Tag Archives: health

Evil casts its shadow

“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.” Carl Gustav Jung

For millennia mankind has grappled with the question: “If there is a God, why does he allow evil?”  Defining evil and recognizing evil can also be a difficult undertaking where the lie is sold as truth and truth gets turned into a lie.

Self-love and the acceptance of the human condition

What Jung tried to tell us is that if you don’t accept this duality of light and shadow within, you will soon find yourself on a path of much self-created pain and suffering.

Only in unconditional acceptance of the imperfect human condition, and self-love of all aspects of the personality can grow the seeds of forgiveness, tolerance, and compassion.  This is at the heart of the teachings of Jesus and the ancient Mystics. The fundamentalist Christian concept of original sin meanwhile has been distorted into a culture of guilt and self-mortification. It is the perfect breeding ground for hypocrisy and intolerance.

The enemy is also the teacher 

In the pull between the identity of the opposites, spiritual growth and the evolution of character takes place. Are you kind, generous, compassionate, and loving?  Or are you rude, greedy, inconsiderate, spewing hate and anger? The decisions and habits we make on a daily and hourly basis can tip the scales in either direction.

Are you nurturing the God in your heart or feeding the demons in your head?

We need the enemy, and the opposite perspective to gain clarity on our own core values and choices. Humankind has been given the power of choice. Are you falling into the shadow or going with the light?

The tragedy is that the character once held by the stranglehold of the shadow demons finds himself incapable of self-reflection. The phenomenon is widespread in some of the populist leaders of our time, trapped by their own egos and narcissism.

An individual unable or unwilling to transmute the shadow within becomes a very dangerous person when handed the control of an entire nation.

Such leaders easily get subsumed by the darkest parts of their character if they have not transmuted their shadow. Going back to the early days of Vladimir Putin’s rule we hear a man propounding democratic values and freedom of expression. From what is said, he was a good listener and open to advice – a far cry from the chilling autocrat, emotionally cold to the suffering of millions of people.

Other profoundly evil leaders such as Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Adolf Hitler had similar grievances that were expressed politically but probably stemmed from childhood trauma. All three dictators had bullying and abusive fathers. Putin grew up in poverty as a street kid and was often bullied.

South African leader Nelson Mandela by contrast, although having every reason to hate his white persecutors who locked him away in prison for 27 years, was able to transmute his anger and hate into wisdom, saying:

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Evil does not come from God. It manifests itself where there is the complete absence of God. Every minute of every day we have the power of choice. Do we choose the God in our heart or the Devil in our head?

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Thought about death today?

The Dalai Lama once said that what surprised him the most about the human condition was that “Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.

And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

Confronting our mortality is anathema in our western culture. We don’t talk about it and when a loved one passes we are expected to “get over it” and function again as soon as possible.

Cultural icons are expected to stay forever young. The dying are outsourced to hospitals and hospices and the dead are buried in well-manicured cemeteries far-off the beaten track.

Confronting mortality head-on

One of the multiple reasons for our mental health crisis and addiction epidemic is that we don’t confront our mortality head-on, compare ourselves with the Jones’ next door, and hope to live the “happy” life one day when we retire, when we get rich, when we find the perfect partner when we have that luxury car or that beautiful home.

There is a reason why the people in the small southeast Asian country of Bhutan are regarded as the happiest and most contented people in the world. Like in the world of our ancestors, death is part of everyday reality.

The Buddhist country encourages its people to think about death for at least a few minutes each day. Paintings, artwork, and house decorations often feature death. Funerals are an elaborate three-week event where the dead body is kept in the home before being slowly cremated over fragrant juniper trees in front of hundreds of friends and relatives.

Photo by Ming Zimik on Pexels.com

In Bhutan, death is merely seen as a transition to another dimension. The spiritual disconnect in our western culture has left no place for death or the ritual of death. I’ve had my fair share of loved family members and friends who have died during the past three years, jolting me back to reality and the age-old question: What are you doing with the rest of the days left in your life?

Because death is the big elephant in the room, we succumb to collective hysteria and grief when a well-known personality suddenly dies.

The University of Oxford Centre for Suicide Research found that the overall suicide rate in England and Wales rose by 17 percent in the four weeks after Lady Diana’s funeral in September 1997, compared with the average reported for that period in the four previous years.

A review of these patients’ case notes suggested that the influence of Princess Diana’s death was largely through “amplification of personal losses and exacerbation of existing distress.”

Talking about the human condition

We need to talk about the human condition, about death, our mortality, and that life at some point ends the way we know it. My passion is to help people improve their lives to such an extent that they have the vitality and energy to live out the life that they are meant to live.

Are you living the life you are destined to live?

Are you merely existing or living the life that you are destined to live? Are you stuck in a job or relationship that depletes most of your energy? Are you waiting for that day to arrive when you can finally start living?

Procrastination and fear is the biggest obstacle to the elevation of consciousness and spiritual growth. When you are doing things that are in alignment with your soul destiny you will, to quote Rumi, feel a river moving in you with joy.

If you are interested in diving deeper into the topic of goal setting, experiential spirituality, and an accountability coaching partner please contact me for a scheduled zoom chat and free get-to-know session.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing...If you have found this article interesting you might want to read more in my books that can be ordered at all places that sell good books in both paperback and kindle.

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Just another hill to climb

The chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken.

Warren Buffet

One of the worst chains of physical and mental habit is procrastination. Without action, there is no result.

We can dream, hope, and think our wishes will come true but they will only remain dreams if they are not followed up by action.

The pain of breaking the chains of habit are perceived as greater than the pain and the fear of facing an uncertain future. It is the reason we stay in dysfunctional relationships, fail to change an unfulfilling job, and refuse to change a diet that is ruining our health.

The universe will inevitably test your willpower

So often when we are on the brink of giving up in walking through that long, dark tunnel of obstacles, the breakthrough comes in the most unexpected ways. We climb a hill. We reach the top and then we find out that there is still another hill to climb. It is in such moments of despair that most people give up.

It is almost as if the universe is testing our willpower, creativity, and clarity of thought on the walk through life.

The yin and yang, the law of opposites, is an active process of life force, “qi” energy, swinging us from one extreme to the next in the never-ending cycle of growth and change.

Finding the balance between the extremes

The first light of dawn can only be seen in the darkness. Deep happiness is a feeling that is all the more intense after we have gone through the experience of sadness. They are both intense feelings. There is a fine line between love and hate, as William Shakespeare vividly portrays in “Romeo and Juliet.”

The moral of the story is that nothing good can come from blindly embracing fully one or the other.

In Act 1 Scene 1, Romeo is well aware of the close relationship between these two strong emotions:

Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love.

Why then, O brawling love, O loving hate,

O anything of nothing first create!

O heavy lightness, serious vanity,

Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms,

Feather of lead, bright smoke, cold fire, sick health,

Still-waking sleep, that is not what it is!

This love feel I, that feel no love in this.”

When we fall in love we tend to see the other in a rose-colored hue of positivity. Love appears all-encompassing and we are blind to character traits or habits that are difficult to reconcile.

The disappointment comes later when we move in with each other and the fights start over who is responsible for the grocery shopping or cleaning the bathroom. Shattered hopes and dreams of what an idealized relationship never was or could have been is one of the main reasons for the breakup of so many relationships.

Extremism has its roots in fear and lack of grounding

Much of the animosity in the political divide comes from the same energy—embracing either the right or the left of the spectrum without seeing the nuances in between. The one is the shadow of the other. Both extremes have a shocking level of intolerance and are rooted in fundamentalism that prevents them from listening to each other.

The tendency toward extremist positions is rooted in uncertainty and fear from a lack of grounding.

Mastering the mundane to grow spiritually

The Chinese masters placed great emphasis on this aspect—not only as crucial in the martial arts but as a life philosophy.

Without a solid foundation in dealing with the mundane, any type of self-development will come to naught.

The ancient Jewish sages went further in teaching that if we fail to master the normal daily activities such as looking after our health, family relationships, and livelihood, we cannot hope to advance to higher spiritual experience.

Thus, a good portion of life in the monastery is spent in cleaning, gardening, and other menial chores. It is not only a practice in humility but stems from the knowledge that mastering the mundane is the gateway to loftier spheres.

Physical exercise and the mindful carrying out of mundane chores are excellent for grounding. If your work is mostly in a sitting position in an office, it is crucial to use breaks for walking or another low-impact exercise.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing...If you have found this article interesting you might want to read more in my books that can be ordered at all places that sell good books in both paperback and kindle.

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What would your eulogy be like?

Have you ever given it a thought what your loved ones would be saying about you at your funeral? A good way of defining your purpose in life is to sit down and write your own eulogy. Looking back on a life lived so far brings much clarity on where you have come from and where you want to go.

It is sad to see so many people stuck in a very uncomfortable comfort groove because the fear of the unknown is preventing them from even looking at alternatives.

What I have found is that if we face up to the fear and place full trust in the universe that we are here on earth for a purpose, then the universe will respond in kind.

We are here to grow and develop

It is in becoming our true self that we discover a sense of meaning and belonging.  We are here to develop and grow our consciousness−to become aware of the greater reality. It is part of what the evolutionary program demands of us.

Project yourself ahead in a time machine where you see yourself rocking in an armchair well into your 80s, looking back on your life. What are your greatest regrets? What are the chances missed? Probably the greatest sin would have been a life passed without even attempting the greatest dreams and following the true destiny. How would you feel if you watched a movie about your life on all the opportunities missed and potential not lived?

Going the route of constant self-development, self-reflection, and spiritual growth is immensely rewarding. It is one of the keys to living a purposeful and happy life.

But you will never discover your true calling if you don’t slow down so that you can listen to the whispers from the universe and find a connection to your soul.

It is never too late for change and renewal

Body and mind have an infinite capacity for change and renewal. It is never too late. All the skin in the body is replaced every two to three weeks. The liver renews itself at least once every couple of years and the skeleton once every ten years.

But trauma and toxic emotions can hold us captive for decades, preventing us from moving forward and “becoming” our true self.

Stress and fear start with a thought. But the solution to a problem has never come from running thoughts and monkeys in the head.  These are dark imaginary creations of the mind. Yet the mind has enormous power to create in every direction.

Practising thought discipline

Thought discipline can be practiced. It is normal for negative thoughts, old anger and fears to surface when we spend time alone in solitude. Replacing that dark thought with a positive thought such as gratitude is the first step in the right direction.

Thoughts inevitably turn into beliefs and beliefs turn into action. How are you talking to yourself? What is your inner dialogue? Do you believe that you are worthy? Do you feel deserving of living in abundance, to be loved, appreciated and valued?

With gratitude comes the wisdom that in the bigger picture there is grace−the grace that we are part of a bigger matrix, that everything has meaning, that we are born to learn, grow, and to become. When reverse engineering your life you find out that everything has served a purpose if you give it a different perspective. We are destined to become who we are meant to be.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing...If you have found this article interesting you might want to read more in my books that can be ordered at all places that sell good books in both paperback and kindle.

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Depression and the deeper message

As a child, I was frequently confronted with episodes when Dad would withdraw behind a thick grey wall of brooding silence. Only much later in life, when confronting my own demons, did I begin to understand the meaning of depression and what profound effect it can have on family and relationships.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression with the Covid-19 pandemic having further impacted mental health on multiple levels as we deal with the loss of control and personal freedoms.

It is part of the human condition that we go through stages of melancholy sadness but depression is characterized by the WHO as a condition when a person suffers for a longer period of several weeks loss of pleasure in all things, hopelessness in the future, fatigue, low self-esteem and self-worth coupled with frequent suicidal thoughts.

When to ask for help

When you or a loved one are in such a situation it is advisable to seek professional help. Medication can be necessary, especially when hereditary factors or biological issues such as hormones and serotonin levels in the brain play a role. However, medication is not a quick fix and therapy must be understood as a long-term journey to improving the quality of life.

Depression has many facets and is intertwined with an individual’s response and coping mechanism to external stressors. Childhood trauma or emotional neglect could be underlying factors for low-esteem and self-worth, seeding the depression. And, sometimes depression is disguised as a job burnout or a midlife crisis because of the social stigma attached to mental health.

Losing the sense of meaning and purpose in life could be triggered after a relationship breakdown, loss of a loved one, job loss, or the diagnosis of a life-threatening disease. A personal tragedy can be so overwhelming that the individual is unable to find a way out without professional help.

Finding new meaning and purpose

What we do know is that most forms of depression are treatable. Low-impact sport and a healthy diet rich in fatty acids and low on sugars and processed foods play an important part in brain health. At the same time finding new purpose and meaning with the help of a good therapist or mentor is key.

There is a lovely quote from Mark Twain that “the two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.” The “why” need not be the one silver arrow. Very often people are passionate about a certain career path in the early part of their life and then find out decades later that they need to walk a new path.

Learning from the pain and trauma

Everything that you have experienced or suffered so far in life has prepared you for the next step. What did I need to learn from my divorce? Has it left me with resentment fear and hate? Or, has it taught me to forgive, improved my social skillset, and made me into a more compassionate human being?

Finding a new challenge and stepping out of the normal comfort zone of complacency is a major antidote to depression. When you reflect on your life so far you will always find some stories where you chalked up victories and personal accomplishments. You can add to that success list by finding a new challenge.

For me, such a challenge was walking the Camino in northwestern Spain for the first time in 2007. I was in a very bad place at the time going through a tumultuous relationship and finding myself on the edge of a job burnout. You can read my story in the book: “Walking on Edge: A pilgrimage to Santiago”

I now take the time each year for a personal retreat. Walking one more stage of the Camino has become my annual detox and timeout for realignment and soul replenishment.

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What is your inner dialogue?

How are you talking to yourself? Is your self-talk predominantly negative or positive? You have the power to change your thoughts and your mindset. Predominantly positive people are more successful, happier, and content. We like to have those people around us. When they walk into a room there is a different energy. While those people who are cynical and only focused on the dark side of life inevitably pull you down. You can shift those dark emotions by replacing them with positive thoughts. What makes you laugh? What are the five things that you experienced during the past 24 hours that you can be truly grateful for? Training the mind is like training the body in physical exercise. It takes practice and sometimes we have to simply empty the mind from all those dancing monkeys in the head moving between the pain of the past and the fear of the future.

The healing power of community

Our modern culture of individualism has mutated into narcissism and loss of community bonding. We, humans, are social beings. We are formed by the nature of our associations and primary family connections. We all need a supportive network of long-term friends, family, and community that provides positive validation. Volunteering in a group or a community for a useful project, charity, or church group that improves the lives of others changes the perspective from self-absorption to giving for others in a worse situation. Find a reason to do something for the good of something.

Repurposing failure, tragedy, and grief

Some of the world’s greatest minds have turned a personal tragedy, humiliation, or failure into success by repurposing their experience into new meaning.

Andrew Carnegie, arguably one of the most successful industrialists ever, emigrated to the United States with his family at the age of 12 to avoid starvation in Scotland. He eventually amassed a vast fortune in the iron and steel industry but spent most of his later life on philanthropic projects including the establishment of 3,000 public libraries in the United States, England, and Canada.

Charles Dickens’s greatest works of fiction came from a dark place after losing his father and one of his daughters within a week. At the age of twelve Dickens was forced to work with working-class men and boys in a shoe polish factory while his father was in a debtor’s prison. This experience shaped his views of the harshness of the industrial world confronting human values.

Oprah Winfrey, raped, molested, and beaten in early childhood, faced many struggles before becoming one of the world’s most famous talk show hosts. She told fellow chat show host David Letterman that through all of the pain and struggle, she was thankful, “for everything that has happened. I would take nothing from my journey.”

Tony Robbins came from a dysfunctional family and was thrown out of his home by an abusive mother. The experience turned him into one of the world’s top motivational speakers, best-selling author of self-help books, and life coach.

In a world addicted to immediate gratification and quick-fix solutions – take a pill and it will go away – the individual going through a hard time is often told: “Get over it and move on.” Every person has a different rhythm when dealing with grief or trauma. That sadness over the loss of a loved one remains for a lifetime but over time it can take on a different perspective.

Those “dark night of the soul” moments force a look inside. A crisis reveals what needs to be changed. Complacency is the biggest obstacle to soul connection and elevation of consciousness. During times of pain and grief, we dig deep into the resources of resilience for that next hill to climb on life’s journey of growth and evolution and ultimately fulfillment of soul destiny.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Managing your life with clear intention

It’s the time of year again when wishes are expressed and ambitious goals are set but when looking back at the same time the previous year. How many of those goals did you realistically achieve? Most New Year intentions are scuttled before the month of January is over.

Here is how you can better manage your goals and set out a clear plan of action for the coming months without falling into the typical traps.

All those “positive-thinking” self-help books are telling you to dream big and that nothing is impossible. Visualize your perfect life send the message out to the universe and voila your wishes shall be fulfilled. The disappointment is big when reality catches up. Sometimes also the dream come true can turn out to be a nightmare if it is not in sync with your soul purpose.

There are several steps that you can follow in better managing your life instead of blaming everyone from the government to your boss, spouse, or colleagues for being responsible for your dire situation.

Create a plan of action

Without a clear plan of action e.g. to exercise daily at a certain time to reduce weight or to set aside a certain amount in a savings plan per month, your intention will remain vague and merely a wish. See every small step of the plan of action as building the first bridge of many bridges toward what will one day manifest into that big dream.

Keep it simple and realistic

When writing down your goals you have to look at the baseline from where you are coming from. Is the goal a realistic objective for the coming months? Is it really achievable? Is the timeline realistic? If you set the goalposts too high you will soon get frustrated and surrender into self-blame and self-pity.

Clarify your intention

You need to be very clear on why you want something or why you want to achieve a certain goal. Do you want to earn a million dollars a year just to impress the nasty neighbor across the road? Or do you need more money to leave a positive footprint for the greater good? Do you want to lose weight to impress others or because you want to lead a healthier life so that you can see your grandchildren grow up?

Intention and soul purpose

Every individual has a unique purpose and destiny. The more connected you become to your soul through meditation or taking time out for silence or deep walking in nature the more you will become aware that the universe or God is always there, leading, protecting, and guiding you. We as a society have become so indoctrinated by false images that we have become disconnected from real BEING. It is mostly about accumulating external glitter. Real happiness comes from within. Connection to authenticity manifests in all other areas of life such as family, relationships, interaction with the world, and all it has to offer.

As a regular subscriber to my Blog you can download my FREE vision board that will help you map out your goals and intentions for the coming months.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Recasting yourself for 2022

“In every change, in every falling leaf, there is some pain, some beauty. And that’s the way new leaves grow.”
― Amit Ray

The past two years have been a rough ride for many people. Many of us no doubt went into the year thinking the pandemic would soon be over. It seems now, however, that we will just have to learn to live different lives than we had envisioned.

One of the laws of life is unpredictability. At the same time our habits, fears, and mental resilience, in essence, determine how we deal with unexpected changes and challenges.

It is when the rug is pulled from your feet when the familiar map disappears when you are forced out of home territory that the universe is also offering you the greatest opportunity to reframe and redefine yourself.

How did you start the previous year?

Life is never a linear trajectory. How you look at things is a matter of mindset and perspective. How about looking back at the beginning of the old year and what thoughts you had then. Did you have any resolutions on how you would approach the year? Did those resolutions come to fruition? In fact, studies show that most people give up on their resolutions before the month of January has even ended.

A much better way of starting the New Year is by reflecting on the blessings of the past year. What were those five best moments and successes you had? Looking back will help you pick up on the positive lessons you learned and what positive habits you can build on. 

  • What three key lessons did I learn during the past twelve months?
  • What has to be accepted that cannot be changed?
  • What old relationships, concepts, and ideas do I have to liberate myself from?
Photo by George Dolgikh @ Giftpundits.com on Pexels.com

Starting a daily gratitude ritual

Numerous studies show that people who have a daily gratitude practice and who count their blessings are happier in their lives. It shifts your attention from what is negative to what is positive in your life.

There are two exercises you could do in making the start of the year more positive. Start and end your day with a gratitude ritual. What three major positive experiences, meetings, or insights did I have during the past 24 hours?

We instinctively know that living a more fulfilled and happier life is linked to what habits we pursue. This is why we like to clean the slate and start the New Year with a positive outlook. But there are two common mistakes why most people give up on their good intentions:

  • The plan is too ambitious and unrealistic. A long list of all the things you want to change will leave you with nothing done. Keep what you want to change short, simple and realistic. If you want to get out of debt. Start by putting a small amount of money onto a savings account every month and don’t touch it. If you want to exercise more, start with a short ten-minute walk instead of trying to do a half hour every day. Improve on your diet and avoid all white sugars as a first start. Small changes in your daily routine, done every day of every week and every month bring about the big changes.
  • Negative self-talk will inevitably scuttle all your good intentions. How you talk to yourself has an immense influence. “I will never be able to do this?” “I’m not good at this.” “I was just born fat and ugly.” “Life is just the way it is and I just have to bear with it.” Try to turn the conversation around. “What can I learn from this?” “I love and accept myself unconditionally.” “I am blessed, everything is good and will turn out fine in the end.”

Change comes with small steps

Changing your set routines and habits starts with small steps. A good way of tricking the mind into doing something positive is by “piggybacking” a positive habit with an existing habit. If you have to take the dog out for a walk anyway, try taking a different route next time and walking a little longer. Or park the car some distance away from your workplace so that you are forced to do that extra walking. Replace a negative thought with a positive thought. Try breaking typical routines like reading a chapter in a good self-help book instead of spending the evening watching Netflix.

Highly successful people never rest on their laurels. They are continuously refining their self-development, knowledge, associations, physical and mental well-being. It is in finding a true purpose that we become who we are meant to be from the day we were born. Quiet moments of introspection, meditation, and deep walking in nature are crucial for realignment and aligning your intentions with the intentions of the universe.

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Positive relationships

The pandemic has spotlighted how important our close relationships and network of supportive people can be during a time of crisis. Everything becomes so much easier if we are not “in it alone”. We are social beings. It is part of our DNA to feel seen, heard, and loved by those people most important in our life. If you are surrounded by positive-minded, uplifting people your stress resilience will be so much higher than that person who locks himself in a room and blames everyone else in the world for his misery. Good relationships are nurtured by reciprocity. If you are having trouble building friendships and maintaining long-term relationships, you need to ask yourself: What can I change in my behavior and thought patterns to draw the people into my life who do me good?

Life is a roller-coaster of constant change. We move through stages of joy, happiness, melancholy sadness, or frustration. The human story is marked by loss, failure, and setback. But is also one of joy, happiness, and celebration of the beauty that is life. It is the law of the yin and yang. If you are having a hard time at this point in your life you can be assured that this too will pass.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Authenticity versus narcissism

Chances are if you are following the crowd, you’re following the wrong path.

– Bob Proctor

Narcissism is defined as an excessive interest and or admiration of the self. The basic human need to be validated and to be heard however seems to have fallen prey to the stranglehold of the ego-mind in a society obsessed with the glitter of immediate gratification.

The need to conform to societal parameters of success, beauty, or fame comes with the high price of disconnect from soul nature and authenticity with all the resulting consequences in the form of stress and mental illness.

Teenagers moving from childhood to adulthood in the struggle of finding their identity are particularly vulnerable to the dictates of the fashion, norms, and cultural beacons of their peer group. Those not following the crowd are bullied into isolation and will feel particularly suicidal if they do not have a safety net to fall back on.

Unsurprisingly we are seeing an exponential rise in mental illness and suicides among teenagers. Suicides among adolescents and young adults aged 10-24 have increased in the United States by nearly 60 percent in the period 2007-2018. Researchers pinpoint multiple causes but the negative effects of excessive use of social media are undisputed.

Creating a brand on social media has become in vogue. The lifestyle and “happy images” posted on social platforms have become the perfect platform for what has ballooned into a collective narcissistic culture.

Seldom do we see portrayed the authentic circumstances of a person’s struggles, pains, and up-and-down cycles triggered by life’s circumstances. It becomes a major mental stress factor to conform to an artificial image that bears little resemblance to what is real and authentic. The echo chambers of the media industry are ruthless when the cracks to authenticity begin to show. Here are some of the differences between narcissism and authenticity:

  • While narcissism is directed toward external validation and acceptance, authenticity turns inward to galvanise the forces of unconditional service to a bigger cause.
  • Narcisissism is immune to self-development and will defend with all means available the right to be right and the image it has created. Authenticity is open to constant adaptation, evaluation, growth and elevation of consciousness. It will admit to mistakes and failure.
  • Narcisissm is anchored within imagined thought and personality while authenticity is rooted within soul and heart.

Much of the mental exhaustion we are seeing around us stems from the lack of authenticity and disconnect from soul nature. The pain will at some point become unbearable when all the energy is focused on creating an external image that is incongruent with soul destiny.

Photo by Luna Lovegood on Pexels.com

Children still connected to their true nature will sometimes tear down the facade of image and conformity, much to the embarrassment of the adults around. It is why Jesus once said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

It is a call to reconnect to the innocent authenticity of the child. When you do what you are destined to become you will connect to the inner child and feel an expansion of energy, vitality, and connection. Can you recall an incident from your childhood when you last felt unconditional love and joy? Those are the clues to follow when it comes to connecting the dots that lead you from the head mind into the heart-mind of authenticity.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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When nature moves closer

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.

—Lao Tzu

Relationship to the self defines the relationship to nature. For too long we as humans have defined ourselves as a separate entity to the natural world that needed to be controlled, exploited, and subjugated. Gradually the realization is dawning that nature is an expression of the divine and that we are an integral part of the whole.

Feeling, breathing, and aligning with nature during a deep walking experience is one of the most underrated and best forms of healing, especially when you might be feeling overwhelmed and frustrated by all the negativity of the external world.

Aligning and healing with the help of nature

Some years ago I had a profound experience on one of my pilgrimage walks on the Camino de Santiago in northwestern Spain. I started the walk feeling exhausted and stressed out. Inevitably my thoughts would wander back to the daily treadmill of life.

Then, in the following days, as I found my natural walking rhythm I noticed nature coming closer. I was starting to smell the grasses and herbs along the path. Birds would fly close by, stray dogs would follow me for part of the way. On the mountain tops of the Camino Primitivo giant vultures sat motionless a mere two arms lengths away.

I started practicing going in sync with my surroundings by attuning my senses to one element in nature at a time. It would either be the butterflies dancing ahead of me, the calming sound of a creek nearby or just feeling the sensation of a breeze against my skin.

Immersing in nature in this way, I found, has an enormously regenerative and calming effect on all senses. I practice these exercises in nature now as often as I can, having the added benefit of living on a beautiful island in the Mediterranean.

Science confirms the positive effects of the green and blue spaces

Several scientific studies have meanwhile confirmed that the connection with the blue and green spaces in nature has many positive physical and psychological effects. Humans are naturally drawn to a beautiful river or lake.

The Japanese practice of shinrin yoku, or Forest Bathing, has been proven to reduce stress hormone levels and lower heart rate and blood pressure. Trees and plants emit substances called phytoncides which have been found to boost the immune system. 

Studies by Qing Li, a Japanese scientist who has been carrying out shinrin yoku research for many years, showed that Forest Bathing increases the Natural Killer cell activity in people, with at least some of this effect coming from phytoncides.

David Strayer, a psychology professor at the University of Utah, conducted a study in which participants saw a 50 percent improvement in creative problem solving after only three days immersed in nature with all access to modern technology removed.

We are very much a species that has lost its way, having become disconnected from nature while emphasizing technological advancement. It has become more pronounced in recent years with the addiction to digital gadgets with the average person in the United States spending about ten hours a day glued to a computer, smartphone, or television screen.

The sages of old, the Mystics and Shamans, have all tought us that nature offers so many important lessons if we would only stop and listen. Every significant place and and animal has a story and a legend. By reconnecting with nature we return to ancient wisdom, to a place of solitude deep inside – the power of the present moment.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Difficulty finding your purpose?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding purpose is never done

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The antidote to a scarcity mindset

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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