Tag Archives: mental health

Is anger controlling you?

Fred was a successful professional sportsman in his younger days. His life began to fall apart some years ago with his anger tantrums leading to an acrimonious divorce and financial disaster. Later his children and remaining friends refused to deal with him any longer. He lives today in a shelter for the homeless in melancholy sadness over the life that was and is no more.

I could go on and on about stories of people whose lives have been torn apart by anger issues.

Negative emotions such as anger have become pervasive with a poll taken just prior to the recent American elections showing that nearly 80 percent of people felt particularly angry about the pandemic and the economic situation.

We are all susceptible to an occasional outburst of anger but when you or a family member fall into a temper tantrum over seemingly small matters by throwing things, and becoming physically abusive professional help should be sought for what is described as “intermittent explosive disorder. The root cause could be anything from a childhood trauma to substance abuse.

The more common anger is an undercurrent of irritability and negativity that will rapidly reduce your vibrational energy, and inevitably turn you into a person people don’t like to be around with. You will lose friends, relationships and risk your job and business ventures.

Negative and compassionate anger

The Dalai Lama points out the difference between uncontrolled and compassionate anger which he describes as anger that “helps us repel forces that are detrimental to our survival and well-being.”

“In some situations strong compassion may give rise to an equally strong sense of outrage—that is anger about an injustice.  Again, feeling angry can, in the short term, make our minds more focused and give us an extra burst of energy and determination.”

This is the “holy anger” that Jesus demonstrated in turning over the tables of the money-changers in the temple of Jerusalem with the words: “My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” It is not relevant whether the incident happened historically.

The message Jesus communicated was the importance of standing guard at the doorway to your soul. What books, newscasts and social media are you feeding your mind with? What associations are making you or have made you into the person you are?

Negative feelings only become destructive when the “intensity is disproportionate to the situation in which they arise.” according to the Dalai Lama.

Are you or your emotions in control?

The problem arises particularly when emotions such as anger start controlling your life. “No one intentionally creates problems, but we tend to be slaves to powerful emotions like anger, hatred and attachment that are based on misconceived projections about people and things,” the Dalai Lama teaches.

We probably have the least understanding of ourselves. When we have uncomfortable feelings and emotions we turn to blaming external circumstances and others. It is the reason why so many relationships go sour. If we expect a partner to fill an inner void, it will inevitably result in disappointment because no other person should be given the responsibility of “making us happy.” Likewise we should not have the expectation that politicians or other professional deceivers are responsible for our happiness.

Beyond the anger lies fear

You don’t have control over unexpected external events such as a pandemic but you can choose how you react. In going deeper into anger there are the emotions of fear and anxiety. When analyzing any situation there are always different perspectives. In the bigger picture all has meaning. If you are experiencing a difficult situation tell yourself: “This too shall pass.” Impermanence is a fact of life. Sometimes we just have to surrender to a given situation and ride out the storm.

Shifting into a positive mindset

If you are having feelings of fear and anxiety it helps to name those feelings. Be truthful to yourself. Write down the feelings in a journal. Before you can transmute the demons you have to name them. Replace the word “Fear” with the word “Trust”. Replace the word “Anger” with the word “Compassion”.

In studying yourself you will become more aware of typical emotional reactions that stand in your way. Anger directed at a stranger is often anger toward the self and the hurt inner child. Emotional shifting is a powerful tool in moving from a negative into a positive mindset. Be mindful and caring of your inner child that is in need of attention.

A negative mindset might be programed by over-consumption of negative news media. Flip the channel to a comedy or a funny video. For me one of the most powerful shifters is taking time out walking. Nature is one of the most powerful healers. When you open the senses to the sights, sounds and smells of nature, your body and mind will start relaxing and falling into alignment. A solution to your problem will come almost naturally as you open yourself to the whispers of the universe.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

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

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What comes after the pandemic?

There is a growing sense of optimism that by late summer we can start returning to normal lives when a large percentage of the populace in most countries has been immunized against Covid-19. Little attention is being given to a far deeper underlying problem.

Sometimes a major shock or jolt is needed to change perceptions. A major threat to public health such as a dangerous virus can bring the entire globally economy to a halt.

The people at risk

While not all patients who died from Covid-19 had underlying health conditions, the major number of people at risk were those older than 60 years or who have health conditions like lung or heart disease, diabetes or conditions that affect their immune system, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Lifestyle choices are key

Researchers are still puzzling why some people who contracted the virus had relatively mild symptoms while it was deadly for others. The bottom line is that governments and health institutions are not investing enough resources in preventive medicine. Individuals need to be educated that lifestyle choices made on a daily basis are major determinants of longevity, health and well-being.

WHO defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” But the feeling of well-being is subjective. Some people live in constant pain, are dependent on a host of medications and still describe themselves as healthy because they are still functioning in some way.

Longevity and quality of life

Prior to the pandemic the lifespan of most people in the industrialized countries had steadily increased over the years. But lifespan says little about the quality of life as we get older. When we reach the age of 60 the likelihood of requiring some form of care because of a disability rises significantly. Common diseases in our time such as diabetes II, obesity, heart-circulatory problems and some forms of depression are all in some way related to lifestyle choices.

Relatively little attention has been given to the fact that Covid-19 has been more deadly in patients with obesity. Even people merely overweight were found to be at higher risk, according to an article in Science Magazine.

What we eat, how we move our bodies and how we deal with mental stress are far greater health determinants than the genes we have inherited from our parents.  Scientists speculate that for the first seven or eight decades of a lifetime typical lifestyle choices such as healthy foods and physical activity enable these individuals to stay healthy into old age. Genetics only appears to play a larger role in the longevity scale from the age of 90.

Health perceptions need radical scrutiny

When a body is under stress because of high blood pressure, obesity or another illness a dangerous virus has easy play in breaking down the body’s natural defense systems. There is a general misconception that we can all return to normal lives once enough people have become immunized against the virus. The truth is that if we don’t change our perceptions of health in a radical way it is only a matter of time before the next, possibly even deadlier, virus hits us.

Only a century ago it was common for people in China to visit the local doctor regularly for acupuncture, herbal treatment and lifestyle guidance such as what Qi Gong exercises needed to be done to balance the flow of the body meridians . The doctor was paid when you were well. If you got ill you didn’t have to pay the doctor because it was believed that he hadn’t done his job properly.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is deeply rooted in Taoist and Buddhist philosophy. Man is seen as an integral part of nature and the cyclical laws of the seasons or Five Elements. The microcosm of a person’s health reflecting the macrocosm of nature and the universe.

Eat healthy and save the planet

What we eat not only determines our own health but that of our planet. Eating foods produced from large animal farms and monocultured agricultural methods is a far greater contributor to the climate crisis that our means of transportation. Mass agriculture and the production of animal feed is destroying a large part of our natural ecosystems, in turn increasing the danger of more virus mutations jumping from animals to humans. The climate impact of eating beef and dairy products dwarfs that of a mainly vegetarian diet. The conversion of land for beef production and animal feed is a leading cause of deforestation in many tropical regions.

Each individual has been born with a purpose and you can only live out your full potential if you are feeling vibrant, happy and healthy. German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer is quoted as saying. “The greatest of follies is to sacrifice health for any other kind of happiness.”

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. I’ve also recently compiled brand new online courses that you can download onto your computer or smartphone on ways of how you can transform your life on multiple levels. I will also host from March 10th every week for eight weeks a live online event of practical Qi Gong exercises to boost flexibility and mindset.

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Happiness and the power of choice

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action. ”
― William James

Some years ago I met some of the happiest and kindest people in the small southeastern African country of Malawi. Over half the population live below the poverty line and some even in extreme poverty, yet the country is also known as “the warm heart of Africa” because its people have the reputation of smiling all the time.

The trip to Malawi set me thinking. While obviously many people in abject poverty fall prey to lethargy, some people in the very same situation appear to be taking on a very different mindset.

The 2020 World Happiness Report listing factors such as freedom of choice, the environment, social factors and the economy, consistently has the Nordic countries topping the list of the most happy countries. The report attributes happiness particularly to a high level of social and institutional trust as well as the social connections.

But there is much more to it. The United States, one of the world’s wealthiest nations, ranks only 19th on the life evaluation list. The Netherlands and Switzerland, in essence indistinguishable from many other wealthy countries on GDP per capita, social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom, generosity, and corruption, nevertheless have a lower overall score than the Scandinavian countries.

How much of your happiness is under your control?

Especially during these times when the pandemic is wreaking havoc on economies and businesses it is easy to blame external circumstances for our unhappiness. The happiness pie chart, first presented by researchers Sonja Lyubomirsky, Kennon M. Sheldon, and David Schkade in 2005, suggests that our perceived feeling of happiness is only influenced by external circumstances by ten per cent. The genes we inherited from our parents play a major part (50 per cent) but the researchers emphasize that it is possible to get happier and to stay happy by making certain choices and changing our mindset.

It appears that by far the major part of our happiness is determined by the way we process the external world and the way we program ourselves with our thought and belief systems. A large body of researchers from the school of positive psychology conclude that it is possible to completely transform a life for the better by changing ones attitude to whatever you have experienced. Thought discipline and taking control of the monkeys dancing in the head has been taught by spiritual teachers for centuries. Here are only some tips of how you can regain control:

Accept the up-and-down cycles.

Life is cyclical. It is part of the human condition to have moments of sadness and despair. The New Age obsession with “being happy all the time” is an illusion. It is only in the honest and full acceptance of the current state that we can take the first step to moving forward to a life of greater contentment.

What foods are you eating?

What we eat matters for every aspect of our health, but especially our mental health. A diet of junk food with a high sugar content and other additives not only affects your physical body negatively but also your mental health. It has inspired a whole field of medical research called nutritional psychiatry at Harvard University.

Practicing kindness and compassion

If we take care of others and practice compassion and loving kindness to each other this will have an immediate effect on your own sense of well-being. We know this from our own gut-feeling It costs nothing to be kind and you will in return attract the same energy in your surroundings. There is a saying called “givers gain” – the more you give the more you receive.

Faith

A core spiritual belief makes you more resilient during stressful times and will improve your sense of well-being. We are social beings and if you belong to a faith community you could be given emotional support. The spiritual seeker is on a journey to understand purpose and meaning in life. Dogmatic religion however could have the opposite effect and contribute to obsessive behavior and mental disorder.

Mindsetting

How you talk to yourself is crucial. If your self-talk is predominantly negative you need to change something. Finding a positively-minded personal mantra could be part of a process you could work at with a personal mentor or therapist. Meditating at the start of your day and at the end of the day with a gratitude ritual could form part of a realignment program.

Exercise

Low-impact exercise such as yoga, tai chi or qi gong helps to realign body, mind and spirit. It includes breathing exercise routines that help you breathe naturally through your nose rather than through the mouth. Your nose releases nitric oxide which widens the blood vessels allowing for better transportation of oxygen to vital organs. 

There is not the one silver bullet that will improve your overall happiness level and feeling of contentment. It is best to start with small steps in changing some of your daily habits. Keeping a daily journal will help you keep track on what you are doing in terms of action. And when you read some of the lines many months or years later you will be proud of what you have achieved.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you would like to learn more about these and other topics, check out my books and online video courses in my store or go to linktr.ee/redfishsword

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How resilient are you?

“If we have peace of mind, even negative experiences do not upset us. Peace of mind is also good for our physical health. Medical experts have found that anger, hatred and fear eat into our immune system. Being calm and relaxed is better for our physical well-being.” – The Dalai Lama –

During these times it is all-important to look after your immune system. We will have to live with the pandemic for some time with the rollout of vaccinations taking their time and much uncertainty about virus mutations.

In my last Blog we looked at the importance of breathing through the nose. The nose is a natural filter system, releasing nitric oxide which widens the blood vessels allowing for better transportation of oxygen to vital organs.

But there are many other building blocks to a healthy and resilient immune system. When your immune system is weakened your emotional and physical defense walls will break under the strain. The big question everyone is asking: What can I do to protect myself and my loved ones?

Vitamin D deficiency

Early indications are that people with a vitamin D deficiency are more prone to catching Covid. The vitamin is connected to the activation of T cells in the body, which play a key role in immune response. Elderly people and those living in climate zones with little sunlight are especially prone to vitamin D deficiency. When you get older the skin gets less efficient in producing vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. It leads to a loss of bone density and in extreme cases to osteoporosis and other diseases. It is suspected that vitamin D deficiency may also lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and other autoimmune conditions. Known also as the sunlight vitamin you would need exposure of between 10-30 minutes of sunlight per day to get enough vitamin D into your body. But it also depends on the sensitivity of your skin, your age and how dark your skin is. Seafoods, mushrooms and egg yolk are another way of getting vitamin D into your body.

Avoid sugars

Sugar is found in most processed foods and sodas. There are multiple reasons why you should avoid sugar. One of the primary reasons is that sugar is responsible for weight gain and diabetes 2 which puts you in the major risk category for Covid. A recent Spanish study found that 80 per cent of serious Corona patients were overweight. Obesity is characterized by a chronic state of low-grade inflammation with an increase in cytokines, or inflammatory molecules, which reduces the body’s ability to respond to respiratory infection. You are also putting your mental health at risk with a high sugar diet. Researchers believe that blood sugar swings, neurotransmitter dysregulation and inflammation may all be reasons for sugar’s detrimental impact on mental health.

Emotional stress

Negative stress is often triggered by a thought. Negative news media. Negative people around you. Dwelling on the past and the future robs you of the preciousness of the moment. A negative mindset and toxic emotions such as anger, resentment, jealousy, anxiety and fear have a devastating effect on the immune system. It puts your body into fight or flight mode triggering those stress hormones that you don’t want too much of. “Emotional shifting” is a good way of dealing with a negative mindset. Ask yourself what you can be truly grateful for. Recall those moments or memories that expand your vibrational energy. Focusing on a positive experience will relax your breathing and trigger the recovery mode that you need to bring those stress hormones back to a normal level.

Deep walking in nature

Walking in a forest or on a beach, spending time in those green and blue spaces of nature has an enormous impact on boosting your immune system. Exposure to the natural sounds of nature will reduce your blood pressure, muscle tension, heart rate and the production of stress hormones. Spending time in nature also provides a welcome respite from those countless distractions pulling at our minds throughout the day.

Relationships

We human beings are social beings. We need people around us to make us feel seen, cherished and wanted. Social bonding is essential for our health and a good immune system. Social support systems play a pivotal role in managing high stress levels. Loneliness and social isolation have a huge effect on mental health. Connecting with friends, family and loved ones should be a primary focus, even if the pandemic currently prevents direct physical contact.

These are only a few guidelines to help you navigate these difficult times. But Challenging times can also be important stages of transition, elevation of consciousness and restructuring of soul purpose.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you would like to learn more about these and other topics, check out my books and online video courses in my store or go to linktr.ee/redfishsword

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Stress and how you breathe

During these times of high anxiety the body is flooded with stress hormones that have a major impact on how you breathe, exacerbating problems for people with pre-existing respiratory and other health conditions. The good news is that you can do something about it by changing the way you breathe.

Breathing through the nose

Inhaling and exhaling naturally through the nose is what you should be doing. As you inhale the nose warms and moisturizes the air. Your nose releases nitric oxide which widens the blood vessels allowing for better transportation of oxygen to vital organs. Your breathing will be deeper and slower increasing the volume of your lungs and diaphragm.

Stress is a survival mechanism that we require to function properly. Short periods of stress can help sharp-focus the mind to accomplish an important task. It enabled our ancestors to scamper to safety up the next tree when faced by a predator. Stress hormones such as adrenalin or cortisol are essential tools, enabling for example the driver of a car to slam on the brakes if a deer runs across the road.

Breathing and stress

The hypothalamus in the brain sets off the alarm in a dangerous situation. Nerves and hormones signal the adrenal glands near the kidneys to release hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These cause the muscular system to tense up, raises the blood pressure, enabling that quick burst of energy to address an emergency situation. As we use more body energy our inhaling and exhaling breaths come in short bursts from the mouth, circulating in the upper throat and chest area. After the threat has disappeared the body normally calms down with the cortisol levels dropping as we go into relax mode.

The problem in our modern world is that our stress is mainly triggered by thousands of thoughts circulating on events of the past or future. The body is in a constant state of alert. The sprint and recovery cycle is out of balance. A constant high level of cortisol will eventually break down the body’s natural defense systems, weaken the cardiovascular system, and impair brain and memory function. We are constantly “stressed-out”, not breathing properly and thus not getting enough sleep.

Our ancestors never had the problem of chronic stress. Scientists, studying the shapes of jaws and mouth cavities from ancient skulls, determined that they probably spent most of their lives in relaxed breathing through the nose. However, probably from dietary and other effects our mouths have changed dramatically in less than 200 years. Our heads have become more shallow, vertically oriented, with smaller teeth and a tongue extending well into the neck. This contributes to a smaller and narrower airway.

What you can do to change your breathing patterns?

Conscious and focused deep breathing through the nose can instantly bring you from a state of high tension into a relaxed state of mind.

  • Sit upright holding one hand on your lower belly and the other in the heart area.
  • At the count of one inhale and exhale through your nose.
  • Continue until the count of twelve then switch your hands
  • Continue until the count of 24
  • Close by placing both your hands on your belly

Nourishing your mind and body during times of crisis cannot be over-emphasized:

  • Avoid the consumption of negative news media
  • Surround yourself with positive-minded humorous people
  • Avoid white sugar and processed foods as much as possible

Low impact body exercises such as yoga, tai chi, qi gong and deep walking in nature will do wonders in reducing stress hormones in the body. When you focus on nasal breathing your body posture will also improve naturally.

So what about high-impact exercise such as jogging and cycling? The bottom line here is that you will probably be forced to take big inhaling breaths through your mouth to get more oxygen. This will decrease carbon dioxide in your blood levels inhibiting the body’s ability to release oxygen into your cells. The point here is to slow down again so that you can breathe naturally through the nose.  

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you would like to learn more about these and other topics, check out my books and online video courses in my store or go to linktr.ee/redfishsword

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How healthy are your relationships?

“You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.”
— Epicurus

Humanity’s greatest challenge in the 21st century is ultimately about relationships that manifest themselves in the crisis of political, educational and religious institutions as the degradation of life systems on earth hangs like a sword of Damocles.

From the day you are born, you are defined by your relationships. It makes you into the human being you are today. Family, friends, marriage partners and associations influence who you in multiple and subtle ways.

German philosopher Martin Buber in his book “Ich und Du (translated as I and Thou) finds finds that human life essentially finds meaning and purpose in relationships.

Know thyself and thou shalt know the Universe

Ultimately it is also the relationship with the inner self and God. “Man, know thyself: then thou shalt know the Universe and God,” according to Greek philosopher Pythagora.

A traumatic relationship breakdown, the loss of a loved one or boundary issues in a marriage are often reasons why people seek help from a therapist or a counselor. An experienced therapist will then guide the client along the lines of for example:

  • reflecting on the major issues that led to the relationship breakdown;
  • communication patterns in a relationship and or
  • identifying positive relationship traits and conflict resolution.

Falling in love is not enough

Falling in love is simply not enough to make a relationship work. Its one of the things I had to learn the hard way in my own relationship history. There has to be at least some consensus on basic values, interests, life philosophies, and expectations.

While healthy relationships based on mutual respect and trust make out a huge part of personal happiness, it is primarily the walking over the hot coals during times of crisis and transmuting that experience that helps to solidify that relationship.

Yet, far more significant is the relationship to yourself that will ultimately define all your relationships. Some of the issues that have profound importance are the following:

  • What is your self-image? Is it authentic or defined by external factors such as social media?
  • How are you talking to yourself? Is that inner conversation with yourself positive and uplifting or constantly filled with self-doubt, recrimination and negativity.
  • Do you love and accept yourself unconditionally and at the same time take full responsibility on how you respond to circumstances outside of your control? You cannot change the behavior of people. You can however determine how you respond to that behavior.

The misconception of “soul mate”

If you are lonely and seeking the love of your life, you will never find that person and inevitably be disappointed if you expect the other person to fill an inner void. A “soul mate” is a misconception. You will only find that soul mate within. Ask yourself instead:

  • What do I need to change within myself to attract the person or persons that will make me shine and develop?
  • Rephrase, “what I want” to “what I can give and contribute.”

We are being distracted with the preoccupation of the crisis in our institutions while these are only reflections of an inner state of mind. Fundamentalist belief structures appear to provide clear answers and solutions to complex human problems but inevitably disappoint. They initially provide an anchor of hope but cannot replace that inner voice of authenticity, found in that quiet space of introspection and peace.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you would like to learn more about these and other topics, check out my books and online video courses in my store or go to linktr.ee/redfishsword

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The happiness illusion

Our culture has been indoctrinated with the happiness illusion with the self-help industry promoting the image of the perfect human being, successful in all areas of life and beaming a happy smile on social media outlets.

The “happiness” and “positive thinking” preoccupation is one of the many fallouts of a culture addicted to the distraction of the 10,000 things and immediate external gratification. Something is “wrong” with you if you are struggling with the challenges life throws at you.

Admitting to your surroundings that you are going through a bout of sadness or even depression is frowned upon.

Life is cyclical

One of the key lessons the pandemic is teaching us is that life is cyclical. There is never only growth, happiness, prosperity and celebration. The ancient wisdom of the Five Elements emphasizes that impermanence is an essential aspect of evolutionary growth and an inherent aspect of cosmic law.

Saint John of the Cross, the great 16th century Spanish mystic, narrates in the Dark Night of the Soul, the elevation of consciousness during periods of hardship and difficulty. In the darkest of nights the soul reaches the light in the union with the Creator. The ego has been killed and in that humility of quiet emptiness a door opens.

The architects of Europe’s finest medieval cathedrals were aware of this central spiritual message. The light from the stained glass is most pronounced when the light from outside illuminates the darkness within.

The power that lies within

Nelson Mandela, during his darkest of nights in solitary confinement, repeatedly recited and found solace in the poem Invictus written in 1875 by William Ernest Henley. The poem reminds us of the great strength that lies in the unconquerable soul during challenging times. In confronting adversity we come out on the other side greater and stronger as the “captain” of the soul.

The trap of falling into resistance

The greatest obstacle in transmuting those struggles, humiliations, losses, and relationship breakdowns is by going into resistance. Typically its the response: Why me? Who can I blame? Instead you should be asking: What is the universe trying to teach me? Which new direction do I need to take? How can this experience make me a more valuable, vulnerable, humble and a wiser human being.

Often the resistance is to making the necessary changes. You might have been pursuing an image of yourself that does not align with your soul purpose but has been dictated by the ego, your parents, immediate associations or other external influences. The universe gently nudges us into the direction we need to go but with so many distractions we miss the road markers on the way.

Life is a topsy-turvy world of ups-and-downs, challenges, failures, mishaps, disappointments but also victories, joys and celebration. One of the reasons why the deep walk pilgrimage is becoming so popular is that it is such a perfect analogy of life.

The entire Camino walk of five weeks can be a hard, painful slog through mud, bad weather, painful blisters and emotional flat-on-the-ground moments. But at the end of the journey there is boundless joy in entering one of the world’s great architectural masterpieces, the Cathedral of Santiago in northwestern Spain, and celebrating the accomplishment with fellow pilgrims.

It is upon the reflection of life’s journey that we become aware that from the day we were born, life sculptures us into the human being we are destined to become. It is part of the beauty of the human condition that the struggles define and make us who we are. Living authenticity is the unconditional acceptance of the low-moments as the precondition to fully experiencing the high moment.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

I have a special New Year offer on my latest book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul”. If you buy my new video Deep Walking with the key lessons from the book in my store, I will send you the paperback edition of the book for FREE.

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The herd-madness of the crowd

“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”― C.G. Jung

There is a famous picture of a single individual with his arms crossed in defiance amid a sea of German dockworkers giving a Nazi salute in the port city of Hamburg on June 13th 1936. The picture went viral after being rediscovered in 1991.

The man in the picture was later identified as August Landmesser. The workers attended the launch of a new ship with Adolf Hitler personally attending the launch of the “Horst Wessel”. It was an extraordinary act of defiance with tragic consequences for Landmesser.

The individual who stood against the crowd

Records show that Landmesser joined the Nazi party in 1931 to get a job. Then he fell in love with the Jewish girl, Irma Eckler. Sex and marriage between Germans and Jews was strictly prohibited at the time. When the party learned of the affair they expelled him. The couple nevertheless had a daughter out of wedlock in 1935. When the couple refused an order by the authorities to break up they were arrested in 1938. Landmesser served time in prison and was later forced into the army and is presumed to have died in battle. Eckler was murdered in the Ravensbrück concentration camp in August 1937.

The famous picture illustrates that Landmesser must have felt a deep resentment toward the Nazis, having experienced firsthand how their doctrine had destroyed his life. It symbolizes great courage in resisting the crowd hysteria in the idolization of an evil leader.

The individual mind versus the herd-mind

There appears to be a particular herd madness to a crowd. We were starkly reminded of this by the recent events in Washington with the storming of the Capitol by a frenzied mob. Many of the participants, ordinary people with good jobs and businesses, now themselves seem to be surprised by the consequences of their own actions, pleading for pardons from the president.

Education in the Western world emphasizes individual freedom of expression and individuation. At the same time an inner loneliness and spiritual disconnect appears to exert a gravitational pull toward the herd-mind. Affiliation to a particular football club, political parties, music groups or a brand take on a fanatical religious fervor.

A dark destructive force seems to awaken in the large human group when the individual mind succumbs to the herd-mind. The famous Swiss psychotherapist Carl-Gustav Jung, who spent much of his lifetime studying the Nazi phenomenon, distinguished between the liberated conscious individual mind and the “unconscious” collective mind.

Sinking to the level of mob psychology

“A group experience takes place on a lower level of consciousness than the experience of an individual. This is due to the fact that, when many people gather together to share one common emotion, the total psyche emerging from the group is below the level of the individual psyche. If it is a very large group, the collective psyche will be more like the psyche of an animal, which is the reason why the ethical attitude of large organizations is always doubtful. The psychology of a large crowd inevitably sinks to the level of mob psychology,” Jung wrote in The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious

We are experiencing exceptional times of change where acute vigilance and critical awareness is called for. It is tempting to join the fan clubs of the professional deceivers offering simple solutions for complex problems. Mass media, reflecting the voice of the mass crowd, has been contaminated with distortion, lies and conspiracy theory. Very few news channels still abide by the professional ethic in providing objective information to the public, instead falling prey to the general trend of stoking toxic emotions such as hate, fear, xenophobia and anger. News on many channels and social media is no longer information but designed to jolt you into a negative emotion.

At last there are first signs that the social media giants are realizing their co-responsibility. For too long they have acted as echo-chambers of the dark unconscious mind.

  • If you are exposed to information where you immediately have an uncomfortable feeling, then ask yourself: Where does this come from?
  • What intention does the communicator of the messenger pursue?
  • Does it really serve my life and my well-being today?

Reino Gevers – Author – MentorSpeaker

One more thing…

I have a special New Year offer on my latest book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul”. If you buy my new video Deep Walking with the key lessons from the book in my store, I will send you the paperback edition of the book for FREE.

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Why most New Year resolutions suck

Life so often becomes predictable in the way we function and go on automatic. We have the same patterns, thoughts and feelings. We take the same route to work at  the same time each day. We have the same conversations and relational interactions. We plan an agenda for the week, the month the year and the day we retire.

One of the many things the past year has taught us how unpredictable life can be. It is in those moments of crisis when we are hurled onto the ground, when the familiar map disappears, when we are forced out of familiar territory that  we can truly take a look inside. It is during these moments that elevation of consciousness takes place.

How did you start the previous year?

For many people the year 2020 turned life upside down. But life is never a one-way street. How we look at things is a matter of mindset and perspective. How about looking back at the beginning of last year and what thoughts you had then. Did you have any resolutions on how you would approach the year? Did those resolutions come into 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 is it you want to choose and learn from in 2020?

  • What three key lessons did I learn in  2020?
  • What has to be accepted that cannot be changed?

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 baby steps. A good way of tricking the mind into doing something positive is by “piggy backing” 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 on their self-development, knowledge, associations, physical and mental well-being. It is in finding 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.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

I have a special New Year offer on my latest book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul”. If you buy my new video Deep Walking with the key lessons from the book in my store, I will send you the paperback edition of the book for FREE.

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A year to remember or forget?

Reflecting on the past year a scene that remains particularly poignant is the Saturday morning in May when children were allowed out onto the Spanish streets for the first time after six weeks during one of the strictest Corona lockdowns in Europe.

It was that dazed, wide-eyed expression in those innocent faces that more than anything was telling me that our world had changed for a long time to come. Walking outdoors was allowed but no playing with other children. Humanity had gone into hibernation, triggered by a virus that insidiously finds entry into the body when we are most vulnerable in seeking touch and intimacy with our fellow human beings.

Every crisis heralds a new beginning

But, in every crisis the seeds are sown for a new beginning. The questions that need to be asked both on an individual and collective level:

  • What can we learn from this?
  • What opportunity can grow from this?
  • What has to be accepted that cannot be changed?

One of the big lessons from the pandemic is that we need to appreciate more the many things we have simply taken for granted.

Travel to faraway countries, if at all possible, is hampered by countless restrictions, as if the virus is telling us to slow down, and stay in one place for a while, making room for introspection and appreciation of the immediate surroundings.

Lessons from nature

The quiet spaces of nature teach us to go into stillness in order to perceive the whispers from the universe. With calm breathing, the anxious heart calms to the rhythm of nature. The hunger for external gratification starts receding. With each long in-and-out breath we turn deeper inward, opening consciousness for growth.

In a world with a powerful negative drumbeat it is easy to run with the crowd. Minds are being poisoned and confused by a barrage of conspiracy theories, lies, distortions and exaggerations – nowhere more visible than in the recent U.S. presidential elections. Public discourse is being polluted by the power of algorithms on social media, amplifying toxic emotions. The more extreme a behavior the greater the attention.

Spending alone time in nature has become a welcome source of spiritual rejuvenation during these times. It is in the attuning of the senses to the ocean waves crashing to shore, in the observance of birds of prey soaring effortlessly against the backdrop of a clear blue sky, the thousands of starlings flying in intricately woven patterns that an inner stillness starts inhabiting the soul.

The ancient mystics were very much aware that happiness is a creation from within, even in times of crisis. St. Augustine (354-430 AD) wrote that amid the fragmentation and times of anxiety “the soul is weighed in the balance by what delights her.” Natural beauty draws the soul into an experience of where natural order and tranquility resides.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my latest book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul”. It is available at all major outlets or at a discount from my my own store.  Check out all the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

My choice of the ten best spiritual books can be found here.

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