Life is Wonderful

By Seamus Anthony

Life is Wonderful!

OK so my last post was a bit hardcore, but it was meant to be. I wanted it to be a short, sharp, unexpected shock.

Why? Because I don’t want Rebel Zen to be just another blog. In fact, Steve and I do not intend Rebel Zen to just be a blog but something much more multi-faceted than that.

We have both of us had a break from regular posting in order to refresh and now I think we are ready to come back to Rebel Zen with a fresh perspective for 2009. And no, it’s not going to turn into a ‘doom and gloom’ activist blog BUT we are hoping to shake up the personal development scene as best we can – to confound expectation. That’s why it’s ‘Rebel’ Zen not ‘Feel Good Zen’, y’know?

What I am interested in is how can we move boundaries around and mix the idea of a personal development brand with activism, with art-for-art’s-sake, with music, with offline ‘real world’ happenings, and with whatever else we want to throw into the mix. And importantly – how can we make this something about ACTION not just IDEAS – because ideas are fantastic but without action they are just puffs of smoke on the breeze.

So yes, life is wonderful; we have the opportunity to jump on the back of life and ride it like an untamed stallion. It might not always go the way we want it to, but if we work with it then we just may find it leads us to water.

Yin, Yang and The Underlying Whole

The juxtaposition between ‘Life is fucked’ and Life is wonderful’ is the Yin Yang model at work. This model, so often co-opted and turned into a cliche, is an incredibly powerful concept (or rather underlying fact of existence) which, true to its own nature, is at once so simple and so complex that I find it hard to write about the mind-splitting ruminations I have had about its fundamental importance. I’d like to explore this some more this year.

And underlying the opposites of Yin and Yang is the Tao which is complete and all-inclusive. Represented by a simple circle, the Yin Yang model fits into it and is embraced by the Tao. And so as MonkMojo said in the comments under the last post:

“Reality contains the fucked, non-fucked and an infinite number of fucked flavors in between. It is complete.

This is truth. But nevertheless, this kind of psycho-babble may be of little help to you if you are having a hard time of it right now because sometimes when you are going through Hell, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. To help with this, in the next post, I will go through some practical ways to experience less of the ‘fucked’ and more of the ‘wonderful’.

Stay tuned and meanwhile, here’s to 2009! May it be wonderful!

Seamus Anthony Seamus Anthony

Photo of laughing girls by A4gpa

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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".

13 comments Write a comment

  1. Pish! Come and see me when a bomb blows half your leg off and say that.

    I understand this kind of Buddha/Tao talk all too well. It is true on a level and for years I went around spouting it but in the end I had to admit to myself that it is all very well but when the shit hits the fan spouting New Age platitudes isn’t gonna help you much is it?

    Look at that picture in the “life is fucked” post and tell me it is something that that kid has just labelled as bad.

    My point is: that kind of talk only works on a philosophical level and I believe it is irresponsible to just bandy it about without factoring in the very real suffering that takes place on this planet every day. It can also make you look very callous and lacking in compassion, and could be taken by some as an excuse to ignore the problems of this world.

  2. I understand the dichotomy of my statement. It’s the same as saying the stick does not exist – until someone hits you over the head with it. Yet both are correct. My comment was not to belittle the suffering of people; suffering is very much real, but also real only insofar as we allow it to be through our labeling it as such. Do you see my point, or were you so quick to fire back a response that you failed to consider it?

  3. I do understand your comment, and I am certainly not intending to belittle you, but I just don’t have a very sympathetic ear for – no offense intended – New Age twaddle. The fact is for all practical intents and purposes the stick does exist and buggered if anyone needs platitudes or metaphysical speculation when they’re being knocked over the head with one.

    I’ve been down the hippy-Tao path and it is only applicable in certain situations. For example, if you are feeling blue about something relatively minor (as compared to a life-threat) then realising that most suffering is a decision can be extremely liberating.

    It’s not that there is no truth in all that Buddha-talk, but – call me a pragmatist – it’s (in my opinion) not very helpful when we talk about the major issues facing this planet right now.

    On the other hand, if only those who inflict suffering on others would take on board some of this thinking, then they might think better of their actions and desist. In that case – very useful!

  4. I think we’re on the same page more than you may realize, as I fully appreciate the limitations that “Buddha-talk” has. I would not label my language as “New Age twaddle” however. If you knew me you would know there is nothing “New Age” about me, nor have I ever walked a “hippy-Tao” path.

    My life has plenty of action on conditions I’d like to see improved. It’s the Confucius vs Lao Tzu path. You awaken to the Now. You can then either 1) recognize the world is nuts and go live in a cave as Lao Tzu did, or you can 2) become engaged and promote change as Confucius did. I prefer the latter.

    The “Buddha-talk” is helpful in that it helps mend the suffering for the person experiencing it, and, as you stated, when the oppressors engage in it, their actions may change. Further, for the people that just go to work M-F and sit on the couch all weekend, oblivious to the world around them, that “Buddha-talk” and understanding should SPUR action (I believe).

    I’d like to address the “whether the stick exists or not” concept further, but we’d need a few cold beers and a bar. In the meantime – cheers – cheers to your taking action.

  5. Hello Seamus,

    Thank you for the mention. A proud moment in my history of psycho-babble to be sure!

    I’m looking forward to Rebel Zen’s “ACTION not just IDEAS” in ’09, (in between my puffs of smoke).

  6. Hi Seamus,

    Very much looking forward to the mix.

    As to reality. The Buddha/Tao ‘twaddle’ presumes an ‘ideal’ world beyond the physical, that is somehow related to our thoughts and experience. Where it comes unstuck is specifying this somehow. If talking is not real why do they keep talking so effing much! What does it mean to say that someone dying from their wounds is not ‘really’ dying.

    Which leads me to my deepest concern with this line: it undermines compassion. If suffering isn’t real why bother trying to alleviate it? My understanding – though I’m no Buddhist, so should maybe shut up – is that this is what Buddha was about.

  7. Evan, I had hopes of explaining the statement more fully, but it’s such a complex thought that it’d take forever to write, and probably still wouldn’t make sense. Suffice to say that death is as real as reality can be, as is suffering. I am no Buddhist either.

    That being said, I think recognizing that the “stick” does not exist is one element of the path toward heightened awareness, toward my own “DIY enlightenment”. Of course the stick exists, but what I’m speaking of is less Buddhist in nature, and more philosophical, or more specifically anti-philosophical (traditional philosophy anyway), and it’s 100% NOT a withdrawal from “reality”. I understand that this all sounds like doublespeak, but it’s not, and it’s not Buddhist in nature, but the similarities are clear to me.

    My original statement is based more on perception, language, and the limits of language. Breaking down the use of language is important for the person seeking heightened awareness (my opinion). Language has its limits, and we think in language, thus our thinking is limited by the words we use. For example, the “stick” is not a stick, it is a serious of particularly arranged matter that sits on the ground or hangs from a tree. It is a “stick” only in our mind. Note that I use the quotations, because I’m referencing the term “stick” and not the real object. A “stick” exists only in our minds. Further, a “stick” is not matter, as “matter” exists only in our minds. We can never reach its true meaning, because we use words to define words.

    Ultimately, and I’m being so overly simplistic it’s not even funny, all is God, and language is merely attempts to reach God. Confused? It is confusing and complex. I can only suggest you read further on the subject if you’re interested. You can start here: Then you can go here: You can also try here:

    I’ll be more cautious in the future about just dropping statements like “things are neither fucked nor wonderful” because it’s very clear that it is exceptionally prone to misinterpretation. Which really isn’t that surprising given the complexity of it all.

    I will say only that a true understanding of this SHOULD serve as a step toward heightened awareness, and heightened awareness SHOULD lead to social action. If neither of these holds true, something was missed in the process.

    Take care.

  8. @Evan – thanks for your comment. In my experience – and in fairness to Buddhists – it is more often (some) New Age capitalists that tend to use Karma and “Everything is Appropriate” as an excuse not to act whereas Buddhists do make compassion pretty high on their list of priorities.
    @Chasing sanity (nearly lost mine trying to figure out your real name) – I have greatly enjoyed your comments today and hope that you’ve enjoyed the discourse. I most certainly do hope there’s been no ill-will. I am a pretty straight talker (typer) but it’s all in the best spirit of fun. Anyway, from what I’ve read of your blog – you like beer so that means you can’t be too bad in my book 🙂 Enjoyed that last comment btw and yes you could be more cautious about dropping comments like you did but then we wouldn’t have this fine online ramble would we?

  9. To babble or not to babble?

    If I say “correct the self and the world will correct itself” am I babbling?

    Depends who’s listening, but the troubles in the world are down to someone far from enlightened inflicting real suffering on others by their vain attempts to shape the world around them.

    If they do not love them selves and look out to the world for justification, try to form the world to be what they are not, then they are going to form a fucked world. They do, we all see it happen.

    Someone correct on the inside does not project a negative world around them as the compassion for themselves is granted to all as they see the world as an extension of them self.

    So do you fix war and hatred by standing up against it? Sort of and no. Sort of because we have to stand up, but no because standing in opposition gives validity to the thing you stand against. Saying “hey israel stop killing kids with big weapons” does not make israel say “oh yeah if you hadn’t pointed that out I may have missed it” it makes them say “fuck you” and carry on.

    The way to stand up is to “be the change” (more babble). It is so true, when enlightenment spreads we no longer look out for happiness and change we project it.

    Yes a baby getting its leg blown off is awful for viewer and especially innocent baby! no denying that! However if most of the world acted as good as they “thought they should if things were better” then the justification for the bomb would dwindle.

    To make a statement to an army you shoot at them. To make a statement to a real human you talk to them.

    When people can love themselves then they love the world and the world is loved and more people love theme selves.

    Babble! true though.

  10. I forgot the Einstein babble too

    “you do not solve problems with the same level of awareness that created them.”

    So bombs don’t stop bombs, laws don’t stop crime. To fix the world you get to a higher separate state of awareness and fix the core of the issues in the human not try to reorder the mess they made.


    I’m not arguing against anyone, just making points for discussion/development.

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