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 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

Silence is Golden

Snowdonia, Wales


As I sit here writing this, it is my third night sleeping in a small shepherd’s hut in the Welsh countryside. It is near freezing outside so the fire is crackling away in the corner. Occasionally I can hear an owl hoot or a passing car in the distance.

The main noise is my clothes rustling and my pen on the paper.

Earlier in the day this was not the case! All I could I hear was this internal continuous dialogue regarding work and a family concern. There was no one to talk to about these issues, so this internal dialogue continued until I stopped it.

In our current society do we require constant stimulation so that we drown out this internal dialogue? What would happen if there were no more TV, internet and mobile phones?

Strangely by chance, in the previous few days I had listened to a Mysterious Universe podcast and read a book, The Magus of Java by Kostas Danaos. In both people had left civilisation and lived in the wild for a year.


In the podcast they interviewed a survivalist, Lee Trew from Bluegum Bush Craft. He spent a year in the Australian bush to by himself to practice his skills. The first three months were great but then things started to get interesting! He claimed a detox started, he became psychotic, had no control over his thoughts racing through his head, experienced grief, rage and felt was going insane.

During the final 3 months he “popped through the storm cloud and came in this amazingly quiet place.” He experienced incredible synchronicities, a connection to the land and animals. He said “the distinctions between inner and outer were beginning to breakdown.”


In the book, The Magus of Java, the author searches for a Chinese- Javanese acupuncturist/ martial artist named John Chang or Dynamo Jack, who featured in a documentary called Ring of Fire.  The documentary shows John performing many amazing feats such as setting a newspaper on fire using just his hands and pushing a chop stick through a table.

Kostas manages to find John and becomes his apprentice. The apprentices’ training is divided into many stages. John Chang explains to Kostas how he completed his apprentices’ training.  When it came to complete level 4, John had to leave his family and home for a year to live in the jungle on the Malaysia/ Borneo border.

“I did this to reach a state of total calm. I reverted to the primitive; this is most important. Your mind must be utterly still for yang and ying to come together.”


Could the drowning out of our internal dialogue by TV, etc. be preventing us from furthering our personal/spiritual development? There is an expression that states, ‘what is resisted, persists’.

What if when these people retreated to nature there was nothing to do but listen to their own thoughts?

While it may not be practical to leave civilisation for a year maybe we all need to take time out so that we can acknowledge our internal dialogue. Once this is acknowledged and released allow the beautiful internal silence to return.


Mark –The Alchemist’s Journey

Team Humanity

When people work together, great feats can be achieved.

A group of people with a common goal or objective is known as a team.

Team members need to learn how to work together, help each other to better themselves and create a positive environment that allows everyone to flourish.

To survive, early people teamed together in tribes. The goal of the tribe would have been survival. This collective goal of survival would be everyone’s primary goal and their personal goals secondary.

Nowadays it seems people’s personal goals are their primary goals. Collective goals rarely exist. People may be part of a sports team, a work team and or other organisation but this team goal is only temporary.

Collective goals only seem to arise in times of need such as natural disasters or war. In the case of war, teams oppose each other.

What could we achieve if we united with each other and learnt to help one another?

Think what miracles could be achieved if we had global collective goals? Not ideals imposed on us by governments or religious groups.

Welcome to Team Humanity!

If you choose to be part of Team Humanity, the collective goals are:

  • To be in a state of internal peace and emotional freedom
  • To treat everyone as a team member and help them realize their true potential
  • To respect mother earth and all her inhabitants

This requires you to be consciously aware of your actions every minute of every day.

It’s your choice, so welcome!

Mark – The Alchemist’s Journey

Best Foot Forward

The view from Tower Bridge, London

They say our posture and how we stand says a lot about us but how we walk says even more. There are expressions like having a spring in our step, they are dragging their feet or plodding through life.

Standing and walking are some of our first great achievements as an infant. Soon very little attention goes into these activities. As our feet are the furthest part of our body from our head they can often be neglected.

It is said that an elephant can stand on its trainer’s foot yet the trainer’s foot remains unhurt.  If the elephant tensed its foot, the trainer’s foot would be crushed.

Today our feet are so tight and tense that if we stood on a small stone barefoot it could cause much pain. Due to the tension we hold in our body it is only natural that are feet are tense.

Through releasing the tension in our feet can we release tension in our body?

Reflexologists believe that the feet mirror the body. All organs, systems and glands of the body can be mapped onto areas of the feet called reflex points. A reflexologist knows how to stimulate the reflex points in order to bring about a response in the corresponding part of the body.

Could we through barefoot walking stimulate our feet and the corresponding part of the body?

For many thousands s of years people have been barefoot or worn simple leather sandals. People migrated hunted and ran barefoot.

Growing up in New Zealand a lot of my childhood was spent barefoot. The environment I would walk around was very different to now.  The concrete jungle we live in our feet never touch the ground. The concrete and tarmac is hard and cold.

We insulate, protect and provide cushioning to keep our feet safe and comfortable. We lose contact with mother earth. We forget the simple pleasures of damp grass or warm sand on our feet.

When I was speaking about this to a friend, they were concerned about standing on something sharp or unpleasant. My response was that we should be mindful of every step we take.  We would then be aware of any potential dangers or hazards.

Could focusing on every step we take be a form of meditation to keep us in the moment?

Should we focus on relaxing our body and centring ourselves as we walk or check our mobile phone?

Maybe we should appreciate the beauty that surrounds us.

Having bare feet in our normal day to day activities may not be practical but being mindful of every step has no limitations.

Let’s all be mindful of every step we take and every step be graceful.

Mark- The Alchemist’s Journey

The Limitations of Happiness 

Scotland (17)
Isle of Skye, Scotland

In the blog Anger is a Gift I called anger a temporary emotion. What if all emotions should be temporary even good emotions?

Recently I heard a Mysterious Universe podcast in which they talked about cultural differences regarding depression and expectations. They spoke about how in Western culture we have an expectation that we should be happy. According to this talk, in Russia and other cultures they are more accepting and understanding of depression and other low vibration emotions.

Due to the acceptance of these emotions and the lack of expectation of being happy, people can bounce back from depression quicker. This was due to not having the added issue of feeling like a failure because of the expectation we should be happy.

What if the expectation of being happy is the cause of our unhappiness?

If we live in duality and we strive for happiness, does this not leave us open for the polar opposite- sadness?

What if the goal of happiness limits us from achieving higher states of existence?

So if we are to replace happiness as the desired emotion, what should we replace it with?


From my experience being in a state of peace is being free from emotions. Yes emotions occur but they are brief and pass quickly.

Peace is living in the present, experiencing a great connection and leaving duality.

I believe it’s time we all stop striving for happiness and give peace a chance

Mark- The Alchemist’s Journey