Space and time

Day 5: Via Francigena – Siena to Monteroni d’Arbia

When observing the Siena Cathedral and other architectural highlights of the 12th and 13th centuries on the Via Francigena it comes to mind that people in medieval times felt a strong connection between the physical and the spiritual.

The cathedrals were an expression of faith with everyday life closely intertwined with religion.

Records from the Siena Cathedral show that construction started around 1226 with the transportation of black and white marble, probably for the construction of the façade and the bell tower. The craftsmen who started the intricate works of art inside and outside the building often did not see their masterpieces completed during their lifetimes, yet put all their energy and creativity into the project.

Head mind and heart mind

Along the path to industrialization and the material comforts of modernity something has gotten lost with the disconnect from physical and soul needs.

The head mind is preoccupied with the distractions of the 10,000 things of short-term gratification, and emphasis on youthful vigor and performance-driven culture. It is the breeding ground for greed and egocentric behavior, the results of which we can see in the destruction of natural ecosystems, irrespective of the consequences for future generations.

The heart-mind is timeless and rooted within a multi-dimensional perspective of unity between the physical and the spiritual. It is restorative rather than exploitative. There is mindful awareness of life within a complex matrix of interdependency.

Leaving Siena and looking back the skyline is still dominated by the Cathedral on the hill. The walk itself takes the pilgrim through open, expansive countryside with unlimited views, especially of the old walled barn complex in La Grancia di Cuna, one of the most impressive agricultural buildings in the Tuscany landscape. From the 12th century it offered pilgrims and merchants on the Via Francigena accommodation and food.

The entire installation is walled with two towers facing the southern entrance. The main entrance leads to an L-shaped square from where mule packs could reach the upper floors of the barn.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bookcovers_sideview.jpg

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina Germany

Leave a comment

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Walking in medieval lands

Day  5 on the Via Francigena – from Monteriggioni to Siena

The 20 kilometer walk from the hilltop town of Monteriggioni to the city of Siena is fairly easy, continuing on ancient tracks, bypassing medieval castles, fortress towers and Romanesque chapels.

At the Ponte Rosso we cross a humpback bridge common during the Middle Ages because of a wide span that were perfect for supporting pack mules of the time.

A pile of stones on a humpback bridge

Several stone pires have been left on the bridge by previous pilgrims. I love the tradition of placing gratitude stones or prayer stones along the way. It is common on the Camino de Santiago but it was the first time I saw them here on the Via Francigena.

Today I placed a pile of stones in memory and gratitude of my ancestors. We carry within us the collective memory of those that went before us. It is the reason why ancient cultures celebrate the connection in ritual and religion.

Placing stones for your ancestors at the side of the road and asking them for protection is a tradition I know very well from the Zulu culture in South Africa. I also like the thought of our ancestors guiding and protecting us with angel wings from another dimension.

Shortly before reaching Siena the trail takes the pilgrim through a forest with nature speaking through the aroma of fresh earth, walnut and fig trees.

The architectural marvels of Siena

The last stretch of a stage is often the hardest with a climb up a hill and a long walk through the dreary modern outskirts of town before reaching the old city of Siena through a 15th century gateway.

It is a city that needs more than a day to explore. The medieval center is a UNESCO world heritage site. There are numerous architectural marvels such as the central square, Piazza del Campo, the 14th century Torre del Mangia tower, the Palazzo Salimbeni, The Palazzo Publico and the Loggia della Mercanzia to name just a few.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bookcovers_sideview.jpg

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina Germany

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Filed under Camino de Santiago, spirituality, Uncategorized

On ancient tracks

Day  4 on the Via Francigena – from Colle di Val d’Elsa to Monteriggioni

There are so many  happiness moments on a pilgrimage walk. Although the Via Francigena is not as famous as the Camino de Santiago in Spain it is by no means less spectacular with its architectural marvels, cultural heritage and natural beauty.

On the fourth day of our walk we took the alternative route from Colle di Val d’Elsa along the River Elsa. For centuries the local inhabitants have revered the river as a source of life and livelihood. The  turquoise water comes in different hues and shades, contrasting with the luscious green surrounding forest.   Sunlight reflects from the fish swimming against the current from the waterfalls.

A pathway snakes through dense forest, taking  the hiker to the left and right of the river over natural stone pathways through shallow parts of the waters.

After rejoining the main route to Monteriggioni a friendly farmer In his SUV stopped to say hello proudly showing his pet in the passenger seat – a pigeon perched on a little wooden ladder, apparently looking very comfortable being taken for a drive.

A well marked route – cyclists have a separate path

For many sections the Via Francigena offers complete solitude with very few pilgrims on the path. It is well signposted and there are separate paths for cyclists who at times can be of particular annoyance to slow-walking pilgrims on the Camino Frances in Spain.

Walking on medieval mule tracks

The Via Francigena in parts follows the medieval mule tracks used by traders, wayfarers and pilgrims that was part of the network of roads between the most important Christian strongholds of Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago de Compostela.

A visit to the abbey at  Abbadia Isola Ostella offers a glimpse of these times. The abbey was founded around 1001 by the noblewoman Ava of the Lambardi di Staggia family, and for many centuries offered respite for pilgrims. The Romanesque church with three naves and three apses is surrounded by a small hamlet with the remains of the medieval fortifications.  Among the precious works of art in the church is the polyptych of the main altar created in the 15th century by the Siena born artist Sano di Pietro..  

From there the walk is up a steep hill to the largely still intact medieval fortification surrounding the village of Monteriggioni.

It is a great privilege to do this walk. This walk is dedicated to the many pilgrims, especially those coming from afar such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, who have had to cancel their plans this year due to the Covid-19  travel restrictions.

Only a few countries in Europe are currently still open for travel with the likelihood of more restrictions coming in the wake of a further spike in Covid-19 infections.

So many pilgrims, who are unable to travel this year, are reliving their past walks, going through their journals and picture albums. Memories from deep walking experiences stay for a lifetime.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bookcovers_sideview.jpg

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina Germany

Leave a comment

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Two wolves and a choice

Day 3: Via Francigena – San Gimignano to Colle di Val d’Elsa

We decided today to take the alternative route to Monteriggioni via Colle di Val di’ Elsa also known as the “crystal city” because of its high-quality glass ware.

Also simply known as Colle the town has for centuries been frequented by pilgrims on the Via Francigena. On a little hill opposite the castle in the medieval town is the 13th century convent of San Francesco where the saint’s followers would assemble for prayer.

On the walk through the shady forests and hilltops kissing the clouds I was reminded of the story of how St. Francis tamed a wolf that was terrorising the population of the Umbrian town of Gubbio.

The tale of the wolf and emotions running wild

The story goes that the wolf waited outside the city gates waiting to feast on anyone foolish enough to venture outside. Francis, who had lived in the city at the time, then announced that he himself would visit the wolf in its lair. With the wolf charging at Francis he made the sign of the Cross and commanded the wolf to cease its attacks in the name of God, at which point the wolf trotted up to him docilely and lay at his feet, putting its head in his hands.

The symbolism of the story is telling. There is a similar tale of an old Indian chieftain telling his grandson the story of two wolves constantly struggling in the heart of the human:

“There is the wolf of darkness, who is full of envy, desperation, fear and anger. The other is the wolf of light. It is the wolf of love, generosity, compassion, kindness and joy.”

The grandson asks, “And which of the two wolves is going to win?”

Sighing, the old chieftain replies, “The wolf you choose to feed.”

The story from Zen Buddhism on the taming of the bull has similar connotations. It says much about maintaining control of emotions. Uncontrolled outbursts of anger have destroyed countless marriages, long friendships, and destroyed careers and business deals.

The wolf has a voracious appetite and the warning from St. Francis and the Indian chieftain is clear. We have the freedom of choice. The wolf could be tamed because St. Francis had made him aware that a life in fear, hunger and being constantly on the run was one of suffering. In the The Fioretti di San Francesco that describes the life of St. Francis, the wolf is described as bowing its head and submitting completely at his mercy.

“As thou art willing to make this peace, I promise thee that thou shalt be fed every day by the inhabitants of this land so long as thou shalt live among them; thou shalt no longer suffer hunger, as it is hunger which has made thee do so much evil; but if I obtain all this for thee, thou must promise, on thy side, never again to attack any animal or any human being; dost thou make this promise?”

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bookcovers_sideview.jpg

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina Germany

Leave a comment

Filed under Camino de Santiago, Pilgrimage, spirituality

Food for thought

„Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” – Thich Nath Hanh

Day  2 on the Via Francigena – Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano

On a hilltop between the medieval Tuscan towns of Gambassi Terme and San Gimignano the pilgrim enters the village of Pancole famous for the 15th century painting by Pier Francesco Fiorentino of the “Virgin feeding her Son.”

The original sanctuary was built in 1668 on the site where the sacred image originally stood along a country road where it had been abandoned and covered by undergrowth. Several miracles were attributed to the Madonna.

One of the miracles is the survival of the painting itself after the Nazis destroyed the original sanctuary in an act of indiscriminate vandalism in a bid to destroy the very soul and ancestral roots of a nation.

The sanctuary was reconstructed in 1949 and along with the nearby Monastero di Bose offer wonderful spaces for quiet  contemplation.

Landscapes that inspired poets and artists throughout the ages

It is no surprise that spectacular landscapes and the quiet pathways throughout the centuries inspired poets, musicians and religious orders

Spending hours in the heart of nature after only a few days of walking opens the heart and mind to the whispers from the universe.

You are forced to go slow up the steep inclines and then you begin to notice the small creatures on the ground such as the lizards, beetles, ants, and butterflies.  When in a hurry it is easy to mindlessly trample on these small creatures who are all fighting for survival when perceiving the heavy boots of an oncoming pilgrim.

St. Francis – the original ecologist

There are numerous stories of St. Francis, the patron saint of the animals, communicating and preaching to the animals as fellow creatures of God.  The saint was well known to walk long distances to spread his message and there are no numerous shrines on the Camino in Spain and along the Via Francigena dedicated to him.

St. Francis can be described as the original ecologist and his central message of social justice and greed causing harm to both the victim and the perpetrator ringing more true than ever.

Spending time in nature creates awareness on how complex the interaction of plant, insect, bird and mammal are intertwined and co-dependent on each other.  Nature starts tilting into imbalance when one species gains dominance and threatens the livelihood of all others. It is offers much food for thought.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bookcovers_sideview.jpg

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina Germany

Leave a comment

Filed under Camino de Santiago, environment, meditation, Pilgrimage, self-development, spirituality

One step at a time …

Day  1: Via Francigena – San Miniato to Gambassi Terme

The question often arises about the differences between a hike and a deep walking pilgrimage. The easiest way for you to find out would be to follow in the footsteps of the ancient pilgrims on one of the famous European routes.

Experiencing it cannot be explained in full

I have met many people who started walking the Camino de Santiago as a hiker and ended it as a pilgrim. Experiential spirituality cannot be explained. It can only be experienced.

Today I started my 13th pilgrimage walk on the Via Francigena in Italy. The original plan was to once again walk one of the Spanish routes but Covid-19 forced a change of plan. Italy is currently  a safer country to travel after initially suffering the worst outbreak of the virus in Europe  earlier this year. It is now hailed as one of the countries that have  been more successful in containing the virus.

Like the Camino de Santiago the Via Francigena is one of the ancient pilgrimage routes dating back to the Middle Ages with the exception that pilgrims walked to Rome rather than Santiago.

A blessing from a stranger

Our walk started in the northern Italian town of San Miniato  near Pisa. On leaving the town a friendly granny stamped our pilgrims’ passports, handing each of us a small shell with the blessing of the Holy Mary.

We would not be able to comfortably enjoy these marvelous pilgrimage paths without the support of thousands of such local volunteers who maintain the paths with way markers, first aid kits, and offering their service in the pilgrims’ hostels. It is not uncommon for these people to spend whatever they have left from their small pensions and salaries to maintain these old paths, chapels and other holy sites.

The 24 kilometer route to Gambassi Terme is challenging for a first day, lacking the typical cafes and small towns that you find on the Camino de Santiago. The countryside nevertheless offers marvelous views of the Tuscany landscape and after some hours of walking, the town of San Miniato can be seen in the distance with its unmistakeable hilltop fortress tower.

The physical challenge

Forced by the circumstances to carry more weight than usual in my backpack, this first day was physically strenuous. I would always advise first-time hikers to start with short-distance walks of no more than 12-15 kilometers so that the body can gradually become attuned to long-distance walking. I was reminded of my first walk on the Camino carrying too much weight and starting wholly unprepared. The back pain, blisters and other physical and mental ailments followed inevitably.

Lessons in humility

The pilgrimage path is an important lesson in humility. “If you don’t walk  the path with humility it will teach you humility,” a pilgrim once said to me.

It is in the recognition of one’s own brokenness, and in opening up to the beginners’ mind that possibility and elevation  of consciousness is possible.

Especially in the current situation it is easy to get pulled into the maelstrom of news negativity and doomsday prophets. A pilgrimage walk is the perfect opportunity to realign and center the mind to higher purpose and meaning.

Walking a path more than once is like reading a good book several times over. What you have not seen or read the first time will be seen differently, from a different angle and new window of consciousness.

The lesson of the day:

  • Take one step at a time. If you look at the mountain ahead, your walk will be so much more difficult. On the other hand if you turn around you will be amazed as to how far you have walked.
  • Looking at the mountain to climb is the trap that leads to procrastination.
  • One blessing, one good thought at a time, one positive action at a time leads to the compound effect that makes all the difference both to you and the world.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina, Germany

Leave a comment

Filed under Pilgrimage, self-development, spirituality

Are you lost?

Are you finding yourself lost and alone? Just when you thought you were on the right track you find yourself hitting a wall and not knowing a way out.

Photo by Maksym Kaharlytskyi on Unsplash

We have all had those moments. At times I have not only found myself lost on a remote mountain on the Camino in northwestern Spain but also on life’s journey. Inevitably I would get lost when I missed an important way marker while daydreaming and avoiding the warning signs from the universe.

Heeding the early warning signs when something is wrong

The universe will always be whispering to you. Especially when you are on the wrong track the whispers could turn into a “shout out”. Inevitably there will be those early warning signs where you feel intuitively that something is wrong.

A person is asking you to lend them money. They tell you they will most certainly pay you back within a month. There is that first feeling that you shouldn’t be doing this but the person is so convincing that you push that first doubt aside. Of course you remember that thought again when the person never complies and you have lost your money.

Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior

Despite a person’s charm the best predictor of a person’s future behavior is that person’s past behavior. Very few people can disguise for any length of time their true character traits. A pity then that falling in love often gets in the way of making a realistic assessment of a person’s character.

There are those small tell-tale signs. Small lies turn into big lies. Repeated assurances that it will not happen again. A change in the tone of voice, a look in the eye and you know something is just not right.

Trusting what the body is trying to tell you

The body is an excellent compass when it comes to trusting your intuition, and knowing. When does my energy expand? When is my energy getting depleted? Ignoring the inner voice of truth for any length of time will inevitably impact your mental and physical health.

Sleepless nights. A common cold not wanting to go away and pointing to a more serious underlying health issue? Regular high blood pressure problems indicating a high stress level and putting you at risk of a stroke or heart attack?

Very few crisis situations simply come out of the blue. Like getting lost on a walk it takes some time before you realize that you are on the wrong path. A call from a passing farmer might alert you to going back onto the right path. Advice from a good friend might prevent you from making a bad decision. But sometimes you do end up getting lost hopelessly. Such crisis situations however can be important lessons in the elevation of consciousness.

Lessons to be learning in a crisis

If you have the feeling that you have placed your ladder against the wrong wall, are unhappy with your situation, and maybe going through a period of sadness and depression, here is something you might consider doing:

  • What is my current situation trying to teach me?
  • What has the universe been trying to whisper to my soul?
  • What past experience feels similar and how did I get out of that situation?

If you feel lost or are finding yourself in a personal crisis situation it always means that something needs to change, has to be reconfigured, realigned, surrendered, let go-of.

But the fear of change and moving out of a comfort zone is one of the biggest human fears. The suffering in the silent misery of procrastination comes from the misconception that we are victims of external circumstance. But it is only half of the truth.

Our greatest freedom is the freedom of choice

The universe, or God, has at the same time given man the freedom of choice. The freedom of choice starts with your mindset. Am I programming myself into a victim mentality? Or am I programming myself to becoming a co-creator in the firm belief that whatever challenge I am confronted with is part of the lesson to be learned of an eternal soul on an evolutionary path of the human experience.

We make mistakes, take the wrong turns, trust the wrong people, make bad choices. It is part of the human condition. We are on a journey, picking up the cues and lessons while on the way.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

BookCovers_Sideview

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina, Germany

Leave a comment

Filed under mental health, mental-health, Uncategorized

Prayer or meditation?

There is sometimes confusion on the differences between prayer and meditation. It can mean the same thing but could have differences and meaning, depending on the individual or the faith.

The Oxford dictionary defines prayer as “the relating of the self or soul to God in trust, penitence, praise, petition, and purpose, either individually or corporately”.

In the biblical stories God is perceived as an external creator, deity, or strict father who punishes or rewards. Natural or personal catastrophes were perceived as punishment where penitence had to be sought or sacrifices had to be made.

The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in the Middle Ages was primarily an act of penitence. Today the pilgrim to Santiago reflects many of the changes in the collective on the spiritual level.

Prayer is a direct conversation with the “universe”, “God,” or the “creator”. From a very early age my grandmother taught me how to pray. It was first a prayer for the well-being and protection of family members who were named by name, especially if they were going through a difficult time.

Praying for the well-being or healing of others is a way of transcending the ego and the direct needs of self. There have been events in my life where I even had angry conversations with God.

“Why did this have to happen to me?” “If you are out there why are you allowing such bad things in the world to happen.” It is something many people were asking after the 9/11 terror attacks. “Why does God allow evil? Why did he not prevent all those people from dying.”

In what is the eternal polarity of life there will always be good and evil. God has given man the freedom of choice. Where there is the evil of division, incitement of hatred, and destruction of life there is absence of God just as much as there is presence of God in unconditional love, compassion, kindness and generosity.

God cannot be explained. God can only be experienced.

In essence meditation is experiential spirituality. It is going into a quiet space and allowing God or the voice of the universe to whisper to the soul.

I have experienced the most intense spiritual experience just after some of those “flat on the ground” moments. On my second Camino pilgrimage walk I got hopelessly lost in the Pyrenees mountains during a massive thunderstorm. It was early May. I was badly prepared wearing summer hiking clothing at a time of year when subzero temperatures at night, often claimed the lives of hikers. After wandering about aimlessly in the dark for hours, close to the point of complete surrender, I noticed a light in the distance that finally led me to a village and safety.

When faced with a problem or having to make a difficult decision it helps to go into silence or to take a time out for introspection. The answer can come sometimes in the most unexpected of ways: A passing remark by a stranger, an image, a dream, a sudden thought or idea where you instantly know what needs to be done.

We are living at a time where the senses are being bombarded with distractions that pull the mind into the confusion of all directions. Meditation calms and centers the mind. There is no right or wrong on how to meditate.

One of the most popular forms is the mindfulness meditation originating from Buddhism. Attention is paid to breathing in the sitting position. When the mind inevitably starts wandering, attention is focused back to the breathing. In the Zen tradition everything can be meditation if done with awareness. There is a saying: When I eat I eat. When I talk I talk. When I walk, I walk. When I listen, I listen.

In the walking meditation every movement of the foot is connected to an inhaling and exhaling breath, while at the same time opening the senses to the surroundings in awareness of “presence.”

As you learn to meditate while sitting or walking you become aware of the importance of standing guard at the doorway of the mind. What you think you become.

Going into dialogue with that inner truth, whether in prayer or meditation, helps answer that age old question. Where do I come from? What am I doing? Where am I going.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

BookCovers_Sideview

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina, Germany

Leave a comment

Filed under spirituality

Is it really true?

If a lie is only printed often enough, it becomes a quasi-truth, and if such a truth is repeated often enough, it becomes an article of belief, a dogma, and men will die for it.”

The quote above often attributed to Russian revolutionist Vladimir Lenin was in fact first written by the 19th century woman writer Isa Blagden and is more applicable than ever in an age where the truth becomes ever more blurred in social media bubbles.

I grew up in apartheid South Africa where the truth was hidden behind a thick veil of censorship laws. Anti-apartheid activists such as Nelson Mandela, or dissident theologian Beyers Naude could not be quoted in any publication. They were vilified by state-owned media as dangerous terrorists. Like all white South Africans I believed the narrative that the government was fighting dangerous communists bent on controlling the world.

As a young man I began my career as a cadet reporter for an opposition newspaper where an entirely different world began to open up before my eyes. I interviewed opposition activists who had been brutally tortured by white security policemen. Normal, decent black people came to the newsroom on a daily basis telling us about forced removals, police brutality in the townships and how the discriminatory laws shattered their lives.

Nelson Mandela statue, Sandton, South Africa

Defining the truth

My older very experienced deputy news editor chided me for my initial naive outlook on life. I have never forgotten the fundamentals of news journalism that he instilled in me:

  • Is it really true?
  • Have you reliably sourced the story?
  • Has your source got a track record of trustworthiness?
  • Have you heard the other side?

Truth always wins the day

After moving to Germany in the 1980s and then witnessing the fall of the Iron Curtain, the dark side of the corrupt communist regime and the machinations of its secret Stasi police were open for all to see. I also had the opportunity of going back to South Africa and meeting personally such remarkable personalities as Nelson Mandela and Beyers Naude.

The current global events, especially in the United States, have me deeply concerned. How is it possible that a man of such toxic character can become president? How is it possible that a solid base of 42 per cent of Americans still blindly follow this man whose administration openly admits that the violent protests, fanned by the divisive language of the man in chief, will benefit him in the upcoming elections? If only he had addressed the nation calling upon every responsible citizen to abide by social distancing and to wear a mask, ten thousands of lives could have been saved?

Much like in the South Africa of my childhood the white rulers peddled the narrative of the “swart gevaar” or danger of black majority rule supported by the communist Soviet Union so often that any alternative argument was simply not heard and terrible human rights abuses were shrugged off as necessary collateral damage in the fight against the bigger evil.

Truth is being buried in a swamp of conspiracy theories and different reality bubbles. A general consensus on democratic norms and values is being eroded in much of the western world. Beliefs and interpretation of truth are affirmed in parallel universes. When basic facts, knowledge, history and sound science are dismissed dialogue becomes impossible, and confrontation is inevitable.

Democracy thrives on the foundation of common values, and consensus building in a culture of differing opinion.

Trump as the only person capable of establishing law and order, reviving the economy and restoring the proud nation to its former glory, introducing a miracle vaccine against Corona. And even if he loses the election, he will shout “fraud and manipulation”. Millions of perfectly decent, ordinary law-abiding citizens are believing the narrative. It is the same fear strategy employed by Adolf Hitler where many scholars today are posing the question: How could a highly educated society, civilized society, the land of Goethe, Schiller and Bach fall prey to such a madman. Now we know why. We are seeing the demolition of a democracy being played out before our very eyes.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

BookCovers_Sideview

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina, Germany

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What every crisis is trying to tell you

Especially during these times when the world seems to be falling apart and politics seems to have gone mad, a lot of people are having trouble remaining centered and protecting themselves from all the negativity.

It is easy to fall into the trap of joining conversations, especially on social media, painting apocalyptic scenarios of what our world might look like in the coming weeks and months.

Crisis_mentoring

A crisis happens for a reason

Covid-19 happened for a reason. Times of crisis are good times to readjust, to go into introspection, to change outdated structures, and to press the reset button with a clean slate.

A relationship conflict, a personal crisis, a dispute, or even a serious health diagnosis reveal the truths that need to be addressed. It brings to the fore the festering sore that needs healing. The elephant in the room is finally named. The child has spoken: “The emperor has no clothes.”

Here on the Mediterranean island of Majorca, where I live, the hospitality sector has been devastated and many businesses are going bankrupt. The island’s economy is 75 percent dependent on tourism with ten million people visiting annually with a local population of just under a million. The strain on the infra-structure from traffic, freshwater supplies to sewerage was palpably obvious. Now for the first time, the voices of those calling for a more upmarket, sustainable type of tourism are being heard. While some folk are wallowing in self-pity and blaming the virus others are already looking ahead and finding new opportunities.

A crisis is an imbalanced state that calls for correction 

From the ancient philosophy of the yin and yang of the Chinese Five Element theory, a crisis is a state of imbalance where the elements wood, fire, earth, metal, and water are trying to reconfigure.  Sometimes both on a personal and collective level humanity needs a jolt to wake-up. But the valid question remains:

“This still doesn’t remove my day-to-day bread and butter concerns and sleepless nights? These are some questions that might help when you are feeling strong emotions of fear and panic.

  • Is it really, really true? What are the actual facts at this point in time?
  • What is the worst possible thing that could happen?
  • What resources do I have available? Who do I know that I could ask and who could help?
  • How did I get through a similar crisis in the past?
  • I am absolutely certain that this too shall pass.

Impermanence and uncertainty is a law of life. The biggest challenge for every human being is to remain fully present. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. You are robbing yourself of the preciousness of life by imagining what will be next month, next year or in five years.

When you feel your head spinning, take a deep breath. Feel how you are breathing. Inhale and exhale with a conscious presence of mind. Inhale “Faith” – exhale “Fear”. Do it for so many minutes until you are actually feeling more relaxed and at ease. The solution to your problem comes from that empty space of quiet relaxation. The universe will always have an answer for you, even if not immediately.

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

BookCovers_Sideview

 

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

 

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

 

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina, Germany

 

 

 

 

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