Tag Archives: mental health

To be seen and to be heard

The other day I observed a couple in a hotel with a baby in a pram crying incessantly while the parents were seemingly unconcerned and tapping away on their smartphones. A basic human need to be seen and to be heard was not being met.

A cuddle and some comforting words by one of the parents would in my mind have soon stopped the child from crying. While babies can only make their needs felt in one way it doesn’t get more complicated when we get to be adults.

It’s not a big surprise that restaurants and other businesses in the hospitality industry are having great difficulty finding staff. Customers are all too often downright rude. It has become so bad that some establishments have had to put up signs appealing to customers to treat their staff with respect.

The grievance culture

We have a grievance culture fanned by political demagogues, certain media outlets, and social media. At the receiving end are often the people who least deserve it. I have enormous admiration for staff in hotels, airlines, and restaurant businesses who remain friendly and courteous in jobs that are badly paid and receive little to no recognition from customers and management.

Lack of recognition and validation from supervisors is also one of the main reasons why highly-skilled and trained staff are quitting their jobs or going into early retirement. Leaders often lack basic soft skills. It doesn’t take much to publicly praise a staff member for work well done. A kind word or compliment will instantly make a person light up and smile.

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

Most employees are demotivated

It’s hardly a surprise that only 15 percent of the global workforce feel motivated in their jobs, according to a Gallup poll. This means that a staggering 85 percent of the workforce is unhappy in their job. Most employees suffer in silent misery counting the months and years when they can finally go into retirement and start living.

When an employee isn’t in agreement with a company’s mission and vision or is stifled in his creativity by micro-management the result is obvious. There will be a higher percentage of absenteeism, engagement, and work performance. It is estimated that in the United States alone over 450 billion dollars in losses are recorded annually due to unmotivated employees.

Leading by example

It doesn’t have to stay that way. Choosing the right leaders for key positions in a company can make a huge difference. Some of the key qualities of a good leader are:

  • Leading by example
  • Empathy
  • Accountability
  • The ability to express appreciation and gratitude

All too often however we have the typical narcissist chosen for leadership positions and even being elected to lead a country. With their self-centeredness, arrogance, and lack of empathy they can cause immense damage. They are simply incapable of expressing gratitude or giving recognition because they feel this might diminish their own glory.

But responsibility also starts with the individual taking responsibility. If you keep on blaming the government, your employer, your spouse, or your family for everything that has gone wrong in your life, you are not confronting the fear that is blocking you from making the necessary changes.

As Harvard professor and economist Clayton Christensen is quoted as saying: “Motivation is the catalyzing ingredient for every successful innovation.”

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing...If you have found this article interesting you might want to subscribe or recommend my FREE weekly Blog to friends and family. My books can be ordered at all places that sell good books in both paperback and kindle.

Leave a comment

Filed under mental health, mental-health

Toxic emotions and the food you eat

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”Hippocrates

Study after study is revealing that mental health is closely connected to what foods we eat and that the standard western diet of processed junk foods could explain the rising prevalence of dysfunctional behavior and toxic emotions ventilated in the public narrative.

A series of nutritional experiments in both schools and prisons have shown that violent incidents, the number of suicides, and mental health were significantly improved by changing diets.

Inmates in prisons are generally offered highly processed foods with a low nutritional value. It lacks in particular Omega 3 fatty acids found in leafy vegetables and high-quality oils that are vital to brain health.

In five international studies conducted in prisons during the past 25 years, prisoners were given foods with higher nutrients including fatty acids and minerals. All the studies reported a 30 percent reduction in violence.

Ultra-processed foods make up about two-thirds of diets in school meals in the United Kingdom. Several studies suggest this could be responsible for the high number of ADHS symptoms in children. Hyperactivity, aggression, and irritability seem to go hand in hand in children eating foods with high gluten content. It is mostly found in bread, cereals, and crackers.

One study found that a correction of nutrient intake in schoolchildren, either through a well-balanced diet or low-dose vitamin-mineral supplementation, improved brain function and subsequently lowered institutional violence and antisocial behavior by almost half.

Is this not an issue that needs to be looked at more closely when investigating the prevalence of gun violence at schools in the United States?

Studies conducted in relatively closed environments such as schools and prisons should be a wake-up call for society in general. According to World Health Organization (WHO) figures nearly two billion people globally are overweight. Obesity is a disease of the metabolism and the body’s metabolism is directly affected by diet and exercise.

Photo by Elle Hughes on Pexels.com

There is no single magic pill to boost brain health. The foods that improve cognitive functions are the same foods that protect your heart and other vital organs:

  • Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collards, and broccoli are rich in brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene.
  • Fish, avocado, walnuts and high quality olive oils are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Berries are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. Blueberries, strawberries and rasberries are loaded with antioxidents and fibrres that prevent inflammation in the brain.

We can conclude that a large portion of humanity is living a shadow of the life it could live. Minds are fed with a daily dosage of toxic information while bodies are fed with toxic foods that incrementally destroy the quality of life.

The compound effect of your daily habits, and the choices you make migh well determine whether you live long enough to see your grandchildren grow up.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing...If you have found this article interesting you might want to subscribe or recommend my FREE weekly Blog to friends and family. My books can be ordered at all places that sell good books in both paperback and kindle.

Leave a comment

Filed under mental health, mental-health

The difference between thoughts and feelings

“One ought to hold onto one’s heart, for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too”

– Friedrich Nietzsche-

We have to accept it as a reality of our world that much of what we think and feel is being shaped by social media platforms cementing beliefs and perspectives.

Emotions are an involuntary initial response to external stimuli by the brain’s limbic system as part of our evolutionary survival system.

The ancient Greek and Roman Stoic philosophers were well aware of this human trait. So, they developed a philosophy of life that maximizes positive emotions, reducing negative emotions, and honing virtues of character.

The Stoics believed that the way in which you respond to the world is your responsibility. They propose that most of the time your response to any given situation is a choice. At any moment you have the ability to choose one response over another.

Wisdom was seen as living in harmony with the divine Reason of that which governs nature. They trained the mind to remain calm amid the vicissitudes of life and fortune.

When a mass circulation newspaper prints on its front page an article on what would happen if Russia dropped a nuclear bomb on London, this inevitably triggers toxic emotions such as fear, anger, and outright terror. You have little control over such emotions, the brain’s limbic system is triggered into fight or flight mode.

When you go into rational thought you will start questioning the intention of the article and realize that the newspaper is merely pushing emotional buttons in order to boost its circulation and thus its advertising revenue. You will ask yourself: What is real? What is true? What is exaggeration and hyperbole?

Are you chained to your past with your self-talk?

Thoughts are always just that: Thoughts: They dwell on either an event of the past or an imaginary scenario of the future. Your quality of life will be severely impeded if you remain chained to self-talk that centers around the sadness over that which was and is no more or a perceived “grievance” that someone has inflicted on you. The mind is trapped in worries and concerns if it is fed a constant dosage of negative news on the economy.

The authenticity of the heart-mind

Heart mind feelings come from an entirely different space. Fear is transmuted by trust, and hate with love. Unconditional love and empathy come from a grounded trust in the power of a higher entity, the universal intelligence or God.

While an animal reacts mostly from the limbic instinctual level, the human has been given the power of choice and the ability to reflect. You need not be chained to your past. Every moment you can decide through choice to change your destiny.

Photo by Yuri Manei on Pexels.com

Where to start?

The inevitable question is: How do I regain control of toxic emotions triggered by a newspaper headline or a hurtful remark by a loved one? The first step is acceptance of those negative thoughts. Trying to push them away will only make the monster bigger. Before going into immediate attack mode, you could take a deep breath and ask yourself: Is my anger and hurt really justified? Where do I recognize that anger from? Where do I know that feeling of not being seen, heard, or disrespected?

A healthy body creates a healthy mind

If you are living a mainly sedentary lifestyle you will be far more prone to becoming a victim of negative emotions. If you feel healthy, fit, and strong you will be in a better position to “catch” the runaway horses of your mind. By practicing regular deep walking in nature you will find an inner rhythm that is in tune with your purpose and destiny. You will literally be walking toxic emotions off. Create a fixed time every day where you practice meditation, yoga, taichi, or qigong. These ancient body arts are perfectly suited to realign body, mind and soul.

According to the Stoic Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius “very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing...If you have found this article interesting you might want to subscribe or recommend my FREE weekly Blog to friends and family. My books can be ordered at all places that sell good books in both paperback and kindle.

Leave a comment

Filed under mental health, mental-health

Suffering: A pathway to divinity?

“Light will someday split you open; even if your life is now a cage.“ – Hafiz

It’s a question mankind has mulled for millennia: If there is an omnipotent creator, why does he allow humanity to be afflicted by suffering, wars, disease, and natural catastrophe?

The images we are currently witnessing of the horrendous slaughter of innocent civilians in Ukraine by Russian artillery is something that has occurred throughout history: Evil tyrants going on a rampage without thought or compassion for the carnage and suffering they are causing to millions of lives.

We, humans, are quick to personalize and blame an external God for failing to intervene. It’s a simplistic way of trying to comprehend or find an explanation for the incomprehensible.

God is a state of BEING

God has often been seen as a strict father figure punishing his flock for sinful or bad behavior. The Mystics in contrast view God, the universal creator or the divine as “a state of Being” – the connection to pure love, kindness, and compassion. The manifestation of evil would therefore be the opposite condition – the state of complete absence of God.

Most suffering that we experience in our personal lives or that we witness in the external world is a result of bad human choices and actions carried out from a low level of spiritual disconnect. It is interesting to note that the German word for sin is “Sünde” which has its origins in the old-Germanic expression of “sunta” which means missing the target, straying from the right path or carrying out actions that have negative consequences.

The five stages of grief

The American-Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross has defined five stages of grief when a person has experienced great loss or trauma. There is denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance or surrender. Without surrender, we remain locked at a low energy level of grievance, and recrimination.

It is especially in the final stage of “surrender” where the heart is broken open to the soul. Jesus dying on the cross is a great analogy for the transmutation of suffering in opening the pathway to divinity and resurrection.

Connecting to the spark within

The 13th-century Mystic Meister Eckhart describes it as the sacred “Fuenklein” or spark. Within that spark, your own brightness and that of God are at one with each other. And it all comes down to making the right choices from the moment you get up in the morning.

Understanding your own thought process while practicing gratitude, and going into service is the key to creating the life you want by moving to a higher energy frequency. I had a wonderful chat this week about this topic with the Australian best-selling author and executive coach Barry Nicolaou.

In our conversation, Barry takes us through six steps toward deconstructing toxic emotions, fears, and habitual thinking. You can listen to it on my Podcast “Living to Be” and watch it on a Youtube video.

It is revealing that when you choose the low road of stale and toxic energy you will attract the same around you. It is an old saying and yet so true: Show me the five people you asssociate with the most and I will tell you who you are.

Choose instead the high path of compassion, love, kindness and forgiveness and you will feel the blessings come back to you manifold.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing...If you have found this article interesting you might want to subscribe or recommend my FREE weekly Blog to friends and family. My books can be ordered at all places that sell good books in both paperback and kindle.

Leave a comment

Filed under mental health, mental-health

How are you starting your day?

Integrating positive habits into your daily life very much determines the difference between managing your life or letting others take control. Calibrating yourself positively just after getting up in the morning can keep you on a higher energy frequency for most of the day.

We have those days when we wake up with a certain emotion such as melancholy sadness, fear, anger or anxiety, often triggered by a dream. A toxic emotion can also be triggered by reading a news item on your smartphone or watching the news while still half asleep. It then sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Humans are naturally attracted to negativity

It is easy to become subsumed by negativity because it is all around us. Mass media feeds on the notion of humans who are naturally attracted to negative news. It is part of our survival instinct. By heeding the information from a lonely wanderer that he had seen robbers in the woods we were able to avoid danger by taking a different route. Access to certain information could decide between life and death.

Reasserting control

How do you reassert control in an age where we are literally drowning in information while the mind is starving from lack of wisdom?

Calibrating the start of your day with a positive habit such as meditation, prayer, or gratitude ritual makes a huge difference to how your day will be. Think of three positive things for which you can be truly grateful before you go to bed at night and after waking up in the morning. I also like reading a positive quote or spiritual text that can act as an anchor if things start getting a bit overwhelming later in the day.

A body routine such as a few basic yoga, qi gong, or pilates exercise will vastly improve your energy level. I personally like to start with the tree posture aligning with heaven and earth before doing some stretchings and going through my tai chi form – which is an excellent slow-moving meditation.

Photo by Elina Fairytale on Pexels.com

Emotional shifting

Emotional shifting is a method whereby you lift yourself from a negative emotional state to a positive emotion. If you are angry the first step is just accepting that you are angry. The next step is then to replace that angry feeling with the opposite feeling which would be love and acceptance.

Think of anything in your life where you have felt that deep fulfilling complete joy of unconditional love. You will immediately feel a different energy. You can also use the tapping method to transmute a negative emotion into a positive emotion.

How about fear and anxiety? The opposite energy is courage, faith, and trust. Focus on conscious breathing, inhaling, and exhaling through the nose. Inhaling I feel that fear and anxiety. Exhaling I have faith and trust.

You can find out more here on my walking, breathing and other online training exercises.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing...If you have found this article interesting you might want to subscribe or recommend my FREE weekly Blog to friends and family. My books can be ordered at all places that sell good books in both paperback and kindle.

Leave a comment

Filed under mental health, mental-health

The absent father and male mental health crisis

The latest mass shooting in the United States by a young male suspect in Buffalo, New York, again throws the spotlight on hate crime, and fanaticism. It is necessary to talk about how children, especially boys, grow up and what needs to be done to give them more emotional, psychological, and spiritual stability.

Criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi, found the absence of fathers to be one of the most powerful predictors of crimes. The lack of social bonds and the absence of the “father figure” as a role model for sons, providing structure, authority, and discipline are attributed as some of the key attributes lacking in violent youth.

Researchers Dr. Warren Farrell and John Gray, authors of “The Boy Crisis”, postulate that boys who grow up with an absent father or who don’t have a healthy relationship with their fathers lack a role model for healthy masculinity.

The “purpose void” and ultramasculine role models

Boys’ old senses of purpose, being a warrior, a leader, or a sole breadwinner, are fading. Many bright boys are experiencing a “purpose void”, feeling alienated, withdrawn, and addicted to immediate gratification. Compounding this issue are addicting video games that lead to distraction and ADHD, according to Farrell and Gray.

As boys become young men, their suicide rates go from equal to girls to six times that of young women! Girls seem to outperform boys at every level from education to job performance.

In some cases, these boys then seek ultramasculine role models, feeling empowered by arming themselves with weapons and joining almost exclusively male extremist groups.

These young men appear to be especially drawn to demagogic macho role models offering simple solutions to their own feelings of inadequacy and discontent. Religious minorities, immigrants, or different race groups are targeted. An idealized, orderly state of the past is recalled. A dystopian future lies waiting, ruled by a “fatherly” figurehead in a reborn patriarchy.

How do we confront this poisoning of the mind?

It has to be said that many single mothers bravely and with much personal sacrifice manage to raise healthy, successful, and caring sons. But we do need to look at why most violent crime is committed by men. In the United States, more than nine times as many men (5,037,000) as women (581,000) had ever at one time been incarcerated in a prison. Men also experienced higher victimization rates than females for all types of violent crime.

It takes a village …

The African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”, highlights the role of family and community in shaping the life of a child. A Swahili proverb takes a similar vein:  “Whomsoever is not taught by the mother will be taught with the world.”

It has always been one of the most challenging tasks to raise a child. It is why in traditional African culture this was always seen as a communal responsibility. In our modern cultures the single mother is left without a support structure, having to deal with the double burden of raising a child and earning a living. Apart from the Nordic and some European nations little to no support is provided by the state in terms of pre-school child care and education. Governments fail to realize that the long-term social costs are much higher than providing adequate child support in the first place.

Stress resilience and mental health are built in those strong communities where children are not only bonded to the primary family but to an extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and close friends. It’s where children learn social skills and values from role models who find sense of purpose in serving something greater than short-term self-gratification.

Photo by Keith Wako on Pexels.com

Individual needs versus social and community needs

Our culture has lost its way in over-emphasizing individual needs over the needs of the community and society at large. It’s part of the spiritual disconnect where pseudo-religious groups are replacing institutional religion in the form of extremist political tribes.

From the perspective of the tribal bubble, anyone who looks, believes, and dresses differently is perceived as a threat. Dehumanizing all those who are different is a hallmark of all extremist, religious, and nationalist groupings. The threshold to taking a gun and shooting those who are different becomes very thin, because empathy is felt only to members of one’s own tribe.

Where there is a spiritual connection there is an understanding of purpose. Love is experienced as unconditional and the basis of all life. God is life and God finds expression in nature.

Nobel peace prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu is quoted as saying: “Instead of separation and division, all distinctions make for a rich diversity to be celebrated for the sake of the unity that underlies them. We are different so that we can know our need of one another.”

God’s garden has never been homogeneous stagnation. It is one of beauty inhabited by diverse species, cultures, colors, religions, and beliefs in constant interaction, and interdependence with each other. We define and grow our values, heritage, and culture in a dynamic exchange between opposites. You just need to study nature in order to understand your higher calling.

Experiential spirituality is learning to understand the deeper meaning of self and how your life and purpose is inextricably intertwined with that of the larger whole. True happiness and contentment is found within, undestanding who you are, and emanating that core authenticity outwardly in kindness, love and tolerance.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing...If you have found this article interesting you might want to subscribe or recommend my FREE weekly Blog to friends and family. My books can be ordered at all places that sell good books in both paperback and kindle.

Leave a comment

Filed under mental health, mental-health, Uncategorized

Our so “easily offended” society

During recent travels with long hours spent at airports and in planes, I witnessed several people ranting over the smallest things not going their way. My impresson: We seem to have become a society infected with the “easily offended” bug.

It is not only my subjective impression. The United States Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has reported that last year was the worst on record for unruly passenger behavior. Admittedly much of it was mask-related but I have seen passengers insulting air hostesses, punching the backs of seats, or verbally abusing fellow passengers.

There appears to be a real decline in basic politeness and respect for the public space with the pandemic-related restrictions only highlighting what has become an increasing problem: The “right” to throw a tantrum and utter verbal abuse no matter what the consequences.

Unfulfilled expectations: The cause of much unhappiness?

We as a society appear to have become less resilient in dealing with unforeseen external circumstances out of our control. Western culture has become so accustomed to its comfortable lifestyle that a minor discomfort is perceived as a massive problem. Compared to previous generations and life in poorer countries we live in unparalleled abundance and luxury. However, the more we have the less appreciative we seem to be.

When we are confronted with a “painful” or uncomfortable situation it can mean one of several things. Person A steps back and says to herself/himself. “I can’t change the situation now. Let’s see how we can go from here.” Person B has had a certain expectation that has been disappointed. He is unable to reflect like person A, and loses control. Unfulfilled expectations from a parent, an employer or a partner could be at the root of the problem.

Ego getting in the way

The person losing control has a certain ego-based image of himself, feeling entitled to a “privileged” treatment based on an illusory image of the self. Person A might have gone through a previous painful experience but dealt with it differently. What did I need to learn from this experience? What event in the past made me feel the same way hurt, embarrassed, helpless, and angry? By momentarily removing himself from the situation, Person A could realign with the wiser higher self.

Photo by Abbat on Pexels.com

What does the Will Smith incident tell us?

The media frenzy unleashed by the actor Will Smith slapping comedian Chris Rock on stage says much about our collective unconsciousness. Smith felt offended because the comedian allegedly insulted his wife in public. In retrospect, it appears Smith’s uncontrolled angry outburst could be related to his childhood trauma when he often witnessed his father insulting and abusing his mother.

But do we have to find excuses for inappropriate behavior? Where do we go as a society if we tolerate and accept abusive, impolite, violent, and disrespectful behavior, even from famous people? If they can do it why can’t I?

Smith’s action was that of an entitled badly-behaved Hollywood megastar, feeling entitled to walk onto a stage, slapping another person, returning to his seat, cursing and shouting, and refusing to leave when asked.

In our media-based world, we take much of our moral cues from what we see and hear on the screen. It is not just two Hollywood celebrities misbehaving whose world is far removed from the average person in the street. What happens in the coming weeks and what consequences and conclusions are drawn from the incident reverberate into society at large.

Feeling offended is so different from having to express”outrage” at what is obviously wrong. While Hollywood was dining and celebrating, Russia continues to bombard, and massacre civilians in Ukraine. Millions of ordinary people’s lives have been completely disrupted because Vladimir Putin felt “offended” by a democratic and sovereign nation on his borders.

If we are incapable of expressing our collective outrage about what Russia is doing to Ukraine and try to intellectualize it like some commentators still do with “the Russian perspective” or with the “neutrality” cop-out, we lose our moral compass. On some issues there just cannot be grey areas. Minor discomforts fade into insignificance if we reflect on the suffering of those millions of people.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under mental health, mental-health, Uncategorized

When things start falling apart

Things seldom fall apart suddenly. A leak in the roof of a house will drip by drip gradually weaken the structural walls. A country’s slide into authoritarian rule comes with many small repressive laws. A divorce is preceded by many hurts, insults, and betrayals. A company’s bankruptcy comes after years of poor management and missed opportunities.

Traveling through my home country South Africa during the past few days, I have been wondering how the ruling African National Congress (ANC) government could so utterly lose its moral compass and ruin every major state-run enterprise through corruption and mismanagement.

When Nelson Mandela steered the country to democracy in 1994, South Africa was hailed as an example to the world. A race war was averted. A new “rainbow nation” of diverse cultures was born. Mandela and his compatriots sacrificed their best years in prison for this ideal. I covered the elections of 1994 as a journalist for a major news agency and visited the country again in 1997 and 1998. There was a sense of optimism and euphoria among all race groups. Foreign investment and tourism flourished.

A serving culture is turned upside down

It wasn’t to last. The ANC always had a dark underbelly of hardened ideologues and self-serving opportunists. During the presidency of Jakob Zuma (2009-2018) the ANC elites turned from serving a country to looting a country. Literally, every municipality, hospital, school, postal service, energy supply company, and public transport system run by the ruling party today is malfunctioning, or not working at all.

The rot can be seen in derelict railway lines, potholed roads, collapsing bridges, and lack of basic services in once-pristine rural towns. I was aghast to learn from old friends in my hometown Dundee in the eastern KwaZulu Natal province that the water supply is switched off for most of the day because pumps have not been maintained for years. Electricity outages are almost a daily occurrence.

A culture of entitlement

What is happening in South Africa has its roots in a culture of entitlement that is a growing global phenomenon. Mankind has experienced an exceptional period of material upliftment, luxury, and comfort that previous generations could never have dreamed of. It has, unfortunately, come with a huge cost to the environment, physical and mental health. When a society is indoctrinated with a “happiness recipe” of material gain and immediate gratification, the hangover comes with addiction, depression, and fanaticism in the form of extremist political movements.

Instead of being grateful for what we have, we are constantly comparing ourselves with the happier, wealthier, younger, and more beautiful people we see in the tabloids. Instead of cherishing the present moment the mind constantly wanders to some distant future when we will be happily enjoying life with the million dollars we are earning annually.

A fertile field for dictators and demagogues

The entitlement culture is a fertile field for demagogues of all persuasions. In South Africa, influential politicians are demanding the seizure of private property and farms for redistribution to the poor – in effect meaning redistribution to themselves. Demagogues always find an external enemy to deflect from their own failures. As a result the ANC still enjoys massive support.

In Russia, a majority of people continue to support President Vladimir Putin’s horrific invasion of a sovereign nation. They seem to believe in the prosperity dream of a new Russian empire. In the United States a populist demagogue, calling Putin “smart” and “savvy”, is filling his war chest with donations from millions of supporters still believing that a democratic election was rigged. His chances of again winning the next U.S. presidential election are not unrealistic.

Tunnel vision: the hallmark of an entitlement culture

A hallmark of an entitlement culture is tunnel vision of the ego-mind. When in tunnel vision there is no evolution or progress of mind and spirit. The head-mind or “ego-mind” is caught in a belief. Its mind is made up of what is right and wrong in the world.

Head-Mind is incapable of listening to the alternative argument and will interrupt you before you have finished your sentence. They will tell you that 1+1 = 4. Nothing will persuade them otherwise. Their lives have been taken over by an alternate reality and they will be reaffirming their belief daily with similar believers in social media bubbles. Once entrenched in a tunnel-vision bubble it is virtually impossible to break down the walls the person has surrounded himself with.

What is the solution?

The worst thing you can do is try to convince a person that he or she is wrong. The ego-mind will never admit a mistake. Realization and humility mostly come after a painful process of catharsis. This is a path that only an individual will have to walk. Addiction to an ideology is comparable to the alcohol addict who will only seek help when everything has fallen apart.

The realization might come that a life of bliss is a perception. Material comforts and the satisfaction of basic needs are important elements but will never be a replacement for good health, a sense of purpose and meaning, friendships, and community. We, humans, are innately social beings and spiritual in nature. Where we feel a connection to something larger than the self, nationality, gender, and race, the journey to joy begins.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under mental health, mental-health

One journey ends

The journey is never-ending

This weekend we finally managed to hold the memorial service for my father in South Africa two years after he had passed away in a retirement home at the age of 89. Even after such a time, it felt right to have a ritualized formal closure to remember a life and its final destination.

Dad’s journey through life was at times shaken with the pain of losing loved ones, confronting his own mental winters of depression, and financial challenges. The relationship between fathers and sons has a special dynamic and my relationship with him can be described as difficult at times.

As a young man, I had a problem understanding why Dad’s brothers were dynamic, outspoken, and self-confident men who had built successful businesses and careers while he in contrast preferred to take a backseat role unable to really make decisions, often faraway in thought and not really present during conversations.  He could withdraw for weeks into a moody silence.

It was only in his twilight years that he opened up and it began to dawn that the seeds of depression and nervous breakdown had already been sown in the regimental and bullying educational culture of the 1940s in South Africa, coupled with overly high expectations from his own father.

Having emigrated from South Africa to Europe in 1981, I could only come for sporadic family visits, surprised at his gradual transition to a stoic reflection and meditation on the multitude of lessons that life has to offer. He retained a sharp mental focus until his dying hours that we could witness only by remote with Covid travel bans having taken effect a few days earlier.

The pilgrimage: An analogy of life

Sifting through a few memorabilia and fading photographs my thoughts turned to the Camino. The ancient pilgrimage in northwestern Spain has become a popular modern-day path of self-discovery and spiritual renewal because it is in so many respects an analogy of life.

The pilgrim faces “winter days” of emotional and physical pain. A route and day are carefully planned but inevitably turn out with pleasant and also nasty surprises.

Lesson: Take each day as it comes. It’s necessary to plan but assume that you will have to adapt and change your plan. Accept external circumstances out of your control but control how you react to them.

On the path, you will meet and bond with people in a way as if they were old friends and family. You will share deep experiences and feelings. Some will become lifelong friends, even partners. Others you will never see again and not even know their surnames.

Lesson: The impermanence of life. Some people and family will walk with you for a lifetime. Others only share with you a short chapter but will most likely have left a lasting impression, precious memory, or lesson in self-awareness.

Life is a roller-coaster of spring, summer, autumn, and winter – sometimes even in one day. But when reaching the destination, walking into the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela you experience the immense joy of having accomplished your journey. The cathedral and all its artwork, sculptures, and lighting are an expression of ultimate joy and rebirth. It is not only the joy of the pilgrim having accomplished the journey.

Life is a spiritual journey of meaning and purpose. It is a journey of grace and faith in the truth of an ultimate journey where one day the walls of the physical fall away, leaving just space for the soul that is eternity.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under mental health, mental-health

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

One more thing...If you have found this article interesting you might want to check out our courses, retreats and books and ask others to also subscribe to this Blog.

1 Comment

Filed under mental health, mental-health