'Making a difference' is a phrase on everyone's lips these days. Maybe even in some quarters it's in danger of becoming one of those marketing mantras like 'gluten free' or 'low fat', simply because it resonates so strongly with so many people.But there are true souls in our midst who recognise it for what it is - a yearning for fulfillment and meaning in life's journey - and devote themselves to achieving their goal.
Among this latter group, theta healer Mark Anthony has learned the hard way, as is so often the case. He turned to the healing modality that accesses deeply calming theta brainwaves, the hypnotic state opening the portal to the subconscious mind, when conventional medicine and heavy doses of medication failed to heal a severe bone infection. He credits his discovery of theta healing at this critical time in his life for his spontaneous recovery and founded his Sydney-based business Co-Creation Theta Healing to teach it to others.
Uppermost in Mark's mind at present is the level of stress he sees all around him, not just in Sydney but worldwide. And as he points out, none of us really needs to be told how much stress contributes to a host of diseases, from colds and flus all the way to cancer and heart disease.
Financial stress is certainly playing its part, says Mark. "For instance, once it used to be a luxury for a wife to go out to work, now it's a necessity. Paying off a mortgage, rising housing prices, it's not getting easier for people."
The issue is probably even more pronounced in the holistic and alternative industries than in mainstream society because of the historic reluctance of many healers to seek adequate payment for their services. While it's a noble attitude based on centuries of tradition where healers could expect to be supported by their yogic or other spiritual communities, these days it simply means many highly gifted practitioners burn out through overwork or just close their doors.
So Mark has decided to tackle the problem head on by creating a Wealth Consciousness module to add to his more traditional theta healing courses. It will be offered for the first time in Sydney this month and a little later in Canberra and has already sparked interest from abroad.
As Mark explains: "I have worked with a lot of people over the years on their belief systems and the thing that often holds people back is wondering how their family and people around them will respond to them creating wealth and abundance.
"If we're in a circle of friends and we love those friends or our family and our topic of conversation is how bad someone is because they have a lot of money, then we are worried we are going to ostracise ourselves if we're too successful. All of a sudden we worry, 'Am I going to be talked about the way they talk about that person?'
"So subconsciously we'll stop ourselves from creating."
The starting point, says Mark, is to raise our awareness to create a wealth conscious mindset so that abundance begins to flow into our lives. "If quantum physics is right and we're all made up of one energy, then we do have a god self about us and our natural state is abundance.
"So if we can instil that sort of awareness on the planet that abundance is our natural state, then there's no need to fight over things, no need to worry. There's no need to think that, 'Okay if I'm going to be happy it means that other people are missing out.' It's knowing that we can all have that happiness, we can all have that joy."
In common with all holistic modalities that stress the sovereignty of the individual and that we have it within ourselves to create our external circumstances, whether happy or miserable, well off or struggling, peaceful or always ripe for an argument, Mark teaches that we each hold the key.
"It's really helping people to understand that wealth, along with all the truly wonderful things they wish to create in their life, is not outside of themselves.
"It's all within. You can't just wish for it - it still takes effort and you have to put the work in. But it's about understanding that when you do raise your consciousness, when you change your words, thoughts and actions, you raise your level of consciousness and allow more abundance into your life."
A truly exciting and important aspect, he believes, is that the more holistic "like minded" people adopt an abundance mindset, "the more we can make a real difference out there in the community".
"If you have a hundred million dollars in your bank account you can help a lot more people than if you have a thousand dollars. I believe the key is having the right minded people with that abundance and then we can make a huge conscious difference to the planet."
As a young man, Mark tells me, his goal was to make enough money that he could "just stay home and do nothing and say that I have retired young. That was a goal for me." Obviously that drive played a key role in bringing him early success in the building industry. But with it came illness and the sort of stress he sees mirrored in so many other people.
Now, though, his goals are very different, ones I have become familiar with over the past eight or so years in the role he and his wife Theresa play as loyal and generous supporters of NOVA Magazine. As he laughs heartily, "I guess I've grown up!"
"I've come to realise that life is only really fulfilling when you're giving back. Life is really fulfilling when you're making a difference in other people's lives."
With his awareness of the power of theta waves to reach deep into the subconscious to "discreate" old harmful belief systems and "create" new ones, he seeks "as much as possible" to live holistically.
"So I'm always focused on my words and what I'm creating with them and I'm always using situations that come up to do more healings on myself as an opportunity for growth."
He offers as an example, one that resonates with us all, receiving an electricity bill. These days, more often than not, it's enough to put us into a lather of anxiety as we tear open the envelope.
If doesn't need to be that way, says Mark, if we have rid ourselves of the belief that anything unexpected will be bad news. With greater awareness of our beliefs and our ability to change them, we can take a deep breath and plan a calm course of action rather than dissolving in tears or screaming expletives.
If that reaction sounds familiar, Mark suggests asking ourselves, 'Why is this really upsetting me so much? When was the first time I felt this way? What's this really all about?'
"Often it comes back to a childhood issue. Maybe you used your parents' mobile phone too much and sent text messages and got a ridiculous bill. Or maybe it was your parents' reaction to getting the car serviced and finding the bill higher than they expected."
All our past experiences and those of our parents and their parents before them have contributed to creating the beliefs we carry in our subconscious mind. In accessing the theta state, Mark explains, we can remove the emotional trauma associated with that heavy weight of past experience and create a new possible outcome. In this case, calmly calling the electricity company and getting some clarification to alter our energy guzzling behaviour.
Mark's own past experience, coupled with his awareness of the power of accessing the theta state, gives his words a quiet but powerful sincerity: "We're here for a higher purpose. It's not just about this flesh and blood physical body, it's about this soul that's inside us that has come here for a higher purpose, that knows it can help so many people, that knows we can help so many people."