Tag Archives: spirituality

The happiness illusion

Our culture has been indoctrinated with the happiness illusion with the self-help industry promoting the image of the perfect human being, successful in all areas of life and beaming a happy smile on social media outlets.

The “happiness” and “positive thinking” preoccupation is one of the many fallouts of a culture addicted to the distraction of the 10,000 things and immediate external gratification. Something is “wrong” with you if you are struggling with the challenges life throws at you.

Admitting to your surroundings that you are going through a bout of sadness or even depression is frowned upon.

Life is cyclical

One of the key lessons the pandemic is teaching us is that life is cyclical. There is never only growth, happiness, prosperity and celebration. The ancient wisdom of the Five Elements emphasizes that impermanence is an essential aspect of evolutionary growth and an inherent aspect of cosmic law.

Saint John of the Cross, the great 16th century Spanish mystic, narrates in the Dark Night of the Soul, the elevation of consciousness during periods of hardship and difficulty. In the darkest of nights the soul reaches the light in the union with the Creator. The ego has been killed and in that humility of quiet emptiness a door opens.

The architects of Europe’s finest medieval cathedrals were aware of this central spiritual message. The light from the stained glass is most pronounced when the light from outside illuminates the darkness within.

The power that lies within

Nelson Mandela, during his darkest of nights in solitary confinement, repeatedly recited and found solace in the poem Invictus written in 1875 by William Ernest Henley. The poem reminds us of the great strength that lies in the unconquerable soul during challenging times. In confronting adversity we come out on the other side greater and stronger as the “captain” of the soul.

The trap of falling into resistance

The greatest obstacle in transmuting those struggles, humiliations, losses, and relationship breakdowns is by going into resistance. Typically its the response: Why me? Who can I blame? Instead you should be asking: What is the universe trying to teach me? Which new direction do I need to take? How can this experience make me a more valuable, vulnerable, humble and a wiser human being.

Often the resistance is to making the necessary changes. You might have been pursuing an image of yourself that does not align with your soul purpose but has been dictated by the ego, your parents, immediate associations or other external influences. The universe gently nudges us into the direction we need to go but with so many distractions we miss the road markers on the way.

Life is a topsy-turvy world of ups-and-downs, challenges, failures, mishaps, disappointments but also victories, joys and celebration. One of the reasons why the deep walk pilgrimage is becoming so popular is that it is such a perfect analogy of life.

The entire Camino walk of five weeks can be a hard, painful slog through mud, bad weather, painful blisters and emotional flat-on-the-ground moments. But at the end of the journey there is boundless joy in entering one of the world’s great architectural masterpieces, the Cathedral of Santiago in northwestern Spain, and celebrating the accomplishment with fellow pilgrims.

It is upon the reflection of life’s journey that we become aware that from the day we were born, life sculptures us into the human being we are destined to become. It is part of the beauty of the human condition that the struggles define and make us who we are. Living authenticity is the unconditional acceptance of the low-moments as the precondition to fully experiencing the high moment.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

I have a special New Year offer on my latest book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul”. If you buy my new video Deep Walking with the key lessons from the book in my store, I will send you the paperback edition of the book for FREE.

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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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Christmas: A message of Hope

People are crowding the streets, buying foods and other goodies at the elaborately decorated stalls of the Christmas markets. There is a hurried frenzy in the shops with choirs and musicians performing carols in the town square. That was Christmas last year and most years prior to that.

The world has gone into hibernation, I thought as I took doggy for a walk in the empty streets of my village here on the island of Mallorca where a curfew takes effect from 10 pm. Gatherings of more than six people are prohibited in a stage 4 lockdown.

Collectively humanity is going through a winter time of the soul period. But it is also in the darkest of nights that we can see best the first glimmer of light. It is a good time to reflect on the deeper meaning of Christmas that has degenerated for much of the world into a loud celebration of meaningless consumerism, family squabbles and gluttony.

The world Christmas stems from the words “Christ Mass” – the celebration of Christ at mass in the Catholic tradition. But this time of the year has for thousands of years, long before Christianity, been a day of celebration and ritual for people. In the northern hemisphere the sun moves to its lowest arc in the winter solstice on December 21st when the North Pole is tilted furthest from the sun.

Worship of the sun or the light was at the heart of many pagan religions as a reminder that all life on Earth stemmed from the sun. It was the basis of the Roman and Greek religions, Mithraism and Zoroastrianism. The early Roman Christian bishops found it therefore convenient to set December 25th as Jesus’ date of birth thus incorporating the old religions with the new.

Moving from the darkness into the light, and turning the soul outward back into the light after a period of grief and sadness is very much also the story of Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection. It gives sense to the seasonal and cyclical nature of life. With the birth of Jesus, the Christ is invited within.

In recent decades humanity has see-sawed between a mindset of rigid fundamentalism and nihilistic, non-comital consumerism that found special expression around Christmas.

The search for the Holy Grail is on a symbolic level the search for meaning and purpose, finding soul purpose and aligning with the inner Christ on a heart level. In connecting with the soul it becomes your inner friend and guiding light. That moment of connection between soul and purpose is rebirth and resurrection. The soul has turned outward into the light after a long period of inner hibernation.

Christmas is a story of hope, optimism and a new beginning as humanity moves collectively from this period of great anxiety and fear.

Pointedly a “Star of Bethlehem” constellation will be seen in the sky on Monday, 21st December. Two of the solar system’s brightest planets Jupiter and Saturn align closer together than at any time during the past 400 years. The two planets last lined up this close in the year 1623!

Among the star gazers and astrologists this unique star constellation is seen as a symbol of hope and new beginning.

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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Are you in a spiral of negativity?

As our world rapidly changes on multiple levels the divide between those who adapt and go into elevation of consciousness and those left behind will grow.

When major shifts like the one we are going through occur, the divide between the extremes also becomes more pronounced. The one side sees opportunity for adaptation, learning, progress and awareness while the other falls ever more into the negativity spiral, and lamenting the “good times” of the past.

Falling into the negativity trap will deplete you on all levels

The emotional fallout from those in the shadow can be seen in uncontrolled anger, fear, and anxiety. Falling into the negativity trap will deplete your energy, make you grumpy and harm your immune system. During this disruptive time of distraction it is important to remain conscious and aware.

The first stage when hit by a catastrophic event out of our control like an accident, life-threatening medical diagnosis, mental breakdown, job loss or the current pandemic will be shock, fear or flight. The process of transmuting such a flat-on-the-ground moment starts with the realistic acceptance of the situation. The Mystics call it “turning the soul around into the light.”

Within suffering is the seed of transmutation

As the soul gradually moves out of the negativity spiral it becomes the greatest agent for spiritual renewal, growth and creativity.

“In the midst of conscious suffering, there is already the transmutation. The fire of suffering becomes the light of consciousness,” Eckart Tolle writes in his book “A New Earth”

In “primitive” consciousness a natural catastrophe, and all forms of suffering were seen as acts of the Gods punishing humans for their “sins.” During the bubonic plague and famines of the Middle Ages the clergy reacted by punishing with the Inquisition the “heretics” and “witches” whom they blamed for angering God with their “sins.”

Why do good people have to suffer and the evil are rewarded?

In contrast the 4th century philosopher St. Augustine answers the age-old question why “good people” so often suffer a calamity while “the wicked” seem to be rewarded for their actions. In the “City of God” he writes that though both suffer alike “the same violence of affliction proves, purges, clarifies the good, but damns, ruins, exterminates the wicked. And thus it is that in the same affliction the wicked detest God and blaspheme, while the good pray and praise.”

Though suffering may be triggered by an external event or person, we have been given by God the power of choice, according to Augustine: “In the first place, suffering is the action of another person, not of the sufferer.”

External image is a root cause of suffering

Suffering is often related to identity. This is especially the case when material possessions, job positions, political office, fame are lost or threatened or when identity fused with physical appearance fades. Tolle describes the root of insanity as the complete identification with negative thought and emotion.

A general stressed out impatience, irritability and “fed-up” attitude seems to be the predominant inner mindset of much of the world around us. Negativity and gossip becomes an addiction and the general topic of office small-talk. You are suffering and creating suffering without realizing it.

The point is however, that we don’t need to suffer to be awakened. Conscious living begins with presence of mind in building a healthy boundary to the onslaught of negativity that comes in over dosage of negative media. A healthy body getting enough sleep, nutrition and exercise is less irritable.

Much of our ego-driven society is caught in the shadow of self-aggrandizement and immediate gratification. When you are unclear and disconnected from your core values, you will always get caught up in the tentacles of the shadow. The question that needs to be asked with everything that comes your way is:

  • Is this serving my higher purpose or destiny?
  • Is this information or meeting enhancing or depleting my energy?

When you embrace yourself with loving care you are embracing the diving within you and will no longer be in need of suffering.

When you liberate yourself from the thought that external form brings happiness you can finally enjoy the continuous ebb-and flow of creation and the dance of life. Spiritual consciousness alone can bring true meaning and happiness. The more you deviate from your true purpose and inner core values the more discontent you will be.

External purpose can be infused with spiritual meaning if it is in alignment with the higher evolutionary path of the universe or God.

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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The power within

Early in the last century the Italian town of Gubbio was terrorized by a wolf. It waited outside the city gates waiting to feast on anyone foolish enough to venture outside. Saint Francis, who had lived in the city at the time, then announced that he himself would visit the wolf in its lair to bring peace to the village.

St. Francis was followed by some townsfolk from a distance when he approached the lair. With the wolf charging at Francis he made the sign of the Cross and commanded the wolf to cease its attacks in the name of God, at which point the wolf trotted up to him docilely and lay at his feet, putting its head in his hands.

Which wolf are you feeding?

St. Francis had elicited a pledge from the wolf that he would no longer attack the villagers if they kept on feeding the hungry wolf. The deeper meaning of this story is that human nature is constantly at war between the spirit and the temptations of the flesh and the lures of toxic emotions.

Preoccupation with the “outward” as opposed to the “inward” soul calling is a constant theme in the writings of the ancient mystics and their wisdom is more topical than ever in a world where political narrative is a reflection of an ego-centered culture where image takes precedence over truth and minds are captured in an alternative reality.

The pull between the good spirit, in what the 13th century Dominican monk Meister Eckhart calls the emphasis on what is “virtuous and eternal” and the evil spirit in what is “temporal and transient” , is embedded in human nature from the time of birth.

The inward and the outward pull

Modern culture is pounding away at the human mind 24-7 with the emphasis on gratification from the external which in turn leads to a spiritual void of the internal. The Greek philosophers Cicero and Seneca speak of the “inward spirit” within which lies the “seed of God” while the outward mind is constantly challenged by the temptations of immediate gratification.

Eckhart defines “evil” as the direct opposite of the internal. While the “inward” mind is focused on following “God” or the universal truth on the path of life the “external” mind prefers to walk in front of God. It is the ego-mind at work, refusing to acknowledge failure or mistake. Its sole concern is “to gain honors, wealth and pleasure.” Eckhart calls them the wicked people who have no concern to what is good or evil. “They are devils, in fact they are the Devil himself…”

Defining evil

But what do I do when one person’s “good” is another person’s “evil.” The lines often become blurred in the public discourse. Eckhart describes evil as by nature a “withdrawal of the soul from God.” While creation is aimed at perfecting, realigning with higher common purpose, evil is seeking to destruct, divide and exclude. In its worst form it is the void where there is complete absence of God.

In times of crisis strong emotions dominate. The fear of the unknown and the sadness over that which was and is no more occupy the mind. This soon becomes the breeding ground of anger that is projected against what is perceived as “the Other” responsible for ones predicament.

This is a dangerous time where we are walking the thin line of having to choose every minute of every day which of the two wolves we are feeding.

Who is making you into the person you are?

Irrespective of your political persuasions and beliefs, your associations define who you are. These are not only your immediate friends and family but also what you are feeding your mind with on social media, radio, literature and television. You might want to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the person I’m dealing with emanate from his/her innermost Being? Is it compassion, love, empathy or hate, anger, vanity or egotistical self-interest?
  • What language is being used? There is language that will expand your heart energy and there is language that will make my body tense-up and fire-up my toxic emotions.
  • Is the person or the information elevating my consciousness or making me choose the angry wolf?

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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The pandemic: A blessing?

For the first time in our lifetime humanity is faced on a global level by a life-threatening virus. Some people have lost loved ones or all their material resources. So how can a crisis be a blessing?

Any type of personal tragedy is always followed by a period of grief, sorrow, procrastination and despair. Ignoring or suppressing such feelings will inevitably have long-term harmful effects.

Acknowledging anxiety and fear

The first step is thus always in acknowledging such feelings of grief or sorrow as part of a process you are currently going through in dealing with a situation that was caused by external events outside your control.

The flat-on-the-ground moments or the “dark moments of the soul times” however always herald at the same time the start of a new beginning in finding meaning or purpose in any type of challenge you are dealing with.

The gratitude mantra

An excellent way of dealing with a brokenness of the soul is love and acceptance of the self. From that energy can emanate the next step in finding gratitude for even the smallest of things in your life right now.

“I am so thankful for the food in front of me at the moment right now, to all the people and other living beings who have provided their energy to give me nourishment…”

Most unhappiness is caused by thoughts

Most unhappy mood situations are caused by lack of thought control. From thoughts spring words and images that have either a positive or negative effect on your vibrational energy. Neurotically inclined people for instance disproportionately use the phrase “sick of” or “depressed”, according to research conducted by the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.

Photo by Kunj Parekh on Unsplash

The average person has between 50,000 and 70,000 different thoughts per day, which translates to between 35 and 48 thoughts per minute. Stress and a negative mindset always starts with a thought.

Finding a quiet space for introspection

The good news is that you can radically transform you life by focusing on good thoughts. The bad news. Its easier said than done. It takes practice for instance by taking a time out every day for a quiet space – best time first thing in the morning after getting up – and the last thing you do before you close your eyes in bed.

Find a form of meditation best suited for your needs: It could be a prayer, a mantra or deep walking in nature.

Amid the constant din of negative news information on the pandemic we are finding a growing number of people appreciating the value of friendships, the physical contact in hugging, community and sharing a common predicament. So many people are telling me that they are so much enjoying going a pace slower, working from home office, or simply having time to do the things they couldn’t do in years.

Running away from fear

When we become more aware we realize that the rat-race is really a constant running away from fear. It is the fear of losing everything and becoming nothing, especially becoming nothing when we die.

The external world is focused on the illusion that happiness only comes in the accumulation of things at some time in the future. At the same time there is constant fear of losing the people around us that we love, the things that we have already go or the job we currently have.

The Mystic traditions teach about the discovery of the pure land, or the Kingdom of God, the discovery of the preciousness of the present moment, connecting to the inner self and opening the senses to the subtle whispers from the universe.

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.

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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.

As a subscriber to my Blog you can check out a FREE condensed version of the course.

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Another hill to climb?

Tuscany, Italy: Day 6 on the Via Francigena – Monteroni to Ponte d’Arbia

A deep walking pilgrimage experience is an analogy of life. The last leg prior to reaching a destination is often the hardest.

I was again reminded of this on the steep winding path toward the medieval  fortress village of Monteriggioni which is positioned on a hilltop, dominating the rolling hills of the Tuscany landscape.

After spending most of my life in a safe job and earning a good salary, the ripple effects of the digital revolution in the media industry forced me to move from journalism into my own health consultancy business ten years ago. I had no idea how difficult it would be to generate enough income to even keep paying for running mortgages and other expenses.

I started off doing “cold calls” just to win over a few clients. I  took part in pitches and tenders that looked very promising, then collapsed at the last minute. In addition the taxman refused by even one-day to extend the deadline for a massive payment. During the first years there was far more expenditure than income. It is the reason why most people starting off on their own business give-up during the first three years. Very often a specific target is set by when a certain income has to be achieved. When  this doesn’t work out the frustration is huge and the surrender even more.

When you reach the top there is yet another hill to climb

“You reach the top of a hill and then you realize there is yet another hill to climb,” one of my mentors said to me in encouraging me never to give up. The wheel did turn eventually and much more than I had anticipated.  If I had given up at the time I would never have forgiven myself.

There is no easy road to success. It boils down to consistently doing the right thing over a long period of time, and not to stay too fixated on the long-term goal. Sometimes you have to readjust on the way. So often I had to learn that my intention was not in synchronicity with what the universe had in mind.

When you have everything just nicely set-up and planned God comes with a different script.  

 Just when you think you have mastered all the teachings, you have to be particularly watchful of the ego-traps. It is when you start telling yourself: “Oh, I know it now. I’ve heard that before: Other people don’t get it because they aren’t that far yet.”

Life is a learning journey which stops when your soul enters a different dimension.  When you think you have understood it, the listening and the learning stops. You will fail to perceive what the universe is trying to whisper into your ear.

Leaving Siena on a rainy morning yesterday we have had to make several adjustments to our plans, cutting the long route to Ponte di’ Abria into two shorter 13 kilometer sections.  Changing weather conditions, lack of accommodation and walking untrodden paths are inevitably part of the experience. One of the lessons learned on this day is patience in accepting the things that cannot be changed and to react accordingly.

After a heavy thunderstorm during the night the air had cleared with beautiful blue sky on the short walk to Buenoconvento, another medieval town with a beautiful old gateway at the entrance.

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.

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“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

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Space and time

Day 5: Via Francigena – Siena to Monteroni d’Arbia

When observing the Siena Cathedral and other architectural highlights of the 12th and 13th centuries on the Via Francigena it comes to mind that people in medieval times felt a strong connection between the physical and the spiritual.

The cathedrals were an expression of faith with everyday life closely intertwined with religion.

Records from the Siena Cathedral show that construction started around 1226 with the transportation of black and white marble, probably for the construction of the façade and the bell tower. The craftsmen who started the intricate works of art inside and outside the building often did not see their masterpieces completed during their lifetimes, yet put all their energy and creativity into the project.

Head mind and heart mind

Along the path to industrialization and the material comforts of modernity something has gotten lost with the disconnect from physical and soul needs.

The head mind is preoccupied with the distractions of the 10,000 things of short-term gratification, and emphasis on youthful vigor and performance-driven culture. It is the breeding ground for greed and egocentric behavior, the results of which we can see in the destruction of natural ecosystems, irrespective of the consequences for future generations.

The heart-mind is timeless and rooted within a multi-dimensional perspective of unity between the physical and the spiritual. It is restorative rather than exploitative. There is mindful awareness of life within a complex matrix of interdependency.

Leaving Siena and looking back the skyline is still dominated by the Cathedral on the hill. The walk itself takes the pilgrim through open, expansive countryside with unlimited views, especially of the old walled barn complex in La Grancia di Cuna, one of the most impressive agricultural buildings in the Tuscany landscape. From the 12th century it offered pilgrims and merchants on the Via Francigena accommodation and food.

The entire installation is walled with two towers facing the southern entrance. The main entrance leads to an L-shaped square from where mule packs could reach the upper floors of the barn.

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

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Walking in medieval lands

Day  5 on the Via Francigena – from Monteriggioni to Siena

The 20 kilometer walk from the hilltop town of Monteriggioni to the city of Siena is fairly easy, continuing on ancient tracks, bypassing medieval castles, fortress towers and Romanesque chapels.

At the Ponte Rosso we cross a humpback bridge common during the Middle Ages because of a wide span that were perfect for supporting pack mules of the time.

A pile of stones on a humpback bridge

Several stone pires have been left on the bridge by previous pilgrims. I love the tradition of placing gratitude stones or prayer stones along the way. It is common on the Camino de Santiago but it was the first time I saw them here on the Via Francigena.

Today I placed a pile of stones in memory and gratitude of my ancestors. We carry within us the collective memory of those that went before us. It is the reason why ancient cultures celebrate the connection in ritual and religion.

Placing stones for your ancestors at the side of the road and asking them for protection is a tradition I know very well from the Zulu culture in South Africa. I also like the thought of our ancestors guiding and protecting us with angel wings from another dimension.

Shortly before reaching Siena the trail takes the pilgrim through a forest with nature speaking through the aroma of fresh earth, walnut and fig trees.

The architectural marvels of Siena

The last stretch of a stage is often the hardest with a climb up a hill and a long walk through the dreary modern outskirts of town before reaching the old city of Siena through a 15th century gateway.

It is a city that needs more than a day to explore. The medieval center is a UNESCO world heritage site. There are numerous architectural marvels such as the central square, Piazza del Campo, the 14th century Torre del Mangia tower, the Palazzo Salimbeni, The Palazzo Publico and the Loggia della Mercanzia to name just a few.

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.

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“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

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Filed under Camino de Santiago, spirituality, Uncategorized