Tag Archives: mental-health

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?
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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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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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The monkey in a cage

“Attachment is the great fabricator of illusions; reality can be obtained only by someone who is detached. ”
― Simone Weil

Much of what I’m seeing and hearing in the public discourse reminds me of how trappers in the wild catch a monkey. All it takes is a small cage with a bunch of bananas inside. The monkey will grab the tasty treat through a hole in the cage. But when trying to pull out the banana the hole is too small. The monkey will refuse to let go of the banana. Even with a real threat, the hunter, coming closer the monkey will still refuse to let go and is captured.

It is much the same with fixated beliefs, ideologies, and political persuasions. I read the other day a report of Covid patients still refusing to believe they had been infected with the virus while dying in a hospital intensive care unit. Everybody is entitled to an opinion. But if you are unable to adapt, change or review your opinion in the light of new evidence or facts you are also refusing to grow and elevate your consciousness.

So many minds, it appears are captured by the drumbeat of information silos where we are seeing debate marked by an extremely negative and divisive narrative. During these times it has become more important than ever to remain aligned with that inner spark of peace and beauty.

How we speak and what we speak about is a reflection of our thoughts. The actions we take are a reflection of how connected we are to the heart mind and soul nature. Evil thoughts and evil actions inevitably lead to evil fortune.

The wisdom of the ancient Mystics can be a good guideline. Basic human nature has not changed much over the centuries. There will always be a segment of people who don’t give any regard to the outcome of their actions. Meister Eckhart, the great Dominican friar of the early fourteenth century, warned against those whose “sole concern is how to gain honors, wealth and pleasure.”

These people, according to Eckart, are those who lack all sense of humility by “running in front of God.” Inevitably their lives will be haunted by what they call bad luck or a bad hand. They will be blaming God, fate, people different from themselves, and basically everyone for what has gone wrong in their lives. They are filled with hate, resentment, and anger. They are the malignant narcissists of our age who seek only personal validation and glory. They will never change their opinion and are captured by attachment.

Letting go of attachments

Attachment can be defined as a strong emotional bond to a person, thing, or cause. In extreme cases, it can be closely intertwined with personal perception and identity.

According to Eckart, there are those “imperfect” people who “walk close by God”, wishing to lead God rather than be led by him. They would like God’s will to be their will. We are seeing much of this behavior in religious and political fundamentalism. They are idealists at heart believing that the world would be an entirely different place if a certain ideology. belief or behavior is adhered to.

The “perfect” ones bow to humility in following God on a path that can also be one of hardship and suffering but ultimately leads to a life of bliss and happiness, according to Eckardt. It is what the Buddhists call living a life liberated from all forms of attachment.

It can also be understood as finding the connection to the inner spark of truth. Joy is found in the truth which all desire that is the pursuit of God’s will, according to Eckart. The Mystic describes walking the path of truth and pursuing the will of God as “an ardent desire” where we are “illuminated and captivated by the depth of our being.” Walking behind is described as “sinking into the essences” of all things.

Surrendering to a higher will instead of trying to impose your will is key to effective visualization practice. If desire becomes attachment you will be held captive to procrastination and be closing the door to the flow of the Tao or the universal energy. This is at the root of much of the unhappiness we are seeing around us. Attachment prevents the view from a different perspective where often the solution lies. You have to let go of everything “to win everything.”

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Is social media controlling your life?

The pen that writes your life story must be held in your own hand.” – Irene C. Kassorla

You might think that you are in control of what you think, believe and purchase each day but our hurried modern lives are being manipulated in a big way and it’s time to seize back control.

The latest facebook-scandal, with former employee Frances Haugen testifying before a U.S. Senate Committee, has revealed the irresponsibility with which social media is using algorithms to spread misinformation and incite political violence.

Social media can be a wonderful tool to connect with old friends, and family living in faraway places of the world. But what we are hearing in the testimony is that these big tech companies know more about human nature and about your individual life, your needs, wishes and desires than you probably know yourself.

If something is for free like the use of social media then there is a price attached. These companies are there to make a profit and they need your personal data to sell to advertisers. The more clicks and shares, the more revenue for the advertiser on the same page.

This means that the loud, angry voices of outlandish lies and misinformation are getting the most attention. They have occupied the big stage while the majority of calm and reasonable voices are being drowned out. It creates a distortion of reality and what our world really looks like. While printed media bears responsibility and is liable for the content it disseminates, social media has been left off the hook by legislation. That really needs to change.

Multiple studies are in fact showing that too much time spent on social media affects mental health, especially those of young adolescents. It can exacerbate feelings of inadequacy of appearance, loneliness, depression and anxiety.

What you feed your mind with you become

Divisive hate speech, and bullying has always been a dark side of humanity. Social media however is amplifying such dysfunctional behavior on a global level. Scientists have found a correlation between heart disease and negative emotions expressed in language on Twitter, according to a major study.

What friends you choose, what social media feeds you look at and what you read gradually shape you into the person who you are today. You might think that you are in control but you are not. Countless digital media companies are competing for your attention. They have some of the world’s best social scientists and psychologists in their employment and know how to prey on human needs and weaknesses.

We all have the need to be seen, to be heard and to be understood. And, we especially want to belong to a tribe that thinks, feels and talks the same language.

If you happen to come across scientific data or information that might contradict what you think you believe in, you might become confused and then angry. Computer algorithms inevitably lead to opinions becoming cemented in separate information silos. People who see each other from different reality perspectives cannot talk or listen to each other anymore.

Time to seize back control

I have for some time blocked those “friends” on social media that have a tendency to always post negative news or are spreading misinformation. Be careful who you invite into your living room and who leaves big footprints of dirt on your lovely white carpet.

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You need to stand guard at the doorway of your mind.

I would like to make a proposal for this week. Why not exclusively post just positive and uplifting information on social media for the next seven days? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can this information uplift, heal and boost the energy level of a fellow human being?
  • Is the information of a quality that it can elevate human consciousness in a positive way?
  • Will it make you laugh and enjoy the moment?

Lets make our voices heard in a positive way and let the world know that the majority of humanity is not divisive, angry and violent but kind, empathic, calm and reasonable.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Bridging the growing gender divide

There is false of Aristotelian logic, which is so much the basis of Christianity, and to some extent, Judaism in the west. Too rational, too logical, too masculine, chauvinistic, male dominated, head over heart, mind over body, heaven different than earth and so on, rather than yin/yang, inter-being, interwoven, inseparably.— Surya Das

One of the burning issues of our time is the big gender divide as we transition from centuries of male dominance toward more gender equality. There is a real crisis of mentally unstable boys growing up to be unhealthy men while girls seem to crush it at every level from education to job performance.

Just a brief look at some of the statistics reveal some staggering figures. More than nine times as many men compared to women at some point spent time in prison in the United States with men accounting for more than 80 per cent of persons arrested for violent crime. Women have lower arrest rates for all categories of crime except prostitution in almost every country in the world.

Women are at the forefront in the self-development industry and the elevation of awakened consciousness. They are indeed the better half of humanity showing more caring responsibility, empathy, creativity and intuition. In leadership positions their social skillset emphasizes collaboration, rather than the male notion of destroying a competitor.

But is the solution to our global problems the reversal of male dominance with female dominance? There are a lot of males out there feeling uneasy about some of the emanations from the feminist movement. Men are feeling left behind by women on all levels but they just won’t admit it and are resisting to do real inner, reflective work, still perceiving it as a weakness rather than a strength.

The root cause appears to be that there are far too many fathers who have been exceptionally bad role models for their sons and daughters over generations. It is the “absent-father-syndrome” that is cause for many mental problems.

Several studies show that boys growing up without their biological father often feel deserted, insecure, fearful and anxious. A stepfather can never replace that void created by the absent father. I have seen the hurt in a stepchild when a father refuses to engage.

Among the 25 most cited school massacres in the United States, two thirds were committed by boys from broken or fatherless homes! Criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi, found the absence of fathers to be one of the “most powerful predictors of crimes .” Fathers serve as role models for their sons who maintain authority and discipline, thereby helping them develop self-control and empathy toward others, key character traits lacking in violent youth.

According to a UNICEF report “school-aged children with good relationships with their fathers were less likely to experience depression, to exhibit disruptive behavior, or to lie. Overall, they were far more likely to exhibit prosocial behavior.”

While women seek help when they experience mental health problems such as anxiety or fear, men often retreat into typical male dysfunctional behavior such as addiction, political and religious extremism or violent crime. It seems to be completely overlooked in the political narrative that men and masculinity feature prominently in both past and present populist movements.

What is the solution?

First and foremost fathers need to step-up and take responsibility for their children. Abdicating and delegating responsibility solely to motherhood is archaic and stems from a medieval patriarch mindset. A positive father-figurehead understands the art of integrating female caring responsibility, empathy, and intuition with the positive male features such as structure, protection, discipline and authority.

As humanity moves toward the elevation of consciousness it is crucial that we transmute the typical gender narrative to another level.

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Integrating the feminine and the masculine

Integrating the feminine and the masculine aspects of personality is the challenge both on a personal and collective level. The great Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung Jung describes the two primary archetypes of the unconscious mind: The “animus” is unconscious masculine side of a woman, and the anima as the unconscious feminine side of a man, each transcending the personal psyche.

Greek philosophy which found its way into the tenets of Christianity believe that humans are fundamentally flawed and wounded.

Our cultural indoctrination pronounces that finding that “soul mate” will heal that inner wound or void. Disappointment and relationship meltdown is inevitable. It is an illusion and we should never delegate or make our happiness conditional to the behavior of another person. Only the awakened self can heal that wound through the integration of the “shadow”, as Jung puts it.

How do we integrate that “soul mate” within? There is a beautiful image evoked by Plato who describes his idea of “soul mates” as the one longing for the other half “and so they would throw their arms about each other, weaving themselves together, wanting to grow together.”

The encounter, study and integration of the unconscious mind into the mature personality is key to becoming fully human. As a humanity we need to fully embrace our female and male traits. It is that which has the potential to catapult us toward a happier future, giving us that valuable skillset to confront the challenges ahead.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Your sacred path

All the people you have met throughout your life and the experiences you have had up to this moment in time have made you into the person who you are today. Yet, there still might be that inner voice whispering that there is more to life than you have been taught or have learned.

Caroline Myss is quoted as saying that “as a vital part of a larger, universal spirit, we each have been put here on earth to fulfill a sacred contract that enhances our personal spiritual growth while contributing to the evolution of the entire global soul.”

Connecting with the global soul

Our individual souls are connected to a global soul comprising all life on the planet. Each person has a unique destiny and soul purpose and it’s not about what kind of job you are doing or the things you own. These might be a manifestation of what you become in the becoming of who you really are.

It is almost essential to find alone time for contemplation and inner reflection and to walk your sacred path alone. The urge to walk a pilgrimage first starts as a whisper and becomes ever more louder. The need to go on this soul adventure is sometimes met with strong resistance by the loved ones or family members around you. They will sense that you are in a process of shifting your consciousness and will confront you with all sorts of arguments to dissuade you from walking.

The universe will test your willpower

In a way it is the universe testing your willpower but the sad truth is also that most people are too afraid to make the changes necessary to improve their lives. Family members or partners want you to stay in the tribe and share the same beliefs, mannerisms and habits. Often they will be projecting their own fears onto you if you decide to go on a journey of untrodden paths. Partners in this way often block each other instead of lending support and encouragement to the other.

On the Camino Aragonese between Jaca and Puenta La Reina, Spain

In a few days time I will start my 14th pilgrimage walk, walking for the second time from Porto in Portugal to Santiago and then to Cabo Finisterre, the westernmost point of the Iberian Peninsular. Each walk has been different, and unique. Looking back these walks have proven to be truly transformational not only in the way they have led me in making major changes to my external life but what has happened on a spiritual level. My two books on the Camino in essence tell this story that began in early 2007.

When I served in a pilgrims’ hostel as a volunteer in 2019 I had the opportunity of literally talking to hundreds of pilgrims from all walks of life and nationalities on what motivated them to walk this ancient path that at times can be truly challenging both emotionally and physically.

Why do people go on a pilgrimage walk?

Some people start the Camino as a sporting adventure that then turns into a spiritual journey.  An American pilgrim I walked with some years ago said to me: “If you don’t approach the Camino with humility it will humiliate you.”

The Camino is telling you that this journey is not about accomplishing something but in un-becoming from everything that you thought you were and touching that place deep in the soul who you are truly meant to be.

Is the Camino part of the bigger journey of humanity seeking a common spirituality that transcends the boundaries of religious dogma?

The Camino is an analogy of life

The Camino is in many ways an analogy of life. If you can deal with the roller-coaster of the walk’s trials and tribulations, you will be steeled for whatever challenges life throws at your feet in the acceptance of the impermanence of all things.

I’ve heard stories from pilgrims who have suffered terrible personal hurt and tragedy. Others were walking while defying a life threatening medical diagnosis or who had just survived cancer.

Experiential spirituality reveals itself in helping and supportive hands, in the recognition of fellow souls going through tough trials and tribulations. There is a deep sense of that one truth that we are all one humanity.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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The “boiling frog” syndrome

A well-known fable tells us that if a frog is put into boiling water it will immediately jump out. But if the water is only gradually heated the frog will not perceive the danger and be boiled to death. The story is a warning of how a creeping normality of crisis situations delude us into a feeling of false complacency. We fail to act until it is too late.

Our daily habits, thoughts, beliefs and actions play a major part in determining our future. The compound effect of bad or good habits over a period of years and even decades are hugely underestimated.

The compound effect of good and bad habits

Eating for lunch a burger with French fries and a soda drink will affect your body but not harm you in a big way if you eat healthy foods most of the time and you metabolize sugars and carbohydrates with plenty of exercise. But eating mainly processed foods over years and decades will have a devastating impact on your mental and physical health in the long term.

In the same way if your self-talk is mainly negative about yourself or if you incessantly blame others for everything that is going wrong in your life you will most probably be a grumpy, unhappy and miserable person during old age looking back on a life not lived and opportunities missed.

How often have you been buying things you don’t really need because you said: “Its only a few pennies.” But added up over years and decades you could have put aside a small fortune in savings.

Complacency is our biggest enemy

Social and political developments in the recent past should be shaking us out of our sense of complacency and nonchalance. It appears that the general social consensus on values and norms that has prevailed for most of the past decades is seriously being eroded. An independent press, non-partisan judiciary and democratic voting procedures are seriously under threat in countries such as Hungary, Poland, Turkey and first and foremost in the United States. If the United States is no longer the world’s best example of a working democracy authoritarian rule as we see it today in China and Russia will entrench itself in many countries.

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Like a physical body gradually weakening from the effects of bad nutrition, you don’t perceive the spiral downward immediately. In my home country South Africa the seeds of maladministration and corruption were sown with the election of a populist demagogue Jacob Zuma as president in May 2009. For a while things, like the national airline, appeared on the surface to still be functioning perfectly. But after nine years the rot was there for everyone to see. Most parastatal institutions are bankrupted, leaving numerous towns and cities in dire lack of basic services such as electricity and water supply. It will most likely take generations to get South Africa back on its feet economically.

We tend to forget that political parties, governments and institutions have been created by bodies of individuals. They are a reflection of who we are. When a social pendulum of change swings into a new direction it is at first always led by a minority that eventually become the majority view.

A crisis is a way marker

Crisis situations, whether on a personal or collective level, always tell us that the status quo is no longer workable and that things need to change. The art is to perceive the small, telling signs that something is moving into the wrong direction and to adapt accordingly. It is the frog sensing when the water temperature is rising to a dangerous temperature and when it’s time to get out.

This is why some companies thrive by adapting to changing market conditions while others procrastinate. It is why some species adapt and others become extinct. Some marriage relationships adapt to changing needs and circumstances while others end in divorce. It is why the enlightened leader picks himself up during a crisis, using it as a tool of change in valuable lessons learned while the other stays in the shadow of self-pity and recrimination.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Beware the false prophets!

“The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.” Jeremiah 14:14

Organized religion arguably provides structure, meaning and community to many people battling with the struggles of life yet during these challenging times we are seeing a proliferation of “false prophets” capturing the minds of individuals with messages of  fear and guilt.

During my lifetime several good friends got caught in the web of religious sects, surrendering their lives including all their material assets to the group.

They would bombard me with enthusiasm of how their lives had been transformed by “the teacher” “priest” or “guru”. I would repeatedly be invited to attend a meeting and made to feel like losing out on something very important.

The common traits of the cult

Fundamentalist groups and cults of all persuasions share a common trait. They are tribally insulating,  separating the convert from all former friends, spouses, family and associates. Anyone not sharing the same belief structure is termed as a non-believer, or as the enemy.

After having made the enormous personal sacrifice of giving up an old life it is extremely difficult to escape. Few people have the courage to admit that they made a huge mistake by believing in an illusion. After all external ties have been severed the individual is at the mercy of the group in providing  a livelihood, food and shelter. The friend, son, daughter, spouse you once cherished as a carefree individual is bombarding you with quotes from the master. You will hear:  “But the guru said …”,it is the opinion of the guru that …” “the guru would not approve that …” “I would first have to ask the teacher if I can …”

At this point the friend or family member is far gone down the road of mind control, repeating the teachings of their leader like a recording device on automatic. They will find numerous excuses if you question the lavish lifestyle of the cult leader while the devotees are donating their last pennies. “Its all ultimately for a good cause,” they would say.

Decent and intelligent human beings are particularly vulnerable to the cult when they are going through a crisis of meaning or mental health challenge.  The “prophet” is the last straw of hope, seemingly offering the perfect recipe. What follows is the complete surrender of personal responsibility to the guru or belief structure of the cult.

The false promise of hope when people are vulnerable

We’ve had this phenomenon of “end times” during several historical cycles. During the Middle Ages most of Europe’s population was decimated by the bubonic plague. Science was at its infancy with the false prophets having easy play in convincing people that the deadly disease was God’s punishment for sinful ways. Persons not conforming to the shared belief were vigorously persecuted and often burned at the stake. The sins could be absolved by paying tithes. The higher the donation the “higher the likelihood” of having a good afterlife in paradise.

We falsely had assumed that humanity had become immune in the 21st-century to such crude preaching and the questioning of basic science. The messaging today comes in the guise of political parties with a charismatic figurehead and bearing all the hallmarks of the religious cult.  Several extremist parties in western democracies essentially are in the business of fear-mongering and xenophobia. They are supported by a billion dollar industry of alternative reality media stirring a cocktail of hate and negativity. The  first step toward authoritarian control is to dehumanize your opponent or the person with a different belief, culture or mindset.

Evil and delusion of the mind can always be identified by language of hate, disrespect for fellow human beings and blatant lies. Social friction points along race, gender and economic lines are over-emphasized. Division, dissent and chaos is sown by an “us against them” propaganda.

We are indeed living in dangerous times. A growing number of people are feeling left out and  stranded during rapid social and economic change. The uncertainty and fear is the feeding ground of the false prophets offering simple solutions for complex global problems.

The chosen few must commit to a strict code of conduct, belief and ritual.  

As human beings we make mistakes with feelings of guilt often deeply submerged in traumatic childhood experience. Self-esteem is shattered after a job loss or family break-up.  There is that underlying promise that by committing to the cult  those bad feelings will disappear. In reality the  guru will repeatedly stir the feelings of inferiority to maintain his stranglehold.

Protecting our vulnerable family members from the false prophet is no mean task. The groundwork is laid in strengthening self-confidence, self-esteem, self-love and a spiritual mindset based on common decency and respect.

Experiential spirituality is freed from the shackles of fundamentalist belief in the awareness that we are fallible and incomplete human beings, learning the lessons of life as we go along.

The truth is that there is no one-truth. God’s garden is made up of a multitude of plants, animals, cultures, religions and languages. The beauty and adventure of life lies in the individual exploration, the  opening of new doors and walking onward new paths of insight and knowledge accumulation in becoming of who we really are.

External belief systems have too often in the past been forcibly imposed, robbing the individual from essentially living a life of meaning, authenticity and soul purpose.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. Check out also the latest online courses for you to download and our retreats on the island of Majorca.

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Facing your biggest fear

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
–Eleanor Roosevelt

In our age of information overload a subtle message has been crafted that we are immortal beings. At the root of most fear is the fear of death. We are awakened to this truth when a loved one dies or when confronted with a terminal illness.

There is a lovely story from Indian folklore about a mouse constantly in fear that a cat would catch and kill her. The mouse was so fearful that it seldom left its burrow.

“How I wish I were a cat. I would then have nothing to fear,” the mouse thought.

A genie nearby took pity on the mouse. In an instant the mouse was turned into a cat. But then as a cat, she saw a dog and became afraid again, wishing she were a dog. The genie heard her again and her wish was granted. She turned into a dog.

Then she saw a lion and she was terrified by his power and strength and wished she could become a lion so that she would not have to be terrified ever again. Her wish was again granted and she became lion. At this stage, she saw a man who was about to shoot her with a gun. Naturally, she wished she could become a human and she did. But then, when she was sitting in her house, she saw a mouse. She started shouting for she was scared of the mouse!

Fear is an illusion

Most fear is an illusion of the mind. It distorts, perverts and falsifies the reality of the moment. Fear often breeds anger and anger turns to hate. It is the fuel of the professional deceivers whose messaging is amplified to millions on social media. We fall prey to our deepest fears if we don’t recognize and confront them.

A typical reaction to fear is distraction and addiction. It could be anything from substance abuse to digital entertainment. The distraction is only momentary and will not remove the underlying fears that grow ever bigger as we lose control of our thoughts.

Looking fear into the eye

The first step in transmuting fear is acceptance. “Yes, I am afraid that I won’t have enough money to pay the rent. Yes, I’m afraid of losing my job. I’m afraid of falling ill…” In imagining the worst-case scenario you will soon realize that your fears are only thoughts. Replace those fears with what would be the opposite of fear such as courage and self-confidence. Some personal mantras could be the following:

  • I have full trust in the creative power of the universe to provide an answer.
  • A am a magnet of health, prosperity and abundance.
  • I have faith and trust.
  • I love and accept myself the way I am

Structure and planning

Winston Churchill once said that plans are of little importance but planning is essential. We like to structure and control our lives. But life is never like that. Unexpected external circumstances like a global pandemic are especially challenging for people who like to be in control of things. At times we simply have to accept things as they are and let go. The falsity of things to which we become too attached are revealed during times of crisis.

Recognizing fear

Typical physical reaction to fear is a shortness of breath, an increased heartbeat, sweating, or chest pain. You might wake up at night having bad dreams or finding yourself in the rollercoaster of a thousand different thoughts and scenarios. There are numerous methods of practicing mindfulness and meditation. One of the most effective ways of practicing alignment and thought discipline is the way you breathe. You might want to check out my downloadable online course here.

Time for introspection

Especially during times of crisis it is crucial to take a time out for introspection and reflection. Toxic emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, chronic negativity and hate will turn you into a stranger to your true self. Below the surface of the darkness lie hidden the seeds for renewal and change. Accepting and loving the self with all the shadow and the light is finding the inner truth and the path to soul purpose.

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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