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

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

In the Zone

Two weeks ago after work, I went for a mountain bike ride.  While crossing some tree roots, one of the roots flicked the front wheel out to the left causing me to land heavily on my right side, hurting my arm and shoulder.

Why I write about this is because of what was going on in my head.  I was thinking about a colleague who is very accident prone.  He is in a perpetual state of worry.  I was thinking that due to his constant worry he was never in the zone.

Bang I was on the ground!

Instead of focusing on the trail ahead and noticing the wet slippery roots, my mind was elsewhere.

I was not in the zone!

I was not in the flow!

The zone was a concept I first heard about when watching a documentary about big wave surfers. They spoke about how they would get into this “zone” where the only thing that existed was surfing the giant wave. Nothing else mattered. Nothing!

Anything but being in the zone could have dire consequences.

The idea of being in the zone applies to all sports but especially extreme sports and motor racing. I have watched off-road motorcycle races and as the race progressed the amateur riders would tire but the professional riders would just be in the flow. They would get into a rhythm, skimming across all the bumps, letting the bike do all the work and conserving their energy.

The same day of my fall was the mediation class I regularly attend. We discussed being in the flow but from a spiritual point of view.

This is being in a state of mindfulness and allowing the flow of manifestation.

Have you ever been in this situation? You have lost your car keys.  You just cannot find them! The more you look, the more frustrated you get! You begin to worry about being late and start to get frustrated. There are other things you need to do so you focus upon the task on hand. As you focus your mind clears and out of the blue there are the keys!

Could this not be a practical example of being in the flow?

Mindfulness  = The Zone

Being in the zone should not only be while pushing limits. We should always try being in the zone.

Life is the flow. Live in the zone!

Mark- The Alchemist’s Journey

Anger is a Gift

When I was in my late teens/ early twenties I loved the band, Rage Against the Machine.

If you played their track Freedom very loud, part way through the track the music would pause and quietly you could hear- Anger Is a Gift. The music would start again.

What is anger?

Anger is a natural response to feeling attacked, deceived, frustrated or treated unfairly. Everyone gets angry sometimes – it’s part of being human. It isn’t always a ‘bad’ emotion; in fact it can sometimes be useful. For example, feeling angry about something can:

  • help us identify problems or things that are hurting us
  • motivate us to create change
  • help us defend ourselves in dangerous situations by giving us a burst of energy

When is anger a problem?

Anger only becomes a problem when it harms you or people around you. This can happen when:

  • you regularly express your anger through unhelpful or destructive behaviour
  • your anger is having a negative impact on your overall mental and physical health

Taken from


As it says above, anger is not always negative. It can help us leave negative situations such as an abusive relationship.

While in normal circumstances it is better not to make decisions while angry as it could be later considered a knee jerk reaction.

Compared to depression, anger is full of energy but this should be a temporary emotion.

Recently I have felt like I have been releasing repressed anger. This maybe evident from my taste of music – I was very angry in my late teens and early twenties. Long term anger is not healthy. It felt stuck within my body.

The statement from above, “help us defend ourselves in dangerous situations by giving us a burst of energy” is very much making anger part of the fight or flight response.

As primitive people if we faced a fight or flight situation whichever action was taken the end result would be breathlessness!

If we ran, we would run till our lungs burnt.

If we fought, we would fight till the last breath.

Nowadays when we face a situation that causes a fight or flight reaction, very rarely do we end up running or fighting. Maybe a few heated words?

So what should we do?


Acknowledge and accept these emotions and breathe.

Exercise, sing and even scream! Do whatever you can to get your breath rate up and breathe out that anger. Let the calm return.

Mark- The Alchemist’s Journey