Tag Archives: spiritual teachings

Light from a dark age

It was a “dark age” in the western Europe of the 13th century when pandemics, population decline and economic degradation prevailed. Most people had moved into villages and towns sharing crowded rooms with family members and livestock. With little or no sanitation or semblance of hygiene the stench would have been unbearable for sensitive modern noses.

The exodus from the countryside was exacerbated by repeated crop failures caused by the Little Ice Age triggered by volcanic eruptions and changes in Arctic ice cover. With temperatures dropping for centuries this meant that the winters were particularly long and harsh.

Periods of crisis and challenging external circumstances sometimes force humanity into introspection with the dark ages having brought forth some of the greatest Mystics at the forefront of an individual inward-looking spirituality. The popes and bishops were meanwhile offering little comfort to ordinary people, preoccupied with political power struggles and worldly pleasures.

Pilgrimage walks to Santiago de Compostela

During these times pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela became popular as an inner journey of penance, spiritual rebirth and renewal. The modern-day pilgrim on the Camino is in many respects no different. Spirituality as opposed to religious doctrine is by far the primary motivation, based on my own research and conversations with hundreds of pilgrims on my more than dozen walks on pilgrimage routes in northwestern Spain.

The wise teachings of the 13th-century Dominican monk Meister Eckart (1260-1328), Catherine of Genoa (1447-1510) and Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) are timeless and more topical than ever during these pandemic times. They were the eco-warriors and holistic healers of their time, addressing issues of personal health, nutrition and the environment.

It took the disruption of a global pandemic to remind us that we can be exposed overnight to entirely new circumstances beyond our control. Life can be extremely fragile and uncertain. The mental health repercussions resulting from isolation and lockdowns are only gradually coming to the fore.

A formula for a life of bliss

The Mystics are clear on how to lead a life of bliss. Meister Eckart describes at least five stages of evolution in elevation of consciousness to the “new” man – the “birth of the son” or “birth of God” in the soul. The entire purpose of life he describes as the journey to self-realization and meaning:

  • Contemplation and meditation
  • Doing what is right and acting accordingly
  • Dedication and Love of God
  • Recognition and Differentiation
  • Alignment and surrender of ego

All these Mystics did not retreat to an isolated monastic lifestyle but were engaged in the world. Catherine of Genoa gave selfless service to the sick while at the same time serving as director and treasurer of a hospital. Hildegard of Bingen was engaged in many fields including religion, medicine, music and cosmology, At the same time she was a mentor for many famous personalities of her time.

The common thread is that we are one humanity and that a life of service and dedication for the betterment of all provides solace to inner turmoil during times of crisis.

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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Surrendering to the pain of the past

It is just part of the human condition that we  have about 70,000 thoughts a day with most of those thoughts revolving around cravings such as food or on the past or future.

The melancholy sadness over that which was and is no more holds many a mind captive. If you find that you are caught in such a downward spiral it might be useful to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What other avenues did the loss open up in my life?
  • What lesson did I learn from the mistake and how can I avoid making the same mistake again?
  • I blame nobody and take full responsibility

The addiction to please

Relationships between loved ones, family members, friendships and associations are often  the biggest challenge. The fear of being thrown out of the warm cave by our tribe is deeply embedded in our genes. We will therefore bend over backwards to be seen, to be heard and to be liked.

It is the reason why we stay in toxic relationships that have long outlived their purpose. It is why love for another person is often confused with self-love, especially when we expect another human being to compensate for an inner void.

The contract between souls

The ancient mystics believe that no relationship is coincidental. The intensity of a relationship is defined by the underlying current  that brought you together. The soul contract is to be teachers for each other so that we can grow in spiritual consciousness. And, sometimes the teaching can be to set a boundary by going  into isolation from a particular person, especially if this is a family member who  inhibits your growth or prevents you  from pursuing your  full potential.

What timeline in dealing with sorrow?

One of the biggest sins is not to live the life you were meant to live in terms of your individually mapped out destiny. The invisible wall is most often the difficulty in surrendering to the pain of the past. “You need to let it go,” is a saying that often comes from friends and family who mean good. But dealing with sorrow, grief and loss has its own timeline. It is not like just turning a switch and going into “happy mode”. It is not authentic and if your pain is not transmuted it will come back to haunt you later in life.

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Remaining in faith and trust

The 13th century Mystic Meister Eckart has some wonderful words of comfort for those having difficulty in letting go of the pain of the past. “God is not a destroyer of anything good. He fulfills. God does not destroy but completes nature.” And in the same vein he recommends surrendering that pain to the “highest order and highest nurture.”

Staying in faith and trust is possibly one of the hardest trainings in patience but Meister Eckart also describes it as the highest schooling in spiritual training and elevation of consciousness.

Even the smallest of actions can be turned into spiritual training of “staying in the moment”, according to the Spanish Mystic Theresa of Avila (1515-1582). There is a story of how she once confronted a nun in her monastery complaining about having to do kitchen chores, telling her off with the words: “If you don’t see the dear God in the pan you don’t see him at all.”

It is in those “darkest night of the soul” moments where the chains of the ego are broken and space opens for change and a new beginning.

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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A year to remember or forget?

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

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

Every crisis heralds a new beginning

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

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

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

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

Lessons from nature

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

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

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

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

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

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

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

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What is sinning?

“He tried to name which of the deadly seven might apply, and when he failed he decided to append an eighth, regret.”
― Charles Frazier

For centuries religion has abused the term „sin“ as an instrument of control and coercion often instilling feelings of guilt in the believer. Apocalyptic images have been evoked by preachers of the „sinner” being condemned to the eternal fires if certain codes of conduct or beliefs were not adhered to.

The original concept of sin

The term „sin“ is central to many Christian teachings of the “original sin” inherited at birth down the lineage of humankind when Adam and Eve were expelled from paradise for disobeying God. From birth the human was by basic nature “sinful” or evil and salvation could only come by following certain moral doctrine.

It is the establishment that we humans are imperfect beings. Moral judgments and dogmatic concepts of “truth” have destroyed countless lives in the name of religion.

In contrast the awakened mind is liberated from concept, and acts in the realm of cause and effect or karmic responsibility.

If we look at the origins of the word “sin”, which was translated from the Greek and Hebrew texts of the bible, we find some interesting aspects that have little relevance to traditional Christian dogma.

In Greek ἁμαρτία or hamartia means to miss the target and in Hebrew chata’a or chat’at means going astray or missing the path.

The German term “sünde” stems from the old German “sund” which describes a narrow strait between two landmasses. Sailing off the mark meant wrecking the ship on the rocks and drowning.

Missing the point or going astray

If missing “the point” or “straying from the path” is at the core of the term “sin” we can ascribe a whole different layer of meaning to God and the approach to life. In the old testament God was often seen as a strict vengeful, punishing father figure.

But if we look at it as finding meaning and purpose or a goal in life that is at the essence of one’s reason for living, then God has chosen you to live a life in which you strive to fulfil your destiny in becoming who you were meant to be from the day on which you were born, guided by a loving, caring and compassionate God.

Living in accordance with core values

One reason we are seeing so many job burnouts is that the activities performed are often incongruent with the core values of the individual. Every person at heart wants to grow, develop, evolve and manifest into the authenticity of their own core values. When job descriptions leave little room for individual expression there is stagnation.

What is termed as a “midlife crisis” is often the point in a life where the individual realizes that he or she has all the time placed the ladder against the wrong wall. The job, marriage, location of residence, political and religious  belief system is incongruent with the soul path. In the “middle” of life there is then not that much time left to make the effort in lifting the ladder and placing it against another wall.

The “effort” part appears so insurmountable that the individual prefers to settle down into a life of quiet misery of the status quo. But the universe or God will keep on sending you messages in the form of dream symbols, maybe through the wise advice given by another human being or even by means of serious illness that will act as a “wake-up call”.

At a point all the doors open wide where everything falls into place. This is when soul consciousness meets with human consciousness. Head Mind meets with Heart Mind. You are closest to God when you connect with soul purpose and consciousness. It is that space of unconditional universal love, the awareness of the divine presence within.

There is a “Kairos” moment of truth where there is a complete paradigm shift. I’ve seen it happen to some blessed few individuals deep walking during days of solitude on the Camino.

Mostly however such a shift comes in small steps of gradual change, minor adjustments and adaptations. When looking at the path walked in retrospect the change is immense. It is one of the slow walk into the rhythm of who you were always meant to be.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might be interested in my 40-day Online training course LIVING TO BE which covers such aspects as defining your “core values”, removing distractive clutter, and boosting your vibrational energy to a new high.

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Can God be believed?

There is an ancient Chinese proverb, “better to see something once than to hear about it 1,000 times.” Its something I had to think a lot about during and after my walks on the pilgrimage routes of northwestern Spain.

It was on the Camino that I had an epiphany that God cannot be believed.  God, the universe, or whichever term you would like to give it can only be experienced. With every step on these ancient paths walked by pilgrims for past centuries the conviction grew that there is a force so much greater than the human mind can comprehend.

Words skimming the surface of meaning

As a teenager, I grappled with traditional Christian dogma that takes the Bible teachings literally. “You must just believe and not doubt,” the pastor scolded. The human mind tends to simplify, label, dissect, and rationalize over that which cannot be explained by words alone.

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The ancient languages such as Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus, Sanskrit,  Egyptian, and Irish Gaelic have retained the richness of imagery and multi-lateral meaning. The ancient cathedrals and monasteries along the Camino are filled with precious works of art from an era where the observer found his/her truth in the contemplation thereof.  The emphasis was not on “preaching” but in singing and chanting of liturgy.

The divide between religion and the spiritual

There is a deep divide between religious dogma and the spiritual. Religion is embedded mostly within an external theology while the spiritual is experiential and rooted in the mysticism of the ancients. The tradition survives in the Christian mystical teachings, Sufism, the Jewish Kabbalah, and Buddhist mysticism.  Practise of certain rituals, meditation and the “mystical experience” through higher consciousness creates the connection to God or the Universe.

Find your own inner truth 

Finding your own truth and reconnecting to your own natural rhythm is the big challenge of our times.  With the pull of the monkey mind with its 10000 distractions flickering from every digital screen, and pulling the mind into many different directions, we are left with a feeling of emptiness and spiritual hunger that is often compensated with addictive behavior.

Happiness is a state of “Being” and not something to be achieved, found in the silence on holy ground, in the green and blue spaces of nature, the opening of the senses to the magic of the moment.

In becoming mindful for the subtle messages of the universe transmitted in dreams, images and symbols, life takes on an entirely different meaning.
Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

https://www.reinogevers.com

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You are not alone

No Man is an Island’

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;

– John Donne – 

We realize when alone that we are not an island. During these times of crisis separation has become the watchword. It mirrors how far we have become separated in the relationship with ourselves and the natural world around us.

The writings of German philosopher Martin Buber seem particularly poignant. His most famous book “Ich und Du”, published in 1923,  roughly translates to “I and Though” with its central tenet that human life finds its purpose and meaning in relationships.

The separation from the ‘I’

Nature does not take revenge. If we go to war with nature there is merely cause and effect.  Perceiving the world, the earth, or the universe as being separate or external from the “I” is a belief-centered delusion.

Relationship is connection to Soul

Buber argues that ultimately relationship is about our connectedness to the inner soul spirit, God, or the Universe.  Ancient man and the hunter and gatherer societies are still very much aware of the connectedness of the inner spirit with the natural world.

Becoming with the Though

In the relationship with the “Though” there is a “becoming” into the wholeness of purpose and BEING. The essence of life, according to Buber, is found in the relationship with the other. With the emphasis of our culture from the “restrictions and obligations” of community” to the self-fulfillment of “individual freedom” we have fallen from one extreme to the other.

Pseudo-community or meaning is sought by the individual in pseudo-religion and the tribe affiliation to party political institutions. How else can we explain the blind following of the professional populist deceivers and the false prophets of our age?

Anybody who has gone through a divorce will know of the trauma left between two people who once loved each other. In the beginning, there is unconditional love. We see in the other, the Though, a merger or completion. Ideally, the partners support and empower each other in spiritual growth. But we often seek in the other that which has not been healed within. Disappointment is inevitable when the emotional shadows get triggered. The breakdown comes creeping slowly, respect gets lost when we see the other grappling with similar emotional issues. Communication is reduced to the mundane.

The soul journey is exploring the “Though” within. In the Gospel of St. Thomas, discovered at Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1945, Jesus is quoted as saying:

“See the kingdom 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).
Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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