Tag Archives: nature

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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Another hill to climb

Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” – Napoleon Hill –

It is much easier to climb a mountain if you take it one step at a time instead of looking at the steep peak ahead of you.

Several times I had to tell myself this during the last couple of days walking the Camino de Santiago in northwestern Spain.

There is also a saying on the Camino that the last few kilometers are the hardest. You climb one hill and then you find you have to climb another at the next bend.

Obstacles – the blessings in disguise

Just reflect a little on your life so far. It is mostly the obstacles, the setbacks, and those down on the ground moments that have triggered the biggest transformation.

Sadly, we often throw in the towel before we have learned the lesson or just before we are about to achieve the biggest breakthrough.

Life is not meant to be easy. We whither and die spiritually and physically if we procrastinate in a comfort zone.

A crisis, whether in an institution, in the job or in a personal relationship, is a message from the universe telling us that something is out of balance and needs to change.

The journey has to continue

We can for a moment look back on the winding steep road that we have climbed, appreciating the view and the accomplishment. But at some point we will have to continue the journey.

We human beings are hardwired to explore, and discover. As long as we live on this earth we will constantly be challenged to redefine purpose and meaning.

This morning I found a spiral etched into stone by the ancient Celtic inhabitants of Galicia. The rock site was perfectly aligned to the rising morning sun. Obviously the area had been a place of religious significance eons ago.

The ancient people were acutely aware of the laws of the seasons, closely studying nature. Beyond the perceived chaos of natural phenomenon lies a naural order of all things. The spiral is found in miniscule shells and flowers, and our DNA but also in the shape of our expanding galaxy.

Spiritually the spiral motif represents the path of the soul from the outer ego personality to the divine unity. It is the symbol of constant evolution and growth – a divine song of renewal moving from age to age.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Are you a “do-one-day” person?

I remember a family friend from my childhood who had spent most of his life working and saving every penny for “a rainy day”. Only months prior to his planned retirement he died in his sleep with the heirs showing little appreciation for what had been saved with such sacrifice.

Almost on a daily basis people are telling me about all the things they “will do one day” with the bucket list staying in the bucket as the miracle of life and the beauty of the moment passes by unnoticed. Employees stay in jobs that they find unsatisfying, focusing all their energy on the next vacation and that “one day” when they can go into retirement and they can finally start living.

Regretting opportunities missed

When retirement comes they continue spending their days in quiet misery out of regret for all the opportunities lost and in the sadness over that which was and is no more. If a mindset is locked in procrastinating on the past and the future, this will not change when external circumstances change. The myth of retirement is that we can then fall into the armchair and have a nice rest. The problem is that when body and mind are inactive, they feel no longer needed and say goodbye.

But an even more pressing issue is the pain and suffering caused by the disconnect between internal and external needs. The external mindset feeds on fear. The illusion of immortality is created that emphasizes accumulation of material assets.

If we are lucky we have a lifetime of between eight and nine decades with physical and mental capacity generally declining as we grow older. An internal mindset is aware of the clock ticking and that we have a limited time available to live our purpose and our dreams.

All the time and no time to lose

We have in a sense all the time in the world and at the same time no time to lose. The beauty of life is in the here and now. Planning for the future is important but life inevitably is full of twists and turns. Life purpose is not set in stone. Priorities, dreams and wishes can change over time.

Reflect on your real needs and motives. Behind the wish of having a certain amount of money might be the real desire to feel secure and safe. Having the wish to wear the latest designer clothing or owning a sports car could be disguising the real need to work on self-confidence and self-worth.

A positive abundance and prosperity mindset includes all aspects of life such as health, relationships, fulfillment of material needs and spiritual development. Giving back to the universe what the universe has provided comes from an abundance mindset. The big changes in life come from setting small daily goals, and turning bad habits into good habits. Eating the right foods and doing a daily exercise routine is a good way to start building the vitality needed to fulfill your dreams.

Gratitude

One of the most important antidotes to the “one day I will be happy and rich” attitude is a daily gratitude ritual. What are the three things that I am really grateful for today? What experience during the past 24 hours was a key lesson for my spiritual development? Who are the teachers, friends, relationships I am truly grateful for in making me into the person I am today?

Opening the senses to nature

One of the most underrated and important ways of staying mentally and physically fit is taking a walk in nature. It is when you are alone in nature that you can attune the senses to the sights, sounds and smells of the universe. You will instantly start feeling alive and appreciate the beauty of the moment when you turn all your attention to the bird circling in the sky, inhale the aroma of fresh morning dew or hear the sound of water in a creek.

Life is full of beauty, abundance and small miracles that we fail to see if we procrastinate in the past and in a future that will always be different than what you had feared or envisioned.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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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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Rough times? Cues from nature

Our world is completely different to what it was a few months ago. Crazy times demand courage. When the carpet gets pulled from beneath your feet it takes time to go into the acceptance that the life of the past will not return.

It is an ideal time for introspection, recalibration and realignment. In taking the analogy from nature life is seasonal, moving from the birth of spring to the darkest of nights in winter and back to the light.

Moving forward from introspection

The Chinese philosophy of the Five Elements is rooted in the ancient wisdom of Buddhist and Taoist monks who spent much of their time observing and studying the rhythm of nature.

In the northern hemisphere we are moving from autumn into winter. Autumn is associated with the metal element when the body energies move inward.  Nature starts contracting and preparing for winter (water element) with plant and animal withdrawing into recuperation or hibernation.

When the elements of metal and water are in imbalance the emotions of grief, anxiety and fear become a challenge. In going forward from this energy and recreating balance on a mindset level the opposite side of these emotions are courage, steadfastness, alignment and the setting of healthy boundaries.

Humanity has broken the code of nature

Our skin, which is the outer expression of the large intestine, associated with the metal element, is all about setting and accepting boundaries whether we choose or deny body contact and what we inhale and exhale in energy around us. What we inhale we become. What are we inhaling in negative thoughts, news, and distractions? How much have we broken the code of nature in exploiting and destroying our own and the life systems of other living beings?

Moving from grief into courage 

Despite the fear, anxiety and melancholy sadness we are seeing many people navigating new territory, rediscovering community and vocation. In moving forward from the darkest of nights in winter the first step is the acknowledgment of what is. You could ask yourself the following questions:

  • What lesson can I extract from the new situation?
  • What resources, knowledge, networks can I activate?
  • What is the first step that I can take today to change my situation?
  • What are the things that I can still truly be grateful for?
  • What habits, attitudes, and mindset can I change at this point in time?

Creating the momentum for a new future and new opportunity is the time of spring and rebirth (wood element). We move into spring with the spiritual growth and elevation of consciousness we have attained during the time of winter. It is the necessary precondition, the time to plant the seeds for summer (fire element) so that you can harvest the seeds of your efforts in late summer (earth element).

Whatever situation you are finding yourself in at the moment you can regain confidence on a mindset level by accepting the cyclical nature of the universe. The yin and yang is constantly in motion between expansion and withdrawal, night and day, grief and happiness.

Look at yourself from a bird’s eye perspective and tell yourself: “May I be liberated from the sadness and the grief over that which was and is no more. I love and accept myself the way I am. I wish and pray with all my heart for a life of fulfillment, abundance and happiness.”

Repeat this inner prayer for yourself first and then continue by wishing this positive vibrational energy to loved persons that come to mind but also to persons you have problems forgiving and have hurt you in the past.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

P.S: If you found this article of interest, you might also want to check out my recent interview on OMTimes Radio on the release of my new book Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

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Where are you going?

Greetings,

this week I would like to share with you two really important ways on how you can stay focused and boost your vibrational energy, despite all the things happening out there in the external world.

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Lessons from nature on Covid-19

Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree – Martin Luther – 

From a spiritual dimension, everything has purpose and meaning.

When we look at the coronavirus or Covid-19 crisis from the perspective of the Five Elements, the metal element comes into play.

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Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Covid-19 is attacking us where we are most vulnerable

We are seeing that the virus is spreading especially fast through contact and touch between humans with most of the deaths caused by an infection of the lung.

The metal element represents the body organs of the lung and large intestine on a physical level. They find expression in the nose, the breathing aspect, and the skin – the sense that we go into contact with our external world. The virus is ignoring boundaries of nations, ethnicity and religion. We are all in this together as a human race.

The insidious nature of the virus is that it is attacking us at the very essence of our behavior patterns. We greet each other with our hands as a gesture of politeness and friendship. We hug and kiss the people we love. We touch hands when we give comfort.

A time for introspection during lockdown?

The metal element moves the body energies inward.  This element represents the season of autumn when nature itself starts contracting. It reaches completion with the water element with plant life withdrawing into the roots and animals going into hibernation.

On the emotional level when the Element Metal is weakened we go into grief. Grief is much about the sadness about that which was and is no more. Our very world has changed and will never be the same.  There is much grief, sadness and fear (fear is the emotion of the water element) over that which has changed in our world and is no more.

Humanity has broken the code of nature

Our skin, which is the outer expression of the large intestine, is about setting and accepting boundaries whether we choose or deny body contact and what we inhale and exhale in energy around us. What we inhale we become. What are we inhaling in negative thoughts, news, and distractions? How much have we broken the code of nature in exploiting and destroying our own and the life systems of other living beings?

Moving from grief into courage 

Metal energy that is in balance has courage. Despite the fear, anxiety and melancholy sadness we are seeing many people rediscovering community. Health workers are working tirelessly to help others. Groups are helping to do the shopping for the elderly. Courage is facing the truth of the moment and regaining control. We don’t have control over the external circumstances but we have control over our reactions to them. Staying in the moment is the big challenge. It is acknowledging what is happening in the world, acknowledging our fears, our grief, and sadness, then to transmute those emotions into courage.
Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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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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