The Source of All Knowledge

Whilst re-reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho for the article  “To Realize One’s Destiny is a Person’s Only Obligation”   I found the interactions and the different ways of learning between the main character, Santiago and the English Man particularly interesting.

At the start of the journey across the desert, Santiago meets an English man who hopes to fulfil his dream of meeting and learning from the Alchemist.

During the journey Santiago spent his time in the caravan (Camel train) learning from fellow travellers, the camel drivers and tuning into his surroundings. The English man on the other hand was focused on his books. For him they were the source of all the knowledge he required.

At one stage of the journey, Santiago borrows the English Man’s books and the English Man tries to learn the desert.

“The boy went back to contemplating the silence of the desert and the sand raised by the animals. Everyone has his or her own way of learning things, he said to himself.”

When the caravan reaches the oasis the English Man is not ready to study under the Alchemist but Santiago is the surprise student.

While academic knowledge and learning is important, we underestimate the importance of connecting to our surroundings and learning from nature.

In the novel the English Man’s nose was always buried in books and nowadays our faces are covered by so called smart phones. Both of these prevent us from connecting to nature, our surroundings and potential friends. The fictional world of Facebook overshadows the beautiful world around us.

People can be so unaware of their surroundings; they put them- selfies in danger.  I have seen someone walk in front of a fire engine because the headphones drowned out the sirens and looking at the phone prevented them seeing the lights.

So why is this a problem regarding our spiritual growth? We have five physical senses:

  • Sight
  • Hearing
  • Taste
  • Smell
  • Touch

By not fully embracing our awareness of these senses, we have a limited perception of the world around us. If we are not fully engaged in the world around us how can we develop our sixth sense?

Through practising being present in the moment and consciously being aware of our five physical senses, can we open ourselves to the other senses?

While technology can be a great tool that helps us keep connected and up-to-date, what is the flip side?

In my opinion it’s time we put down our phones, held our head up high, see the beauty surrounding us, hear the birds sing and consciously take a deep breathe in fresh air.

Mark- The Alchemist’s Journey

The Sacred Cross

The Cross is one of the most famous religious symbols.

In Christianity the Cross is a representation of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and reminds Christians of God’s love in sacrificing his own son for humanity.

The cross also predates Christianity in various forms.


ankhThe Ankh

The Ankh is an Egyptian symbol. It is also known as the breath of life, the key of the Nile or crux ansata (Latin meaning “cross with a handle”). There are various thoughts on what the Ankh represents.

  • Life (immortality) and death, male and female balance
  • Zest, joy of life and energy
  • The process of recirculation of sexual energy

swaThe Swastika

The Swastika is considered to be a sacred and auspicious symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It is said to date back at least 11,000 years.

In Hinduism the Swastika has several meanings

  • A lucky charm protecting from evil and attracting good.
  • God in his universal manifestation and energy
  • The four directions of the world
  • Natural order, wealth, desire, liberation

The Swastika was adopted by the Nazi’s and since then has had negative connotations.


sun-crossThe Sun Cross

The Sun Cross is frequently found in the European prehistory cultures, particularly during the Neolithic to Bronze Age periods. The symbol’s apparent importance in prehistoric religion has given rise to its interpretation as a solar symbol so hence the modern term “Sun Cross”.

A Sun Cross, Dartmoor, England


The cross is a very sacred symbol and has been revered for many thousands of years. What if there was another hidden reason why this symbol has existed for so long?

Earlier in 2016 I had my own experience that could be a possible explanation. This experience occurred out of the blue, it was brief but the effect lasted weeks.

The Sun Cross could help explain this experience. If we look at the design of the Sun Cross it is made of a cross in the centre of a circle.

The vertical line represents male and female energy. When these two aspects are perfectly balance it is possible to experience a vertical column of energy.

The horizontal line represents where the person’s level of consciousness should reside. How do we know where this is? If we use the 7 chakra system, the middle chakra is the heart. In my experience I believe my consciousness was heart centred. Once I was heart centred, my male and female energies were balanced; I experienced an explosion of energy that radiated from my heart in every direction.

This left me in a state of peace and feeling very connected.  It was a beautiful time.

The expression “cross my heart” now has a far deeper meaning.

Could this experience be a step towards Christ Consciousness?


Mark- The Alchemist’s Journey



Who am I?

It was the morning after a very intense mediation class, I was looking out the window watching the birds feed rather than get ready for work.

For some reason I questioned my identity. My immediate reaction was that I do not have one. This answer sparked an uncertainty but before any fear set in I had another answer come to me- I Just am.

A few years back I had read the book The Impersonal Life by Joseph Benner. This book was to do with the I Am concept.  At the time the book never fully resonated with me.

The answer I received that morning gave me an understanding for now.

If someone was asked to finish the sentence I am …? Whatever the answer is, it is some way they identify themselves.

We all seek an identity. Aspects of how we identify ourselves may be:

  • Occupation
  • Role within family
  • Gender and Sexual orientation
  • Personal attribute i.e. strong, beautiful, intelligent etc.
  • Religious beliefs
  • Spiritual beliefs
  • A sports person or fan of a sports team
  • Political views
  • Citizen of a country
  • Race

Another aspect of how we may identify ourselves is through a crisis that has been experienced. Examples could be a war veteran, cancer survivor, victim of a crime etc. These experiences may have been horrendous but labelling yourself with anything similar could potentially hold you in that energy.

Within the spiritual community people have adopted many labels for themselves too.

All these identities will individualise us as something special or different and/or include us within a group. Why do we need to do this? To feel special! Why do we need to feel special?

Our egos!

What if all these labels are just limitations we have placed upon ourselves?

I believe it’s far more than that. Could our egos be trying to prevent our connection to the universal consciousness?

As we go through life we can invest more in these ideas, ideals and identities. What if something made us question them. How would our egos react?

The breakdown of these ego aspects can cause what is known as the Dark Night of the Soul.  The Dark Night of the Soul is a term used to describe the dissolving of a perceived meaning in life and leaving a deep sense of futility.  This futility is similar to depression but isn’t.  It is important to realise that this stage is only temporary.

This can happen many times and after each time you are closer to your true self.

Rather than this process being difficult and painful, what if we actively dissolve our identities? Could we reach our true selves far quicker?

I am Mark –The Alchemist’s Journey

The Five Percent

Thomas Edison (11 February 1847 – 18 October 1931) is claimed to be one of America’s greatest inventors. As well as inventing many devices we take for granted today such as the phonograph, the motion picture camera and the long-lasting, practical electric light bulb, he has made many famous quotes.

Probably the most famous quote is “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration”.

In 2012 I heard another of his quotes –

“Five percent of the people think,

ten percent of the people think they think

and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”

For years I have pondered what exactly he meant by this. Surely everyone thinks! This is my understanding of his five percent quote.


The five percent quote could be used for sports people:

  • Five percent of people excel at sports and dedicate their lives to pursuing this goal
  • Ten percent of people enjoy playing sports
  • And the other eighty-five percent have no interest in playing sports


The five percent quote could be used for leadership:

  • Five percent of people excel and are natural leaders
  • Ten percent of people believe they are good leaders
  • And the other eighty-five percent have no interest in being a leader


The five percent quote could be used for religion and might be something along the lines of:

  • Five percent of people embrace their religion and it is a daily part of their lives
  • Ten percent of people believe they are religious without making it a part of their lives and attend their place of worship only when required
  • And the other eighty-five percent have no interest in religion


I believe this rule could be applied to anything. So how would it apply to spiritual lives?

  • Five percent of people seek to be their true selves, they have a daily spiritual/meditaion practice and try to be consciously aware at all times
  • Ten percent of people have interest in spirituality such as reading books and attending classes but it is not a part of their daily lives
  • And the other eighty-five percent have no interest in spirituality


If you are truly passionate about something surely you wish to be part of the Five Percent? If so, what makes the transition from the Ten Percent to the Five Percent?

  • Dedication
  • Practise
  • Focus

In essence – mastery! Mastery is seldom achieved. Immediate gratification, instant success and temporary relief are easy distractions on the journey to mastery. Today we want everything now – fast food, instant messaging, fitness from a few minutes of exercise a day etc.

Learning is the first part of the equation but then comes the hard work.  It is now time for the dedication, practice and focus. Pursuing mastery in your chosen path is a daily event. If not more frequently!

But what happens if after all this effort, gains are not made? You could be on a plateau but with more dedication, practice and focus it will pass. It’s all part of the journey to mastery. The Five Percent is waiting.

Remember practice makes perfect.

Mark – The Alchemist Journey

Spiritual Maturity

In popular Psychology there is an idea called Transactional Analysis. This was proposed by Eric Berne in 1957.

In Transactional Analysis behaviour and communication is generally from one of three states- Child, Adult and Parent. Often it is represented with this chart-

Transactional Analysis
  • The Parent talks down to the Child
  • The Child talks back up to the Adult
  • Whereas Adults talk as equals.

While much is written on this topic, this is my takings on these ideas.


  • Not taking responsibility
  • Victim mentality
  • Temper tantrums
  • Complaining of unfairness
  • Not embracing their own power


  • Controlling
  • Patronising
  • Dismissive
  • Judgmental


  • Treating others as equals
  • Embracing one’s own power and responsibility

Where these ideas become really interesting is if you apply these ideas from Transactional Analysis to spirituality.

How many people can say they have achieved Spiritual Maturity?

Think about all the common expressions we have. It’s God’s will, he cursed the heavens, for God’s sake and there are many more. We blame God for our problems! Would our actions fit that of the Child State?

Often we can feel victim to higher powers and this is reflected in how we speak about God especially from a religious view point. See the Lord’s Prayer below-

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one.

God is referred to as our father. If we were to use the Transactional Analysis for our relationship with God

  • God talks down to his Children
  • His Children talks back up to God in heaven.

We have been brought up to believe we lack power and cannot take responsibility for ourselves. Where is the God within us?

Is God to blame for how our lives are unfolding or should we take personal responsibility?

Is now the time to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and accept these as hard learnt lessons?

Should the aim of our spiritual practises be to embrace our personal power and work towards unity with God?

Every parent needs to let their children grow, while every child needs to mature into adulthood and when this happens they meet as equals.


Mark –The Alchemist’s Journey

May the Force be with you

Growing up in the 1980s I loved nothing more than Star Wars!

The first Star Wars film, Episode IV – A New Hope was released in 1977, followed by Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back in 1980. The final film in the Original Trilogy was Episode VI – Return of the Jedi and this was released in 1983. I was lucky to be old enough to see this one at the cinema.

These three films followed the journey of Luke Skywalker to becoming a Jedi Knight, defeating the evil Darth Vader and thus destroying the evil Galactic Empire.

The Jedi were a group of robed monk like warriors who used “The Force” for good and to maintain peace throughout the galaxy while Darth Vader and the Emperor used “The Force” for evil.

The Force was also introduced as a mystical energy field. Obi-Wan Kenobi explained the force to Luke Skywalker as:

“It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.”

The Force is also referred to as the dark and light sides. The villainous Sith (Darth Vadar) draw on the dark side to act aggressively while the Jedi use the light side for defence and peace.  This is very similar to Yin and Yang or Duality.

The Force could be described as being similar to Prana, Ki or Chi.  Those who were sensitive to The Force had special, psychic abilities such as telekinesis, mind control, and extrasensory perception.

Like many other people my age, I grew up dreaming of having these abilities.  These three films have become part of our culture.  Star Wars is regularly referenced in many other films and TV programs.

My favourite Star Wars reference is from the film Human Traffic (1999). This film is about five friends, Jip, Lulu, Koop, Nina and Moff enjoying a weekend partying. While incredibly high on drugs Moff has the epiphany The Emperor… wants to conquer outer space. Yoda… wants to explore inner space.”

In 1999 the first of Prequel Trilogy, Episode I – The Phantom Menace was released. This was followed by Episode II – Attack of the Clones in 2002 and Episode III – Revenge of the Sith in 2006.

These three films were about the journey of Anakin Skywalker becoming a Jedi Knight, embracing his fear, descending to the Dark Side and finally his transformation into Darth Vader.

While the Prequel Trilogy in my opinion lacked the magic of the three Original Trilogy films, it also changed the overall plot of the six films. The complete story is now about Anakin Skywalker becoming a Jedi Knight, his transformation into Darth Vader, then re-embracing the Light Side and due to the love for his son sacrificing himself while killing the Emperor. His last breaths are spent as Anakin, looking at his son, Luke.

This is a very powerful example of love and forgiveness.

In 2015 Sequel trilogy started with Episode VII – The Force Awakens. In one of the trailers the first words were “there has been awakening. Have you felt it?”

At the time I was amazed by this! Recently I heard that a critical mass of people have spiritually awakened.  Once these people are fully awakened this will cause the awakening of the rest of the population. Essentially the Hundredth Monkey effect has occurred.

Could this be another example of life imitating art or is there a writer dropping hints?

Episode VIII – The Last Jedi is due to be released later this year and the first trailer is due anytime soon.

There are many theories on what will happen in the new film. One theory is that Rei or Ben Solo (Kylo Ren) will bring balance to The Force.  The Force would then be in unity!

Will the Star Wars universe be leaving duality?

If the Star Wars universe is leaving duality, will we soon be following too?

If we take the Human Traffic quote: The Emperor… wants to conquer outer space. Yoda… wants to explore inner space.” and we remove the Light and Dark side (duality) then outer space and inner space will be in unity!

May the Force be in Unity with you!


Mark –The Alchemist’s Journey



Two of my favourite words at the moment are Inspire and Inspiration. These two words seem to pop up everywhere right now.

Inspire has two meanings:

  • To breathe in air- inhale
  • Fill someone the urge to do or feel something

Our breathing or respiratory cycle is divided into two phases- Inspiration and Expiration.

The most important thing we first do when we are born is that first breathe. The first time we inspire.

Throughout our lives we often pay very little attention to this important bodily function.  We may become aware if we are out of breath through exercise or illness, while other people are aware of their breath for relaxation and meditative purposes.

When the time comes and we breathe out our final breath, we expire. Our life starts when we inspire, continues as long as we carry on inspiring and when can no longer inspire, we expire.


There is an expression “Fear is excitement without the breath”

If this is the case, what do we need to do when faced with a fear- inspire.  Could we overcome fear by being consciously aware of our breathing?

Is it possible to conclude from this expression that fear equates to expiration (death) and excitement equates to inspiration (life)?


A couple of weeks ago I had an amazing experience while returning to my body during a guided mediation. As I became aware of my body, I also became aware of the finite amount of time we have here. I felt a great sense of urgency and upset because of how life can be wasted.

The last thing I experienced before fully regained consciousness was this:

Every breath we take is a gift. Why waste a single gift on hatred or fear when it could be used to inspire love and harmony.


Are you inspired now?

Isn’t the English language amazing?


Mark –The Alchemist’s Journey