Category Archives: spirituality

Nature and the Respect of the Sacred

Respect for that which is holy and sacred is closely aligned to respect for the self and self-love.

It is telling for humanity that the sacred house in which we live is being treated with such lack of mindfulness.

When you hike for hours along a country road you soon begin to notice the huge amount of trash such as plastic bags, tin cans, plastic bottles and cigarette butts that are carelessly thrown out of car windows by passing motorists.

IMG_2135It has a devastating effect on other living beings. I’ve seen cows munch plastic bags and hedgehogs trapped in rubbish.

Much can be attributed to the disconnect of modern man to his natural surroundings. Nature is a manifestation of God and not without reason have the wise teachers of old described time spent in nature as our best healer.

Any person who has spent alone time in the African bush or hiked alone for hours in pristine nature will soon become aware of the awesome marvel of creation and the interconnection of all living beings. God can be seen live and working in slow motion.

But never before in the history of mankind are we seeing such a rate of extinction of biological and animal species. The ocean waters are being polluted with plastics and the atmosphere brought into imbalance with excess burning of fossil fuels.

Humanity will only survive when we recognize that the sacred within is also the sacred without.

For centuries Christianity has had a false understanding of man’s role in nature based on misinterpretation of the old testament of the bible in Genesis 1:28 in which man is given the cultural mandate to subdue and rule over the earth.

The lost gospel of St. Thomas, that was discovered in Egypt in the 1940s, has a far more mystical interpretation of many of the biblical interpretations. Rather waiting for the Second Coming of the Christ, the lesson espoused here is all about nurturing and discovering the Christ Within−closely resembling what is described in Buddhism as discovering the Buddha Nature.

The Medieval interpretation of Nature was that of a harsh alien environment, that needed to be conquered. Paradise and a life of bliss could only be expected after death and resurrection.

In contrast the eastern Daoist tradition is all about the yielding to the laws of nature. The philosophy of the Five Elements in essence is about the right timing in accordance with the laws of nature. The harmony of objects and things in Feng Shui, the cultivation of the life-force energy of Chi in the body with nutrition, Qi Gong and Tai Chi and the ancient Book of Wisdom, the I Qing, all are built on these foundations.

We desperately need to revive the sacred places of old to help realign human consciousness. We need places of solitude, and places for meditation to quieten the mind. These also includes saving the sacred buildings of old that were often built at places with a high natural energy frequency.

Maps of medieval towns show how mindful our ancestors went about in planning their cities. The place of worship was always built on the highest plateau or center with all the other buildings in circular form around it. Shamans and geomancers were consulted so that the buildings conformed to the harmony principles of the universe.

We seem to have lost something elementary in sacrificing so much on the altar of materialism.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

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Filed under lifestyle management, meditation, nature, outdoor coaching, psychology, self-development, spirituality, Uncategorized

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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Walking alone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

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Dragon from the underground

While much of North America is experiencing Arctic temperatures we here on the island of Majorca are seeing the valleys below the Tramuntana mountains covered in the “snow”  of blooming almond trees that signal the  first signs of spring.

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Chinese mythology compares spring to a gigantic dragon rising from the depths of the underground. It is symbolic of the powerful earth energy that rises from deep below, expanding and finding space to express its true beauty and power.

The Majorcan legend tells us that a king brought his beloved to the island from a snowy country. Problem was that the poor lady got very homesick, missing the snow this time of the year.  So the king went about planting almond trees all over the island that indeed look like the valleys are covered in snow when they start blooming in February.

We can learn so much from nature if we really observe and hear her whisper.  The Chinese teaching of the Five Elements, deeply rooted in Daoist philosophy, is all about the yielding to nature, and finding the right time and place for every action.

Spring is the time of year when energies are expanding, and action is called for. Any vision or dream will remain a dream if we don’t take concrete action. If we want a harvest we need to prepare the soil and plant the seeds.

In the cycle of the elements, Spring is associated with the element of wood, like a tree sucking up the juices from the roots deep below, expanding and feeding the sprouting blossoms and leaves.

If we want to become what we are destined to become, we need to have that room and space to expand. All too often the voices of parents, friends, teachers and family members want to push us into a direction that might fulfill society’s image of what success is, but not what intuition and heart desire are yearning for.

Spring is therefore a good time of the year to do check list on whether you are being true to yourself.  Look into the mirror and ask yourself:

  • Am I taking daily action, even  with small things to pursue my dream?
  • Do I have a support group of friends and family positively empowering me?
  • Am I being distracted by other things such as a job that is taking so much energy from my life that I don’t have any energy left for anything else?

Taming the dragon is about harnessing its power in moving forward in the expression of our true and unique individuality.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Thought control? Hope springs

The Trump administration released the dire warning of its own climate scientists from 13 agencies during Thanksgiving, hoping it would be buried at a time when most people in the US are spending time with their families and eating Turkey.

Trump told reporters that he did not believe the study from the 300 climate experts after reading “some” of their conclusions. But  instead of hiding the bad news, Trump succeeded in really focusing attention on the matter.

At about the same time the Brazilian government published data telling us that deforestation in the Amazon rain forest had jumped to its worst rate in a decade. The New York Times also published an in-depth report on how fast the rain forests in Asia are disappearing to fulfill an insatiable demand for palm oil.

A huge consensus of the world’s best climate scientists have been telling us for years that we have a serious problem and that the earth will become uninhabitable for humans in half a century if humanity does not gets its act together in the next few years in doing something about climate change.

The climate scientists are telling us that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels is essential. Planting more trees, and keeping existing trees in the ground is essential if we want to meet that goal.

Only a small group of pseudo-scientists – nearly all of them funded by the fossil fuel industry- are in denial and pumping us with “thought control” fake news. It is much the same scenario that the world saw in the early 1960s when the tobacco industry paid “researchers” to deny the overwhelming evidence that smoking caused cancer. I don’t know how these people sleep at night or whether they really believe their own lies.

The danger is that when we hear all this bad news, it makes us fall into a paralytic state of in-action. What the anti-environmentalist governments in Brazil and the U.S. do is out of our control. The Amazon or Borneo is far away. We aren’t inhaling – yet – the smoke from all the burning forests.

Fact is that in our little worlds we can all do something. Here are only a few suggestions:

  • Each time we pick up a shampoo or cosmetic item in the supermarket we can check whether it contains palm oil.
  • Refuse to buy products equity or stock from agro-companies that are involved in deforestation. Check for the FSC label on sustainable forestry.
  • A vegan diet and food from the local organic farmer leaves the smallest carbon footprint. Mass animal production farms are dependent on monoculture farming that is destroying biodiversity.  For me personally a mainly vegetarian diet with a little organic meat every now and then is the best option.

Amid all the bad news, hope springs that we might after all get this climate issue solved if we really supported some very innovative ideas out there:

  • Dr. David Vaughan is a scientist who has achieved a breakthrough technology in bringing coral reefs back to life by making them grow up to 40 times faster than in the wild. Coral reefs are key to the ocean ecosystem and are major carbon sinks.
  •  Creating green roofs on skyscrapers in the major cities of the world could have a really positive effect in changing the micro-climate in urban areas and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
  • Vertical farming in skyscrapers is a very effective way of providing fresh organic produce in cities, requiring much less land than conventional farming that is the second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide after the energy sector.  The Swedish company Plantagon is working on making a first prototype by constructing a 16-story building called The World Food Building that could serve as an international model for industrial urban farming.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

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Abundance and gratitude

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

 

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Who are you?

Emotional and physical exhaustion is one of the scourges of the modern era. Depression is reaching almost epidemic proportions. You could very well say that the Western mind has lost its soul that has been entrapped by the temptations of immediate gratification.

We are bombarded constantly with subliminal messages that tell you: Buy this and you will be happy. Do this and you will get rich. Do this to live like a super star. Dress like this and act like that to be loved and validated by the crowd.

Along the way one of our most valuable assets – the time to be fully aware of the  moment – is getting lost. The mind is constantly occupied with either the past or the fears of the future.  In the process you forget soul purpose and who you are!

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I have found that walking alone in nature is a magnificent way of detoxing and training the mind by re-calibrating the senses to the world around us.  I truly believe that nature is a manifestation of God. The whisper of creation can be sensed by a bird song, the rustling of leaves in an ancient tree, or the clouds enveloping a mountain top.

Most people in today’s world however are forced to live in crowded cities that are dehumanizing in their detachment from nature. They cloud the senses with a high level of noise, pollution and bombardment of the senses. The modern human being has become so detached from his natural environment, that its causing havoc to emotional stability.

I think this is one of the reasons for the great attraction of the ancient pilgrimage route in Spain.  More and more people are becoming spiritually conscious and seeking answers. Spending weeks alone by simply walking in nature without distraction is like a detox in peeling away the layers to the heart of the true self. But it doesn’t only have to be walking.  New retreats and centers of meditation are opening everywhere as human consciousness is rising to a new level.

Old school religion has taught us to believe and to follow a certain doctrine and behavior. The new consciousness is very much an experiental spirituality in a “becoming” of the real self.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant 

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

 

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