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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by BotheredByBees