are not alone with many people stressing out on finding that one silver arrow pointing to meaning and purpose in life.

As a young person you are in a very different place than later in life. But you are confronted with the major decision on whether to take out a massive student loan to train for a particular career path. Finally you follow through with the predominant view of family and peer groups.

During midlife you find yourself in a very unhappy place, realizing that all those years you had placed the ladder against the wrong wall.

Photo by Xin on Unsplash

Are you flying or scratching with the chickens?

Friends and family are sometimes the worst people to ask when it comes to pursuing your dreams and passions. The reason is that they don’t want a member of the tribe to change so much that they leave and seek a new tribe that is a better fit for new ideas, philosophies and visions.

Instead of learning to fly and soar with the eagles you remain on the ground scratching with the chickens, living out a life of quiet misery. All the time there is that inner voice calling on you to plant that seed destined to make you grow into who you are really meant to be.

It is sometimes necessary to leave a relationship that has long outlived its purpose, an unfulfilling but well paid job or even the country you are living in when it comes to living your destiny. Our biggest fear is often the fear that the future might turn out worse than the current situation, so you settle for the status quo because you feel safe in your “comfort zone.”

Life is not a trajectory of predictability

The journey of life seldom takes you on a trajectory of predictability. The ship you are sailing on sometimes has to change course because a hurricane is coming your way. Political systems, institutions, economic sectors and careers are undergoing huge changes.

A choice might be the right decision now in learning certain skills, mindsets and networking you with a particular circle of people. Other times you are getting huge shout outs from the universe in the form of constant obstacles that are telling you to move on and try something different.

Every choice you make whether it is to fall in love with a certain partner, to choose certain friends, a career or the suburb or country you live in is based on your state of consciousness at the time. There is therefore no need to be too hard on yourself or put yourself under pressure.

A calling can change many times during a lifetime

A calling can change many times over during a lifetime. What you are doing now may only set the stage in preparing and giving you the skillset for the next chapter in your life. You need only to take a step back to have a conversation with your 16-year-old self in realizing how much life has sculptured you into who you are today.

It is the trauma from a pain, the effort in finding the answer to an underlying question, a time-out during an illness, an unexpected event that pulls the rug from underneath your feet that catapults you into a new chapter and a new beginning.

But it need not be that way either. Sometimes one event, one chapter just leads into another like a wave washing to the shore. In a 1903 letter to his protégé, the 19-year-old cadet and budding poet Franz Xaver Kappus, Rainer Maria Rilke writes:

“I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

Rilke pointedly reminds us that what has broken, destroyed or ripped us apart emotionally are the building blocks of what elevates us to a new level of consciousness and spiritual growth. When all is in flow, the moment arrives when you hear with clarity that inner song, that tune that merges personality with soul purpose.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. Check out the latest online courses for you to download and our special Retreat on the island of Majorca in October this year.

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