Tag Archives: nature

Time out is crucial for your health

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

Sprint and recovery

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

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

Natural light is crucial for your body metabolism

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

Indoor toxins may threaten your health

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

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

Great thinkers found inspiration while walking!

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

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

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

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

Listen to thoughts when walking

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

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

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

Nature is the best healer!

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Finding purpose with deep walking

My next book “Deep Walking – for Body, Mind and Soul” will soon be on the market.  It is about finding purpose during that void of inner silence that comes with deep walking.

We need to listen to nature

While writing the book I so often came to a point of writer’s block or procrastination. A new inspiration always came after going for a walk in nature. I think this is a dilemma most of us face in the modern world. We are spending too much time indoors, and it’s making us sick and moody.

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The disconnect from nature and the wisdom of the universe, has separated our species from the web of creation. This is why we are treating ourselves and the environment with such disrespect. What is happening within reflects what is happening in the outer world.

At the crossroads – depression and suicides have reached epidemic proportions

Humans are creative and exceptional beings. But we are very much at the crossroads where decisions made today will determine the future of our species in the next half century. I’ve said it often on these pages: The Western mind has sacrificed its soul to the golden calf of immediate external material gratification.  The result: Depression and mental illnesses have reached epidemic proportions. Something is out of order when one person commits suicide every 40 seconds. It is the second leading cause of death in the age group 15-24 in the United States!

Religious dogma from the past is not giving answers

A growing number of people are feeling this intuitively and are searching for new meaning and purpose. They are not finding the answers in the religious dogma of old that is telling us to believe in this or that. The new spiritual consciousness comes from an individual experience. It is why more than 300,000 people from all walks of life, different nationalities and faith, walk the pilgrimage path in Spain, the Camino, every year.  You can get my tips on preparing  for the Camino here: Preparation Camino.

The difference between a hike and a pilgrimage

It is a phenomenon I came across the very first time I walked the Camino in 2007. There  is a huge difference between just taking a hike for exercise purposes and going on a deep walking experience lasting several weeks, especially on a pilgrimage path walked by pilgrims for centuries.  Get my tips on preparing for the Camino here:

Nobody who walks the Camino with serious and mindful intent, comes back the same. As you walk from day to day through rain, mud and hot sun, passing village after village and climbing mountain top after mountain top, a mystery unfolds from within. When the many external distractions fall away, the empty space where we stop thinking opens and the universe, or God, can finally speak to us.

We can find this experience in meditation and other spiritual practices. I’ve found that deep walking in nature to be an exceptionally meditative experience, taking time out from the rat-race that has become our world, aligning with the above and the below with every mindful step.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Walking alone

The ancient masters of all the great religions recommended time alone as a crucial means of discovering true self.

It was the 40 days that Jesus took for time alone in the desert to confront his own shadow and the demons of temptation.  Moses removed himself alone to Mount Sinai to receive the ten commandments from God.

It is in the time spent alone that we come closest to the divine and our life purpose, especially if it is time alone in nature.

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The Chinese masters of the body arts such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong called the empty space between the spokes of the wheel more important than the spoke itself.

It is in that empty dark space between the stars where you touch the divine.

We as a society are obsessed with what the wise ancients called the distractions of the 10,000 things.

The news media feed on negative news, the constant subliminal messages working our emotions instill a need for material things we mostly don’t need. There is confusion between necessity and want.

It is no coincidence that with the addiction to distraction there are very few people who can truly bear to spend time alone.

We are thus constantly seeking the accolades through social media as a reassurance. But it will seldom lead you onto the path of deeper spiritual experience.

It is during the walk alone, the time-out during a silent retreat and the alone time in nature where the gateway to the soul opens and you begin to realize who you truly are.

It is during the alone time that we discover the heart, the love and the divine within. It is who we truly are and that which soul wants to illuminate.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

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Yielding to Nature

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

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

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

Much can be attributed to the disconnect of modern man to his natural surroundings. Nature is a manifestation of God and not without reason have the wise teachers of old described time spent in nature as our best healer.

Any person who has spent alone time in the African bush or hiked alone for hours in pristine nature will soon become aware of the awesome marvel of creation and the inter-connectedness of all living beings. God can be seen live working in slow motion.

Humanity will only survive when we recognize that the sacred within is also the sacred without.

For centuries Christianity has had a false understanding of man’s role in nature based on misinterpretation of the old testament of the bible in Genesis 1:28 in which man is given the cultural mandate to subdue and rule over the earth:

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

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

The lost gospel of St. Thomas, that was discovered in Egypt in the 1940s, has a far more mystical interpretation of many of the biblical interpretations. Rather waiting for the Second Coming of the Christ, the lesson espoused here is all about nurturing and discovering the Christ Within−closely resembling what is described in Buddhism as discovering the Buddha Nature.

The Medieval interpretation of Nature was that of a harsh alien environment, that needed to be conquered. Paradise and a life of bliss could only be expected after death and resurrection.

In contrast the eastern Daoist tradition is all about the yielding to the laws of nature. The philosophy of the Five Elements in essence is about the right timing in accordance with the laws of nature. The harmony of objects and things in Feng Shui, the cultivation of the life-force energy of Chi in the body with nutrition, Qi Gong and Tai Chi and the ancient Book of Wisdom, the I Qing, all are built on the foundations of the Elements.

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

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

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Abundance and gratitude

The rise of extremism in much of the western world comes at a time where there has never before in the history of mankind been so much material abundance which bodes the question why many people remain frustrated and angry.

Obviously the comforts of the modern world are not providing the contentment and inner peace that is desired.

Even until the late 1960s owning a car was regarded as a luxury. If a family owned two cars it was considered extremely wealthy. It wasn’t until the  mid 1970s that most households started owning a TV. I grew up in South Africa which only introduced nationwide television in 1976. Travelling abroad for a holiday was likewise considered a privilege for the very few.

When I tell the youth of today that we always carried a pocket full of coins for the phone booth around the corner, they look at me in disbelief.  My grandparents were self-sustainable farmers. My grandfather was regarded as progressive because he produced his own electricity from a water wheel. Few people owned cars and most traveled with a horse cart or ox-wagon.

Technologically mankind has made a huge stride forward but it has come at huge personal and environmental cost. Our lives are extremely high-paced and stressed-out. We have more time than any other generation at the same time it has become our most precious commodity.

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Most people live in crowded cities, resulting in a disconnect with the natural rhythm of nature. Modern man is constantly in a hurry, anxious and fearful. It is the perfect breeding ground for frustration and radicalism.

We can’t go back a generation. We are rather at the threshold of another technological revolution that will create and destroy jobs.  Much of the social frustration we encounter probably stems from the cultural gap in absorbing the changes of the past decade – Donald Trump`s most ardent supporters are from the rust belt and coal mining areas.

The technological revolution confronts us with the age-old question: What makes me a contented and happy person? The fascination with a shiny new object at most lasts a few days.

Every extreme carries the seeds of a new beginning. The technological revolution rides the wave of left-brain analytical, “excel-sheet” thinking while the right side of the mind lies neglected. It is the intuitive side of our human nature that needs more attention.  As human beings we have a “juvenile” playful, creative, spiritual and artistic side. Bringing both sides of the brain into balance is the challenge.

I only need to look at my dog’s joyful playing with a simple stick to appreciate that frustration, happiness or contentment is all in the mind. Appreciating that moment of deep gratitude of what we already have is the first step. Happy Thanksgiving!

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

 

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Climate: No time to lose

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

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

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

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

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Photo by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant 

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

 

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Who are you?

Emotional and physical exhaustion is one of the scourges of the modern era. Depression is reaching almost epidemic proportions. You could very well say that the Western mind has lost its soul that has been entrapped by the temptations of immediate gratification.

We are bombarded constantly with subliminal messages that tell you: Buy this and you will be happy. Do this and you will get rich. Do this to live like a super star. Dress like this and act like that to be loved and validated by the crowd.

Along the way one of our most valuable assets – the time to be fully aware of the  moment – is getting lost. The mind is constantly occupied with either the past or the fears of the future.  In the process you forget soul purpose and who you are!

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I have found that walking alone in nature is a magnificent way of detoxing and training the mind by re-calibrating the senses to the world around us.  I truly believe that nature is a manifestation of God. The whisper of creation can be sensed by a bird song, the rustling of leaves in an ancient tree, or the clouds enveloping a mountain top.

Most people in today’s world however are forced to live in crowded cities that are dehumanizing in their detachment from nature. They cloud the senses with a high level of noise, pollution and bombardment of the senses. The modern human being has become so detached from his natural environment, that its causing havoc to emotional stability.

I think this is one of the reasons for the great attraction of the ancient pilgrimage route in Spain.  More and more people are becoming spiritually conscious and seeking answers. Spending weeks alone by simply walking in nature without distraction is like a detox in peeling away the layers to the heart of the true self. But it doesn’t only have to be walking.  New retreats and centers of meditation are opening everywhere as human consciousness is rising to a new level.

Old school religion has taught us to believe and to follow a certain doctrine and behavior. The new consciousness is very much an experiental spirituality in a “becoming” of the real self.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant 

https://www.reinogevers.com

     

 

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