Category Archives: mental-health

Difficulty finding your purpose?

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

A great many people are confused by the plethora of literature on finding your purpose in life as if there is one clear trajectory just waiting to be discovered so that you can live the life of your dreams of world fame in a beautiful home with an ocean view and a dozen sports cars parked in the garage.

There is nothing wrong in obtaining material abundance if you have a clear purpose for what you are using it for. The emphasis would be all wrong when there is a craving for the “having” instead of the “giving.”

Every so often I have a person telling me in exasperation: “I just seem to have no clue about finding my purpose in life!”

For most of us, it will be highly unlikely that we will end up being famous movie stars in Hollywood earning tens of millions of dollars. But some of the literature out there is telling people that all you need to do is to create a vision board and to trust in the universe fulfilling that dream.

It’s creating much unhappiness and frustration when hard reality sets in. The divine might have a completely different path set out for you than the outward symbols of what our culture defines as success. Some people who have spent all their life energy on external gratification find themselves in a deeply unhappy state when everything rings hollow and nothing can bring them joy. For, living somone else’s identity be it that of a parent, spouse or societal image would be a betrayal of your own authenticity.

Finding purpose is never done

Finding your purpose in life is a process that is never done. You have to rediscover anew every day your meaning, your authenticity, and your truth. Should I have big dreams? Of course you should. But be sure those dreams are in alignment with your core values and authenticity.

Material abundance is an important element but only one aspect of living your best life. If you are aware that you are an eternal spiritual being having a human experience a lifetime is but one stage in the evolution of soul nature.

“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. …

The life we receive is not short but we make it so;

we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.” – Seneca

Outer symbols of success are merely an emanation of an internal success mindset. In order to have abundance you need to have a mindset of abundance. Your “doing” and your creative nature need to be filled with a meaning that will serve both the world and the elevation of your consciousness.

There is a deep human need connected to soul nature that constantly strives to grow and develop in a creative process that is life’s journey. During the various stages of life we follow different way markers. It’s indeed a rarity when a person has an epiphany in early childhood that sets it on a clearly defined path of blooming into full potential.

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These people have been fortunate enough to be guided by peers with the experience to help nurture with great care that inner light waiting to illuminate the world. For most of us finding purpose is a journey taken on different paths in difficult terrain, getting lost, retracing one’s footsteps, and at some point finding that road converging into a clearly marked route.

The antidote to a scarcity mindset

A first step to finding purpose and meaning is the self-realization that “I am worthy.” “I have a voice and I have something to give”. A materially obsessed culture is infected with the scarcity mindset, the fear that the little I have will be taken away by someone.

Building a gratitude habit is the antidote to a scarcity mindset. It keeps you aligned and keeps building the bridge to your bigger goal:

  • Start your day reflecting on what is good in your life right now. Recognize your wins and what you are grateful for. Share with friends and family what you are grateful for.
  • Taking time out for reflection, play and recuperation is essential. Sometimes we just need time to sit in an armchair doing nothing or to play with the dog. It frees the mind for the bigger things.

The amount of positive vibration that you send out is really what matters. Becoming aligned with your core values is essentially a learning process of when to say “yes” and when to say “no”. When making a decision ask yourself:

  • Is this really aligned with my higher purpose?
  • Will this expand or deplete my energy?
  • Is this my ego seeking validation or does it serve the common good?

Standing guard at the doorway of your soul is key. What distracting and fear-induced voices are trying to pull me into a direction that is completely alien to my inner voice? Most of the time we sense intuitively what is happening but we fail to heed that voice because there is too much noise around.

When you resort to humility. When you fall still as you stand in awe at the beauty of creation, you may hear that whisper that is your destiny.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Do you really love yourself?

“How you love yourself is how you teach others to love you”

– Rupi Kaur

How you think about yourself and how you talk with yourself is key to how you see the world, and how you interact with others.

Much of the divisive anger we see around us each day can be traced to shame, and lack of self-esteem that has its roots in the hurt experienced by the inner child. The quality of all your relationships is determined by how you feel about yourself. The sad truth is that you will never experience a truly fulfilling, loving relationship unless you learn to love yourself.

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Loving yourself is such an important command that we find it eight times in the Bible. The most famous is in a quote from Jesus in Mark 12:30-31: “..Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

In the same vein, the Buddha said: You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

However, the lines between nurturing self-love and loving the ego often become blurred in our narcissistic culture. We are more concerned about how we are perceived and validated in the outside world than really doing the hard work of growing on a physical, mental, and spiritual level.

So what is the difference between loving the self and loving the ego?

In self-love, you will be in acceptance of who you are including all your challenges, weaknesses, hurts, and needs. The mantra is: “I love and accept myself the way I am.” It is a loving and humble submission to the self that is beyond the personality caught in external ideas and concepts.

When the release of “false Gods” or illusory concepts of the self takes place it is almost paradoxical, according to Eckart Tolle, that the general conditions of your life, the outer forms, tend to improve greatly. Things, people, or conditions that you thought you needed for your happiness now come to you without struggle or effort.

The work starts with getting to know yourself and acknowledging who you are not.

Taking time out for meditation and reflection is crucial. Tolerating alone time with the self is probably one of the hardest lessons for modern man pulled by the distraction of the 10,000 things. The voice of the inner child is often drowned by addictions and the obsession with immediate gratification.

Transmuting the pain of the inner child is a lifelong process. We are never done in the becoming of who we really are. Tracing the curveball emotions that hinder inner growth is best done with guidance from an experienced teacher or mentor who has taken a similar journey through the pain.

In an entitlement-driven culture, the ego-mind is held captive by the hungry ghosts that are never satisfied. The ego-mind is highly judgemental of others. How you are talking to yourself is an indicator of how harshly you judge yourself and others: “Why is this always happening to me?” Why am I always broke?” “Why does everyone hate me?” “Why am I not as beautiful, rich, and successful as…?”

Gratitude: The antidote to negative self-talk

A perfect antidote to negative self-talk is to switch that inner voice to something positive such as gratitude. When you change the perspective your mood will change instantly. Starting the day and ending the day with at least three things that you are immensely grateful for will set the course for how your day or night will be. No matter how bad your current situation might be there will always be things that you can be truly grateful for. We are blessed by the universe with countless things each and every minute of the day. It could be a simple thing such as being grateful to your body for all the work it is doing in sustaining you during your life on this earth. Basking in that feeling of gratitude and really feeling it on a mental and physical level does the trick.

Staying on the path

On the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, yellow waymarkers painted on walls, roads, and lamp posts prevent pilgrims from getting lost. It is not simply a way marker but a symbol reminding the pilgrim that during the walk of life you need to stay on course by showing loving kindness. Over centuries locals greet the pilgrims with the words: “Buen Camino” – a good path. After weeks on the road, the pilgrim will have been blessed in this way thousands of times. It reminded me on my own walks on the Camino that the simple things in life are often the most valuable.

Being greeted by a kind and smiling face from a stranger while struggling up a rugged mountain path makes all the difference. It costs nothing to be kind. Purpose and meaning in life can simply be spreading love and kindness to one’s fellow human being.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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A lifetime wasted on the treadmill?

With only a few weeks left to the end of another year you might once again have thoughts of how “time flies” and feel a little melancholy sadness about the things you had on your to-do-list and have had to postpone.

Our culture is obsessed with time as we rush from one appointment to another or try to squash as much activity as possible into leisure hours.

During this week I did a workshop with participants from diverse establishments ranging from public service to production with some of the companies registering absenteeism due to illness of up to twenty per cent. Our hurried and just-in-time economies are not only unsustainable but are having a major impact on physical and mental health.

A life spent in haste is a wasted life

In Germany alone the number of mental illnesses, mainly job-burnout, has doubled in the past decade. In the United States a study revealed that a frighteningly high number of employees are experiencing symptoms of fatigue and burn-out. It is seldom talked about but many victims of the pandemic have been people with an already weakened immune system caused by work stress and other factors.

When your body is flooded with stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline you will have difficulty slowing down, relaxing and spending time alone in solitude.  Moreover if stress hormones remain at a constantly high level over months and even years your body’s natural defense systems and key body organs are being steadily weakened.

I know people who feel extremely uneasy if they don’t have the television in the house switched on 24-7 or don’t have loud music playing in the background. On a subliminal level the body senses never have time to recuperate.

Time for the soul to catch up

You think you might just google a quick question and already you have been hooked and sidetracked into  spending hours of precious “lifetime” on social media.

During my childhood my grandfather, a farmer in South Africa, loved to tell the story when he gave a lift  to an elderly Zulu man. After sitting quietly next to my grandfather in the pickup truck the Zulu man asked my grandfather to stop for a minute to help his soul catch up as it had been left behind by the speed at which they had been travelling.

The Zulu people at the time lived with their senses closely attuned to the laws of nature, getting up at sunrise and retiring for sleep soon after sunset. They often joked about the ways of the white man and why he always seemed  to be in a hurry and living life according to the clock.

Hurried people make mistakes

It’s an old wisdom. When we are in a hurry we are more likely to make mistakes. We miss important way markers along the road when we go into a stressed-out tunnel vision. We fail to hear the whispers from the universe telling us that we have placed our ladder against the wrong wall.

It brings to mind that in the pre-industrial era the main mode of transport for most people was walking from A to B with the body finding its natural rhythm during walking. The advances of technology have given mankind the possibility of flying from one continent to another within hours. We can cover a journey by car that took our ancestors weeks or months on horseback or carriage. The downside is that our mode of travel is contributing to the warming of the earth’s atmosphere and that the speed at which we are travelling is giving us less time to reflect and internalize the experience of the immediate surroundings.

Eternity lies in the full experience of the here-and now

The great spiritual masters throughout the ages teach us that eternity lies in the experience of the “here-and-now.” It is when we are aligned completely with the activity we are doing and time somehow seems to have become irrelevant. It is when we find peace in meditation and feel the immediacy of each in and out breath. Or, when we feel at one and in synchronicity with a natural sound of nature.

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One of the blessings of the pandemic lockdowns is that it has forced millions of people to slow down and reflect. What do I want to do with the rest of the days of my life that I have left? Do I really want to spend a good portion of my day stressing in a commute to an unfulfilling job while I’m not  seeing my children growing up? What contribution can I make to make a positive impact on the world?  What is depleting my mental and physical energy  and what is boosting my energy on all levels?

Life is too short to be wasted with things unimportant on the journey that is life.  More and more people are realizing the importance of slowing down, realigning and just enjoying the beauty of autumn colors reflected in a stream or the sound of migrating geese flying above.  Priorities are starting to shift and it’s a good thing.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Bridging the growing gender divide

There is false of Aristotelian logic, which is so much the basis of Christianity, and to some extent, Judaism in the west. Too rational, too logical, too masculine, chauvinistic, male dominated, head over heart, mind over body, heaven different than earth and so on, rather than yin/yang, inter-being, interwoven, inseparably.— Surya Das

One of the burning issues of our time is the big gender divide as we transition from centuries of male dominance toward more gender equality. There is a real crisis of mentally unstable boys growing up to be unhealthy men while girls seem to crush it at every level from education to job performance.

Just a brief look at some of the statistics reveal some staggering figures. More than nine times as many men compared to women at some point spent time in prison in the United States with men accounting for more than 80 per cent of persons arrested for violent crime. Women have lower arrest rates for all categories of crime except prostitution in almost every country in the world.

Women are at the forefront in the self-development industry and the elevation of awakened consciousness. They are indeed the better half of humanity showing more caring responsibility, empathy, creativity and intuition. In leadership positions their social skillset emphasizes collaboration, rather than the male notion of destroying a competitor.

But is the solution to our global problems the reversal of male dominance with female dominance? There are a lot of males out there feeling uneasy about some of the emanations from the feminist movement. Men are feeling left behind by women on all levels but they just won’t admit it and are resisting to do real inner, reflective work, still perceiving it as a weakness rather than a strength.

The root cause appears to be that there are far too many fathers who have been exceptionally bad role models for their sons and daughters over generations. It is the “absent-father-syndrome” that is cause for many mental problems.

Several studies show that boys growing up without their biological father often feel deserted, insecure, fearful and anxious. A stepfather can never replace that void created by the absent father. I have seen the hurt in a stepchild when a father refuses to engage.

Among the 25 most cited school massacres in the United States, two thirds were committed by boys from broken or fatherless homes! Criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi, found the absence of fathers to be one of the “most powerful predictors of crimes .” Fathers serve as role models for their sons who maintain authority and discipline, thereby helping them develop self-control and empathy toward others, key character traits lacking in violent youth.

According to a UNICEF report “school-aged children with good relationships with their fathers were less likely to experience depression, to exhibit disruptive behavior, or to lie. Overall, they were far more likely to exhibit prosocial behavior.”

While women seek help when they experience mental health problems such as anxiety or fear, men often retreat into typical male dysfunctional behavior such as addiction, political and religious extremism or violent crime. It seems to be completely overlooked in the political narrative that men and masculinity feature prominently in both past and present populist movements.

What is the solution?

First and foremost fathers need to step-up and take responsibility for their children. Abdicating and delegating responsibility solely to motherhood is archaic and stems from a medieval patriarch mindset. A positive father-figurehead understands the art of integrating female caring responsibility, empathy, and intuition with the positive male features such as structure, protection, discipline and authority.

As humanity moves toward the elevation of consciousness it is crucial that we transmute the typical gender narrative to another level.

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Integrating the feminine and the masculine

Integrating the feminine and the masculine aspects of personality is the challenge both on a personal and collective level. The great Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung Jung describes the two primary archetypes of the unconscious mind: The “animus” is unconscious masculine side of a woman, and the anima as the unconscious feminine side of a man, each transcending the personal psyche.

Greek philosophy which found its way into the tenets of Christianity believe that humans are fundamentally flawed and wounded.

Our cultural indoctrination pronounces that finding that “soul mate” will heal that inner wound or void. Disappointment and relationship meltdown is inevitable. It is an illusion and we should never delegate or make our happiness conditional to the behavior of another person. Only the awakened self can heal that wound through the integration of the “shadow”, as Jung puts it.

How do we integrate that “soul mate” within? There is a beautiful image evoked by Plato who describes his idea of “soul mates” as the one longing for the other half “and so they would throw their arms about each other, weaving themselves together, wanting to grow together.”

The encounter, study and integration of the unconscious mind into the mature personality is key to becoming fully human. As a humanity we need to fully embrace our female and male traits. It is that which has the potential to catapult us toward a happier future, giving us that valuable skillset to confront the challenges ahead.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Lessons from the Camino

Walking the Camino in northwestern Spain and Portugal this year was in many respects very different from previous walks on this ancient pilgrimage path that has been massively impacted by the repercussions of the pandemic.

First and foremost the Camino has lost nothing of its magic that has become for hundreds of thousands of modern-day pilgrims, a path of introspection, healing and transformation. About half as many people arrive at the destination in Santiago de Compostela compared to normal years. The good news is that with good planning you can still walk it!

We walked from Porto in Portugal to Santiago, alternating between the coastal and central routes, but booking our accommodation two to three days in advance as most pilgrims’ hostels are still closed and will possibly only reopen next year. Unless you are walking the less popular routes cheap accommodation is very limited for pilgrims with a limited budget.

Can you still stay in a pilgrims’ hostel?

Staying overnight in a pilgrims’ hostel is so much part of the Camino experience where stories are shared over a meal cooked together and often lasting friendships are formed. Although a little more expensive than the municipal albergues, some of the better private albergues are a definite must.

We had one of our most enjoyable evenings with fellow pilgrims at Casa da Fernanda with dancing, singing, great food and good conversations. This was all on a donation basis. Certainly one of the most beautifully run private albergues is the La Cala Pilgrims Inn in Oia run by Tanya Valdes. Tanya is a lovely soul from the U.S. who moved to Spain, fulfilling a heart wish in serving pilgrims in her beautifully renovated albergue, overlooking the monastery in Oia.

The chilling effects of the pandemic

Having had to break off last year’s walk on the Via Francigena in Italy because of another lockdown, walking the Camino Portugues was the first longer walk since 2019. It was at times a chilly experience walking through the small villages where public notice boards bear portraits of locals who have died from Covid and bypassing dozens of closed pilgrims’ hostels, restaurants and curio shops.

Families in the local villages along the Camino route have for centuries earned their income from passing pilgrims and obviously many small businesses have not survived the pandemic. Some had invested all their funds in the expectation of a boom on the Camino for this year’s holy year.

The revival of the Camino pilgrimage in modern days can be largely attributed to Don Elías (1929-1989), the parish priest in O Cebreiro near Lugo. Up to the early 1980s only dozens of pilgrims at the most walked the Camino. But Don Elías had a dream that one day tens of thousands of pilgrims would again be walking the Camino. According to the story Don Elías drove across the whole north of Spain in his old  Citroën packed with tins of yellow paint, marking arrows leading to Santiago.

We were very much aware that this year we were also walking the Camino on behalf of the many pilgrims from other countries who could not walk the path this year because of Covid-related travel restrictions. The Camino can become an addictive ritual and many walkers on the Camino have been doing it several times over. Many pilgrims, who have been unable to walk this year, have been reliving their past walks in the popular Camino forums and social media groups.

Arriving in Santiago

Arriving at the destination in Santiago is always a special occasion. The Cathedral can be seen in all its glory with most of exterior scaffolding removed after years of painstaking renovation work. The interior is especially stunning: Based on the candle-light from medieval times the naves, transept and the Pórtico de la Gloria have been fitted with new lighting. Social distancing still applies and the number of visitors are limited.

The journey begins after the journey

Every journey at some point has to end. You return home but you will not be the same person. A pilgrimage on the Camino takes months to digest. The real transformation begins at home. Life takes on a different meaning when you are in a different rhythm and feel connected to your higher-self. As Marcel Proust is quoted as saying: “My destination is no longer a place, rather a new way of seeing.”

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Another hill to climb

Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” – Napoleon Hill –

It is much easier to climb a mountain if you take it one step at a time instead of looking at the steep peak ahead of you.

Several times I had to tell myself this during the last couple of days walking the Camino de Santiago in northwestern Spain.

There is also a saying on the Camino that the last few kilometers are the hardest. You climb one hill and then you find you have to climb another at the next bend.

Obstacles – the blessings in disguise

Just reflect a little on your life so far. It is mostly the obstacles, the setbacks, and those down on the ground moments that have triggered the biggest transformation.

Sadly, we often throw in the towel before we have learned the lesson or just before we are about to achieve the biggest breakthrough.

Life is not meant to be easy. We whither and die spiritually and physically if we procrastinate in a comfort zone.

A crisis, whether in an institution, in the job or in a personal relationship, is a message from the universe telling us that something is out of balance and needs to change.

The journey has to continue

We can for a moment look back on the winding steep road that we have climbed, appreciating the view and the accomplishment. But at some point we will have to continue the journey.

We human beings are hardwired to explore, and discover. As long as we live on this earth we will constantly be challenged to redefine purpose and meaning.

This morning I found a spiral etched into stone by the ancient Celtic inhabitants of Galicia. The rock site was perfectly aligned to the rising morning sun. Obviously the area had been a place of religious significance eons ago.

The ancient people were acutely aware of the laws of the seasons, closely studying nature. Beyond the perceived chaos of natural phenomenon lies a naural order of all things. The spiral is found in miniscule shells and flowers, and our DNA but also in the shape of our expanding galaxy.

Spiritually the spiral motif represents the path of the soul from the outer ego personality to the divine unity. It is the symbol of constant evolution and growth – a divine song of renewal moving from age to age.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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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

One more thing: If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. Check out also the latest online courses for you to download books and our retreats on the island of Majorca.

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