Tag Archives: spirituality

You are not your opinion

The English writer and philosopher Aldous Huxley once pointed out that “at least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.”

It pretty much describes the current Zeitgeist where “tribal bubbles” confront each other on almost every major issue of our time. Its either true or false, black or white, red or blue with a nuanced debate taking cognizance of the complexity of most issues becoming almost impossible. It is causing the break-up of families, friendships and relationships. What you may be asking is happening?

What we see and believe is selective reality

An opinion or belief is mostly based on a past experience that does not necessarily conform to the true events and is colored by perception of what we believe to have been reality. We know from numerous psychological studies that we humans have the tendency to believe what we want to believe.

What we see and what information we select can be very selective as Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris revealed and their classic test of the gorilla walking through the room.

The platforms offered by social media are fodder for the ego-mind which needs constant validation and attention. An ego-mind is rooted in all the external trappings that come with status, fame, personality, titles and wealth. We fail to grow and expand because the ego-mind has built an image of the self that is an illusion. Opinions and beliefs merge with the personality. Anything that threatens such a carefully crafted “avatar” of the self is seen as a threat. Tribal survival instincts are triggered. Its “us or them” and all sense of a common humanity gets lost as the battle lines are drawn. Fixed belief and opinion is the reason people slide into that fatal abyss of fanaticism and ultimately engage in violence and war.

Ego-mind versus heart-mind

Political and religious demagogues are extremely adept at stoking the underlying fears and insecurities of the ego-mind. An ego-mind refuses to look inward, refuses to take responsibility for self-inflicted wounds and projects all its own shortcomings in fanatic rage onto those opposites that reflect the weaknesses. No rational argument or scientific fact on the ground will persuade the ego-mind from changing its opinion. It is too proud to come down from that ladder once it has been positioned firmly against a wall.

We are seeing at a global dramatic changes on all levels that is very scary for the ego-minded personality. Deep down the ego-mind desperately wants to hold onto an illusion, a world, that was and is no more. Religious dogma prescribes certain doctrines, obligations and rules of obedience that can be particularly attractive to persons battling with the uncertainties and up-and-down cycles of life.

The heart-minded person however sees change as opportunity for growth, and transition into new consciousness.

It is rooted in a child-like humility. It is why Jesus rebuked his disciples when they tried to prevent the children from seeing him, saying: “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God”

He was making his disciples aware that spiritual elevation, finding the Kingdom of God, could only be attained through a childlike humility. Just prior to becoming aware of the self, children are still free from an agenda in a down to earth honesty before pride and position come into play as personality takes shape.

A key principle of creation is diversity with the universe in a constant spiral of expansion and growth. If we are to survive as a species we will have to learn from nature which is an expression of God. Throughout the eons only those species that have learned to adapt quickly to changing circumstances have survived.

We are spiritual beings having a human experience

An inward-looking heart-mind is mindful of the impermanence of all things external and the eternity of soul. The French philosopher, paleontologist, and Jesuit priest Teilhard de Chardin is quoted as saying that “we are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

In those quiet moments of reflection and meditation we can reconnect with soul nature, that divine spark within and the remembrance of the eternal.

Experiential spirituality is an individual path of exploration and discovery. It is a reconnection to the soul where unconditional love, compassion, harmony, forgiveness, peace and joy reside. From within the true nature is crafted that tool for divine intention and the humility and acceptance that we are born into this life to walk a pilgrimage path of constant growth, creativity, adventure and new insight.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Your sacred path

All the people you have met throughout your life and the experiences you have had up to this moment in time have made you into the person who you are today. Yet, there still might be that inner voice whispering that there is more to life than you have been taught or have learned.

Caroline Myss is quoted as saying that “as a vital part of a larger, universal spirit, we each have been put here on earth to fulfill a sacred contract that enhances our personal spiritual growth while contributing to the evolution of the entire global soul.”

Connecting with the global soul

Our individual souls are connected to a global soul comprising all life on the planet. Each person has a unique destiny and soul purpose and it’s not about what kind of job you are doing or the things you own. These might be a manifestation of what you become in the becoming of who you really are.

It is almost essential to find alone time for contemplation and inner reflection and to walk your sacred path alone. The urge to walk a pilgrimage first starts as a whisper and becomes ever more louder. The need to go on this soul adventure is sometimes met with strong resistance by the loved ones or family members around you. They will sense that you are in a process of shifting your consciousness and will confront you with all sorts of arguments to dissuade you from walking.

The universe will test your willpower

In a way it is the universe testing your willpower but the sad truth is also that most people are too afraid to make the changes necessary to improve their lives. Family members or partners want you to stay in the tribe and share the same beliefs, mannerisms and habits. Often they will be projecting their own fears onto you if you decide to go on a journey of untrodden paths. Partners in this way often block each other instead of lending support and encouragement to the other.

On the Camino Aragonese between Jaca and Puenta La Reina, Spain

In a few days time I will start my 14th pilgrimage walk, walking for the second time from Porto in Portugal to Santiago and then to Cabo Finisterre, the westernmost point of the Iberian Peninsular. Each walk has been different, and unique. Looking back these walks have proven to be truly transformational not only in the way they have led me in making major changes to my external life but what has happened on a spiritual level. My two books on the Camino in essence tell this story that began in early 2007.

When I served in a pilgrims’ hostel as a volunteer in 2019 I had the opportunity of literally talking to hundreds of pilgrims from all walks of life and nationalities on what motivated them to walk this ancient path that at times can be truly challenging both emotionally and physically.

Why do people go on a pilgrimage walk?

Some people start the Camino as a sporting adventure that then turns into a spiritual journey.  An American pilgrim I walked with some years ago said to me: “If you don’t approach the Camino with humility it will humiliate you.”

The Camino is telling you that this journey is not about accomplishing something but in un-becoming from everything that you thought you were and touching that place deep in the soul who you are truly meant to be.

Is the Camino part of the bigger journey of humanity seeking a common spirituality that transcends the boundaries of religious dogma?

The Camino is an analogy of life

The Camino is in many ways an analogy of life. If you can deal with the roller-coaster of the walk’s trials and tribulations, you will be steeled for whatever challenges life throws at your feet in the acceptance of the impermanence of all things.

I’ve heard stories from pilgrims who have suffered terrible personal hurt and tragedy. Others were walking while defying a life threatening medical diagnosis or who had just survived cancer.

Experiential spirituality reveals itself in helping and supportive hands, in the recognition of fellow souls going through tough trials and tribulations. There is a deep sense of that one truth that we are all one humanity.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Breathing into health and wellbeing

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

Groundbreaking research is revealing that a simple thing like how you breathe can be hugely transformational. Healthy breathing techniques embedded in ancient religious practice improves body posture, sleep, general wellbeing and spiritual growth.

In our stressed out modern lives we as a species have lost the ability to breathe as nature has designed. When the body is flooded with stress hormones we tend to breathe in fast short bursts from the upper throat and chest area with grave consequences for our immune system, mental and cardiological health.

Our ancestors knew better

Western medicine for a long time believed that the nose was more or less an ancillary organ and that it was no problem just breathing through the mouth. But the latest research is revealing that our ancestors had more expansive sinus cavities and larger mouths, creating wider airways for breathing. This is not only related to the better diet where people were forced to chew their food more than the processed food eaten by most people today but by breathing primarily through the nose.

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Pexels.com

Scientists, studying the shapes of jaws and mouth cavities from skulls several hundred thousands years old were surprised by the quality of the teeth and jawbones meaning that our ancestors probably never suffered from chronic respiratory problems, sleep apnea, snoring, sinusitis, or allergies so common today.

Rituals performed by ancient peoples and the old religions have always understood the power of breathing and that certain breathing techniques are essential in experiential spirituality and elevation of consciousness.

The power of prayer

Researchers at the University of Pavia in Italy measured blood flow, heart rate and nervous system feedback of dozens of people reciting the popular Buddhist mantra Om Mani Padme Hum and the Latin version of the Catholic Ave Maria prayer. The breathing pattern changed instantly with blood flow to the brain increasing with functions of the heart circulation and nervous system reaching peak efficiency. Both prayer and mantra caused striking, powerful, and synchronous increases in existing cardiovascular rhythms when recited six times a minute.

Breathing through the nose

Inhaling and exhaling naturally through the nose is what you should be doing. As you inhale the nose warms and moisturizes the air. Your nose releases nitric oxide which widens the blood vessels allowing for better transportation of oxygen to vital organs. Your breathing will be deeper and slower increasing the volume of your lungs and diaphragm.

Conscious and focused deep breathing through the nose can instantly bring you from a state of high tension into a relaxed state of mind.

  • Sit upright holding one hand on your lower belly and the other in the heart area.
  • At the count of one inhale and exhale through your nose.
  • Continue until the count of twelve then switch your hands
  • Continue until the count of 24
  • Close by placing both your hands on your belly

You can learn more such breathing techniques in my online video course on mindful breathing exercises.

Low impact body exercises such as yoga, tai chi, qi gong and deep walking in nature will do wonders in reducing stress hormones in the body. When you focus on nasal breathing your body posture will also improve naturally. Especially when walking the key is finding a natural rhythm where you go into synchronicity with your body movement and with your surroundings as you breathe through the nose.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Prioritizing your core values

I recently had the privilege of visiting one of the most stunning chapels in the United Kingdom. Positioned in the Surrey Hills southwest of London, Watts Chapel is a masterpiece of architecture, Celtic imagery and terracotta clay artwork.

The interior design follows the medieval notion of God in heaven and moving downward to earth with the dome of the chapel representing heaven with God depicted in the form of a circle with no beginning and no end. Four messenger angels closest to God have their arms raised in blessing each representing values and symbolizing the divine connection to these principles.

The non-negotiable principles

Your values should be non-negotiable and define who you really are. It as an ideal to strive for and commonly referred to as virtues in past generations.

Pope Gregory the Great first defined a set of seven values in the 6th century based on older Greek religious values. These are:

Faith the belief doing the right things
Hope a trust that good will prevail
Charity a voluntary giving and help for others
Fortitude overcoming fear and remaining in trust even when facing obstacles
Justice being fair and equitable with others
Prudence exercising moderation and caution
Temperance moderation and self-control, especially regarding toxic emotions

There are several methods in defining those three to five core values most important to you. They could be some of those above or such values as dependability, reliability, positivity, integrity, kindness, authenticity or loyalty.

Passing decision-making through the filter of your core values

If your core values and principles are not congruent with the work you do on a daily basis or in your relationships you will become increasingly fatigued and exhausted. Soul purpose is closely aligned with your principles. Your five key core values, essentially define the ideal you are striving for in life.

We are almost faced daily with important decision-making. At times we are at the crossroads of having to change jobs ,undertaking an important business venture or to go deeper in a relationship. We mull over the decision-making process for days but it all becomes a lot easier when you pass the “yes” or “no” through the filter of your core values.

During a time when we are experiencing a gradual elevation of consciousness as a humanity an increasing number of people are questioning their roles in corporations or institutions. Especially, when values, actions and statements of a company are no longer congruent with personal values and norms we have an increase of job burnout among the employees.

It might be time to move the ladder

If you are feeling over a lengthy period of time this inconsistency of public and individual ideal you need to make a change. In my case I got clarity over my future and my personal core values after taking a time out on a pilgrimage walk lasting several weeks. I knew that I had to get out of a dysfunctional marriage and leave my journalist job that once enabled me to live my ideals but was no longer doing so in the digital world.

You could well also be in a situation where you realize that you have placed the ladder against the wrong wall for many years and that its time to move it to another space. After hosting numerous stress-management workshops in the corporate world I compiled the essentials in a 40-day online course: “Stepping into authenticity. Living to BE”

Typically when illness, constant obstacles and frustrations come your way, it would often be the universe telling you to make that change. On the other hand if you are congruent with your innermost values everything seems to fall into place. The universe enables you meet the right people at the right time who help open the door for you to a new beginning. Or you realize in an instant that you are just in the right place at the right time. You just happen to come across that book that opens up an entirely new perspective.

American entrepreneur, speaker and author Jim Rohn once said: “The major value in life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become.” And the Greek philosopher Aristotle defined the ultimate value in life as “awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.”

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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When the lie becomes the truth

We need more understanding of human nature, because the only real danger that exists is man himself. He is the great danger, and we are pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man, far too little. His psyche should be studied, because we are the origin of all coming evil.Carl Gustav Jung

We know so little about ourselves and how susceptible the mind is to external manipulation and deception. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung was passionately concerned with the survival of the human race warning with growing concern in the 1920s of the destructive collective forces in neighboring Germany.

Prophetically he observed that fascism flourished in an environment where it was becoming harder and harder for the average person to discern truth from fiction. People lose their ability to perceive reality. A collective psychosis had taken hold of Germany where ordinary people were showing signs of battle eagerness. Moral judgement became clouded as people stood by when the Nazis burned synagogues, looted Jewish shops and took away neighbors to concentration camps.

Evil and the capturing of the collective mind

When there is no longer a clear distinction between truth and the lie, evil starts capturing the collective consciousness. Jung described what was happening in Nazi Germany as a “collective totalitarian psychosis.”

Recently the German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk described our current situation as something akin to “the late Middle Ages where there is a refusal to join the path to modernity and science-based civil society…There is a flourishing of sectarian opinion groups that have a euphoric experience together assuming a shared privileged access to truth.”

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The individual separated from soul purpose and integrity

When a collective totalitarian psychosis starts taking root the individual is being coerced by the professional deceiver and demagogue into lying to himself. There is inevitably a separation between soul purpose, integrity and authenticity. The individual is swept away by a type of totalitarian mass hypnosis.

When evil is unleashed on a mass scale such as in Nazi Germany ordinary citizens start serving “Satan” by being obedient citizens in following the group consensus and adopting behavior that would normally be suppressed in the shadow consciousness.

Bearing in mind the Nazi’s ability to distort the truth, Jung warned: “Nothing has such a convincing effect as a lie one invents and believes oneself.”

Jung’s recipe against becoming trapped by the totalitarian psychosis, was training one’s own mind to become conscious of its own forces of darkness.

“Unfortunately, there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants himself to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.”

The twofold nature of man

It is what the great Mystics and spiritual teachers have taught over the centuries. The 13th-century monk Meister Eckhart wrote of the twofold nature of man. “Whoever knows himself knows all creatures, for all creatures are either body or spirit.”

St Jerome describes the moment of incarnation into flesh as the individual being possessed by the good spirit, an angel, and an evil spirit, a devil.”

The evil spirit converses at all times with the outward man and lies in wait for the inward man like a serpent. Therefore the Greek philosophers Cicero and Seneca recommended a constant awareness and training of the mind in cultivating the good and the wise or the divine spirit.

Disaster is inevitable where a character who has not transmuted the shadow is entrusted with too much wealth and power. Personal inferiority is projected onto an illusory threat. Fuel is poured onto the fires of inflection points along race, gender, class, nationality and religious issues.

Transmuting the shadow is cultivating self-love, compassion, and gratitude. It is the acceptance that we remain incomplete beings on a path of becoming who we are meant to be.

Johannes Tauler, another 13-century Mystic, had a deep understanding of what it means to be human and how our very human mistakes can be transmuted into purpose and meaning:

“The horse drops dung in the stable. Although the dung is unclean and evil smelling, the same horse laboriously pulls the same dung to the fields where fine wheat and good sweet wine grow from it, which would never grow so well if the dung were not there. Now your dung is your own faults which you cannot rid yourself of or overcome. These you should carry with much effort and labor to the field of God’s will in true detachment from yourself. Scatter your dung on this noble field and without any doubt there shall spring up noble and delightful fruit.”

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Health: We need a paradigm shift

May your body be blessed. May you realize that your body is a faithful and beautiful friend of your soul.“

– John O‘Donohue

You could be feeling a little „battle weary” by now from the daily dosage of Covid-related news. We wish it to be finally over but the pandemic still has many lessons in store for us mankind.

For one thing the issue of public health, and our integral role in a fragile environment has moved into the mainstream.

However, most mass media continues to be fear-based, propagating a one-dimensional perspective, and deflecting from the real underlying challenges. When fear rules the game our vision becomes clouded and our senses become susceptible to mind control and manipulation.

The elephant in the room

The elephant in the room is that two-thirds of Covid victims have had a medical precondition such as obesity, diabetes or stress-related problems that weaken the immune system. Young people with obesity appear to be particularly at risk.

Between a quarter to a half of nurses and health care workers suffer from obesity with experts pinpointing understaffing, stress and bad working hours as some of the reasons. An estimated 115 000 health care workers lost their lives to Covid.

Vaccines are a short-term necessity but not a long term cure. Covid has only highlighted to what extent a large portion of people in the industrialized countries suffer from medical preconditions that will keep on impacting entire economies.

A lifestyle feeding the epidemic

Our modern lifestyle contradicts the very way our bodies have evolved over thousands of generations. Poor exercise, a diet of mainly processed foods and high stress levels cause havoc to the body‘s natural defense systems. Its the perfect feeding ground for a virus that keeps attacking in different mutations.

The „health industry“ is largely in the vice grip of the pharmaceutical industy that is interested in longevity but not quality of life. The processed food industry‘s primary interest is not your health. It is to increase profits by boosting the shelf life of its products with artificial additives that flood the body with toxins, causing a multitude of health problems.

Covid will not be the last virus so we had better start looking at ways of how we can motivate ourselves and others in looking after our body, mind and spirit.

The discipline of maintaining a vibrant body and mind is that bridge toward becoming who you are truly meant to be.

If you don‘t take the time to look after your health, your body will soon force you to take the time to do so.

Just take a walk

Walking is one of the easiest and best ways of how you can start improving your body metabolism. Its one of the most underrated and best ways possible to exercise your body. We have literally been hard-wired by evolution to walk. I go into more detail on this in my book: Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

What you feed your mind and your body with is what you become. If you are addicted to news channels and social media propagating fear and anxiety you will start feeling emotionally drained and stressed.

Your brain and body need the essential nutrients from foods our ancestors have always eaten, mostly freshly harvested from the ground and the trees without pesticides. Meat was from animals that ate grasses and herbs. Fish came fresh from a clean ocean and river waters.

Photo by Wings Of Freedom on Pexels.com

Aligning body, mind and spirit

Its a no-brainer but we need a real paradigm shift when it comes to personal health and self-care.

By getting enough sleep and exercise, eating the right foods and surrounding yourself with positively-minded people you will have taken the first step to making yourself more resilient in coping with life‘s up-and-down cycles.

When you feel strong in body and mind you become centered and empowered. You will be more resilient to the constant pull of such toxic emotions as anger, hate, fear, envy and frustration.

Reino Gevers – Author – MentorSpeaker

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The “boiling frog” syndrome

A well-known fable tells us that if a frog is put into boiling water it will immediately jump out. But if the water is only gradually heated the frog will not perceive the danger and be boiled to death. The story is a warning of how a creeping normality of crisis situations delude us into a feeling of false complacency. We fail to act until it is too late.

Our daily habits, thoughts, beliefs and actions play a major part in determining our future. The compound effect of bad or good habits over a period of years and even decades are hugely underestimated.

The compound effect of good and bad habits

Eating for lunch a burger with French fries and a soda drink will affect your body but not harm you in a big way if you eat healthy foods most of the time and you metabolize sugars and carbohydrates with plenty of exercise. But eating mainly processed foods over years and decades will have a devastating impact on your mental and physical health in the long term.

In the same way if your self-talk is mainly negative about yourself or if you incessantly blame others for everything that is going wrong in your life you will most probably be a grumpy, unhappy and miserable person during old age looking back on a life not lived and opportunities missed.

How often have you been buying things you don’t really need because you said: “Its only a few pennies.” But added up over years and decades you could have put aside a small fortune in savings.

Complacency is our biggest enemy

Social and political developments in the recent past should be shaking us out of our sense of complacency and nonchalance. It appears that the general social consensus on values and norms that has prevailed for most of the past decades is seriously being eroded. An independent press, non-partisan judiciary and democratic voting procedures are seriously under threat in countries such as Hungary, Poland, Turkey and first and foremost in the United States. If the United States is no longer the world’s best example of a working democracy authoritarian rule as we see it today in China and Russia will entrench itself in many countries.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Like a physical body gradually weakening from the effects of bad nutrition, you don’t perceive the spiral downward immediately. In my home country South Africa the seeds of maladministration and corruption were sown with the election of a populist demagogue Jacob Zuma as president in May 2009. For a while things, like the national airline, appeared on the surface to still be functioning perfectly. But after nine years the rot was there for everyone to see. Most parastatal institutions are bankrupted, leaving numerous towns and cities in dire lack of basic services such as electricity and water supply. It will most likely take generations to get South Africa back on its feet economically.

We tend to forget that political parties, governments and institutions have been created by bodies of individuals. They are a reflection of who we are. When a social pendulum of change swings into a new direction it is at first always led by a minority that eventually become the majority view.

A crisis is a way marker

Crisis situations, whether on a personal or collective level, always tell us that the status quo is no longer workable and that things need to change. The art is to perceive the small, telling signs that something is moving into the wrong direction and to adapt accordingly. It is the frog sensing when the water temperature is rising to a dangerous temperature and when it’s time to get out.

This is why some companies thrive by adapting to changing market conditions while others procrastinate. It is why some species adapt and others become extinct. Some marriage relationships adapt to changing needs and circumstances while others end in divorce. It is why the enlightened leader picks himself up during a crisis, using it as a tool of change in valuable lessons learned while the other stays in the shadow of self-pity and recrimination.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Beware the false prophets!

“The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.” Jeremiah 14:14

Organized religion arguably provides structure, meaning and community to many people battling with the struggles of life yet during these challenging times we are seeing a proliferation of “false prophets” capturing the minds of individuals with messages of  fear and guilt.

During my lifetime several good friends got caught in the web of religious sects, surrendering their lives including all their material assets to the group.

They would bombard me with enthusiasm of how their lives had been transformed by “the teacher” “priest” or “guru”. I would repeatedly be invited to attend a meeting and made to feel like losing out on something very important.

The common traits of the cult

Fundamentalist groups and cults of all persuasions share a common trait. They are tribally insulating,  separating the convert from all former friends, spouses, family and associates. Anyone not sharing the same belief structure is termed as a non-believer, or as the enemy.

After having made the enormous personal sacrifice of giving up an old life it is extremely difficult to escape. Few people have the courage to admit that they made a huge mistake by believing in an illusion. After all external ties have been severed the individual is at the mercy of the group in providing  a livelihood, food and shelter. The friend, son, daughter, spouse you once cherished as a carefree individual is bombarding you with quotes from the master. You will hear:  “But the guru said …”,it is the opinion of the guru that …” “the guru would not approve that …” “I would first have to ask the teacher if I can …”

At this point the friend or family member is far gone down the road of mind control, repeating the teachings of their leader like a recording device on automatic. They will find numerous excuses if you question the lavish lifestyle of the cult leader while the devotees are donating their last pennies. “Its all ultimately for a good cause,” they would say.

Decent and intelligent human beings are particularly vulnerable to the cult when they are going through a crisis of meaning or mental health challenge.  The “prophet” is the last straw of hope, seemingly offering the perfect recipe. What follows is the complete surrender of personal responsibility to the guru or belief structure of the cult.

The false promise of hope when people are vulnerable

We’ve had this phenomenon of “end times” during several historical cycles. During the Middle Ages most of Europe’s population was decimated by the bubonic plague. Science was at its infancy with the false prophets having easy play in convincing people that the deadly disease was God’s punishment for sinful ways. Persons not conforming to the shared belief were vigorously persecuted and often burned at the stake. The sins could be absolved by paying tithes. The higher the donation the “higher the likelihood” of having a good afterlife in paradise.

We falsely had assumed that humanity had become immune in the 21st-century to such crude preaching and the questioning of basic science. The messaging today comes in the guise of political parties with a charismatic figurehead and bearing all the hallmarks of the religious cult.  Several extremist parties in western democracies essentially are in the business of fear-mongering and xenophobia. They are supported by a billion dollar industry of alternative reality media stirring a cocktail of hate and negativity. The  first step toward authoritarian control is to dehumanize your opponent or the person with a different belief, culture or mindset.

Evil and delusion of the mind can always be identified by language of hate, disrespect for fellow human beings and blatant lies. Social friction points along race, gender and economic lines are over-emphasized. Division, dissent and chaos is sown by an “us against them” propaganda.

We are indeed living in dangerous times. A growing number of people are feeling left out and  stranded during rapid social and economic change. The uncertainty and fear is the feeding ground of the false prophets offering simple solutions for complex global problems.

The chosen few must commit to a strict code of conduct, belief and ritual.  

As human beings we make mistakes with feelings of guilt often deeply submerged in traumatic childhood experience. Self-esteem is shattered after a job loss or family break-up.  There is that underlying promise that by committing to the cult  those bad feelings will disappear. In reality the  guru will repeatedly stir the feelings of inferiority to maintain his stranglehold.

Protecting our vulnerable family members from the false prophet is no mean task. The groundwork is laid in strengthening self-confidence, self-esteem, self-love and a spiritual mindset based on common decency and respect.

Experiential spirituality is freed from the shackles of fundamentalist belief in the awareness that we are fallible and incomplete human beings, learning the lessons of life as we go along.

The truth is that there is no one-truth. God’s garden is made up of a multitude of plants, animals, cultures, religions and languages. The beauty and adventure of life lies in the individual exploration, the  opening of new doors and walking onward new paths of insight and knowledge accumulation in becoming of who we really are.

External belief systems have too often in the past been forcibly imposed, robbing the individual from essentially living a life of meaning, authenticity and soul purpose.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Humility and the lessons of adversity

“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels”

Saint Augustine

Humility seems to have lost the battle against pride. Our world of social media has provided the perfect stage for narcissism and self-aggrandizement with the world of illusion taking precedence over what is real and a fake.

On one of my Camino walks in northwestern Spain I met a pilgrim who told me: “If you don’t walk the Path with humility it will force you into humility.”

Walking the Camino is in so many ways walking through life. Every day the path has new lessons to learn where the pilgrim is confronted with new and old emotional demons.

The last section before reaching a destination is sometimes the most difficult. You are relieved that you have reached the top of a mountain and then you find that you still have another even bigger mountain to climb.

It is why so many people who started walking the Camino as hikers ended their journey as pilgrims, learning on the Path that when going slow and finding that inner rhythm, external personality merges with the internal needs of the soul.

An emotional and physical breakdown leads to the breakthrough

When we are confronted with adversity and almost insurmountable challenges, the path of life forces us from pride into humility. The wounded soul is cracked open for the light to shine into that inner truth.

Sometimes you have to shut a door and walk away from everything in order to rediscover who you really are. You are forced into falling forward and opening a new door.

David Bowie once said that “aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.”

The elderly person surrenders to the cycle of life, the inevitability of death. There is nothing more to prove. There is a quiet solitude and acceptance. It is the same when an identity built on the weak foundations of personality breaks apart after a financial disaster, the loss of a job or a divorce.

Transformation begins where the world of certainty crumbles

There is a deep human need to be seen, to be heard and to have certainty. But when the world of certainty crumbles truth is revealed. This is the opportunity for real transformation and recognition of soul.

Pride and narcissism is about self-interest while humility is focused on being of service. If people are in search of their calling and having difficulty in finding an answer the clue is always in finding that niche where individual talent finds expression in the act of service for the bigger whole. You will have surrendered to that bigger plan that the universe has in store for you.

What is humility and what is pride?

Humble people are unafraid of expressing their vulnerability, and pain, and to seek help. They are listeners rather than talkers. They accept the transitions of life and are willing to learn from them while the narcissist in his pride is always right and is immersed in the illusion that the world is owing to him. He will always blame other people for his failures and take accolades for accomplishments that were none of his doing. Too many of such people find themselves in leadership positions causing much pain and suffering to all those around and ultimately to themselves.

Humility and adversity teach us that we always have another mountain to climb during life’s up-and-down cycles. Climbing those mountains make us more resilient. As long as we are alive we are never done as human beings. It is during those moments when we think that we are done that life inevitably throws another lesson at our feet.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. Check out the latest online courses for you to download and our special Retreat on the island of Majorca in October this year.

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Unbecoming who you think you are

We all need a purpose closely aligned with our personal philosophy and value system but can easily lose track of that purpose if we feel overwhelmed by life’s challenges and go into automatic mode.

When we let powerful emotions such as anxiety and fear take over we tend to seek gratification in external gods that keep us feeling empty and small. We seek set patterns of predictability, giving us the illusion of security. We function within a framework of the same road to work, the same friends and colleagues, and the same pattern of thought and thinking.

When the comfort zone of familiarity crumbles

It is when we are jolted out of this comfort zone by a crisis, when things go horribly wrong, and when the map of familiarity crumbles that we are freed from robotic habits, and seek new purpose and meaning. We need to unbecome who we think we are.

Every now and then it is necessary to seek out those quiet spaces in meditation, walks in nature, and alone time to recalibrate on whether the road I’m travelling on is in alignment with my personal value system and philosophy.

Our predominant thoughts and emotions determine the outcome of all our actions. If you believe that every person out there is an unfriendly cheat you will inevitably run into just these persons. If you on the other hand question your labelling of people every time and fundamentally believe in the goodness and kindness of human beings you will be mainly surrounded by such people because you emanate what you think and feel to your surroundings.

Taking time out to realign in nature

Mindsetting into a positive framework of opportunity

If you program yourself with a mindset of scarcity and that money is the root of all evil, you will never have enough. If you turn this thinking into an abundance mindset and really believe that the universe always provides at the right time, things will turn out this way.

Walking in new surroundings and going into uncharted territory is a huge challenge for humanity at this moment in time but also a huge opportunity.

Institutions including the big corporations, government, politics, religion and mass media have become dysfunctional. A crisis such as the pandemic has only brought to the open what has been simmering under the surface for some time. These institutions are made up of individuals often in automatic mode in their boxes, losing sight of the bigger picture because these jobs provide ever less opportunity for individual creativity.

Our mind becomes less anxious if we let go of the attachment to things we believe to be set in stone. Life is unpredictable and always in a cycle of change. One door closes and another opens. Those “flat-on-the-ground” moments are an opportunity to heal the wounds of the past, and to rediscover soul purpose and meaning.

Stepping out of the treadmill

It is vital to step out of the treadmill of routine, predictability and habit every once in a while. If you are marking the calendar and counting the months and years to retirement, or to the next vacation, you need to realign and restore meaning.

We have to sometimes carry out unpleasant tasks but the more we go into resistance when we carry out these tasks the more energy-depleting they will be. We can compensate such routines with fun activity that renew and refresh. It is when we do not count the minutes, when we lose the sense of time in tasks of creative imagination and aligned with our own values and soul purpose that we are in flow with the rhythm of the universe.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. Check out the latest online courses for you to download and our special Retreat on the island of Majorca in October this year.

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Filed under mental health, mental-health