I’m back in Byron Bay, the Most Spiritual Town in Australia, back where I started my Snake Oil Skeptic quest. I’ve bought some Aphrodite Herb Tea, Maca Inca Superfood Powder, worn a floaty frock, followed the sound of steel drums and talked rubbish to the local ne’er-do-wells while staring out to sea, but really I’m here to see the healer from day one.
So far all my experiences with healers and psychics have left me with nothing but flaring nostrils and clenched fists – all except for Mark. There’s definitely something going on with him. I shit you not, when I look into his eyes I feel a bit hypnotised, like the rest of the room disappears. I’m hoping he can give me some pointers on how to become more open to spiritual experiences while accepting none of the rhetoric. I’ve felt like I’ve had a spiritual side since I was a kid without all that; I’ve felt it buzz and pulse and hum. And then abandon ship at around puberty.
“I just can’t get past chakras,” I say, as Mark sits across from me and bores his eyes pleasantly into my head. “So they’re everywhere spinning in the body… but where’s the shred of evidence? Can I get anywhere without accepting chakras as a basic foundation upon which to build?”
“I’m not interested in chakras,” Mark says. “I just know what I can see and feel; I can’t explain it and I don’t want to study it. It was drummed out of me as a child, because I grew up in a very scientific family. Then, when I reached my thirties I tried studying healing under two egotistical healers and it was a terrible experience.”
He asks if I’ve read any Eckhart Tolle. “I’ve been carrying around The Power of Now for ages,” I admit, “but I can’t bring myself to read it.” Especially in public.
“Your ego mind won’t let you,” Mark says. “But the ego mind is just a construction. Imagine it as a voice sitting on your shoulder, trying to tell you what to do. You are not your mind, you are a higher self.”
“I would call that ‘higher self’ my unconscious mind,” I challenge. And that goes for angels, higher powers, spirit guides, coming across weird ‘signs’ and ‘miracles’, and much other new age phenomena. Unconscious mind.
“Yeah, whatever you want to call it,” he says (touché!). “Just try not to intellectualise spirituality. You’re spiritual already; your ego mind just doesn’t want you to be because it wants to be in control. People study spirituality as hard as possible and think they should be here, when they’re here.” He moves his hand along an imaginary scale. “You get people wandering around Byron who look spiritual, but they’re not – they’re terrible people.”
Before I hop on the table, Mark checks out my energy by staring at the wall a few metres away.
“It’s all over the place,” he says.
“You’re not even looking.”
“I don’t have to look right at you, I can see it anywhere. I can see it remotely, around someone in another town. You’re throwing energy out but not letting any in. It’s important to forgive yourself for things. And you’re floating a metre above the ground. It’s important to stay grounded and draw up energy from the ground.”
I’m probably on the table for about 40 minutes, with Mark moving his hands around about six inches over my body. I’ve had this done loads of times in the name of journalism and felt nothing but intense irritation. When Mark does it I bounce like I’m floating on a lilo in the sun, a pina colada in one hand. There’s a subtle sense of being pulled upwards, but more noticeable are the ripples pulsing down my body from my head, finally streaming out of my feet. It’s not an Icke-style awakening, but it’s something.
I swing my legs off the table and Mark looks into my eyes. “Wow. That’s beautiful,” he swoons of my newly arranged energy, in a totally non-pervey way. I think everybody – new ager or skeptic – is secretly waiting for someone to tell them they have a stunning aura, so I’m pleased by this.
Questions I wanted to ask but didn’t, for fear of hearing vague answers that would prompt more questions:
- Can you mess with someone’s energy as they’re walking down the street without them knowing?
- Are the spirit guides aliens from the star system Alpha Draconis?
- Why did they give us critical minds?
- Why does Universal energy need human vessels?
- If we’re made up of a higher self and ego mind, which one does the libido belong to?