Tag Archives: environment

Time out is crucial for your health

Most people living in an urbanized environment live highly stressful lives, spending most of their lifetime in closed indoor environments or on noisy streets. It is crucial for health and well-being to reconnect with nature and the natural rhythm of the universe.

Sprint and recovery

An integrated sprint and recovery system that integrates work and recuperation time spent outdoors in nature, should be built into our daily routine.

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In order to function as human beings we need lazy time for rest, recovery, creative play and the digestion of the countless distractions vying for our attention round the clock.  There is a huge amount of scientific evidence showing that stress factors such as high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and high cortisol stress hormone levels begin to fall as soon as we focus our attention on the rustling of leaves in a green forest or hear the sound of ocean waves gently washing to shore.

Natural light is crucial for your body metabolism

Natural sunlight affects our bodies in many ways.  It is a catalyst for the secretion of hormones such as serotonin and melatonin. Melatonin is an important antioxidant and can neutralize some agents that damage cells and DNA that are believed to be a contributing cause of some cancers.

Indoor toxins may threaten your health

When we spend most of our lives indoors we also expose ourselves to countless indoor toxins that come in the form of mold, dust mites, fabrics and chemical compounds.

After going through a period of massive job and personal stress that left me badly fatigued, grumpy and in poor health, I went on my first pilgrimage hike in northwestern Spain some ten years ago. It changed my life and since then I’ve taken time out every year to spend between three and four weeks at a time walking in nature. I’ve interviewed numerous people from all walks of life on the Camino, who have confirmed my own observations that walking is a wonderful way of reconnecting with the universal rhythm.

Great thinkers found inspiration while walking!

During research for my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul”, to be published later this year by Morgan James Publishing in New York, I was surprised to discover that some of the world’s greatest writers and thinkers such as Johann Sebastian Bach, found inspiration while walking.

Henry David Thoreau wrote in his journal, “Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.

The poet William Wordsworth was said to have walked as many as a 290,000 kilometers (180,000 miles) in his lifetime. This translates to an average of six and a half miles a day starting from the age of five.

Humans are hard-wired to live in the past or in the future because planning and learning from the past has been crucial to the survival of our species.

Listen to thoughts when walking

Real joy comes from those magical moments of being absolutely present and experiencing spirituality, love and peace of mind.

It is an enlightening experience to “listen” to your own thoughts when walking. Becoming aware of your thoughts is the first step toward focusing on the moment.

Take a break, savor the nature around you by opening your sense of smell to the herbs by the wayside, open your ears to the chorus of bird song and feel that cool mountain breeze caressing your face.

Nature is the best healer!

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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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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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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Filed under happiness, humanity, lifestyle management, self-development, spirituality, Uncategorized

Yielding to Nature

Our ancestors and the ancient tribes were firmly entrenched in the philosophy of the yielding to the forces of nature as opposed to the modern mindset of conquering and extracting from the earth.

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On some of my lengthy hikes on the Camino in Spain, the routes inevitably take you along busy country roads. Tons of rubbish including plastic bags, tin cans, plastic bottles and cigarette butts are carelessly thrown out of car windows by passing motorists.

It has a devastating effect on other living beings. I’ve seen cows and goats munch plastic bags and hedgehogs trapped in rubbish. More disturbingly sacred crosses and way markers are defaced by graffiti.

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 inter-connectedness of all living beings. God can be seen live working in slow motion.

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:

“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that (Heb. creepeth)  moveth upon the earth.”

Especially the translations of “subdue” and “dominion” from the Hebrew have different meanings. Rather than exploitation and domination the call to humanity by God is like that to a king to take care of the weak and poor in his kingdom. Man is called to preserve the natural beauty of the environment entrusted to him and to restore those places that have been harshly affected by force and hardness of rule.

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 the foundations of the Elements.

Likewise the Greek, Roman and Medieval cultures placed great emphasis on building their temples and cities in harmony with the natural environment. These cultures were still steeped in myth and legend while the modern world is dominated by the economic.

Modern man’s environment−often in an urban concrete jungle, is very much a contributing factor to the alienation from nature and the loss of soul purpose. It is beginning to change. As humanity moves to a raised consciousness we rediscover old teachings that were anything but primitive.

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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Climate: No time to lose

Two weeks ago the northeastern part of the Mediterranean island of Majorca was hit by a freak storm. Within a matter of hours the area was hit by so much rainfall that dry streams were soon flooded and a five-meter high wave swept away cars, bridges and buildings. Twelve people died.

Such a catastrophe hits the world headlines for a day or two and then is forgotten. In this case it happened only a 40-minute drive from my home on the island.  It was a stark reminder that climate change is real. It is happening and it is affecting all of us.

Behind the news of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing civil wars in Latin America and the Middle East is the story of agricultural devastation as a result of unprecedented drought.

Unfortunately the debate on climate change has become so partisan and emotional that even sound science is losing the argument.

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Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

When I was working as a journalist for an international news agency, I attended the first series of conferences of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) nearly two decades ago. In one of the workshops climate scientists were showing slides of predicted extreme weather patterns by the year 2030. Freak storms, floods and massive hurricanes would become the norm, they argued. The sad truth is that they were wrong.  These weather patterns are already happening twelve years ahead of time.

Nobody in the year 1996 could predict that the fast growing-economies of China and India and the unprecedented destruction of rain forests would fast-track carbon dioxide emissions. In the year 2013 they surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere for the first time.  Now get this: For ten thousands of years the level was stable at around 280 ppm. The level only started increasing at the turn of the last century as the industrial revolution gained pace. This is not a natural cycle. What we are seeing is human-induced climate change. It is part of the bigger picture of our human impact on the planet.

I was born in Paulpietersburg, South Africa . This is how much the temperature has risen in the small town during my lifetime: img_1143-e1540994626687.png

Humanity seems to move to the edge at the brink of a new evolutionary cycle. We were there before during the Cold War when the superpowers were very close to annihilating most of humanity in a nuclear war. It is my firm belief that on at least three occasions missiles were not launched because of divine intervention. The crisis had to happen to make us aware of the madness of the ideological walls in our minds.

If the world had not come together in signing the Montreal Protocol in 1987 banning substances that deplete the world’s protective ozone layer, we would be in a dire state today.

Hope springs that we will manage it this time around as well.  It is a close call. We have no time to lose.  It is up to our generation to preserve our planet for the generations ahead.  On a deeper level environmental consciousness is all about self-awareness and self-love – without the shadow of ego and narcissism.

We are treating our bodies in the same way that we are treating our planet. Mindfulness to self is how we exercise, cope with stress, and the choice of foods we eat. It magnifies to the world around.  We seem to know very little about ourselves. Its time for a real game changer.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant 

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

 

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