Mark does not receive any kind of payment or royalties from the sale of his books (nor do I, his wife), and their price is set at the cost of their production, in accordance with his principles of providing all his work for free or at cost. Mark used to provide all his books for free in eBook format, but they are no longer available as they were being too plagiarized. We are just a small team, and unfortunately following up instances of copyright became so time-consuming we could no longer cope with having them available.
Mark’s eBooks were downloaded over 140,000 times over the course of about 3 years, and this website has had millions of hits.
Mark has turned down a number of publishers because he wants his work to remain free and without profit. In doing so, he and his non-profit publisher may have given up at least $365,000 over 3 years, which is what he would have made if he’d charged for his eBooks (that he gave away for free) at going rates on Amazon.com– and that’s not taking into account the huge advertising budgets large publishers with their access to the mainstream media offer.
But have you ever stopped to ask yourself, is it right to charge money for spiritual information? After all, spiritual knowledge and understanding flows freely from the universe to us, so why should we then sell it on at a profit?
We believe spirituality is not something you can price tag, and that it should be passed onto others without profit, just as it’s received that way from the universe. To profit is to block the free flow of spirituality, much like someone at a cosmic stream who diverts the flow of water, only to sell it to those suffering the thirst for change, knowledge, and inner awakening downstream.
Sacred texts and teachings have always been free – so why not now?
Humankind’s greatest spiritual teachers—from Quetzalcoatl to Jesus, Krishna to Lao-Tzu, and Osiris to Hermes, along with the authors of many of the most sacred texts of all time—never charged money for their words. Imagine a bestselling Jesus charging entry to the Sermon on the Mount, or an Arjuna who paid thousands in fees to Krishna for personal coaching in The Bhagavad Gita! They taught and followed common spiritual principles, which includes teaching spirituality freely. To charge money is to exclude people from receiving the most important information in life based on their financial standing, which is not and has never been a requirement for receiving genuine knowledge.
“Freely you have received; freely give.”
~ Jesus, Matthew 10:8 NIV
“The sage doesn’t hoard. She increases her treasure by working for her fellow human beings. She increases her abundance by giving herself to them. The way of heaven: benefit all, harm none. The way of the sage: work for all, contend with none.”
~ Lao-Tzu, Tao Te Ching, translated by Brian Browne Walker
“Some who heard mocked and scoffed and went their way, delivering themselves to the Second Death from which there is no salvation. But others, casting themselves before the feet of Hermes, besought him to teach them the Way of Life. He lifted them gently, receiving no approbation for himself, and staff in hand, went forth teaching and guiding mankind, and showing them how they might be saved. In the worlds of men, Hermes sowed the seeds of wisdom and nourished the seeds with the Immortal Waters.”
~ The Vision of Hermes, in The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall
We share these principles as they are timeless, and continue the tradition of working in the ancient and time-honored way of receiving just what people give voluntarily in donations alone. And in reality, this is how spiritual things should operate, and have operated for many thousands of years in ancient wisdom traditions in which knowledge was transmitted from teacher to student, or from guru to disciple, based on merit not on monetary exchange.
Spirituality has been hijacked by corporations
However, a massive shift has taken place in the way humanity perceives and receives spiritual information. In the US alone, the personal development market grosses 10 billion plus annually. This indicates there are a huge number of people getting rich off of people’s search for truth. Spirituality has become hijacked by people out for their own financial interests who’ve totally saturated bookstores and the internet with every kind of spiritual misinformation because a market-place in it has been created. You don’t actually have to practice spirituality anymore to be successful, you just need to market a spiritual product like any other. Most involved are business people and career writers who are not even doing a basic spiritual practice themselves. Many are simply repeating popular ideas, putting things in a way to make the most money, and even some of the most famous names in spirituality have ghost writers producing their books. Sometimes it makes you wonder… how on earth could anyone think that any of this is really spiritual?
“The world is full of half-enlightened masters. Overly clever, too “sensitive” to live in the real world, they surround themselves with selfish pleasures and bestow their grandiose teachings upon the unwary. Prematurely publicizing themselves, intent upon reaching some spiritual climax, they constantly sacrifice the truth and deviate from the Tao. What they really offer the world is their own confusion.”
~ Lao-Tzu, Hua Hu Ching, translated by Brian Browne Walker
“There are ignorant people who speak flowery words and delight in the letter of the law, saying that there is nothing else. Their hearts are full of selfish desires, Arjuna. Their idea of heaven is their own enjoyment, and the aim of all their activities is pleasure and power. The fruit of their actions is continual rebirth… The scriptures describe the three gunas. But you should be free from the action of the gunas, established in eternal truth, self-controlled, without any sense of duality or the desire to acquire and hoard.”
~ Krishna, The Bhagavad Gita, translated by Eknath Easwaran
It should ring alarm bells if anyone is charging money to make a profit out of spiritual knowledge. No matter how high-sounding their cause, beautiful their words, or genuine seeming their humility, breaking such a fundamental spiritual principle is a “no access” pass in terms of being able to receive more advanced esoteric knowledge from spiritual sources in higher dimensions.
Instead, if you scratch the surface, you will discover that much of what spiritual money makers do is motivated by the ego-driven desire for wealth, career, fame, sex and adoration, just as it is in many celebrities. These desires often work beneath someone’s own reasoning—meaning some do genuinely believe they are doing the right thing, and are forging ahead with a sense of “do-gooding,” whilst unfortunately lacking in the understanding of some fundamental spiritual principles.
Taking the road less traveled
The road less traveled is the hard road, where a hugely important job finds itself in a situation where it has some of the least resources to get it done, and this comes with both its advantages and disadvantages. It means we can only work with those who don’t want to charge money, which is why he goes through an independent non-profit publisher. With none of us having much money, nor the resources that money brings, we have to rely on methods outside of huge corporate machines to spread a message. But the big plus for you and one of the most important things for us, is that we also get to keep the full, unadulterated integrity of the message, which mainstream publishers and media outlets could otherwise taper and censor. And we need to hear the whole truth and get the complete practices to be able to awaken.
The most valuable freebie there is
You’d think being free, it would be more popular than things that cost a lot of money. The amazing thing is, we’ve found it’s actually the opposite. To most people the word ‘free’ implies something of little worth, a gimmick, something that wasn’t good enough to publish and charge for, that you use up and throw away. But that’s if you take things from a commercial standpoint; spirituality is very different however, and the most precious things in life are those that don’t come with a price tag. Instead, seeing their worth depends on a level of understanding, not how much money someone is prepared to pay.
“A man came out wearing a cloth bound around his waist, and a gold belt girded it. Also a napkin was tied over his chest, extending over his shoulders and covering his head and his hands. I was staring at the man, because he was beautiful in his form and stature. There were four parts of his body that I saw: the soles of his feet and a part of his chest and the palms of his hands and his visage. These things I was able to see. A book cover like (those of) my books was in his left hand. A staff of styrax wood was in his right hand. His voice was resounding as he slowly spoke, crying out in the city, “Pearls! Pearls!” The rich men of that city heard his voice. They came out of their hidden storerooms. And some were looking out from the storerooms of their houses. Others looked out from their upper windows. And they did not see (that they could gain) anything from him, because there was no pouch on his back nor bundle inside his cloth and napkin. And because of their disdain they did not even acknowledge him. He, for his part, did not reveal himself to them. They returned to their storerooms, saying, “This man is mocking us.” And the poor of that city heard his voice, and they came to the man who sells this pearl. They said, “Please take the trouble to show us the pearl so that we may, then, see it with our (own) eyes. For we are the poor. And we do not have this […] price to pay for it. But show us that we might say to our friends that we saw a pearl with our (own) eyes.” He answered, saying to them, “If it is possible, come to my city, so that I may not only show it before your (very) eyes, but give it to you for nothing.””
~ The Acts of Peter and the Twelve Apostles, The Nag Hammadi Library, translated by Douglas M. Parrott and R. McL.Wilson
Plagiarism is one of the biggest threats to spirituality today
It may come as a surprise that one of the biggest problems truth seekers face is the sheer scale of people taking other people’s spiritual work and passing it off as their own. The internet has made millions of people overnight self-publishers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. So many are looking for a quick way to earn money, and in the digital world it’s easy to now just “copy paste the bit I like”, “delete author name”, and hit “publish by me”.
But because spirituality requires a practice of a whole knowledge, people chopping it into bits to just keep the parts they like, whilst calling it theirs, creates a virtual labyrinth and hall of mirrors of half-truths and disinformation, which even the sincerest seeker can never find their way through.
“The highest virtue one can exercise is to accept the responsibility of discovering and transmitting the whole truth. Some help others in order to receive blessings and admiration. This is simply meaningless. Some cultivate themselves in part to serve others, in part to serve their own pride. They will understand, at best, half of the truth. But those who improve themselves for the sake of the world–to these, the whole truth of the universe will be revealed. So seek this whole truth, practice it in your daily life, and humbly share it with others. You will enter the realm of the divine.”
~ Lao-Tzu, Hua Hu Ching, translated by Brian Browne Walker
Mark particularly has had his work plagiarized for decades because what he writes is from an extraordinary depth of experience. Because he gives it for free, it’s been virtually ignored in the world and therefore has made it an easy target for the thousands of people sifting for unique content on the internet everyday that they can make money and name out of.
We’ve seen our work on the ancient meaning of the solstices used by sites to run paid holiday solstice retreats, and Mark’s work on self-knowledge looking like it has been repeated as the structure and veiled content of one of the bestselling “spiritual” books of all time. Many others have taken his work on astral travel to create astral projection eBooks for sale and paid courses. What is given freely according to ancient time-honored principles, ends up being used and hijacked by others for their own self interests.
These people take the pleasant bits of the work, then put it in a more enticing way, and often with far more resources behind them. Yet while they may meet the standards for financial and corporate success by having a more charismatic and entertaining personality or being more adept at writing and speaking, they lack the standards required for receiving advanced esoteric wisdom from higher sources—therefore they rely on recycling popular ideas, repeating what people like to hear, and very often other people’s knowledge.
By doing this they break not only common laws, but also spiritual ones. Theft is theft, and that includes stealing other people’s hard earned spiritual work, and even going so far to pass it off as their own. Just imagine the effect of a thousand Krishna look-alikes all repeating misrepresented bits of what Krishna said for money in much more entertaining ways, chatting on the Today Show with bestselling books, whilst Krishna himself remained totally ignored and unknown? Where would The Bhagavad Gita be now? As a humanity our standards may have changed, but spiritual standards are timeless and honesty is one of the most basic standards for receiving esoteric knowledge. Someone who doesn’t meet this requirement is not even fit to be a student of spirituality – let alone any sort of teacher. And anyone really interested in doing a spiritual work needs to find a real teacher.
The media loves an entertainer
People with the right combo of charisma, corporate backing, and marketable ideas then become darlings of the media who thrive off of entertainers, celebrities, products, and those people who don’t touch on anything controversial. This creates a mechanism in which big spiritual corporate publishers work hand-in-hand with big mainstream media outlets—both feed off each other, creating a cycle of profit in which household name spiritual writers are turned into products that guarantee high returns for the money making interests behind them.
Time to make some changes
We think it’s time to snap out of this money-making spiritual mega marketplace madness, and to instead revive the timeless principles and knowledge of spiritual wisdom.
If you’d like to see this too, then there are some things you can do right now – by leaving your feedback in comments and reviews, sharing the links to this site with people you think might be interested (without spamming of course), and donating to help cover our costs and enable things to grow.
We always welcome any suggestions and ideas, so please contact us with any you have – as it is a big and difficult job we’ve got, and it needs all the help it can get.