Are You A Rebel Zen Master?

By Seamus Anthony

By Seamus Anthony

Have you noticed a shift in the personal development world lately?

I have, and I know I’m not alone. I believe there’s a quiet movement on the rise that straddles both the worldly “success” field and the spiritual “enlightenment” field.

We’re a movement of connected individuals who DO want powerful tools for personal advancement in this life – but aren’t about to buy into the “bleached teeth and power suit” cliche of the “Wow! Transform Your Life and Get Rich Instantly!” variety.

We’re a movement of connected individuals who DO want to find lasting inner peace and happiness (which is – the way I see it anyway – all enlightenment really is) but who scoff at the idea of the “all-knowing” guru. And we’d rather give the “dolphins and rainbows” aesthetic a miss too, thanks very much.

Choose to Cruise

Example: While there will always be those who worship productivity, and who will run around trying to find systems to leverage their every moment, there is a new movement of those of us who have tried all that shit and have come to the conclusion that it is truly better to just “flow with the Tao”. That doesn’t mean we don’t try and get awesome things done, but it does mean that we don’t invite complexity (even complexity disguised as “simple systems”) into our lives. And we don’t live in a panic, trying to cram so much into our day that we are perpetually stressed out.

Instead we ‘choose to cruise’. We figure out what the few most productive actions we can get done every day are and we Keep It Simple Stupid.

We value the moment. The moment is all we have and we know it. And a moment spent scratching your dog’s ear is no less well spent than a moment spent pummeling away doing the grunt work needed to get something done. I just stopped typing for a moment and looked out the window from my office. My office is a bungalow in my back yard, and my back yard is in the temperate rainforest hills outside of Melbourne, Australia. It’s spring and tiny insects are frolicking, diving and chasing each other through the warm afternoon air. Kookaburras are laughing and there are flowers everywhere.

I may have a to-do list as long as my arm but I’d be a fool not to stop and take all that in.

Sure, we get things done, but if it doesn’t get done on time, it’s not the the end of it the world. Why? Because we have perspective – we are fully aware that we are going to die one day – could be tomorrow even – and once we’re dead, all the glory and money and even the work itself will fade away and become nothing. Even Shakespeare will be a nobody one day and a time will come when Jesus, Mohamed and Buddha are forgotten relics of the past. So the chances of the good work we are doing lasting for ever are nil. Nothing lasts for ever, so why get all bent up out of shape about things?

That’s just one example of what I see as a shifting consciousness amongst those at the ground level of the personal development movement – i.e. the actual people who are developing. It’s not about all those bloody cheeseballs in the Secret DVD, nor is it some “amazing discovery” coming top-down at you from Anthony Robbins or whoever. I mean these people are probably lovely in their own right, but what they represent, or the way they try to sell to us, is off-base and losing relevance fast.

Step Off Dudes

I could go on all night, but I’ve got a lovely family to hang out with and I’m hungry, so I won’t. But if you resonate with what I’ve typed here today, with what is written throughout this blog, and more importantly, with what you are reading and hearing and seeing from other blogs and just from people you meet, then you should know that your time is now.

Our time is now. Let’s do it, in our own laid back way mind you, but let’s do it. Let’s stand up and say to the George Bush’s and Sarah Palin’s of this world “Step off dudes, you’ve got it all wrong.”

And if the Wicketty-Wak Ones question who you are to stand up to them, feel free to say “I’m a Rebel Zen Master, my friend, who are you?”

That’ll give ’em something to think about ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Hi, I'm Seamus Anthony. I am an author, artist and musician from Australia. Here at Rebel Zen, I document my journey as an creative artist and human and in doing so, hopefully help you in your own progress through your life of creativity. Go get your free E-book by me: "Taming The Monkey Mind".

14 comments Write a comment

  1. This post and the e-book are profoundly refreshing to me. I don’t realize how tense the productivity blogs make me (and I only read a couple of them) until I come to your site and my shoulders drop and I start smiling and getting this general “Aaaahhhh….Yes!” feeling.
    Thanks for your work–it’s very much needed!

  2. I want the ebook but it did not work. After entering name and email address I got an email saying ” Thanks for Downloading the Curly’s Law Ebook from Rebel Zen.”

    But I never got a link for the book so why a Thanks?

  3. Hi Bengt

    Ah the fun of technology. I think at that point where the thank you is, there is also a download link right there. It might need a redesign to be a bit more obvious, but we were in a bit of a hurry to get the e-book out in time for the Pick The Brain article ‘cos it was going to (and did) send us bunch of new traffic. Sorry, try again and let us know if it still don’t work for you.

  4. Thanks Angela, I am glad we actually help you relax rather than feel uptight. That’s what inspired this blog and the concept of Rebel Zen: I just kept seeing all these personal development gurus and spiritual gurus who just raise the bar so high that it starts to seem more like a clever business model than a real attempt to help people in any way.

    Because what they are doing is setting you up to fail. You get the new book, get all excited about the latest “breakthrough” but then get all depressed when you don’t suddenly change and become a super hero, and so then you need the next book or the seminar or whatever. Meanwhile these gurus are laughing all the way to the bank and half of them probably privately struggle to practice what they preach anyway.

    I came up with the title Rebel Zen when I was sitting around thinking how I’d love to see a personal development writer who admits he’s a slack-arse with a whole host of personal failings. Then I thought – I can do that! And there you have it ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. The whole KISS (keep it simple stupid) is a powerful one. I try to do that, and to enjoy the “moments” in life. Like the chance to play with my kids, or to watch the turkeys in the backyard. And this is a good reminder for me that I need to keep enjoying these moments – sometimes in the busy-ness of life, I forget that…Thanks.

  6. I think most of the modern world is living almost 100% with its sympathetic nervous system switched on. That’s the flight or fight one people. When activated it stimulates the release of stress hormones, increases heart rate and blood pressure while decreasing digestive and repair processes.

    The way the world is now set up to be produces stress all our waking lives if we let it. Considering stress is only episodic in nature it is no wonder everyone is walking around with adrenal fatigue, poor digestion and taking blood pressure and cholesterol medication. We’ve strayed so very far.

    To all that I say: Step off! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Stephen – Balanced Existences last blog post..Combine Insight and Loving Kindness Meditation

  7. @Lance – hanging out with the kids (or the turkeys for that matter) is such a great chance to ‘be in the moment’. Remember when you were a kid? If you were anything like me then there was so little stress because there was just no concept that there was anything to achieve, or that time was in any way scarce.

    @Stephen – it’s been interesting reading your marriage of dietary health and personal development. I have an appointment with my naturopath this week, due to some health issues need fixing up. I gotta admit though, I’m such a lush that the idea of doing another naturopathic diet for while doesn’t exactly fill me with joy (but my guts will love me for it, this I know).

  8. No worries ZenDad – hope you enjoy the e-book ๐Ÿ™‚

    By the way, the process you’ve described – of taking bits and pieces from different personal development sources and applying them to your life as you see fit – this is exactly what we mean by DIY Enlightenment.

    It’s not one-size-fits-all; we don’t just have to choose a specific philosophy or doctrine and stick to it. We are free to liberate our lives in our own way.

    And amen to that!

  9. Hi Seamus,

    I’m glad you’re finding it interesting. Aristotle made the students in his school train with wrestlers to condition and strengthen their bodies. He did that because real intense thinking is very demanding physically. Many people fall asleep or get tired reading in-depth philosophy. Itโ€™s because most people are not in the best of shape. They have low blood sugar and adrenal fatigue. Bodhidarma did much the same thing when he went to China.

    So, I agree with those who say that how we think, so we are. However I feel some go to the extreme in ignoring how much influence what we eat and our overall physical health has upon how we think.

    The Buddha said our body is our vehicle to enlightenment. So take good care of it.

    Stay tuned because tomorrow I’ll be posting an article regarding excitotoxins in our food. If ever there was a dietary source of altered thinking excitotoxins are it. And not in a good way.

    Stephen – Balanced Existences last blog post..True Love is Unconditional

  10. This is awesome! So refreshing to find a personal development site with a similar philosophy. Life doesn’t have to be strive-strive-strive to be happy and live a life you love. You can do awesome stuff without stressing and worrying – that’s the whole point of my own blog. =) Sometimes I get caught up in the personal development wheel, but I really try to just stay present and enjoy the ride.

    Thanks for this. I’m on board with this movement! =)

  11. I’ve just started meditating yesterday and I feel great. My first session
    was 20 minutes long then I went to bed, then
    my second session was in the morning for
    about 15 minutes, I went to work feeling great
    but while at work I did some research and found
    your ebook, I read it at work then can home to
    have a 30 minute session. I used your sensory
    Items to focus on and it made it much easier and
    enjoyable. I finished your book then had another
    40 minute session. I plan to jump as deep in as I
    can and remember to let go. P.S. this is a great
    alternative to drugs and has really helped out my
    personal growth as well as my emotions. Thanks Seamus ๐Ÿ™‚

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