Category Archives: spirituality

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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Your sacred path

All the people you have met throughout your life and the experiences you have had up to this moment in time have made you into the person who you are today. Yet, there still might be that inner voice whispering that there is more to life than you have been taught or have learned.

Caroline Myss is quoted as saying that “as a vital part of a larger, universal spirit, we each have been put here on earth to fulfill a sacred contract that enhances our personal spiritual growth while contributing to the evolution of the entire global soul.”

Connecting with the global soul

Our individual souls are connected to a global soul comprising all life on the planet. Each person has a unique destiny and soul purpose and it’s not about what kind of job you are doing or the things you own. These might be a manifestation of what you become in the becoming of who you really are.

It is almost essential to find alone time for contemplation and inner reflection and to walk your sacred path alone. The urge to walk a pilgrimage first starts as a whisper and becomes ever more louder. The need to go on this soul adventure is sometimes met with strong resistance by the loved ones or family members around you. They will sense that you are in a process of shifting your consciousness and will confront you with all sorts of arguments to dissuade you from walking.

The universe will test your willpower

In a way it is the universe testing your willpower but the sad truth is also that most people are too afraid to make the changes necessary to improve their lives. Family members or partners want you to stay in the tribe and share the same beliefs, mannerisms and habits. Often they will be projecting their own fears onto you if you decide to go on a journey of untrodden paths. Partners in this way often block each other instead of lending support and encouragement to the other.

On the Camino Aragonese between Jaca and Puenta La Reina, Spain

In a few days time I will start my 14th pilgrimage walk, walking for the second time from Porto in Portugal to Santiago and then to Cabo Finisterre, the westernmost point of the Iberian Peninsular. Each walk has been different, and unique. Looking back these walks have proven to be truly transformational not only in the way they have led me in making major changes to my external life but what has happened on a spiritual level. My two books on the Camino in essence tell this story that began in early 2007.

When I served in a pilgrims’ hostel as a volunteer in 2019 I had the opportunity of literally talking to hundreds of pilgrims from all walks of life and nationalities on what motivated them to walk this ancient path that at times can be truly challenging both emotionally and physically.

Why do people go on a pilgrimage walk?

Some people start the Camino as a sporting adventure that then turns into a spiritual journey.  An American pilgrim I walked with some years ago said to me: “If you don’t approach the Camino with humility it will humiliate you.”

The Camino is telling you that this journey is not about accomplishing something but in un-becoming from everything that you thought you were and touching that place deep in the soul who you are truly meant to be.

Is the Camino part of the bigger journey of humanity seeking a common spirituality that transcends the boundaries of religious dogma?

The Camino is an analogy of life

The Camino is in many ways an analogy of life. If you can deal with the roller-coaster of the walk’s trials and tribulations, you will be steeled for whatever challenges life throws at your feet in the acceptance of the impermanence of all things.

I’ve heard stories from pilgrims who have suffered terrible personal hurt and tragedy. Others were walking while defying a life threatening medical diagnosis or who had just survived cancer.

Experiential spirituality reveals itself in helping and supportive hands, in the recognition of fellow souls going through tough trials and tribulations. There is a deep sense of that one truth that we are all one humanity.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Prioritizing your core values

I recently had the privilege of visiting one of the most stunning chapels in the United Kingdom. Positioned in the Surrey Hills southwest of London, Watts Chapel is a masterpiece of architecture, Celtic imagery and terracotta clay artwork.

The interior design follows the medieval notion of God in heaven and moving downward to earth with the dome of the chapel representing heaven with God depicted in the form of a circle with no beginning and no end. Four messenger angels closest to God have their arms raised in blessing each representing values and symbolizing the divine connection to these principles.

The non-negotiable principles

Your values should be non-negotiable and define who you really are. It as an ideal to strive for and commonly referred to as virtues in past generations.

Pope Gregory the Great first defined a set of seven values in the 6th century based on older Greek religious values. These are:

Faith the belief doing the right things
Hope a trust that good will prevail
Charity a voluntary giving and help for others
Fortitude overcoming fear and remaining in trust even when facing obstacles
Justice being fair and equitable with others
Prudence exercising moderation and caution
Temperance moderation and self-control, especially regarding toxic emotions

There are several methods in defining those three to five core values most important to you. They could be some of those above or such values as dependability, reliability, positivity, integrity, kindness, authenticity or loyalty.

Passing decision-making through the filter of your core values

If your core values and principles are not congruent with the work you do on a daily basis or in your relationships you will become increasingly fatigued and exhausted. Soul purpose is closely aligned with your principles. Your five key core values, essentially define the ideal you are striving for in life.

We are almost faced daily with important decision-making. At times we are at the crossroads of having to change jobs ,undertaking an important business venture or to go deeper in a relationship. We mull over the decision-making process for days but it all becomes a lot easier when you pass the “yes” or “no” through the filter of your core values.

During a time when we are experiencing a gradual elevation of consciousness as a humanity an increasing number of people are questioning their roles in corporations or institutions. Especially, when values, actions and statements of a company are no longer congruent with personal values and norms we have an increase of job burnout among the employees.

It might be time to move the ladder

If you are feeling over a lengthy period of time this inconsistency of public and individual ideal you need to make a change. In my case I got clarity over my future and my personal core values after taking a time out on a pilgrimage walk lasting several weeks. I knew that I had to get out of a dysfunctional marriage and leave my journalist job that once enabled me to live my ideals but was no longer doing so in the digital world.

You could well also be in a situation where you realize that you have placed the ladder against the wrong wall for many years and that its time to move it to another space. After hosting numerous stress-management workshops in the corporate world I compiled the essentials in a 40-day online course: “Stepping into authenticity. Living to BE”

Typically when illness, constant obstacles and frustrations come your way, it would often be the universe telling you to make that change. On the other hand if you are congruent with your innermost values everything seems to fall into place. The universe enables you meet the right people at the right time who help open the door for you to a new beginning. Or you realize in an instant that you are just in the right place at the right time. You just happen to come across that book that opens up an entirely new perspective.

American entrepreneur, speaker and author Jim Rohn once said: “The major value in life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become.” And the Greek philosopher Aristotle defined the ultimate value in life as “awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.”

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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When the lie becomes the truth

We need more understanding of human nature, because the only real danger that exists is man himself. He is the great danger, and we are pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man, far too little. His psyche should be studied, because we are the origin of all coming evil.Carl Gustav Jung

We know so little about ourselves and how susceptible the mind is to external manipulation and deception. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung was passionately concerned with the survival of the human race warning with growing concern in the 1920s of the destructive collective forces in neighboring Germany.

Prophetically he observed that fascism flourished in an environment where it was becoming harder and harder for the average person to discern truth from fiction. People lose their ability to perceive reality. A collective psychosis had taken hold of Germany where ordinary people were showing signs of battle eagerness. Moral judgement became clouded as people stood by when the Nazis burned synagogues, looted Jewish shops and took away neighbors to concentration camps.

Evil and the capturing of the collective mind

When there is no longer a clear distinction between truth and the lie, evil starts capturing the collective consciousness. Jung described what was happening in Nazi Germany as a “collective totalitarian psychosis.”

Recently the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk described our current situation as something akin to “the late Middle Ages where there is a refusal to join the path to modernity and science-based civil society…There is a flourishing of sectarian opinion groups that have a euphoric experience together assuming a shared privileged access to truth.”

Photo by Kristal Terziu on Pexels.com

The individual separated from soul purpose and integrity

When a collective totalitarian psychosis starts taking root the individual is being coerced by the professional deceiver and demagogue into lying to himself. There is inevitably a separation between soul purpose, integrity and authenticity. The individual is swept away by a type of totalitarian mass hypnosis.

When evil is unleashed on a mass scale such as in Nazi Germany ordinary citizens start serving “Satan” by being obedient citizens in following the group consensus and adopting behavior that would normally be suppressed in the shadow consciousness.

Bearing in mind the Nazi’s ability to distort the truth, Jung warned: “Nothing has such a convincing effect as a lie one invents and believes oneself.”

Jung’s recipe against becoming trapped by the totalitarian psychosis, was training one’s own mind to become conscious of its own forces of darkness.

“Unfortunately, there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants himself to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”

The twofold nature of man

It is what the great Mystics and spiritual teachers have taught over the centuries. The 13th-century monk Meister Eckhart wrote of the twofold nature of man. “Whoever knows himself knows all creatures, for all creatures are either body or spirit.”

St Jerome describes the moment of incarnation into flesh as the individual being possessed by the good spirit, an angel, and an evil spirit, a devil.”

The evil spirit converses at all times with the outward man and lies in wait for the inward man like a serpent. Therefore the Greek philosophers Cicero and Seneca recommended a constant awareness and training of the mind in cultivating the good and the wise or the divine spirit.

Disaster is inevitable where a character who has not transmuted the shadow is entrusted with too much wealth and power. Personal inferiority is projected onto an illusory threat. Fuel is poured onto the fires of inflection points along race, gender, class, nationality and religious issues.

Transmuting the shadow is cultivating self-love, compassion, and gratitude. It is the acceptance that we remain incomplete beings on a path of becoming who we are meant to be.

Johannes Tauler, another 13-century Mystic, had a deep understanding of what it means to be human and how our very human mistakes can be transmuted into purpose and meaning:

“The horse drops dung in the stable. Although the dung is unclean and evil smelling, the same horse laboriously pulls the same dung to the fields where fine wheat and good sweet wine grow from it, which would never grow so well if the dung were not there. Now your dung is your own faults which you cannot rid yourself of or overcome. These you should carry with much effort and labor to the field of God’s will in true detachment from yourself. Scatter your dung on this noble field and without any doubt there shall spring up noble and delightful fruit.”

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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When things fall apart

During the past week I received reels of video footage from friends and family in South Africa revealing horrifying images of carnage and destruction. Thousands of looters were burning and destroying shopping malls and vital infra-structure with a government obviously too weak or incompetent to restore order.

It appeared as if all social order was collapsing. But amid all the chaos were signs of hope. Communities of all races got together to defend their homes and properties, gathering together for prayer, giving each other hope and volunteering to clean up in the aftermath.

Works by the Majorcan artist Joan Bennassar

South Africa is in many respects a microcosm of global problems highlighting race and gender issues, cultural diversity, and the huge disparity been rich and poor. The economic fallout from the pandemic has entrenched deeply underlying social and political frictions.

Inflection points bring out the best and the worst in humanity

Sharp inflection points, challenges and conflicts inevitably bring out the best and the worst in humanity. During my years as a reporter in South Africa I witnessed clergymen selflessly serving the poor and downtrodden in the poorest township slums. The country has brought forth leaders, poets, authors, musicians, sports and film stars admired all over the world. But some of its people were also responsible for terrible human rights violations and could be described as “the very personification of evil.”

Sometimes such contrasts can be found in individual persons. In the final years of apartheid Adriaan Vlok was the minister of police. He was the man responsible for bombing the headquarters of the South African Council of Churches and trying to assassinate its secretary general. He later publicly apologized for his actions, washed the feet of his former enemies and later ran a child feeding charity funding it mostly with his own pension.

Major paradigm shifts are underway

At the start of the 21st century we are seeing major social, political and economic paradigm shifts. Human knowledge and change has increased exponentially compared to previous generations. The American inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil argues that whenever a technology approaches a barrier, a new technology is invented crossing that barrier. He predicts that such evolutionary shifts will continue to become increasingly common, leading to profound technological change and rupturing old orders.

Digital technology is at the forefront of a doubling of human knowledge every 13 months. Just to put this into perspective: In the year 1900 it took about a century and by 1945 it had been reduced to every 25 years. This “Knowledge Doubling Curve” was first created by Buckminster Fuller in 1982. 

Cultural leaps are not integrated mentally and psychologically

Such “cultural leaps” pushed by technological advances create enormous opportunity for the educated, computer-savvy middle classes with access to high-speed Internet. But we are left with less time to cope and integrate such changes mentally and psychologically. More knowledge does not mean more wisdom. A growing number of people respond to the massive cultural and economic changes by walling themselves off in radical political and religious “tribal bubbles.”

The large pool of people employed in manual jobs are no longer needed in an increasingly automated economy. Whether we are looking at the unemployed in the former industrial cities of the United States, the coal-mining areas of northern England, or the “yellow vest” citizens in low-paying jobs in France the picture is very similar. There is a growing populace feeling left out, having nothing to lose and who are open to the rhetoric of the professional deceivers and demagogues.

Those tech concerns who have reaped the most benefit from the digital revolution will have to learn to share their wealth by at least paying taxes in proportion to their earnings. This revenue can be used to invest in improved education, infra-structure, health and upliftment of poor communities.

The law of yin and yang

When things fall apart during times of crisis it is a wake-up call. It is not a time to blame so-called “instigators” but to look at the bigger picture. We need to ask questions and seek answers as to why there are so many very disgruntled, angry and unhappy people around us.

In the Chinese philosophy of yin and yang an illness always manifests itself when there is an imbalance between the polar laws of life. An imbalance causes first disharmony, then conflict and ultimately leads to destruction. When the scales tip into one or the other extreme we get to a tipping point.

Nature inevitably tries to restore the balance so that all within the system can survive – in the case of the human body, the different organs interrelating and working in harmony with each other to maintain physical health.

Humanity is currently not only battling a deadly virus but also having to deal with huge environmental, economic and social challenges. I would like to believe that humanity is edging ever closer to breaking through that barrier toward a new horizon of elevated consciousness and opportunity.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Beware the false prophets!

“The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.” Jeremiah 14:14

Organized religion arguably provides structure, meaning and community to many people battling with the struggles of life yet during these challenging times we are seeing a proliferation of “false prophets” capturing the minds of individuals with messages of  fear and guilt.

During my lifetime several good friends got caught in the web of religious sects, surrendering their lives including all their material assets to the group.

They would bombard me with enthusiasm of how their lives had been transformed by “the teacher” “priest” or “guru”. I would repeatedly be invited to attend a meeting and made to feel like losing out on something very important.

The common traits of the cult

Fundamentalist groups and cults of all persuasions share a common trait. They are tribally insulating,  separating the convert from all former friends, spouses, family and associates. Anyone not sharing the same belief structure is termed as a non-believer, or as the enemy.

After having made the enormous personal sacrifice of giving up an old life it is extremely difficult to escape. Few people have the courage to admit that they made a huge mistake by believing in an illusion. After all external ties have been severed the individual is at the mercy of the group in providing  a livelihood, food and shelter. The friend, son, daughter, spouse you once cherished as a carefree individual is bombarding you with quotes from the master. You will hear:  “But the guru said …”,it is the opinion of the guru that …” “the guru would not approve that …” “I would first have to ask the teacher if I can …”

At this point the friend or family member is far gone down the road of mind control, repeating the teachings of their leader like a recording device on automatic. They will find numerous excuses if you question the lavish lifestyle of the cult leader while the devotees are donating their last pennies. “Its all ultimately for a good cause,” they would say.

Decent and intelligent human beings are particularly vulnerable to the cult when they are going through a crisis of meaning or mental health challenge.  The “prophet” is the last straw of hope, seemingly offering the perfect recipe. What follows is the complete surrender of personal responsibility to the guru or belief structure of the cult.

The false promise of hope when people are vulnerable

We’ve had this phenomenon of “end times” during several historical cycles. During the Middle Ages most of Europe’s population was decimated by the bubonic plague. Science was at its infancy with the false prophets having easy play in convincing people that the deadly disease was God’s punishment for sinful ways. Persons not conforming to the shared belief were vigorously persecuted and often burned at the stake. The sins could be absolved by paying tithes. The higher the donation the “higher the likelihood” of having a good afterlife in paradise.

We falsely had assumed that humanity had become immune in the 21st-century to such crude preaching and the questioning of basic science. The messaging today comes in the guise of political parties with a charismatic figurehead and bearing all the hallmarks of the religious cult.  Several extremist parties in western democracies essentially are in the business of fear-mongering and xenophobia. They are supported by a billion dollar industry of alternative reality media stirring a cocktail of hate and negativity. The  first step toward authoritarian control is to dehumanize your opponent or the person with a different belief, culture or mindset.

Evil and delusion of the mind can always be identified by language of hate, disrespect for fellow human beings and blatant lies. Social friction points along race, gender and economic lines are over-emphasized. Division, dissent and chaos is sown by an “us against them” propaganda.

We are indeed living in dangerous times. A growing number of people are feeling left out and  stranded during rapid social and economic change. The uncertainty and fear is the feeding ground of the false prophets offering simple solutions for complex global problems.

The chosen few must commit to a strict code of conduct, belief and ritual.  

As human beings we make mistakes with feelings of guilt often deeply submerged in traumatic childhood experience. Self-esteem is shattered after a job loss or family break-up.  There is that underlying promise that by committing to the cult  those bad feelings will disappear. In reality the  guru will repeatedly stir the feelings of inferiority to maintain his stranglehold.

Protecting our vulnerable family members from the false prophet is no mean task. The groundwork is laid in strengthening self-confidence, self-esteem, self-love and a spiritual mindset based on common decency and respect.

Experiential spirituality is freed from the shackles of fundamentalist belief in the awareness that we are fallible and incomplete human beings, learning the lessons of life as we go along.

The truth is that there is no one-truth. God’s garden is made up of a multitude of plants, animals, cultures, religions and languages. The beauty and adventure of life lies in the individual exploration, the  opening of new doors and walking onward new paths of insight and knowledge accumulation in becoming of who we really are.

External belief systems have too often in the past been forcibly imposed, robbing the individual from essentially living a life of meaning, authenticity and soul purpose.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Are we living in a religious society?

“I have come to the conclusion that whether or not a person is a religious believer does not matter. Far more important is that they be a good human being. ” – Dalai Lama

The other day I took a walk up a mountain in the northwestern part of the island of Majorca where the hiker has a panoramic view of the little villages and towns below. On the highest visible points you can see the convent of Santa Lucia and the monasteries of Santuari de Cura, Randa and Santa Magdalena.

These ancient buildings date back to the early 13th century when the peoples reserved the best and highest places to build their places of worship. The villages, still largely intact and unspoiled by mass tourism, still have a chapel or church as a “central anchor” of a harmonious architecture that blends naturally into the landscape.

Architecture as an expression of human consciousness

Architecture is an expression of human consciousness. During the early Middle Ages the external world was aligned with the inner world of consciousness. The concept of a creator of all things was never questioned. Religion was embedded into the concept of church and society that controlled all aspects of life.

Winchester Cathedral, United Kingdom, AD 1093

The word religion has its origins from the Latin “religio”. St. Augustine followed the interpretation of other scholars who saw the origins in the word “ligo”, meaning to bind or connected to something. Religion is closely associated today with a fixed “belief” in something.

Competing beliefs and religions sowing the seeds of conflict

Religious doctrines of a belief in a God or higher deity, which had a monopoly over thought and belief over centuries, today compete with many other thoughts and beliefs in an age of information overload. Never before has humanity had access to so much information and knowledge. At the same time humanity is losing its compass with increased access to knowledge going in line with loss of wisdom.

Our journey as human beings is ultimately like a river flowing into the sea with our path taking us from the body into the spirit, from form into formlessness and from time into timelessness. The disconnect between external material an inner soul need and purpose is one of modern man’s biggest calamities.

The consumerist “God

The architecture of modern cities are a stark expression of the religion of material and consumerist worship. It is the dominant religion of today. God whispers through nature and nature has been exploited, destroyed and pushed to the outskirts of life.

The difference between religion and spirituality is that religion defines a belief system. The followers of a “belief” have to adhere to a code of conduct in terms of rules, mannerisms, and obligations. Fixed belief has the tendency to exclude, condemn and separate itself from all those who do not share the same belief structure.

Social change and upheaval have the tendency to fan the flames of all the “isms” that we thought we had overcome. Truth is turned into a lie or an illusion. Sound scientific research is labelled as fiction. The validity of democratic institutions and elections are being questioned, especially if those that don’t share the same belief happen to win. As tolerance and acceptance of diversity wanes, the mayhem of chaos and violence increases. Throughout history great suffering has come from narrowminded intolerance.

The worship of personality cult

There is the faint hope that adherence to fixed “belief” is temporary and gradually evolves into something different. During times of uncertainty the temptation to take refuge in dogmatic belief is great but is ultimately unsatisfying as these beliefs feed on fear, hate and other toxic emotions. The need “to be right” comes from insecurity that find expression in the worship of personality cult in political parties, and in the high priests of consumerist culture on Instagram.

In raised spiritual consciousness the belief transcends into tolerance and the constant daily confrontation with the shadow. Who is the “God” that I am attached to? Where does my anger, my jealousy and my hate come from? If we find realignment with the true self we don’t need to feel small and insecure. We don’t need other people to agree with us in order to feel justified.

The purpose of religion is really to practice our true nature, which according to the Dalai Lama, is simply kindness.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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God, nature and the Duke

Ritual and ceremony like the funeral of the Duke of Edinburgh strikes a particular chord with millions of people but there is much more to why we are so obsessed with royalty in a modern era where institutions are in crisis and there is a general loss of purpose and meaning.

There is a particularly heartfelt scene in the new movie “Victoria & Abdul” where Queen Victoria laments the death of loved ones and the point of it all. Abdul replies: “Service. We are not here to worry about ourselves. We are here for a greater purpose.”

The power of service

Service has a different meaning if it is by personal choice compared to an inherited obligation from birth as with a monarchy. Born into an age of patriarchy, it must have been a difficult decision at times for the Duke to stand back and walk two steps behind the Queen.

With the subtle choice of the hymns and psalms for his own funeral, the Duke sent a powerful message to the global audience.

One of the most poignant moments of the funeral ceremony was the rendition of Psalm 104 set to music by William Lovelady and first performed at a special celebration to mark the Duke’s 75th birthday. The psalm is a celebration of God’s creation and the power of nature.

The song praises the splendor of the heavens, the light of the sun, the expanse of sky reaching down to meet the earth, the movement of clouds blown by the wind, and the flashes of lightning – all an illustration speak of the magnificence of the Creator dwelling in and ruling the universe.

If we want to understand God we must study nature

The deeper message is that if we want to understand the concept of God, we need to study the fundamental principles of nature. In contrast to ancient man, the industrial man sees nature as an object to be conquered, extracted, exploited and utilized. It is part of the illness of modern-day blind narcissism.

The disconnect from the spiritual self, the loss of meaning and purpose is responsible for much of our mental health crisis. Healing our planet starts with healing the self. The deeper we immerse ourselves in nature the stronger the growth of connection, belonging and purpose.

At a point where all the senses are opened to the universe, there comes connection with the frequency that vibrates within all that is living.

One and the One within diversity

“All creatures seek One, even the lowest creatures seek the One, and the One is perceived by the highest,” according to the 13th-century Mystic Meister Eckart.

A principle of nature is the diversity within the “Oneness”. Meister Eckart explains that it is impossible for the whole of nature to break or spoil, or even touch anything in which she does not aim at a higher good for the thing which she touches.

The song of Psalm 104 is an “outpouring” of life itself. Each part is interpenetrating the other. To the question of who or what is God, Eckart replies: “God is.” The act of being is the same as being in all things.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. I’ve also recently compiled brand new online courses that you can download onto your computer or smartphone on ways of how you can transform your life on multiple levels. Also check out the recent reviews of my book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

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From brokenness into transformation

“Resurrection is not just consolation — it is restoration. We get it all back — the love, the loved ones, the goods, the beauties of this life — but in new, unimaginable degrees of glory and joy and strength.” Tim Keller

There have been times in my life where I have wrestled with the question why an all-powerful God and creator can allow evil, injustice and cruelty to prevail. How can a God of love and compassion want at the same time suffering?

Some beautiful Renaissance paintings depict Jesus bleeding and hanging from the cross with the Pharisees mocking him with the words: “He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.” (Matthew 27:42–43). They missed the point.

The key message of Easter

The key message of Easter is one of hope, rebirth and resurrection after experiencing brokenness, hurt and suffering.

After the resurrection Jesus asks the skeptical disciple Thomas to place his hands into the wounds of his hands and his side. Jesus carried his scars and wounds as the visible signs of having transmuted the pain and suffering.

The idea of God being both a God of Light and a God of darkness comes from a simplistic perception of a three dimensional reality. We have the external world of sensual and material gratification, the dimension of the soul having a human experience and the divine dimension that encompasses the other two. The Mystics compare the external world of distraction to the darkness of the night, the human experience to the morning of life itself in the striving toward the eternal of midday.

What is soul purpose?

Suffering, pain and the brokenness is that part of life that sculptures us into the human beings we are destined to become. The external world is in a constant cycle of change, impermanence and movement. Suffering comes essentially from a mindset of attachment to that which was and is no more. Soul purpose finds connection to that which is aligned to the universal truth.

We are imperfect beings and a “work in progress”. A particularly deceptive part of the “wellness and positive-thinking culture” indoctrinates us into thinking that there is something wrong with us if we have moments of melancholy sadness, depression, anxiety and fear.

Suppressing negative feelings is not authentic and creates inner turmoil and stress. In extreme cases it might even lead to mental illness. The expectation of a narcissistic external world to function and perform in a certain way or to showcase “borrowed” material possessions is a major road block to elevation of consciousness.

The 13th-century Mystic Meister Eckart ruminates on the question on how God can “really destroy a man by himself?” He goes on to say that we should humble ourselves but because we are unable to do so sufficiently, God does it for us.

Elevation of consciousness

“The highest height of elevation lies in the deepest depth of humility. For the deeper and lower the ground, the higher and more immense the height and the exaltation. The deeper the well, the higher it is,” according to Eckart.

Goodness, light, compassion and love comes when the soul is closely joined to God. The greater and harder the struggle, “the greater and more praiseworthy the victory and the honor of vanquishing.”

Evil is defined commonly as the opposite of good. In the view of Mystics such as St. Augustine it is the complete absence and disconnect from inner purpose and God.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. I’ve also recently compiled brand new online courses that you can download onto your computer or smartphone on ways of how you can transform your life on multiple levels. Also check out the recent reviews of my book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

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Light from a dark age

It was a “dark age” in the western Europe of the 13th century when pandemics, population decline and economic degradation prevailed. Most people had moved into villages and towns sharing crowded rooms with family members and livestock. With little or no sanitation or semblance of hygiene the stench would have been unbearable for sensitive modern noses.

The exodus from the countryside was exacerbated by repeated crop failures caused by the Little Ice Age triggered by volcanic eruptions and changes in Arctic ice cover. With temperatures dropping for centuries this meant that the winters were particularly long and harsh.

Periods of crisis and challenging external circumstances sometimes force humanity into introspection with the dark ages having brought forth some of the greatest Mystics at the forefront of an individual inward-looking spirituality. The popes and bishops were meanwhile offering little comfort to ordinary people, preoccupied with political power struggles and worldly pleasures.

Pilgrimage walks to Santiago de Compostela

During these times pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela became popular as an inner journey of penance, spiritual rebirth and renewal. The modern-day pilgrim on the Camino is in many respects no different. Spirituality as opposed to religious doctrine is by far the primary motivation, based on my own research and conversations with hundreds of pilgrims on my more than dozen walks on pilgrimage routes in northwestern Spain.

The wise teachings of the 13th-century Dominican monk Meister Eckart (1260-1328), Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510) and Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) are timeless and more topical than ever during these pandemic times. They were the eco-warriors and holistic healers of their time, addressing issues of personal health, nutrition and the environment.

It took the disruption of a global pandemic to remind us that we can be exposed overnight to entirely new circumstances beyond our control. Life can be extremely fragile and uncertain. The mental health repercussions resulting from isolation and lockdowns are only gradually coming to the fore.

A formula for a life of bliss

The Mystics are clear on how to lead a life of bliss. Meister Eckart describes at least five stages of evolution in elevation of consciousness to the “new” man – the “birth of the son” or “birth of God” in the soul. The entire purpose of life he describes as the journey to self-realization and meaning:

  • Contemplation and meditation
  • Doing what is right and acting accordingly
  • Dedication and Love of God
  • Recognition and Differentiation
  • Alignment and surrender of ego

All these Mystics did not retreat to an isolated monastic lifestyle but were engaged in the world. Catherine of Genoa gave selfless service to the sick while at the same time serving as director and treasurer of a hospital. Hildegard of Bingen was engaged in many fields including religion, medicine, music and cosmology, At the same time she was a mentor for many famous personalities of her time.

The common thread is that we are one humanity and that a life of service and dedication for the betterment of all provides solace to inner turmoil during times of crisis.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. I’ve also recently compiled brand new online courses that you can download onto your computer or smartphone on ways of how you can transform your life on multiple levels. Also check out the recent reviews of my book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

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