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We launched our little baby on 21st March 2017 and called it AZEN.Life.  As Seekers, we remain open to feedback, both good and bad.  There are no mistakes, only feedback. We heard what you had to say and we have responded.  Three days after launching, we changed the name. Why? Because we can. And the best part?  We got to accelerate what we do best.  We got to COLLABORATE. CREATE. INNOVATE. You got us thinking about how many more organisations out there use the name Zen. To our surprise, we discovered that this beautiful word, and more importantly, its deep meaning, have been hijacked by so many business operators who do not really understand the essence of Zen. Type the word Zen in Google, and more than 300 million hits show up. Search on Amazon, and no fewer than 119 thousand titles and gadgets are on sale.

The second trigger for the name-change came after we started to realise that we did not want to operate within a hyped up and saturated market wherein, it seems, people do not even know what Zen means.  The word has acquired a meaning in an overcrowded space that has sullied a word that was once noble. We felt that a word, or a name, or a message, is of little use if people are unaware of its basic building blocks…to the point of mockery.  If you can deliver love, then go love, and stop bragging about it. If you are strong, then shut up and just BE strong and do something positive.  Stop threatening the world with violence.  If you are funny, then stop promoting yourself as the hilarious saviour, and just make us laugh.  If you really know what Zen means, then embrace it.  Allow Zen to infuse your being.

And so we couldn’t wait to remove ourselves from this overcrowded space.  It is not where we belong.

Was it a hard decision to change our name?  Not at all.  Continuing our mission is more important to us than wasting precious energy squabbling over a name.  For us, it is not about Detachment, it’s about Non-attachment.  Non-attachment is the freedom from all things. It is the self realisation of the truth – that we, consciousness, can not be affected by the outside world.  It is only the egoic mind that makes us believe otherwise.  Non-attachment is the practice of presence, of mindfulness (or mind-less-ness), of not holding on, not grasping.  It is not allowing our sense of wellbeing to rely upon anything other than our own presence of awareness.  If we allow our sense of ‘self’ to be emotionally swayed by everything that appears in front of us (including other people, their thoughts, accusations, opinions, threats and perceptions) then our happiness is based on duality whereby we define ourselves by the outside world.  To let external factors bolt us to the ground, means that we have chosen disaster over peacefulness and joy.  We have lost control. There is no self-mastery there.

Our sense of wellbeing is always based upon whether or not we allow ourselves to become emotionally attached. The thing to which we become attached, might be unwholesome. These might be beliefs born of peer-pressure, warped religion, silly customs, cultural oppression, corporate shenanigans… and they harden within us, to the point where we do not realise we have become infected. Have you ever watched a documentary about a cult or a society or a tribe that does the most bizarre things, and you wonder to yourself how these people can live like this? Are they so stupid? Are they unintelligent? No… they are locked into a system which has become invisible to them. This invisibility is the dangerous thief of logic and the hideous manipulator of their thoughts.  Brainwashing is easy.  Zombies are all around.

The struggles that burden us each day can become invisible. Many people lose sight of what is really holding them back. The demons come wrapped or cloaked in layers of tradition, culture, history, childhood, domination, habit, and down-right mindlessness of the complicated business they call ‘life’.  A simple example is the person who daily wears the same perfume. It gets to the point where they can no longer smell how much they have on. More and more is splashed on, year after year, to the point where they are the most aromatic person in the room, but they have no idea. The perfume is invisible/undetectable to their senses (as is bad breath and body odour). Similarly, there are people who have wholesome desires and lovely hopes and dreams for a better future, but they are not aware of their own self-sabotage. They can’t hear and see and feel their own putridity that destroys their chances of moving forward. That is why we want to ask you: What do you believe? Why do you believe it? Where did you contract these beliefs?

Our mentor Jonar Nader puts it beautifully.  “Success is not concerned with what you amass, but what you discard.”

Self-discovery precedes self-mastery.

This is where COMMOTION.ONE comes in.  Rather than calling ourselves a name that reflects the destination, we decided to focus on what we feel people need to do to unchain themselves from their invisible captors.  The things that lock us into a hum-drum existence are too solidly rusted around us.  They are not about to melt away and let us pass.  We have to bust out of that prison.  We must arrest our captors.  And we do this by causing a commotion.  The struggle starts from within us.  The commotion is a personal battle with our own demons. The fight starts inside the ‘one’ — oneself.

Non-attachment is not so easy. The first steps demand commotion.  Only then could we find spacious relief — a peaceful place where our happiness is absolute.  When we (through wisdom) learn to ‘let go’ (meaning we let go because we really understand it) then our sense of inner calm and awareness is unshakeable.  From this we arrive at conviction.  The unnecessary has disappeared without a trace.  We are in the world, but not of the world.  We become free.  We think by thinking, not by being told stuff that forms ghastly doctrine.  By all means, you will form your own beliefs.  We are not going to tell you how to live or what to do.  These will be your decisions, after you are really certain that you are the one making the decisions.

In the feverish activity of the blogosphere, we do not want to forget the profound true meaning of Zen. When I visited my spiritual masters Sogyal Rinpoche and Thich Nhat Hanh late last year, I was reminded of Zen’s true meaning.  As always, the meetings with my teachers were enlightening and profound.  My Masters are the true embodiment of wisdom and compassion.  Zen is shorthand for Zen Buddhism, a Mahayana movement, introduced into China in the 6th century and into Japan in the 12th century.  It is a movement that emphasises enlightenment for the student by the most direct possible means.  Derived from the Chinese word ‘Chán’ and the Sanskrit word ‘Dhyana,’ Zen means ‘Meditation.’ In Sanskrit, the root meaning is ‘to see, to observe, to look.’  Both masters, (along with many other teachers around the globe) emphasise the value of meditation and intuition.  Zen practice is about calming our minds, infusing ourselves with greater kindness, compassion and peacefulness, bringing more clarity to our thoughts and intelligence to our actions.  This is where our true power lies.  Master Sogyo Rinpoche calls it ‘Buddha Mind.’ Master Thich Nhat Hanh calls it ‘Our True Home’.

In his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, Shunryu Suzuki Roishi states that, “when we talk about enlightenment experience, it is not an experience we will have in terms of good or bad, time or space, past or future. It is experience or consciousness beyond those distinctions or feelings.  Enlightenment cannot be achieved from ordinary ways of thinking.  Zen mind cannot be understood from the perspective of an ordinary, dualistic mind.  Zen mind is one of those enigmatic phrases used by Zen teachers to make us notice ourselves, to go beyond the words and wonder what our own mind is really doing to our being.  This is the purpose of all Zen teaching—to make us wonder and to answer that wondering with the deepest expression of our own nature.  Only when we are not involved in the ordinary and common ways of thinking, that we will have some chance of understanding what Zen experience really is.”

Zen is the destination.  It is a destination that is not easily attained – least so by those who do not practice it.  It requires practice.  Daily decisive practice.  It is a journey that takes deep introspection and constant self inquiry.  It is a journey where the interface between spirituality and personal development must be explored.  Yet, we believe that there is an important element missing, and that is Personal Disruption – to ‘relinquish’ – to let go. This is not so easy.  Letting go of what?  How strong is it?  How can you overcome its grip?  We believe that Zen cannot surface until we fight-off the dreaded bad habits and useless rituals and demoralising traditions.  The fight causes a COMMOTION.  When we interrogate our existing paradigms, when we dismantle or obliterate the current culture-scape, we are able to question our internal ecology. Then, when we decide, once and for all, to dump the heavy toxic layers of our original programming and conditioning, we emerge triumphant, free, original, glowing, and ready to make the journey towards Zen, towards love, towards our dreams, while being fit of mind.  Fitness of mind is even more powerful than fitness of body.

And this is what our name COMMOTION.ONE is about. We understand that we must continue to ignite a commotion within our internal landscape, before we can design our external architecture. We understand that there is no need to fight or defeat anyone if we are not free ourselves.  Alas, before we can reach ‘A Zen Life’, we must first pluck-up bravery and audacity to sever the cord that attaches us to the status quo.

There will be commotion. It will be hard. We are here to support you.  Come to the starting line.  Declare your battle.  Go fight.  We are right behind you… you are the COMMOTION.ONE, the LOVED.ONE, the HEROIC.ONE, the TRIUMPHANT.ONE, the VICTORIOUS.ONE.

The etymology of the word Commotion is fascinating:
From Middle French: commocion – ‘agitaton.’
From Latin: commotionem ‘to disturb thoroughly.’
From late Middle English: com – ‘altogether’ + motio ‘action or process of shifting, stirring, moving or being moved.’

For us, we loved the name because it speaks about battles, fighting, and then motion — to move, to take action, to bid farewell to the past.  To venture forth.  The journey might require you to engage in slow-motion, flow-motion, de-motion, pro-motion, fast-motion… who knows. We’ll cross, then burn, each bridge together.

We like the prefix COM to mean communicate. COM as in compassion. COM as in community and togetherness.

Ahhhh… a much better name for our mission, is it not dear, precious one!