In The Age Of Connectivity, We Are All The Guru

By Seamus Anthony

By Seamus Anthony

One of the most liberating things you can realize in life is that there are no rules.

People will try to tell you there are – but it’s not true.

Of course, that doesn’t mean there are no consequences for your actions. There most certainly are, but my point stands – you can choose to find happiness and success your way and without buying into somebody else’s self-serving nonsense.

And even better, there are so many people (ordinary, non-guru people) online and off, just waiting to help you make up your own mind by chipping in their own angle on “Life, the Universe and Everything”.

We Don’t Need No Guru – We ARE the Guru!

In fact, in this Age of Connectivity, and on the heels of the Information Age, we can not only find enough information to make up our minds, to find our own ways to worldly and/or spiritual success, but we can very easily find many people online willing to help, whether directly by conversing with you, or indirectly by publishing their own helpful content.

This is what I mean by “we are all the Guru”.

We, the collective voice, the millions of tiny voices, are the Collective Guru.

We don’t need no Guru – we ARE the Guru!

One of the reasons I ever came up with the idea of a blog called “Rebel Zen” was because I was sick of reading self-serving clap-trap by self-help and spiritual gurus that set themselves up as being “holier than thou” and practically perfect in all respects. These Gurus of Shame pretend that it is their job to make you feel better but in fact what they do is subtly make you feel ashamed about yourself and your all-too-human failings.

The Business of Reinforcing ‘Perceived Lack’

These bleach-toothed, shoulder-padded monsters parade a (probably semi-fictitious) image of themselves through different types of media, and rabbit on in their books and conferences about how they are so incredibly disciplined that they never put on any weight, or feel distant from God, or struggle to find a satisfying, life-affirming way to make money.

And why? To create a “perceived lack”, that’s why.

By setting themselves up as almost perfect, they create a tension between where your (real) life is right now and where your (fantasy) life is.

You might not want to hear this about your favorite self-help guru, but they are trying to pull the same trick on you as those entities we commonly perceive as “soulless” and “evil” do.

Take for example the giant cosmetic companies; their ads pretend to help you, but first they set-up a perceived problem. A problem that usually only exists if you believe it does – like wrinkles.

Wrinkles are only a problem if you think they are – otherwise they are just lines on your face, nothing more or less than that.

But the big cosmetic brands make ads that tell you that wrinkles are a problem, and then they sell you a solution. The greatest irony is that (as far as I know) most wrinkle creams don’t even do what they claim!

Well that’s what self-help gurus do. They create (or more likely, reinforce) a perceived lack or problem in your mind (you are too unsuccessful, you aren’t living your dreams, you aren’t fit and fabulous, you aren’t happy, you aren’t enlightened) then they tell you that they have the answers you need. So you buy the book or go to the workshop or buy the 7 CD set.

And then guess what? Their answers don’t work for you as quickly and easily as you’d hoped. And they don’t want them too? Why? Because if their answers work just like that every time, they’d soon run out of customers!

The Guru is Dead! Long Live The Guru!

Now don’t get me wrong, a quick squizz around this blog and you will find plenty of examples of top-down guru-like rants and preaching. Or you might anyway, I’m not sure. I guess I am just covering my own arse, as the charming saying goes.

But whether you do or don’t feel like this is the case, the truth of the matter is you are not a voiceless, passive audience member here. If you ever disagree (or agree for that matter) with anything written here you can leave a comment and within reason we will publish it. Debate is a good thing!

And of course you are free to publish your own blog – and in fact this is probably a good time to remind our readers that we are more than happy to consider guest posts here at Rebel Zen. We can’t pay anything just now, but if we dig your vibe we will publish you and link back to your blog or whatever, so by all means, add your voice to the Collective Guru and send us any articles you think are Rebel Zen in flavor to

Photo by BotheredByBees

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".

11 comments Write a comment

  1. No rules, exactly, anyone with an idea of how things should be, or with a fixed plan, (most politicians are this way) will get into a lot of trouble, because reality does not conform to our plans, or our ideas of what it should be.
    There are no rules for success just accept life and what it brings constant adjustment to that constant change.

  2. The guru thing is tricky: to tell people that you aren’t a guru can just reinforce the position. It is partly other people’s problem if they regard you as a guru, but how to not get sucked into the game is tricky I think.

  3. I totally accept the spirit and principle of ‘No Rules’. At the same time, whether we choose to comply or to rebel, there are and will always be rules, guidelines or principles that serve us and others well.

    Perhaps they’ll be our own ‘rules’, designed to hold up or to bring down what the Gurus present as Universal Truths, tablets of stone, tickets to Heaven, Nirvana, Shangri-La, happy ever-after.

    Breaking the rules by gain-saying the guru, may give us an impression (illusion?) of independence, but rebelliousness does not make us free-spirits! As long as we are reacting – for or against – the guru, we are influenced, maybe even determined by the rules that, or people who, tell us how we should think, feel and act.

    As an example, I have worked with teens who’ve been kicked out of school and students who’ve dropped out of Uni because, as they put it, “I wanted to do for myself what my parents wanted me to do, but if I did, they’d think I did it because THEY wanted me to!”

    I believe that a truly independent person would not sacrifice their own needs and aspirations to prevent other people [parents] from getting pleasure or satisfaction.

    Evan’s right; it is tricky not to get sucked into the game, and Andrew’s comment about the need for constant adjustment to constant change resonates with me.

    My work involves helping people to make those adjustments in ways that are more likely to be self-affirming and life-enhancing.

    How do I know what will be ‘right’ for the families, teams, individuals, teachers, parents, professionals who come to me?

    Well, on the one hand I don’t – after all, although it is fairly predictable in terms of most people’s pattern and habits, the future is not written, so no advice, coaching, guidance offers any guarantees!

    On the other hand, I work on the assumption that people are not only resilient and resourceful, but also have answers within themselves (on in the family, love-affair, team, classroom, etc.), that they may not know how to access without some input from others.

    So, probabilities, yes! Guarantees? Absolutely none. And, like changes, an infinite number of possibilities.

    In short, I agree with the notion that you are, I am, we are the guru!

    Go well

  4. I completely agree with the stances and points made by these three comments. We contain multitudes, and we have the right to embrace our own contradictions if we want to.

    I am also impressed with the length of Michael’s comment.

    Longest. Comment. Ever.

  5. haha. Great work here Seamus. I battle with this all the time. Trying to not come off too preachy, but at the same time inspire and motivate. Sometimes you want tough love works sometimes it comes off like preaching. We really can’t win either way. Like you I completely own my contradictions. All I can do is try to make a difference in peoples lives. If it comes across wrong to that individual at that time there is nothing I can do about it. I agree that projecting yourself as a perfect guru is not always motivating, but sometimes leading by example is all you can do to motivate others. But, again you hit the nail on the head…People don’t need to be perfect, nor would you want to be. As I am finding out, living in a perfect controlled world is not all fun and games it traps you in a set of strict personal rules you feel ashamed to break. Your own mind holding you prisoner by it’s expectations and drive for success. Great work…really got me thinking. 😀

  6. As a rule, I quite like making up my own rules!
    When, for example, I am running Crafty Listening workshops for managers or teams, or Crafty Classroom sessions for teachers, learning mentors, Sencos and such, although there is a topic, as referred to in the title, and there will always be some clearly defined, and hopefully well-formed outcome, I have no structure, and (except start and end times) no time-table.

    There neither a written nor conceptualised agenda. No case-studies and no role-plays.

    I hardly let anyone talk about anyone who is not in the room, and, to discourage whinging, both during and after the training event, I offer the alternative of ‘Complaints With Recommendations’.

    This ‘lack’ of rules/ structure/ familiarity, etc., is so disconcerting for some people that they get visibly and verbally agitated.

    So, given all that isn’t there; what’s left?
    Well, the Here and Now energy in the room, the anxieties and aspirations, the fears and fantasies, and covert or overt antagonism perhaps.

    Also, I have an unshakable belief in the innate goodness of human beings. I choose to believe that all of us have an infinite capacity for loving connections, for creative and zestfull impact on the world. Our loving potential may be, and often is, obscured by the sadness, fear and anger that lurks beneath a carapace of hate.

    I remain convinced that we can find good in the worst of us as well as bad in the best of us. And that is what I set out to find in the unstructured, rule-free ‘chaos’ of my workshops and training.

    Anyway, I have warmed myself up by writing this post, so I will now return to my other writing.

    Go well

  7. Hi Brian – nice point about Ghandi. Certainly an amazing fellow, a true Taoist in his way.

    Hey again Michael! Great points – I reckon you must have the same skill I am blessed/cursed with, the ability to ThinkType, that is, channel your thoughts straight down through your fingers in a coherent fashion. (I say cursed cos sometimes I think people get overwhelmed by my casually tossed out 1500 word emails)

  8. Seamus, Blessed? Certainly that; I have had a passionate love affair with words since I was three years old! I think I write well, and it is very gratifying when I meet others who love the process, appreciate the nuances, and recognise and enjoy the creative energy as much as the final outcome.

    I used to get a form of writer’s block in which I’d write a few sentences or paragraphs, maybe even half a page, then I’d re-read what I’d written and start editing, revising, chopping and changing. That created a loop in which I’d get hung up on the sounds of the words, the alliteration, small details that I’d feel compelled to ‘sort out’ before I could move on.

    I figured out what I was doing, then worked out my [internal] strategy for going with the flow.

    Indeed, I’m running a workshop in August for people with writer’s block, and also have a Meetup group on that very topic (free to join).

    On the matter of ThinkType, I worked with a bright 13 year old who was having and causing problems at school, in particular around writing.

    He complained that, “I have the words in my head, but they won’t travel down my arm into my fingers and onto the page!”

    That comment immediately suggested a solution to his problem, which was, via the magic of NLP and EFT, easily implemented with immediate and beneficial effects.

    Go well

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