Tag Archives: spirituality

The difference between thoughts and feelings

“One ought to hold onto one’s heart, for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too”

– Friedrich Nietzsche-

We have to accept it as a reality of our world that much of what we think and feel is being shaped by social media platforms cementing beliefs and perspectives.

Emotions are an involuntary initial response to external stimuli by the brain’s limbic system as part of our evolutionary survival system.

The ancient Greek and Roman Stoic philosophers were well aware of this human trait. So, they developed a philosophy of life that maximizes positive emotions, reducing negative emotions, and honing virtues of character.

The Stoics believed that the way in which you respond to the world is your responsibility. They propose that most of the time your response to any given situation is a choice. At any moment you have the ability to choose one response over another.

Wisdom was seen as living in harmony with the divine Reason of that which governs nature. They trained the mind to remain calm amid the vicissitudes of life and fortune.

When a mass circulation newspaper prints on its front page an article on what would happen if Russia dropped a nuclear bomb on London, this inevitably triggers toxic emotions such as fear, anger, and outright terror. You have little control over such emotions, the brain’s limbic system is triggered into fight or flight mode.

When you go into rational thought you will start questioning the intention of the article and realize that the newspaper is merely pushing emotional buttons in order to boost its circulation and thus its advertising revenue. You will ask yourself: What is real? What is true? What is exaggeration and hyperbole?

Are you chained to your past with your self-talk?

Thoughts are always just that: Thoughts: They dwell on either an event of the past or an imaginary scenario of the future. Your quality of life will be severely impeded if you remain chained to self-talk that centers around the sadness over that which was and is no more or a perceived “grievance” that someone has inflicted on you. The mind is trapped in worries and concerns if it is fed a constant dosage of negative news on the economy.

The authenticity of the heart-mind

Heart mind feelings come from an entirely different space. Fear is transmuted by trust, and hate with love. Unconditional love and empathy come from a grounded trust in the power of a higher entity, the universal intelligence or God.

While an animal reacts mostly from the limbic instinctual level, the human has been given the power of choice and the ability to reflect. You need not be chained to your past. Every moment you can decide through choice to change your destiny.

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Where to start?

The inevitable question is: How do I regain control of toxic emotions triggered by a newspaper headline or a hurtful remark by a loved one? The first step is acceptance of those negative thoughts. Trying to push them away will only make the monster bigger. Before going into immediate attack mode, you could take a deep breath and ask yourself: Is my anger and hurt really justified? Where do I recognize that anger from? Where do I know that feeling of not being seen, heard, or disrespected?

A healthy body creates a healthy mind

If you are living a mainly sedentary lifestyle you will be far more prone to becoming a victim of negative emotions. If you feel healthy, fit, and strong you will be in a better position to “catch” the runaway horses of your mind. By practicing regular deep walking in nature you will find an inner rhythm that is in tune with your purpose and destiny. You will literally be walking toxic emotions off. Create a fixed time every day where you practice meditation, yoga, taichi, or qigong. These ancient body arts are perfectly suited to realign body, mind and soul.

According to the Stoic Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius “very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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When brokenness leads to healing

One of the common causes of pain and suffering in the human mind is the inability to accept the impermanence and unpredictability of life’s seasons.

The world is constantly changing around us and we are changing with it, but often the greatest fear is the fear of the unknown and the desire to keep things “just as they are.” Adapting to new circumstances may require the hard work of letting go of external things, friends, associations, and especially old habits and beliefs.

Searching for purpose can sometimes be a trap

Life happens with “up-and-down” cycles and hardly ever along one clear trajectory. “I just can’t find my purpose,” a young woman said to me. “It just stresses me out completely when I just think of it.”

The misconception is that destiny has chosen for us one clear purpose in life that just has to be found like a hidden treasure. The reality is that one purpose often leads to another. One experience in life creates the foundation for the next step or elevation of consciousness. A job that we once carried out with much passion, energy, and creativity becomes routinely mundane where the days just become a hard chore.

You realize that the person you once fell in love with and shared the same interests, hobbies, and ideas with is now very different. You no longer agree about anything whether it’s the food you eat, political affiliation, or the friends you are going to meet for dinner in the evening.

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The dream house you bought some years ago is showing cracks. The new neighbors are noisy, your favorite restaurant around the corner has closed and the garden is too small for your children to play.

In this week’s podcast “Living to BE” I interviewed Kevin Palmieri who was living the typical American dream with a six-figure income, a beautiful girlfriend, and a nice car. And yet he was deeply unhappy and contemplating suicide. It is in those moments of brokenness that you are forced into introspection. And so began Kevin’s journey into self-development and awareness. He founded Next Level University and a podcast that reaches over half a million people in 125 countries.

Another hill to climb

You will be on a journey climbing a hill and when you reach the hill you find that there is yet another hill to climb. Many accomplished artists, writers, and entrepreneurs describe the feeling of emptiness and even sadness after reaching their goal, realizing that being on the journey was in reality the destination. The process of writing the book created greater fulfillment than actually finishing it. Building the company into a million-dollar enterprise was more energizing than running it. Painting the picture more fulfilling than having it completed.

Nature’s path is constant evolution on a never-ending spiral of change, adaptation, withdrawal, and momentum. If you are going through a difficult time at the moment, one of Abraham Lincoln’s favourite sayings might be comforting to you:

“This too shall pass.”

It is an ancient Persian adage reflecting the temporary nature of all things and the transitory nature of human existance.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Suffering: A pathway to divinity?

“Light will someday split you open; even if your life is now a cage.“ – Hafiz

It’s a question mankind has mulled for millennia: If there is an omnipotent creator, why does he allow humanity to be afflicted by suffering, wars, disease, and natural catastrophe?

The images we are currently witnessing of the horrendous slaughter of innocent civilians in Ukraine by Russian artillery is something that has occurred throughout history: Evil tyrants going on a rampage without thought or compassion for the carnage and suffering they are causing to millions of lives.

We, humans, are quick to personalize and blame an external God for failing to intervene. It’s a simplistic way of trying to comprehend or find an explanation for the incomprehensible.

God is a state of BEING

God has often been seen as a strict father figure punishing his flock for sinful or bad behavior. The Mystics in contrast view God, the universal creator or the divine as “a state of Being” – the connection to pure love, kindness, and compassion. The manifestation of evil would therefore be the opposite condition – the state of complete absence of God.

Most suffering that we experience in our personal lives or that we witness in the external world is a result of bad human choices and actions carried out from a low level of spiritual disconnect. It is interesting to note that the German word for sin is “Sünde” which has its origins in the old-Germanic expression of “sunta” which means missing the target, straying from the right path or carrying out actions that have negative consequences.

The five stages of grief

The American-Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross has defined five stages of grief when a person has experienced great loss or trauma. There is denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance or surrender. Without surrender, we remain locked at a low energy level of grievance, and recrimination.

It is especially in the final stage of “surrender” where the heart is broken open to the soul. Jesus dying on the cross is a great analogy for the transmutation of suffering in opening the pathway to divinity and resurrection.

Connecting to the spark within

The 13th-century Mystic Meister Eckhart describes it as the sacred “Fuenklein” or spark. Within that spark, your own brightness and that of God are at one with each other. And it all comes down to making the right choices from the moment you get up in the morning.

Understanding your own thought process while practicing gratitude, and going into service is the key to creating the life you want by moving to a higher energy frequency. I had a wonderful chat this week about this topic with the Australian best-selling author and executive coach Barry Nicolaou.

In our conversation, Barry takes us through six steps toward deconstructing toxic emotions, fears, and habitual thinking. You can listen to it on my Podcast “Living to Be” and watch it on a Youtube video.

It is revealing that when you choose the low road of stale and toxic energy you will attract the same around you. It is an old saying and yet so true: Show me the five people you asssociate with the most and I will tell you who you are.

Choose instead the high path of compassion, love, kindness and forgiveness and you will feel the blessings come back to you manifold.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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How are you starting your day?

Integrating positive habits into your daily life very much determines the difference between managing your life or letting others take control. Calibrating yourself positively just after getting up in the morning can keep you on a higher energy frequency for most of the day.

We have those days when we wake up with a certain emotion such as melancholy sadness, fear, anger or anxiety, often triggered by a dream. A toxic emotion can also be triggered by reading a news item on your smartphone or watching the news while still half asleep. It then sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Humans are naturally attracted to negativity

It is easy to become subsumed by negativity because it is all around us. Mass media feeds on the notion of humans who are naturally attracted to negative news. It is part of our survival instinct. By heeding the information from a lonely wanderer that he had seen robbers in the woods we were able to avoid danger by taking a different route. Access to certain information could decide between life and death.

Reasserting control

How do you reassert control in an age where we are literally drowning in information while the mind is starving from lack of wisdom?

Calibrating the start of your day with a positive habit such as meditation, prayer, or gratitude ritual makes a huge difference to how your day will be. Think of three positive things for which you can be truly grateful before you go to bed at night and after waking up in the morning. I also like reading a positive quote or spiritual text that can act as an anchor if things start getting a bit overwhelming later in the day.

A body routine such as a few basic yoga, qi gong, or pilates exercise will vastly improve your energy level. I personally like to start with the tree posture aligning with heaven and earth before doing some stretchings and going through my tai chi form – which is an excellent slow-moving meditation.

Photo by Elina Fairytale on Pexels.com

Emotional shifting

Emotional shifting is a method whereby you lift yourself from a negative emotional state to a positive emotion. If you are angry the first step is just accepting that you are angry. The next step is then to replace that angry feeling with the opposite feeling which would be love and acceptance.

Think of anything in your life where you have felt that deep fulfilling complete joy of unconditional love. You will immediately feel a different energy. You can also use the tapping method to transmute a negative emotion into a positive emotion.

How about fear and anxiety? The opposite energy is courage, faith, and trust. Focus on conscious breathing, inhaling, and exhaling through the nose. Inhaling I feel that fear and anxiety. Exhaling I have faith and trust.

You can find out more here on my walking, breathing and other online training exercises.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Walking into health and well-being

Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”

Henry David Thoreau

With most of us spending many hours a day glued to screens, going outdoors and taking a walk in nature is one of the easiest most simple ways of maintaining your physical and mental health, according to a growing body of research.

What avid walkers have known all along is being confirmed by science. Walking in the green and blue spaces of nature is healing on multiple levels.

Trees emit airborne chemicals, called phytoncides, used to protect themselves from insects. As we breathe in these phytoncides, our bodies respond by increasing the number and activity of a particular kind of white blood cell, called natural killer (NK) cells.

The term forest bathing or shinrin-yoku became popular in Japan in the 1980s. It is basically immersing or meditating in nature. Against the background of the increasing number of people with subhealth the Japanese researchers found that shinrin-yoku not only brings people with subhealth a healthy lifestyle but also offers complementary therapies to the sick. Subhealth is described as a condition between health and disease.

In the United States researchers monitored the intimate connection of trees to our physical health after the emerald ash borer decimated over a million trees in 15 states between 1990-2007. Less tree cover was linked to over 6,000 deaths from respiratory disease.

Stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol weaken the body’s natural defense systems, making it susceptible to cardiovascular and other diseases. By spending time in the green and blue spaces of nature you can reduce those stress hormones in your body significantly.

We can interact directly with nature by opening our senses to the sound of bird song, the aroma of herbs and plants, the rushing waters of a creek, or simply meditating on the beauty of a flower.

The British Psychological Society has studied the benefits of outdoor therapy, especially for care workers. Stabilization, mindfulness, and other sensory exercises like walking while paying attention to the five senses have been found to be particularly beneficial when compared to indoor therapy sessions.

We easily become disconnected from the natural world by spending most of our lives in offices and consuming digital media. This inevitably leads to a sedentary lifestyle. Coupled with lack of exercise, a poor diet of processed food and stress the modern lifestyle is exceptionally unhealthy. Average longevity has increased over the years but few people are asking the question about the quality of life. Typical metabolism diseases linked to lifestyle such as diabetes 2, obesity, cardiac disease, cancer, dementia and alzheimer are on the increase in most industrial nations.

How much low-impact exercise do we need per day?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends at least 10,000 steps per day to reach a minimum fitness level. Most people working in office jobs are very far from reaching this target. Typically people working in a Call Center walk less than 1,500 steps per day. Studies conducted by the German Sport University in Cologne found that a low impact exercise programe for adolescents suffering from depression had a significantly positive effect on their mental state and reduced the risk of them suffering from depression later in life.

As the poet, artist and writer Jay Woodman said: “When you truly sing, you sing yourself free. When you truly dance, you dance yourself free. When you walk in the mountains or swim in the sea, again, you set yourself free.”

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Are you living someone else’s life?

Are you living through a life of a celebrity and forgetting to live your own life? Millions of people around the globe were glued for hours each day to the live coverage of the recent court drama between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard.

The business model of certain mass media is to elevate normal people like you and me to “God-like status” for the particular field they are successful at and then relish in their fall from grace with every detail of their shortcomings and failings.

The dynamics of the Depp and Amber relationship not only seems to have stirred a dark underside of their respective characters but resonated with something in the shadow of the collective consciousness.

We have the perfect Hollywood couple falling in love. It’s a paradise world where they have everything going for them – youthful beauty, fame, beautiful homes, and travelling to the most exotic places of the world in private jets. Then the curtain falls revealing a world of brutal accusations and counter accusations – a couple literally creating their own version of hell.

External success is no guarantee for happiness

What does that tell us? No matter what status, wealth and fame you have, it is no guarantee for happiness. “Both heaven and hell lie in your own mind. As heaven is your good memories and hell is your bad memories. Whether you want to enter into heaven or hell. It’s not at someone else hands. It’s your own choice,” according to Lord Robin.

Preoccupation with the lives of others is something we observe in village gossip, family drama and on the global stage. You can become so immersed with the life of another that you forget to live your own life. Celebrity worship syndrome (CWS) can become an obsessive addictive disorder. In extreme cases it results in stalking and in relatively mild cases regularly following a certain celebrity on social media.

Researchers in the United Kingdom have linked celebrity worship with higher levels of depression, anxiety and negative stress. Significant relationships were found between attitudes toward celebrities and body image among female adolescents.

We all have the same struggles, fears and anxieties

A big part of the problem is comparing one’s own unhappy and unfulfilled life with that of the celebrity who seemingly has everything that life has to offer. Such comparisons are based on illusion. On the material level certain individuals might live in completely different worlds. But on the consciousness level we are all humans with the same fears, anxieties, and emotional struggles.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The journey of life is ultimately a journey in growth of consciousness. It is practise of presence and in becoming aware of what the Holy Oneness, the Universe, or God whispers to the soul.

You have been given the power of choice. What you feed your mind with, what programs you watch on television, what books you read and the people you choose to spend most of your time determine who you become. What daily habits you practise have a major outcome on the quality of your life. It is a life with a limited timeline that you won’t want to squander.

As a wise sage once said: “You have all the time in the world and yet you have no time to lose.”

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Improve your life with this daily habit

What the ancient spiritual teachers and sages knew all along is being confirmed by modern research. Meditation and mindfulness training has a major positive impact on brain health in helping to lower stress hormones and reducing fear and anxiety.

Tragic events in the external world are magnified by mass media which in turn amplifies a general atmosphere of fear and anxiety. We can easily have the feeling that we are losing control. Whole societies and nations can fall into fear and flight mode.

In contrast, a calm mind remains focused, putting events into realistic perspective. It is solution orientated rather than being tugged into all directions by the emotions of fear, hate, and anxiety.

Harvard researcher Gaelle Desbordes has performed functional magnetic resonance imaging scans on persons before and after an eight-week course in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.

Desbordes’ interest in the topic stems from her personal experience when she began meditating in seeking respite from stress. Her experience convinced her that something real was happening and prompted her to study the subject more closely, in the hope of shedding enough light to underpin therapy that might help others.

Other researchers, including Sara Lazar, in 2012 used MRI to show that the brains of subjects thickened after an eight-week meditation course.

Especially those meditation techniques incorporating breathing, prayer and the humming of mantras measurably reduce stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.

I interviewed for my Podcast Kara Goodwin, who has made the transition from the stressful corporate IT world, into becoming a meditation teacher. She says that we cannot hope to find solutions to the problems in the external world if we don’t do the work within at the same time.

You can check out her work and courses at http://www.karagoodwin.com

Buddhist teacher Thich Nath Hanh said: “Meditation is not evasion. It is serene encounter with reality.”

And, according to Amit Ray: “Suffering is due to our disconnection with the inner soul. Meditation is establishing that connection.”

Every person obviously has different needs and expectations from practicing meditation. Mostly people starting off with the practice give-up in frustration because their expectations are too high.

We can do the traditional sitting meditation, slow movement meditation in yoga and qi gong or deep walking in nature. However, the big changes don’t come overnight, It’s the small little steps practiced as a daily habit that have the compound effect that brings the change long-term.

Jim Rohn once said: “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day.”

Check out also the following Podcasts on the power of meditation:

Kara Goodwin: Healing the inner and outer world

Cassandra Bodzak: Designing your life with meditation

Breathing into health and wellbeing

Power meditating into your day with this guided meditation

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing...If you have found this article interesting you might want to subscribe or recommend my FREE weekly Blog to friends and family. My books can be ordered at all places that sell good books in both paperback and kindle.

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The absent father and male mental health crisis

The latest mass shooting in the United States by a young male suspect in Buffalo, New York, again throws the spotlight on hate crime, and fanaticism. It is necessary to talk about how children, especially boys, grow up and what needs to be done to give them more emotional, psychological, and spiritual stability.

Criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi, found the absence of fathers to be one of the most powerful predictors of crimes. The lack of social bonds and the absence of the “father figure” as a role model for sons, providing structure, authority, and discipline are attributed as some of the key attributes lacking in violent youth.

Researchers Dr. Warren Farrell and John Gray, authors of “The Boy Crisis”, postulate that boys who grow up with an absent father or who don’t have a healthy relationship with their fathers lack a role model for healthy masculinity.

The “purpose void” and ultramasculine role models

Boys’ old senses of purpose, being a warrior, a leader, or a sole breadwinner, are fading. Many bright boys are experiencing a “purpose void”, feeling alienated, withdrawn, and addicted to immediate gratification. Compounding this issue are addicting video games that lead to distraction and ADHD, according to Farrell and Gray.

As boys become young men, their suicide rates go from equal to girls to six times that of young women! Girls seem to outperform boys at every level from education to job performance.

In some cases, these boys then seek ultramasculine role models, feeling empowered by arming themselves with weapons and joining almost exclusively male extremist groups.

These young men appear to be especially drawn to demagogic macho role models offering simple solutions to their own feelings of inadequacy and discontent. Religious minorities, immigrants, or different race groups are targeted. An idealized, orderly state of the past is recalled. A dystopian future lies waiting, ruled by a “fatherly” figurehead in a reborn patriarchy.

How do we confront this poisoning of the mind?

It has to be said that many single mothers bravely and with much personal sacrifice manage to raise healthy, successful, and caring sons. But we do need to look at why most violent crime is committed by men. In the United States, more than nine times as many men (5,037,000) as women (581,000) had ever at one time been incarcerated in a prison. Men also experienced higher victimization rates than females for all types of violent crime.

It takes a village …

The African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”, highlights the role of family and community in shaping the life of a child. A Swahili proverb takes a similar vein:  “Whomsoever is not taught by the mother will be taught with the world.”

It has always been one of the most challenging tasks to raise a child. It is why in traditional African culture this was always seen as a communal responsibility. In our modern cultures the single mother is left without a support structure, having to deal with the double burden of raising a child and earning a living. Apart from the Nordic and some European nations little to no support is provided by the state in terms of pre-school child care and education. Governments fail to realize that the long-term social costs are much higher than providing adequate child support in the first place.

Stress resilience and mental health are built in those strong communities where children are not only bonded to the primary family but to an extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and close friends. It’s where children learn social skills and values from role models who find sense of purpose in serving something greater than short-term self-gratification.

Photo by Keith Wako on Pexels.com

Individual needs versus social and community needs

Our culture has lost its way in over-emphasizing individual needs over the needs of the community and society at large. It’s part of the spiritual disconnect where pseudo-religious groups are replacing institutional religion in the form of extremist political tribes.

From the perspective of the tribal bubble, anyone who looks, believes, and dresses differently is perceived as a threat. Dehumanizing all those who are different is a hallmark of all extremist, religious, and nationalist groupings. The threshold to taking a gun and shooting those who are different becomes very thin, because empathy is felt only to members of one’s own tribe.

Where there is a spiritual connection there is an understanding of purpose. Love is experienced as unconditional and the basis of all life. God is life and God finds expression in nature.

Nobel peace prize laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu is quoted as saying: “Instead of separation and division, all distinctions make for a rich diversity to be celebrated for the sake of the unity that underlies them. We are different so that we can know our need of one another.”

God’s garden has never been homogeneous stagnation. It is one of beauty inhabited by diverse species, cultures, colors, religions, and beliefs in constant interaction, and interdependence with each other. We define and grow our values, heritage, and culture in a dynamic exchange between opposites. You just need to study nature in order to understand your higher calling.

Experiential spirituality is learning to understand the deeper meaning of self and how your life and purpose is inextricably intertwined with that of the larger whole. True happiness and contentment is found within, undestanding who you are, and emanating that core authenticity outwardly in kindness, love and tolerance.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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The spark within

“Stones are mute teachers; they silence the observer, and the most valuable lesson we learn from them we cannot communicate.” Wolfgang von Goethe

One of the big illusions of our time is the constant messaging from false gurus promising salvation and a life of bliss that can only be found externally. Letting yourself be true to your inner voice and reawakening that ancient sense of rhythm and instinct is a real challenge.

The shadow world feeds on sowing confusion and triggering the toxic emotions of fear, hate, and rage that can easily be manipulated for ulterior motives. One of the greatest gifts we have is the power of choice.

Standing Guard

The lower vibrational field remains unaware, stuck in a fundamentalist worldview that leaves no room for nuance, diversity, individual growth, and interpretation. It finds expression in fanatical nationalism that inevitably dehumanizes everyone who is not of the same tribe and belief.

We have seen the phenomenon throughout history in the pogroms against Jews, Huguenots, Armenians, and the religious wars between Catholics and Protestants in Ireland. Mass psychosis gripped an entire population in Germany during the Nazi era. Currently, we are experiencing a dangerous resurgence of 19th-century nationalism in several countries.

Taming the wolf within is one of the greatest stories of St. Francis of Assisi. Feeding the wolf with peace, kindness, and love is moving into the higher vibrational field.

The great 14-century Mystic Meister Eckart said: “If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”  Like Eckhart, most of the early medieval Mystics saw God in all creation, only to find themselves being persecuted and tried for heresy by the religious leaders bent on imposing an external belief based on fear and control.

Nature and landscape thrive in solitude

Self-estrangement could only be overcome by going into solitude and inner silence. God, he taught, could only be discovered in the total presence of the here-and-now. It is why the green and blue spaces of nature have such healing powers. Nature and landscape thrive on silence. Modern man is literally terrified of silence because of his disconnect from nature and soul. He has to constantly surround himself with the drumbeat of electronics to banish natural silence.

Meister Eckhart defined the spark within as authentic soul nature, the core essence of one’s being. The story of Jesus casting out the merchants and traders from the Temple of Jerusalem with the words: “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves,” is a parable to stand guard at the doorway of one’s soul. Eckart defines the inner Temple as a divine space.

Training the mind and the intellect to be discerning is the antidote during a time when the truth is veiled by a public narrative intent on fueling the negative.

When humanity is entering the season of winter it is also an opportunity for reflection and realignment. It is an opportunity to strengthen your inner resolve and resilience. I’m inviting you to join our 42-Day Walking Challenge starting tomorrow. Register today for the Challenge in our Mastermind Group.

Starting on 11th May we will be walking at least 8,000 steps per day, practicing a daily gratitude journal, and choosing a personal challenge. It is a great opportunity to reframe and reset!

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing...If you have found this article interesting you might want to read more in my books that can be ordered at all places that sell good books in both paperback and kindle.

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The power of really listening

“Listening may not be the most exciting part of the conversation, but it’s essential if you want to have a meaningful exchange with another person.” – Tania Israel

When you go with the flow and engage in an active interplay with the universe you will be sculptured into that person you were meant to be on the day you were born.

Yet, attachment to judgments, concepts, beliefs, ideas and habits undoubtedly form the biggest obstacle to personal development and soul elevation.

The renowned Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung once wrote that some of his most difficult patients were the so-called intellectuals, stuck in their rigid rational thinking. If you are unwilling to accept your own shadow, you will be unwilling to move forward.

Just tuning in for a few minutes to some of the world’s popular talk shows is revealing. (I can’t bear watching it for longer) Neither the host nor the participants are really capable of focusing on what the other person has to say. Minds are made-up before the other person has finished speaking and interrupted in mid-sentence.

Playing the tit-for-tat ping-pong game in communication never ends well. We seem to have lost the ability to really engage with our fellow human beings by deep listening. On the personal level, it inevitably leads to misunderstandings and relationship breakdowns. In the public and political arena, the word “consensus” is almost a blasphemy as each side blasts the other from its walled-off information bubble.

The ancient Greeks and the melting pot of ideas

The loudest person in the room seldom has the best answers. Deep listening is only possible if we temporarily remove ourselves from judgment and pre-conceived concepts. It requires a willingness to receive and digest new information – whether pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral.

The ancient Athenians were well aware that democracy rested on a bedrock of a lively exchange of different ideas. Aware that every individual perceived reality in a different way, the truth could only be found in an active exchange of these different ideas and concepts.

Much of the public narrative we see is not interested in exchanging ideas but merely seeking affirmation of existing ideas. It is the recipe for stagnation and the slide into authoritarianism, along the lines: “If you don’t accept my truth you are my enemy.”

Deep listening is learning

The great Buddhist monk Thich Nath Hanh, described deep listening as in essence a process of learning. It is how we listen that is truly transformative. He said in an interview with Oprah:  “Deep listening helps us to recognize the existence of wrong perceptions in the other person and wrong perceptions in us. The other person has wrong perceptions about himself and about us. And we have wrong perceptions about ourselves and the other person. And that is the foundation for violence and conflict and war.”

The whispers from the universe, that guide us on our soul path, often come in most unexpected ways from so-called everyday persons. It could be the janitor, the bus driver, or a casual remark picked up on a train.

Asking powerful questions about the who, the what, how, and when will lead to meaning and possibility and keep a thought process and conversation going. Asking questions puts you in a position of authentic authority.

Photo by Kevin Malik on Pexels.com

Listening leaders make listening to the ideas and inputs of their employees a key part of their leadership strategy. Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, summed up his success as a leader with the words: “Listen more than you talk.” 

Real leaders listen in order to form connections and to build trust and respect. It’s so simple but needs to be said, as I experience this often in my workshops and seminars: Stop multi-tasking! Give people your full attention and respect. Look them in the eye and put away your cell phone and laptop.

Autocrats typically cannot listen, surrounding themselves with toadies and sycophants. Inevitably they end up making bad decisions and choices because their leadership style is based on intimidation and fear.

A frightening recent example was Vladimir Putin publicly humiliating his spy chief prior to the invasion of Ukraine. Nobody dared tell him the truth that invading another country was a horrible idea that would ruin Russia’s economy and make it a pariah nation for decades to come.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing...If you have found this article interesting you might want to read more in my books that can be ordered at all places that sell good books in both paperback and kindle.

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