Tag Archives: spirituality

Food for thought

„Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” – Thich Nath Hanh

Day  2 on the Via Francigena – Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano

On a hilltop between the medieval Tuscan towns of Gambassi Terme and San Gimignano the pilgrim enters the village of Pancole famous for the 15th century painting by Pier Francesco Fiorentino of the “Virgin feeding her Son.”

The original sanctuary was built in 1668 on the site where the sacred image originally stood along a country road where it had been abandoned and covered by undergrowth. Several miracles were attributed to the Madonna.

One of the miracles is the survival of the painting itself after the Nazis destroyed the original sanctuary in an act of indiscriminate vandalism in a bid to destroy the very soul and ancestral roots of a nation.

The sanctuary was reconstructed in 1949 and along with the nearby Monastero di Bose offer wonderful spaces for quiet  contemplation.

Landscapes that inspired poets and artists throughout the ages

It is no surprise that spectacular landscapes and the quiet pathways throughout the centuries inspired poets, musicians and religious orders

Spending hours in the heart of nature after only a few days of walking opens the heart and mind to the whispers from the universe.

You are forced to go slow up the steep inclines and then you begin to notice the small creatures on the ground such as the lizards, beetles, ants, and butterflies.  When in a hurry it is easy to mindlessly trample on these small creatures who are all fighting for survival when perceiving the heavy boots of an oncoming pilgrim.

St. Francis – the original ecologist

There are numerous stories of St. Francis, the patron saint of the animals, communicating and preaching to the animals as fellow creatures of God.  The saint was well known to walk long distances to spread his message and there are no numerous shrines on the Camino in Spain and along the Via Francigena dedicated to him.

St. Francis can be described as the original ecologist and his central message of social justice and greed causing harm to both the victim and the perpetrator ringing more true than ever.

Spending time in nature creates awareness on how complex the interaction of plant, insect, bird and mammal are intertwined and co-dependent on each other.  Nature starts tilting into imbalance when one species gains dominance and threatens the livelihood of all others. It is offers much food for thought.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bookcovers_sideview.jpg

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina Germany

Leave a comment

Filed under Camino de Santiago, environment, meditation, Pilgrimage, self-development, spirituality

One step at a time …

Day  1: Via Francigena – San Miniato to Gambassi Terme

The question often arises about the differences between a hike and a deep walking pilgrimage. The easiest way for you to find out would be to follow in the footsteps of the ancient pilgrims on one of the famous European routes.

Experiencing it cannot be explained in full

I have met many people who started walking the Camino de Santiago as a hiker and ended it as a pilgrim. Experiential spirituality cannot be explained. It can only be experienced.

Today I started my 13th pilgrimage walk on the Via Francigena in Italy. The original plan was to once again walk one of the Spanish routes but Covid-19 forced a change of plan. Italy is currently  a safer country to travel after initially suffering the worst outbreak of the virus in Europe  earlier this year. It is now hailed as one of the countries that have  been more successful in containing the virus.

Like the Camino de Santiago the Via Francigena is one of the ancient pilgrimage routes dating back to the Middle Ages with the exception that pilgrims walked to Rome rather than Santiago.

A blessing from a stranger

Our walk started in the northern Italian town of San Miniato  near Pisa. On leaving the town a friendly granny stamped our pilgrims’ passports, handing each of us a small shell with the blessing of the Holy Mary.

We would not be able to comfortably enjoy these marvelous pilgrimage paths without the support of thousands of such local volunteers who maintain the paths with way markers, first aid kits, and offering their service in the pilgrims’ hostels. It is not uncommon for these people to spend whatever they have left from their small pensions and salaries to maintain these old paths, chapels and other holy sites.

The 24 kilometer route to Gambassi Terme is challenging for a first day, lacking the typical cafes and small towns that you find on the Camino de Santiago. The countryside nevertheless offers marvelous views of the Tuscany landscape and after some hours of walking, the town of San Miniato can be seen in the distance with its unmistakeable hilltop fortress tower.

The physical challenge

Forced by the circumstances to carry more weight than usual in my backpack, this first day was physically strenuous. I would always advise first-time hikers to start with short-distance walks of no more than 12-15 kilometers so that the body can gradually become attuned to long-distance walking. I was reminded of my first walk on the Camino carrying too much weight and starting wholly unprepared. The back pain, blisters and other physical and mental ailments followed inevitably.

Lessons in humility

The pilgrimage path is an important lesson in humility. “If you don’t walk  the path with humility it will teach you humility,” a pilgrim once said to me.

It is in the recognition of one’s own brokenness, and in opening up to the beginners’ mind that possibility and elevation  of consciousness is possible.

Especially in the current situation it is easy to get pulled into the maelstrom of news negativity and doomsday prophets. A pilgrimage walk is the perfect opportunity to realign and center the mind to higher purpose and meaning.

Walking a path more than once is like reading a good book several times over. What you have not seen or read the first time will be seen differently, from a different angle and new window of consciousness.

The lesson of the day:

  • Take one step at a time. If you look at the mountain ahead, your walk will be so much more difficult. On the other hand if you turn around you will be amazed as to how far you have walked.
  • Looking at the mountain to climb is the trap that leads to procrastination.
  • One blessing, one good thought at a time, one positive action at a time leads to the compound effect that makes all the difference both to you and the world.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina, Germany

Leave a comment

Filed under Pilgrimage, self-development, spirituality

Are you lost?

Are you finding yourself lost and alone? Just when you thought you were on the right track you find yourself hitting a wall and not knowing a way out.

Photo by Maksym Kaharlytskyi on Unsplash

We have all had those moments. At times I have not only found myself lost on a remote mountain on the Camino in northwestern Spain but also on life’s journey. Inevitably I would get lost when I missed an important way marker while daydreaming and avoiding the warning signs from the universe.

Heeding the early warning signs when something is wrong

The universe will always be whispering to you. Especially when you are on the wrong track the whispers could turn into a “shout out”. Inevitably there will be those early warning signs where you feel intuitively that something is wrong.

A person is asking you to lend them money. They tell you they will most certainly pay you back within a month. There is that first feeling that you shouldn’t be doing this but the person is so convincing that you push that first doubt aside. Of course you remember that thought again when the person never complies and you have lost your money.

Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior

Despite a person’s charm the best predictor of a person’s future behavior is that person’s past behavior. Very few people can disguise for any length of time their true character traits. A pity then that falling in love often gets in the way of making a realistic assessment of a person’s character.

There are those small tell-tale signs. Small lies turn into big lies. Repeated assurances that it will not happen again. A change in the tone of voice, a look in the eye and you know something is just not right.

Trusting what the body is trying to tell you

The body is an excellent compass when it comes to trusting your intuition, and knowing. When does my energy expand? When is my energy getting depleted? Ignoring the inner voice of truth for any length of time will inevitably impact your mental and physical health.

Sleepless nights. A common cold not wanting to go away and pointing to a more serious underlying health issue? Regular high blood pressure problems indicating a high stress level and putting you at risk of a stroke or heart attack?

Very few crisis situations simply come out of the blue. Like getting lost on a walk it takes some time before you realize that you are on the wrong path. A call from a passing farmer might alert you to going back onto the right path. Advice from a good friend might prevent you from making a bad decision. But sometimes you do end up getting lost hopelessly. Such crisis situations however can be important lessons in the elevation of consciousness.

Lessons to be learning in a crisis

If you have the feeling that you have placed your ladder against the wrong wall, are unhappy with your situation, and maybe going through a period of sadness and depression, here is something you might consider doing:

  • What is my current situation trying to teach me?
  • What has the universe been trying to whisper to my soul?
  • What past experience feels similar and how did I get out of that situation?

If you feel lost or are finding yourself in a personal crisis situation it always means that something needs to change, has to be reconfigured, realigned, surrendered, let go-of.

But the fear of change and moving out of a comfort zone is one of the biggest human fears. The suffering in the silent misery of procrastination comes from the misconception that we are victims of external circumstance. But it is only half of the truth.

Our greatest freedom is the freedom of choice

The universe, or God, has at the same time given man the freedom of choice. The freedom of choice starts with your mindset. Am I programming myself into a victim mentality? Or am I programming myself to becoming a co-creator in the firm belief that whatever challenge I am confronted with is part of the lesson to be learned of an eternal soul on an evolutionary path of the human experience.

We make mistakes, take the wrong turns, trust the wrong people, make bad choices. It is part of the human condition. We are on a journey, picking up the cues and lessons while on the way.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

BookCovers_Sideview

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina, Germany

Leave a comment

Filed under mental health, mental-health, Uncategorized

Prayer or meditation?

There is sometimes confusion on the differences between prayer and meditation. It can mean the same thing but could have differences and meaning, depending on the individual or the faith.

The Oxford dictionary defines prayer as “the relating of the self or soul to God in trust, penitence, praise, petition, and purpose, either individually or corporately”.

In the biblical stories God is perceived as an external creator, deity, or strict father who punishes or rewards. Natural or personal catastrophes were perceived as punishment where penitence had to be sought or sacrifices had to be made.

The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in the Middle Ages was primarily an act of penitence. Today the pilgrim to Santiago reflects many of the changes in the collective on the spiritual level.

Prayer is a direct conversation with the “universe”, “God,” or the “creator”. From a very early age my grandmother taught me how to pray. It was first a prayer for the well-being and protection of family members who were named by name, especially if they were going through a difficult time.

Praying for the well-being or healing of others is a way of transcending the ego and the direct needs of self. There have been events in my life where I even had angry conversations with God.

“Why did this have to happen to me?” “If you are out there why are you allowing such bad things in the world to happen.” It is something many people were asking after the 9/11 terror attacks. “Why does God allow evil? Why did he not prevent all those people from dying.”

In what is the eternal polarity of life there will always be good and evil. God has given man the freedom of choice. Where there is the evil of division, incitement of hatred, and destruction of life there is absence of God just as much as there is presence of God in unconditional love, compassion, kindness and generosity.

God cannot be explained. God can only be experienced.

In essence meditation is experiential spirituality. It is going into a quiet space and allowing God or the voice of the universe to whisper to the soul.

I have experienced the most intense spiritual experience just after some of those “flat on the ground” moments. On my second Camino pilgrimage walk I got hopelessly lost in the Pyrenees mountains during a massive thunderstorm. It was early May. I was badly prepared wearing summer hiking clothing at a time of year when subzero temperatures at night, often claimed the lives of hikers. After wandering about aimlessly in the dark for hours, close to the point of complete surrender, I noticed a light in the distance that finally led me to a village and safety.

When faced with a problem or having to make a difficult decision it helps to go into silence or to take a time out for introspection. The answer can come sometimes in the most unexpected of ways: A passing remark by a stranger, an image, a dream, a sudden thought or idea where you instantly know what needs to be done.

We are living at a time where the senses are being bombarded with distractions that pull the mind into the confusion of all directions. Meditation calms and centers the mind. There is no right or wrong on how to meditate.

One of the most popular forms is the mindfulness meditation originating from Buddhism. Attention is paid to breathing in the sitting position. When the mind inevitably starts wandering, attention is focused back to the breathing. In the Zen tradition everything can be meditation if done with awareness. There is a saying: When I eat I eat. When I talk I talk. When I walk, I walk. When I listen, I listen.

In the walking meditation every movement of the foot is connected to an inhaling and exhaling breath, while at the same time opening the senses to the surroundings in awareness of “presence.”

As you learn to meditate while sitting or walking you become aware of the importance of standing guard at the doorway of the mind. What you think you become.

Going into dialogue with that inner truth, whether in prayer or meditation, helps answer that age old question. Where do I come from? What am I doing? Where am I going.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

BookCovers_Sideview

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina, Germany

Leave a comment

Filed under spirituality

What every crisis is trying to tell you

Especially during these times when the world seems to be falling apart and politics seems to have gone mad, a lot of people are having trouble remaining centered and protecting themselves from all the negativity.

It is easy to fall into the trap of joining conversations, especially on social media, painting apocalyptic scenarios of what our world might look like in the coming weeks and months.

Crisis_mentoring

A crisis happens for a reason

Covid-19 happened for a reason. Times of crisis are good times to readjust, to go into introspection, to change outdated structures, and to press the reset button with a clean slate.

A relationship conflict, a personal crisis, a dispute, or even a serious health diagnosis reveal the truths that need to be addressed. It brings to the fore the festering sore that needs healing. The elephant in the room is finally named. The child has spoken: “The emperor has no clothes.”

Here on the Mediterranean island of Majorca, where I live, the hospitality sector has been devastated and many businesses are going bankrupt. The island’s economy is 75 percent dependent on tourism with ten million people visiting annually with a local population of just under a million. The strain on the infra-structure from traffic, freshwater supplies to sewerage was palpably obvious. Now for the first time, the voices of those calling for a more upmarket, sustainable type of tourism are being heard. While some folk are wallowing in self-pity and blaming the virus others are already looking ahead and finding new opportunities.

A crisis is an imbalanced state that calls for correction 

From the ancient philosophy of the yin and yang of the Chinese Five Element theory, a crisis is a state of imbalance where the elements wood, fire, earth, metal, and water are trying to reconfigure.  Sometimes both on a personal and collective level humanity needs a jolt to wake-up. But the valid question remains:

“This still doesn’t remove my day-to-day bread and butter concerns and sleepless nights? These are some questions that might help when you are feeling strong emotions of fear and panic.

  • Is it really, really true? What are the actual facts at this point in time?
  • What is the worst possible thing that could happen?
  • What resources do I have available? Who do I know that I could ask and who could help?
  • How did I get through a similar crisis in the past?
  • I am absolutely certain that this too shall pass.

Impermanence and uncertainty is a law of life. The biggest challenge for every human being is to remain fully present. Nobody knows what tomorrow will bring. You are robbing yourself of the preciousness of life by imagining what will be next month, next year or in five years.

When you feel your head spinning, take a deep breath. Feel how you are breathing. Inhale and exhale with a conscious presence of mind. Inhale “Faith” – exhale “Fear”. Do it for so many minutes until you are actually feeling more relaxed and at ease. The solution to your problem comes from that empty space of quiet relaxation. The universe will always have an answer for you, even if not immediately.

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

BookCovers_Sideview

 

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

 

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

 

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina, Germany

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

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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.

fresco2blog

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

Gevers-DeepWalking CVR.indd               paperback_cover_1

Order here

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Have we lost the ability to communicate?

The current wave of protests against lockdown regulations is indicative of how deeply divided our societies have become. There is a dangerous groundswell of anger easily manipulated by professional deceivers and political demagogues.

Donna parla con lettere su sfondo biancoWith a presidential election coming up in the United States the dividing lines between Democrats and Republicans have never been bigger and more dangerous. If even the wearing of masks becomes a political issue there is a problem.  Be prepared for a very dirty election with global implications.

The trigger words that end “communication”

A normal conversation quickly gets out of hand when trigger words such as “vaccination”, “Trump”, “climate change”, “migrants”, or “Bill Gates” are thrown in. One of the side-effects of lockdown has been that millions of people have not only been locked in their homes but also in their belief systems in scouring the Internet to confirm existing beliefs.

Conventional religion and other institutions formed for a long time the cornerstones and value systems of societies. These have steadily lost influence in the competition for instant gratification. The hypocrisy of institutionalized religion has not helped either with millions of faithful turning either to fundamentalism or pseudo-religion.

Pseudo-beliefs filling the void of religion 

The search for meaning and soul purpose has never been greater. But as humanity moves to higher consciousness, the walk over the hot coals has also become very painful. We are at the crossroads with humankind either falling back into the spiral of fear-based radicalism or moving forward into a restorative, sustainable future where diversity is respected and tolerated.

We will have to learn to communicate again. Communication is not a one-way street of blasting a tweet, or an Instagram post.  Social media has become the rocket fuel of narcissism.  Somewhere along the process of transmission the concept of real  “sharing” of ideas, opinions, facts, and values has been left by the wayside.

We have become so obsessed with our ego-centered own opinion and “belief” that we have lost the ability to listen.  Narcissists are masters in denialism and creating their own truth. They will never admit to human fallibility.

But it is only through the admission of vulnerability and fallibility that we open the realm to listening, asking the who, what, where, when, and why? This is where we learn, adapt, revise, and grow as human beings.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

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Subscribe and get my FREE Booklet:

“Resilience: What makes you strong during times of crisis?

     

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Joseph and the power of forgiveness

Are you struggling to forgive yourself and others? The biblical story of Joseph is one of the most powerful teachings of how the ways of the universe or God can be very different from the plans we often make in life.

Joseph was slandered, beaten, and sold into slavery by his own brothers because of jealousy. Joseph could have easily succumbed to his fate but he never lost faith that everything in life had purpose and meaning.

slavery

Photo by Hussain Badshah on Unsplash

The trap of the blame game

Only from such a perspective could he forgive his brothers and move out of the trap of the blame game. He made the best out of his situation to such an extent that Potiphar, the man who bought him on the slave market in Egypt, soon promoted him to a higher position. Later he was put in charge of managing Potiphar’s huge estate.

Potiphar had taken a liking to Joseph and must have been impressed by his kindness, wisdom, and humility. For all intents and purposes, Joseph had made it. But Potiphar’s bored wife had taken just as much a liking to the handsome young Joseph. Realizing that he would betray his master who had done so much for him, Joseph avoided the advances of Potiphar’s wife who became so upset that she accused him of rape. Joseph was thrown into prison losing everything. He could again have succumbed to despondency.

But it so happens that he meets in prison two of the Pharaoh’s ministers who had lost favor with the ruler. One of them was eventually released from prison and restored to his old position. Only when the Pharaoh had a strange dream did the minister remember the time in prison with Joseph who had impressed him as an interpreter of dreams. Long story short, Joseph gets released from prison to interpret the Pharaoh’s dream. The essence of the dream was that the ruler had to prepare the country for seven years of drought. Amazingly Joseph’s fortune changed in an instant when the Pharaoh recognized the wisdom of the man he was dealing with.  Joseph gets made viceroy of all of Egypt as the righthand man of the most powerful ruler of the world at the time.

Life comes in strange twists and turns

True to the dream interpretation the drought did come and only by wise management of the food and grain resources could countless lives be saved including those of Joseph’s brother and aging father Jacob.

Life comes often in strange twists and turns. Fortunes can be earned and lost overnight. High positions of political power and influence may be gone tomorrow. The amazing story of Joseph is that he never lost trust and faith. By forgiving his brothers and Potiphar’s wife for falsely accusing him, he made peace with himself and could go into trust and humility. From that energy grew his wisdom and incredible foresight to prevent a catastrophe.

Forgiving does not mean approval of wrongdoing

Forgiving does not mean that you are approving of wrongdoing, of abuse, and all the terrible things that humans do to each other. It is making peace with the past in the knowledge that you are the person today because of all of that which you have experienced. The famous Austrian psychiatrist Victor Frankl only survived the Nazi death camps by telling himself that “everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s one way.”

Nelson Mandela was often asked why he did not seek retribution from the white apartheid rulers who imprisoned him for 27 years. His answer: “Forgiveness liberates the soul, it removes fear. That’s why it’s such a powerful weapon.”

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

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Subscribe and get my FREE Booklet:

“Resilience: What makes you strong during times of crisis?

     

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Dealing with fear and anger

The only certainty in life is that change is a constant

– Heraclitus-

Anger is a close ally of fear. With many countries going into their second month of Covid-19 lockdown the strain is beginning to show with spontaneous angry protests in several bigger cities over the weekend.

We are currently experiencing a defining moment in history.  Our world will never be the same again.  During the first stage of a tumultuous change, there is often resistance and denial. Then comes fear. Terrible decisions are made when we are in a hurry and under stress. The reason is simple:

When you are in a state of fear and stress the body is flooded with stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Blood vessels contract, your heartbeat starts racing, the body is in fear and flight mode. The fear reaction in the brain’s amygdala is triggered even before you have time to process and think rationally.

Solutions are found with a relaxed mind

The prefrontal cortex of the brain has no time to process what is happening. In a relaxation mode, the prefrontal cortex can, however, perform its executive function in differentiating between conflicting thoughts and determining future consequences of current activities on a rational level. Solutions are found in an aligned and relaxed mode.

There are wonderful and simple methods of how you can lower your blood pressure and go back into a relaxed state of mind:

  • Emotional shifting is becoming aware of the emotion you are currently feeling. Is it fear, anger, grief, sadness? Define the emotion! Yes, I am afraid and anxious! Then find an image in your mind that can act as an antidote to that fear: A funny video, love for a person close to you, gratitude for all that is good in your life, a wonderful experience that you had recently.
  • When you are under duress it immediately shows in shortness of breath. Place your hands on your lower belly. At the count of one, you inhale, and at the count of one you exhale, feeling that exhaling feeling all the way down into your lower belly. Keep going at least until the count of 21.
  • Some countries are relaxing some of the restrictions, allowing people to go on walks. Take the opportunity and go for a walk in nature. Find a spot where you can tune your senses to a natural sound like the song of a bird or can hear the rustling of leaves in a tree.

How you start your day will determine your day. If you’ve had a bad night with monkeys dancing in your head, you can start with the emotional shift exercise, followed by the meditation. You can also practice a personal mantra. One of my favorites is:

Everything is Grace. Faith over Fear

Prayer is a powerful method of going beyond the self and finding solace, especially if you pray for others who are in a much worse position.

This time is a time that can be compared to winter. It is also a winter of the soul, a time of introspection where minds can go into silence.  The time of hibernation is lying low until the turbulence has passed and remain in trust. This too shall pass in a rebirth that is spring.
Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

Subscribe to my weekly newsletter and get my FREE Booklet, “Resilience: What makes you strong?

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Covid-19 and empty spaces

Thirty spokes meet in the hub, but the empty space between them is the essence of the wheel.” – Lao Tse – 

In the hurried rat race of our modern culture, we have become so used to treading the treadmill of HAVING that we have forgotten all about the BEING. The spokes of the wheel are what is visible but what is really the essence is that which is invisible and holds everything together.

Foto

It is in those quiet moments of loneliness where we are finally separated from the drumbeat of distraction that we find connection.

Western culture is in a state of spiritual disconnect, expressing itself in the fraying of economic, social, religious and other institutions and the pandemic rise of mental illness. The Covid-19 pandemic was just the trigger. The foundations of the house we have been building has been on shaky ground for some time in the constant pull between externation gratification and inner soul yearning.

Resilience is built from a good sprint and recovery cycle 

A life in imbalance with high stress not compensated by recuperation periods of empty space inevitably leads to a breakdown of the body’s natural defence systems. A healthy sprint and recovery system makes a body resilient to the storms of life. Check out my booklet on Resilience: What makes you strong?

These changes are leaving people anxious, scared, disorientated and confused. The first thing people do in such situations is to find someone to blame: The Chinese having started it all with lack of safety measures in a laboratory in Wuhan, politicians not having reacted early enough or having responded too harshly.

Making the best out of the current situation

If you are a spiritually orientated person you will find that such a mindset won’t get you far and make you feel even more miserable. On a personal level you can start by reflecting on your own mindset:

  • What opportunity lies waiting in the current situation?
  • What friends and associations can I cultivate via zoom or skype?
  • What clutter needs cleared in my immediate surroundings?

On a global level the universe is telling humanity with a major jolt to wake up. We cannot continue with the ways of old. We have to question our mobility patterns and what it means for the environment. We have to move from an exploitative economic system to a sustainable, restorative system.

In terms of the ancient Five Element philosophy, which finds many of its roots in Lao Tse’s teachings, gigantic natural or political disruptions do not come from nowhere but are unavoidable when we fail to see the signs of the elements being in imbalance. Nature is merely trying to restore balance when we initially only see the burned grounds before us. But with time grow the first seedlings from the ashes.

In our HAVING culture we have tried too hard to feed the hungry ghosts, exploiting nature to such a degree that major ecosystems and our entire global climate is in danger of collapse.

Living a life of BEING is being open again for those empty spaces where soul evolution takes place. Before our eyes we are seeing our world changing. Transmuting the emotions of fear and anxiousness and seizing the moment with courage and hope is the challenge.
Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Filed under lifestyle management, psychology, self-development, spirituality, Uncategorized, yin and yang