Rebel Zen http://rebelzen.com Break On Through To The Awesome Side Thu, 02 Jul 2015 07:39:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Meditation Thoughts: What To Do When Your Monkey Won’t Sit Still http://rebelzen.com/2015/07/meditation-thoughts/ http://rebelzen.com/2015/07/meditation-thoughts/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 05:39:42 +0000 http://rebelzen.com/?p=1981 If you’ve ever tried meditation of any kind then you have probably experienced the “meditation blues”, i.e. you sit and focus on your breath or your mantra or whatever it is you do but the … Read more

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If you’ve ever tried meditation of any kind then you have probably experienced the “meditation blues”, i.e. you sit and focus on your breath or your mantra or whatever it is you do but the “monkey won’t sit still” by which I mean, your mind won’t chill out.

It just keeps racing and whirring and you find yourself thinking about this, that or the other. You shuffle and fidget, can’t get comfy. The noises from outside get up your ass. The temperature is too hot or too cold. You start falling asleep…

meditation thoughts

I have been meditating for over 15 years and I still experience this problem regularly. It’s ok though because I have a very simple 3 step solution to the issue.

1 – don’t worry about it

2 – return to your focus point

3 – rinse & repeat

1 – Don’t Worry, Be Happy

There are two main skills to meditation: becoming aware of what the mind does and learning not to judge what the mind does.

I often hear people say “Oh, yeah I tried meditation and I REALLY need to learn to de-stress but I just can’t do it. My mind won’t stop and I just get annoyed.”

News flash: your mind won’t stop. My mind won’t stop either. It’s like your heart, when it stops, you’re in trouble! The thing is if you meditate successfully, you can come to a point where your mind quite simply, relaxes and becomes very calm. Then you will notice thoughts as they arise, and be able to simultaneously let them go, like letting go of a ball, so that they simply fall away.

But that is getting a little ahead of ourselves. The first step is to to become aware of your thinking as it happens. The second is to notice how you react to these thoughts as they happen. Do you get annoyed about them? Do you get lost in them? Do you indulge in pleasant thoughts? Do you worry and fret? Hold imaginary conversations in your mind?

Whatever it is you do, just become aware of it and then practice “not minding” whatever it is that happens up there in your skull. By carefully avoiding the trap of reacting to our thoughts and over-identifying with them, we empower ourselves. It is a victory of your Higher Power over your Lower Power, and it is by getting in touch with our Higher Power (or Higher Self, Big I Am, God, Spirit, Rational Mind, whatever you want to call it) that the benefits of meditating are realised.

So try not to worry about your thinking. Just accept it as normal and…

2 – Return to Your Focus Point

When you have noticed your thinking and, with any luck, managed to avoid reacting negatively to your thoughts, re-direct your focus back to your breath, mantra or whatever it is that you are focussing on in your meditation. To my knowledge, all meditation revolves around focussing on something that is happening now, in the moment. This is the power of meditation, it places you firmly in the only place that you HAVE any power – the present moment.

Ideally your focus should be on something that only exists in the present moment, which is usually identifiable as something you can experience via the sense (sight, hearing, etc). Sensory information is received in real time.

3 – Rinse & Repeat

Returning to your focus point is the “work” of meditation. If your mind is noisy and busy, you may need to re-focus many times before you start to really get into a good space. This is normal. Your mind probably needs to process everything that is spinning around up there, just go with it and keep going with it for as long as you are going to sit there.

If you decided to sit for 20 minutes, then do it for 20 minutes, even if you never get to the good stuff that day. Meditation is a skill that gets better with lots of practice. It may not always be fun but there is a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow in the forms of all the amazing benefits of meditation, of which there are so many, not least inner-peace and better health.

Don’t worry. Re-focus. Keep going. When I do this, even on “busy mind days”, I usually eventually arrive to that wonderful, peaceful space and experience the healing bliss and peace and re-connection with my Higher Power that I crave. You can too!

p.s. Here’s a rough demo I did just 3 nights ago of some meditation music I am working on right now. This one is about this very topic, how the mind is busy, with occasional moments of peace and stillness. Let me know if you enjoy it…

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How to Go From Stressed Out To Chilled Out Instantly, Anytime http://rebelzen.com/2015/06/how-to-go-from-stressed-out-to-chilled-out-instantly-anytime/ http://rebelzen.com/2015/06/how-to-go-from-stressed-out-to-chilled-out-instantly-anytime/#comments Thu, 25 Jun 2015 01:57:14 +0000 http://rebelzen.com/?p=1976 Like everyone, I sometimes find myself feeling anxious and stressed out. But thankfully over the years I have learned, through meditation and conscious living, that I am able to instantly move from feeling stressed to … Read more

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Like everyone, I sometimes find myself feeling anxious and stressed out. But thankfully over the years I have learned, through meditation and conscious living, that I am able to instantly move from feeling stressed to feeling chilled out, just like that. It’s actually really easy.

Here’s how you can instantly chillax too, no matter where you are.

chilled out

Let’s just say that you’re standing in the kitchen at work making a cup of tea. You’re feeling good about things, just chillin’.

While you’re waiting for the kettle to boil, one of your colleagues walks past and innocently asks how your coming along with such-and-such project.

“Yeah not too bad,” you say, “Still a ways to go but we’ll get there.”

Your workmate moves on and you disappear into thoughts about the work project just mentioned as you make your tea and move back to your desk or area of work. You’re barely aware of the present moment as you churn through an inner-dialogue of details, concerns and imagined scenarios related to the future outcomes of the project.

As you sit down at your desk, you notice that your shoulders hurt and your stomach feels tense, knotted up. What’s happened? Just five minutes ago you were feeling good! What changed?

Well, what happened was you disappeared from the present moment and dove head first into a mental world of future worries and imagined scenarios. These triggered the flight-or-fight “survival” mode in your brain and body and you tensed up, ready for life-or-death action at any moment.

Stress Only Exists In Your Mind

When you get stressed like this, do you realise that your feelings of stress are not the same thing as the circumstances of your life? Stress actually doesn’t exist outside of you, it begins in your mind and only exists in your mind and body. Stress is your response to what happens outside of you or what you think about.

And it’s the “what you think about” factor that holds the key to going from stressed out to chilled out instantly.

When you are worrying, which we all do a lot, lot more than we may realise, we are disconnected from the Tao, the Universe, God, the Big I Am, whatever you want to call it. Let’s just call it The One Thing, because everything is one thing, right? And we are a part of this One Thing.

The One Thing only exists in the present moment because NOW is the only place that ANYTHNG exists. When we worry, we disengage with our reality and disappear into imagined scenarios where things go wrong. The mechanical parts of our mind don’t really understand that these imagined scenarios are not actually happening now, so they get busy triggering the stress response all over the place, hence why your shoulders hurt and your stomach was in a knot when you sat down with your cup of tea.

I am not going to go into the details of the stress response suffice to say that it is not very good for you or useful unless something really crazy, like a knife wielding maniac attack, is happening right now, in the present. All that matters is understanding that when we worry and fret about imagined future scenarios, we stress ourselves out.

How To Change Your State Instantly

The trick to going from “stressed out” to “chilled out” is simple once you know how, although it may take you some practise to master.

The trick is to practice being in the present moment as much as possible. Get out of your head and just be where you are now.

Practice noticing what is in front of you, where you are, who is here with you. And practice noticing what is going on in your mind. Consciously set up a “notification” system in your mind that alerts you when you are projecting into imagined future scenarios instead of just being where you are. This alert is not hard to set up, it will become automatic if you regularly practise noticing when you are stressing out.

Then ask yourself why – why are you stressing out?

Ask yourself, is the plane crashing? Am I being chased by a gang of bloodthirsty wolves? Strangled by a psycho killer?

If the answer is yes, then by all means – STRESS OUT!

But if the answer is no, which it usually will be, then notice that you are stressing out, probably habitually, because you are just not “being here now”; you are not being mindful of the only thing that is real – which is…

This Universe, Now

Develop a habit of anchoring yourself in the present moment. When you notice you’re stressing needlessly, anchor yourself in the present moment by simply focussing on your stress. I find that by focussing on the sensation of my stress, and by noticing what I was thinking about, this dissolves the stress almost instantly. Breath deep into the physical sensations of your stress and get back into the present moment.

In doing so you re-connect with The One Thing.

Actually, you never were disconnected, you just thought you were, because there is no other reality that The One Thing – this Universe, now.

And when you bring your awareness back to this Universe, now, and breathe deeply, noticing the physical sensations of your stress, you may find like I do, that your stress just dissolves under the bright glow of the light of reality. You remember that everything is OK, and you go from “stressed out” to “chilled out” in an instant.

Be warned though this may take patience and persistence. Be gentle on yourself, it takes time to learn a skill. We’re are all still working on it! So keep working at it and in time, your monkey mind will exert less of an influence on you as you evolve to increasingly live each day in a state of inner peace and harmony.

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The Trick To Success http://rebelzen.com/2015/06/trick-to-success/ http://rebelzen.com/2015/06/trick-to-success/#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 01:00:01 +0000 http://rebelzen.com/?p=1964 The way in which we garner results or consequences from the things we do is hardly mystical, you do something, you get a result. Wherever we are in life, whatever our circumstances, they are partially … Read more

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The way in which we garner results or consequences from the things we do is hardly mystical, you do something, you get a result. Wherever we are in life, whatever our circumstances, they are partially the result of the things we have done.

trick to success

This dude clearly knows the trick to success

Note: I am not saying that if a piano lands on your head or you get cancer or something then you “thought this into existence”, that’s just madness. We are tiny things in a massive universe and it’s just ego to think that we create everything that happens to us. It also shows insensitivity toward the plight of people in the world currently experiencing extreme hardship.

But there is a locus of control in our life.

We might get cancer because we just had bad luck and got cancer or we may get cancer because we smoked a pack a day for 40 years.

So to me, Karma, the message of the Justice card, is very practical. It speaks of the simplicity of life’s rules. If you start a business and conduct your business in the best way you know how, you will get a certain result. It might be a favourable result or it might not. If you conduct your business in a different way, you might get a different result.

One thing’s for sure – whatever results you get in life, while not wholly the result of your past actions, they are often very much influenced by them and indeed, it is not hard in hindsight to look back and see that the reason you are where you are in your life (whatever your opinion about that) is at least partially and often very largely the result of your previous decisions and consequent actions.

Decisions >> Actions >> Results

I can look back over my life and see how some decisions and consequent actions had massive effects on the path my life took. And very often these decisions were not well thought out nor was it apparent to me at the time how “important” the decisions/actions were.

I was in a band that was doing really well, but along the way I decided (in my youthful ignorance) that I was clearly “the special man” and could just party my youth away and my career trajectory would continue. Of course it did not, the early momentum I had gained through determined hard work simply petered out altogether. It was only later in my 30s that I realised how flippantly I had pissed away a great opportunity.

A little later I wrote a personal-development article that got published in a magazine. I was approached by a major book publisher on the back of this article to submit a book concept. I in fact submitted an entire finished book – a horror/thriller fiction novel. Unsurprisingly the editor who had been impressed with my personal development article, and who was in charge of a new-agey, self-helpy kind of imprint passed on my Stephen King impersonation!

It works both ways. For example, in the same band mentioned above, we experienced all manner of great success on the back of the decision to put our heads together and give the band a red hot go and the consequent actions this inspired. And as for my writing, I submitted a short story to a magazine once on a whim and they not only published it but wound up commissioning many more articles from me and giving me a much needed job in the publisher’s office. This job got me out of the dead-end hospitality-industry rut I was in and indirectly lead to my current career in marketing, which, frankly, I much prefer over pouring beers.

Probability vs. Magic

Yes it is all kind of obvious, and not really anything to do with “magic”, but, at the same time, I am often amazed at how the Universe conspires to place good things in our paths when we set our minds to something. I know that scientifically-minded people can (quite rightly) point out that coincidences are simply a matter of probability and chance, but to me I have never seen the conflict between magic and science. Why can it not be that science is the rules with which the Gods created the universe? How boring to deal only in absolutes, to eliminate the possibilities! I am very careful to “tether my camel”, but having said that, who says there aren’t any fairies in the garden at night?

The Trick is…

When I set my mind to something, I am often amazed at the opportunities that “magically” plonk into my lap. But be it magic, fluke, whatever – it all means nothing compared to what you do with it. The trick, as usual, is execution. The trick is executing the task of actually setting your mind to something. The trick is then to make a plan and begin executing it. The trick is, when a relevant opportunity (be it via blind chance or magic) drops in your lap – how you choose to respond to that opportunity.

That’s the theory anyway, and that was the message my Higher Power had for me last night in my meditations. The message was clear: if you want to do something awesome, decide what it is and get into action, because it’s what you set your mind on and what you do accordingly that most enables you to influence your results.

Of course I know this, you probably do too – the trick is to remember it and live it every day.

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Spirituality: An Art, Not A Science http://rebelzen.com/2015/05/spirituality-an-art-not-a-science/ http://rebelzen.com/2015/05/spirituality-an-art-not-a-science/#comments Wed, 13 May 2015 01:17:02 +0000 http://rebelzen.com/?p=1953 The short version: I believe in a higher power, my ability to talk with enlightened beings and the existence of a divine plan. I also believe it’s all in my imagination, has only limited utility … Read more

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The short version: I believe in a higher power, my ability to talk with enlightened beings and the existence of a divine plan. I also believe it’s all in my imagination, has only limited utility in the physical world, is not objectively verifiable and in no way do I subscribe to any dogma. This conflict does not lessen the vividness, power nor usefulness of my spiritual experiences, nor the scientific realities of life on this planet.

What The…?

After an inward period, I seems I can feel the floodgates about to open on a new phase of woo-woo writing from me, so I want to preface it all with an explanation of my dissonant ideas and how I am really quite comfortable with it all.

seamus anthony

Hmmm, my 3rd eye seems a little off-centre … could explain a lot…

You see I am a very “spiritual” person. I believe in a Higher Power (God, The Universe, The Tao – it’s all wonderfully vague and Definitely Demanding of Sentence Case). Also I am in communion with a group of enlightened beings that I call The Buddhas or The Hosts.

Yes, that’s correct, by in communion I mean I talk with these beings. I “believe” they are benevolent and are present to help me to reconnect with my Higher Power and to understand The Plan for my life. I “believe” that when I ask, they are there and able to help me, they help me to get clarity and conviction around The Plan (which is for the higher good, I might point out) and they give me the abilities I need to make the plan happen here in the world.

So, yeah, all pretty way out. But note the quote marks around the word “believe”. I put them there because I have a caveat when it comes to my spiritual beliefs: I have them – but they’re all made up.

Yes that’s right. I believe – but I also believe it’s all in my imagination.

And in no way does the latter take away from the power and the “realness” of the former.

A Theology of Relativity

I have developed over the years a Theology of Relativity, the basic premise of which is that spirituality is just stuff we make up, collectively, individually, to deal with life and to explain the mystery of this bizarre existence we find ourselves in. Our theologies are relative because we are free to make up our spiritual lives as we see fit. There is no objective spiritual truth around which we need stubbornly cling.

I see spirituality as mysterious and powerful. I meditate and pray regularly and when I do I have rich, colourful and powerful experiences. I talk to enlightened beings, I feel physical bliss, I have great insights into my life and the nature of the universe and I feel empowered and connected to the “spirit in the sky”.

Yes It’s A Bit Cray-Cray – But It Makes Me A Better Kind of Cray-Cray

None of it makes sense in a mechanistic way – which is no problem. It’s contextually irrelevant.

I care not a jot about whether it is True or scientifically verifiable and of course it is not. What I do care about is the result. It makes me a better person.

Bit by bit, as I go inward and reflect, as I meditate and pray on the questions of life, as I read words of spiritual wisdom, I become a better man. I become more inclined to be patient, to forgive, to be kind, empathetic, compassionate. I see life through a less selfish lens.

I am less attracted to profligacy and more to a healthy lifestyle. I am more concerned about the results of actions on others and less with self-gratification. I feel happier and more content with what I have.

Spirituality Doesn’t Need to Make Sense

All of this self-growth comes to me via my meditation, my talking with Buddhas and with my Higher Power. It comes from my powerful meditations that involve cosmic energy filling my body, making me high on Love in a very real physical way. And this is all painted in and by my imagination.

Spirituality is like art – it doesn’t need to make sense, and its power and appeal spill out of that.

Fantasy is useful in that it is therapeutic. Spirituality enables me to confront the epic mystery of life and the universe, and how weird it all is that it exists and we’re here, in it, amongst all this stuff. Why it is this and not that? How come all this stuff?

Before We Go: A Quick Reality Check

Here’s an important thing: spirituality is useful for coping with life but it does not opt you out of life’s scientific rules. It can help you deal with tragedy, but clearly, it does not avert it. Trust in God, tether your camel. You cannot pray away a disease, but science may be able to prevent or cure it.

And run a mile from any religion or guru who tells you they have the One Truth. Honestly, I may talk to imaginary friends, but if you think God wants you to in any way be horrible to females, gays or anyone really then you’re doing it wrong.

For that matter, if you think that anyone is going to burn in hell because they subscribe to this fantasy instead of that one, then go find a mirror and spend some extended time in front of it.

Photo Credit: Barry Takes Photos

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Self-Mastery: The Door to Success? http://rebelzen.com/2014/10/self-mastery-door-success/ http://rebelzen.com/2014/10/self-mastery-door-success/#comments Thu, 02 Oct 2014 23:56:35 +0000 http://rebelzen.com/?p=1920 Self-mastery, so my pet theory goes, is the common thread in the lives of successful, self-determined people that I have studied, both famous and obscure. By self-mastery I mean “the power to control one’s thoughts … Read more

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Self-mastery, so my pet theory goes, is the common thread in the lives of successful, self-determined people that I have studied, both famous and obscure.

By self-mastery I mean “the power to control one’s thoughts and actions” and if self-mastery is the door to success then self-discipline is the key that opens the door.

seamus self-discipline

Me. Rehearsing in me man-cave.

I think a lot of C-suite executive types would find this so obvious as to be mundane, however, I doubt many musicians and other types of “creatives” ever give this much thought, let alone effort. The ones that do stand out via their achievements.

Self-discipline in thought and deed had long been my failing. I am very interested to see if I can truly, consistently reverse that trend and see what difference it makes in my life.

Having said that, here is my list of:

Things What I Gone And Done Yesterday

Thursday October 3rd, 2014

By the way, should you be thinking: “What, is that ALL you got done yesterday?”, let me point out that I run a business and have little kids, so great swathes of my day is necessarily taken up coping with revelling in all that this dumps at one’s feet blesses one with.

  • Up at 6am. Full body workout 45mins.
  • All health food, no booze, no sugar, wholegrains only, no processed crap
  • 1 blog post
  • Discussed Zuiiza CD launch on phone with Peter O
  • Rehearsed for solo gig, 1.25 hours (after kids in bed)
  • Organised with Barry for him to attend gig tomorrow which is a) fun and b) means photo record of gig for purposes of self-promotion (god that sounds tacky but hey, it’s what you have to do)
  • Texted Jarra from CFTB, asked him if he’d like to play tomorrow
  • Answered call from Jarra at 10pm and organised for him to accompany me at tomorrow’s gig

I mention the last bit about answering the phone late at night because this is, for me, a surprisingly dedicated action that requires some self-determination. Not because Jarra is anything other than a delight to converse with but because I struggle with “doing phone” and especially later in the evening when I am winding down. I tend to view the phone as an energy sapper, not least because between bad reception up here in the hills and my less-than-perfect hearing it is sometimes technically a struggle to hear people properly.

But here’s the thing: self-discipline means remembering what you want. And by this I mean remembering what you REALLY want in the big picture, not just what you want right now.

For example, when, in the moment, I don’t want to get out of bed at 6am and exercise, I remember what I really want in the big picture (to be fit and healthy and, frankly, to look good on stage ha ha) and this motivates me to swing my legs over the side of my bed and grumble up and at ‘em. Same goes for the phone, if it rings late at night and answering it helps me get what I REALLY want in the big picture, then I need to remember this and resist the Monkey Mind’s urgings to go for the immediate gratification of chillaxing on the couch, sans phone.

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Music and Music Business as a Discipline http://rebelzen.com/2014/10/music-business-discipline/ http://rebelzen.com/2014/10/music-business-discipline/#comments Wed, 01 Oct 2014 23:27:09 +0000 http://rebelzen.com/?p=1916 Increasingly, I approach music and the whole business of being a musician like a martial artist does fighting. No matter where, with whom or even if I get to test my skills in battle, practicing … Read more

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Increasingly, I approach music and the whole business of being a musician like a martial artist does fighting. No matter where, with whom or even if I get to test my skills in battle, practicing the art (of both playing and music business) makes me a better person. It’s a discipline that helps me grow into a better dude.

However, I am merely a student, not yet a master, and the issue I have with blogs is that they are so easy to publish that there is it seems a “master” on every street corner. It reeks of fakery and lacks credibility, and so while I no doubt have some things to teach (I’ve been at it a while) I do not wish to join the Insta-Master Brigade.

seamus and jarra from creatures from the bog

Me, jumping about like a nonce while Jarra is the Rock. Photo taken from Creatures from the Bog recording session the other night.

Instead what I have decided to do here is to start documenting my path exploring music and music business as a discipline. It will help me to stay on track and grow as a musician and as a person, and perhaps it will help you also. This will mean keeping notes of what I do each day to progress my music, both in terms of playing/writing/performing and in terms of seeking an audience for my humble rock tunes.

I am not certain it will always make for riveting reading, because being self-disciplined is not always that exciting, but it is very necessary if you expect to live a life of any substance (as opposed to substances ha ha). No doubt along the way I will find some nuggets to share. Let’s begin:

Progress Report:

Tuesday 30 September 2014:Up at 6am – 45 mins Exercise (body weight workout). Eat clean (health food, no junk food, no sugar, no booze). Promote gig on Facebook. 1 hour writing book. 15 mins further planning book. Some thinking: Identified “obscurity” as biggest hurdle, i.e. need to raise profile. Resolved to tackle marketing/PR better.Early bed.

Wednesday 1 October 2014: Up at 7:15am – Rest body day. Eat clean (health food, no junk food, no sugar, no booze). Chatted with coach/friend Troy on Skype re raising profile. He suggested begin by documenting (blogging) the process every day. I suggested might be a bit boring but ok, thus these notes. Was to rehearse with Peter DW for Friday gig but he had to pull out so opted to listen to a very informative podcast about PR instead as I need to get my head in this space. This lead me to a beginner’s guide to PR which was very useful indeed.

I do believe getting press is vital part of raising profile as a musician. Not because I give a crap about being in the paper for its own sake (like I did when I was young) but because obscurity = no audience for my music and my music is designed to help people! No point being awesome if nobody knows about it!

Spent a lot of time thinking about how so many things have changed in the world and what this means in terms of getting people to care about my (our) music (both current bands). Too many thoughts to document here on my phone with one finger.

Also had thoughts about how best to proceed with CFTB ep & texted boys re this. Think we should do 5 songs not 7. It’s enough for now, IMO – see what they say.

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Cleaning Toilets http://rebelzen.com/2014/09/cleaning-toilets/ http://rebelzen.com/2014/09/cleaning-toilets/#comments Thu, 11 Sep 2014 23:15:25 +0000 http://rebelzen.com/?p=1905 Once, I nearly became a rock star. True story! I was the singer in one of the most popular bands in my home town and things were looking very, very bright indeed. Pity I was … Read more

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Once, I nearly became a rock star. True story!

I was the singer in one of the most popular bands in my home town and things were looking very, very bright indeed.

Pity I was miserable.

6 months later, quite by misadventure, my rock star dreams looked dashed and I was cleaning toilets to get by. And it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

In a weird way, it was just the medicine that the doctor ordered, and it kind of made me feel better, more grounded, happier even.

I know that sounds mad but if I hadn’t had that experience of bending over cleaning other people’s shit from the bowl, how would I have learned the value of humility? How would I have learned the happiness that comes from serving others.

I suppose life would have taught me the lesson one way or another, perhaps through parenthood or (considering the reckless way I used to carry on) a brush with law. But this fast and dramatic reversal of fortune weirdly made me happier on one level. And this satisfaction that comes from humbly serving others has stayed with me to this day.

Having said that, I’m quite glad I don’t clean dunnies for a crust anymore. That shit was gross.

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4 Tips for Success (And 1 Freakin’ Cool Dawg) http://rebelzen.com/2014/07/4-tips-success/ http://rebelzen.com/2014/07/4-tips-success/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 11:58:17 +0000 http://rebelzen.com/?p=1893 I found these tips really inspiring today. They helped me get some clarity back in the old noggin after a busy week’s serving my various masters. Some juice with which to keep rockin’ on. Maybe … Read more

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I found these tips really inspiring today. They helped me get some clarity back in the old noggin after a busy week’s serving my various masters. Some juice with which to keep rockin’ on. Maybe they will help you too. Inspired by an author called Jim Collins (whose books, I admit, I have not read), via this article.

(Yeah I know, that link is some pretty dorky shit. You might like to forget about that and pretend instead that this freakin’ cool dog is the font from which the following wisdom did spout…)

tips for success dog

this is one wise tips-for-success dawg.

1. Plan to survive:

Eat well. Whole foods. Minimise sugar, wheat & dairy.
Drugs. Avoid them. Minimal alcohol & coffee. No smoke.
Sleep. Get enough. No laptops at night.
Exercise. Get enough. Mix it up.
Stress. Avoid it. Meditate.
Happiness. Be grateful. Serve others. Be mindful around people.
Keep the wolves from the door. Then shoot for the moon.
Persist. Stay clear about goals. Keep at it.

2. Focus:

Decide what is essential.
Just do that.
Stop doing other shit.

3. Build an awesome team:

Only the best people.
People who you love to work with.
People with talent and drive.

4. Never grow complacent:

Once something works to bring success, keep doing it.
Don’t let down your guard.

All sounds like good horse-sense to me… but the trick is following through!

“Ideas are commodity. Execution of them is not.”

Michael Dell said that apparently. It’s my favourite quote.
Photo credit: WickedVT

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The Simple Truth About Getting What You Want http://rebelzen.com/2014/06/simple-truth-getting-want/ http://rebelzen.com/2014/06/simple-truth-getting-want/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 07:04:03 +0000 http://rebelzen.com/?p=1876 More than ever I am convinced that success, or getting what you want, is very much about the ability to decide what you want, make a plan and then stop over-thinking it and just get … Read more

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More than ever I am convinced that success, or getting what you want, is very much about the ability to decide what you want, make a plan and then stop over-thinking it and just get busy making things happen – whether you feel like it or not.

“Ideas are commodity. Execution of them is not.”

This quote, by Michael Dell of Dell computer fame, is now my official motto. For too many years I have had a tendency to think and dream and plan and then re-think, re-plan. Sure, I eventually move, often in sudden bursts of enthusiasm, but really I think the true do-ers in this world are the ones that see real results happen for them.

get what you want

For example, when I look at bands or artists or actors or the like, it is very often obvious to me that it is not purely their talent that has helped them scale the heights of success but rather it is their drive, their determination and their bias for action. While it’s true that we need focus, that busyness in and of itself is not enough (without focus we tend to open too many fronts without making enough progress in any one area), it is also true that those who just have or find a lot of energy and get their hustle on are the ones who are most likely to get what they want.

Getting What You Want

And to some extent, life is about getting what we want. While your philosophical nature might lead you to want more than a life that is all about go-getting, even this sentiment is also a statement of what you want! In fact most “thinkers”, people (like me) who like to read and contemplate and chill, would say “yes” in a flash to a windfall of money because we imagine it takes away the stress of having to stop “just being” in order to go out and “just do”.

I think that is why it is so important to “just do” the things that we love to do, and that we are good at. I don’t particularly like doing bookwork, financial projections or anything to do with spreadsheets really – and as a result, I am hopeless at that kind of work. It’s not that I don’t have the raw mental horsepower to do the work – it’s that I don’t want to do it; I get bored and take far too long to get anything done. On the flipside, I really enjoy writing and can bash out a decent article in a couple of hours and a book in a couple of months.

Time To Sit Back And Think

A few years ago, after a very adventurous and exciting youth spent gallivanting all over the place having fun, working hard and generally running myself ragged, I “retired” to the Dandenong Ranges and began working from home, writing and bringing up some little kids and doing a lot more navel-gazing.

I have not been a complete hermit or anything and have certainly kept getting off the couch to go out and play gigs which is more than can be said for most musicians newly burdened with child rearing responsibilities. Not blaming them, it is a fucking hard thing, bringing kids up and the only SANE response is to drop as many superfluous responsibilities as possible to free up your energy. But I could not drop music, it is like water to me, I must drink or I die.

Time To Get Out There And Execute

But having said that, I have still not been madly executing at the rate that I could have been and this is now my focus, I am pushing myself to execute my ideas – not too many of them just the good ones – and to make them happen. I think the time spent contemplating, experimenting and going deep to discover what I really need in this life to be happy was not time wasted, I am very clear about what I want but now this introspection is not so important for me. I know what I want, I know where I am going and the thing to do is stay focussed on what it is I want, my best ideas for making these things happen and what needs to be done to make it so.

And that’s the crux of it, no matter what you want, you will always need to do things that you either don’t like doing much or that on any given day at any given time, you don’t feel like doing but you must push on and do it anyway. You must remember what your big picture desires are and put these above your little picture desires.

Big Picture Desires (BPD) Vs Little Picture Desires (LPD)

Our BPDs are the big goals, the big wants, the consistent things that you always come back to wanting.

For example in my life one of my biggest and most unflinching desires is to stand in front of big crowds again and sing my music with a band. This is happening; it is slowly coming true. Just this weekend past I stood before a crowd of 300 or more people with my band at a local festival as we rocked out our tunes. Two years ago I didn’t have a band to do this with! So progress is being made – but it takes the strength of mind to remember what my Big Picture Desire is whenever I get run down and tired, or whenever I want to do things that just don’t help the cause.

For example, it gets pretty damn cold up here in the mountains where we live and sometimes I hate the idea of going out after work into the cold and rehearsing of an evening when it is raining and I feel so very tired. But I remember that the LPD is to sit on the couch and chill, and that this gets me no closer to my BPD – and I get out and get to work.

Same goes for eating and drinking like a glutton. Truth be known I fight every day with a voice inside my head (the monkey mind) that says “Come on – let’s eat! Let’s drink! All the food! All the booze! Whoo—hooo!” – but if I did that I would be fat. And I don’t think being fat particularly helps any of my Big Picture Desires – not my music desires, not my desires to live long and prosper, not my desire to feel good in my body – so I try to remember my BPDs and eat sensibly.

Same goes for “executing” which is just a business corporate way of saying “getting the plan done for real”. It usually means a lot of work, it means getting it done when you would rather chill, it means just going with the plan instead of having fun inventing a new one. It means finishing things you start and not starting things that are distracting you from the path you decided to go down.

In closing, I think my opening paragraph bears repeating: More than ever I am convinced that success is very much about the ability to decide what you want, make a plan and then stop over-thinking it and just get busy making things happen – whether you feel like it or not.

So what are your Big Picture Desires? What are you going to make happen?

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How To Experience A Mind-Blowing Meditation Everytime http://rebelzen.com/2013/12/how-to-experience-a-mind-blowing-meditation/ http://rebelzen.com/2013/12/how-to-experience-a-mind-blowing-meditation/#comments Mon, 16 Dec 2013 05:54:25 +0000 http://rebelzen.com/?p=1831 If you want to enjoy a mind-blowing meditation that just feels amazing, here’s how… Firstly – why is it so hard for you to access this positive realm, this internal garden of joy and abundance? … Read more

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If you want to enjoy a mind-blowing meditation that just feels amazing, here’s how…

Firstly – why is it so hard for you to access this positive realm, this internal garden of joy and abundance? Why is it that you have tried but had little or no meditation experiences that you would describe as “mind blowing”?  Why do I find it so easy while so many people find it so impossibly hard?

How I Learned To Have Awesome Meditations

Is it a skill that I am just naturally good at like someone might just be good at playing the piano or fixing things around the house? Or is it that for some reason it was in my nature to try really hard at meditation until it worked for me, and since then I have just known how to access this awesome state?

It is true that back in my 20’s, for a year or two, I did work very hard at learning to meditate successfully. I like to learn by reading, and tend to avoid joining groups, so I read voraciously about meditation first. Eventually, I came to a point where I was like, “Ok, not going to learn much more by reading so better get into it and start meditating, start trying it out until it works for me”.

So I began practicing and I found it very difficult. I couldn’t sit cross legged comfortably (still can’t, I usually sit on an exercise ball). I found my mind racing and discovered that I had never realized that my body was riddled with pain, so low was my awareness of my own body.

Achieving A Blissful State

It was all very hard but I had nothing better to do, so I just decided to sit it out until I got there. I was chasing what all people who meditate chase, which is a sort of blissful state. That’s what we want really, we want bliss. I wanted to feel good, and all the books said meditation could deliver that, so I sat.

And I sat.

And I sat.

I had no kids, no girlfriend, no job.

So I just sat a lot, sometimes for most of the day and night. And for ages, nothing. But then eventually: Boom! I got there.

And boy, did it feel good!

And then I would come back and it would be real hard to do but I would eventually get there again. And, over time, I learned that I could get there if I applied gentle discipline to my mind. After an initial period of allowing my mind to sort of unwind by thinking a lot, I would quite my imaginative mind by just paying attention to whatever was happening, to whatever my senses were picking up on in real time. I learned to stop judging things as good or bad. And this is the secret, stop labeling things as good or bad and just “let go”, stop judging everything as either “like” or “dislike”. When you do this, it’s like you have passed the test and you are granted access and allowed to slip into this altered state of mind, where you return to the truth and remember that everything is cool, that life is wonderful, and that we are all one.

“We are all one” sounds so stupid and meaningless when you are just in a normal state of mind, but when you arrive back home, back to the Garden of Feeling Awesome, you sort of “know” what it actually, deeply means. In a wordless way, you can feel that it is true and that everything is just perfect.

And then you get up and go back to your day-to-day life and sometimes you’re a chilled out dude … and sometimes not! That’s life – but when you meditate successfully, regularly, you are definitely more of a chilled dude, more often than if you didn’t meditate.

If you want more info, there are two ebooks in my store that explain my personal method for meditating, both describe the same method, so whatever benefits you seek from meditation the books will help.

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