Tag Archives: nature

You are not alone

Our culture is dominated by the emphasis on the individual hero’s journey to fulfillment, self-expression, and success. It comes at a huge price, leading to social alienation, spiritual disconnect, and mental illness. For we humans are in essence a species whose survival can be attributed to successful group interaction and relationships with each other.

The seeds of this disconnect can be found in the philosophies and theologies underpinning the mindset that led to the industrial revolution in the mid-18th century. Individualism became the core ideology in the United States in the late 19th century heavily influenced by the “survival of the fittest” doctrine of Charles Darwin.

The “lone wolf” hero

The philosophies of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Friedrich Nietzsche, and others had a huge influence on modern economic, political and educational thought. The “lone wolf hero” coming out victorious against all odds remains a central theme in the sports arena, movies, books, and plays.

What is not taken into account is that the hero in real life will almost always have relied on a network of support from others.

It belies the fact that from the day you were born you were fed, clothed, educated, and shaped into the person you are today by your closest associations. In his meditations, the 16th-century English scholar and poet John Donne emphasizes this point with the famous poem: “No man is an island.”

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The “relationship crisis” has led to the exploitation of the environment but in essence has its roots in the disconnect to the spiritual self. We cannot solve the environmental crisis without looking within.

Prior to the industrial revolution most of mankind was in sync with the natural world. Even today the still existing hunter and gatherer societies see themselves as an integral part of nature. The natural world is seen as a manifestation of the Creator of which mankind is one part.

Buber: I and Thou

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

In this view, all our relationships ultimately bring us into a relationship with God or our Creator.

In the Christian mystic tradition, it is about finding God within. We are part of the creation matrix and not separate from it.

In the Gospel of St. Thomas, discovered at Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1945, Jesus is quoted as saying:

“See, the kingdom is in the sky, then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living father (Saying 3, p. 654.9-21).

This is closely related to the words of the Greek philosopher Pythagoras:

“Man, know thyself: then thou shalt know the Universe and God.”

When you know yourself and especially your shadow you create the foundation for going into an authentic relationship. Most relationships fail because the shadow of the subconscious is triggered by the “other”. This is when ego takes over with typical self-talk such as “my needs aren’t being met”, or “I don’t have space for myself”, and all the other sentences that start with “I need…”

Buber describes the “I and though” authentic relationship as going far beyond two people interacting. It is based on mutuality, directness, and intensity where an “in-between” becomes manifest. The relationship has a greater dimension than the individual contributions of those involved.

When one meets the other as Thou, the unique and separate qualities of the other are acknowledged within the framework of the commonality of humanness.

Buber saw human development within a relational context as social beings who need love and care from others to survive from infancy and throughout a lifetime. Human isolation and the absence of these relationional needs inevitably impact mental health.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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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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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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