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Rainbeau Mars: the Elephant Interview.

Bob Weisenberg, elephant yoga editor:
Hi, Rainbeau. Welcome to Elephant Journal. Recently you wrote, about your recent trip to India, “I tell my mind to not let the ego of doubt and fear control my soul’s ability to grow, let go, choose what makes my heart beat faster and expand.”  Could you tell us more about that growth you’re experiencing, and why this trip was so exciting for you?

Rainbeau Mars, yoga teacher:
Finding our truth is very interesting. If we are in our heads and rationalizing, or even worse, engaging and believing in the limited or negative thought patterns of others around us, we can easily stay stuck in one place. To find our true heart’s passion, we must journey to the inside.

Getting on the mat and practicing yoga is always helpful. The breath is the meditation, the body a prayer. By taking the time to deliberately re-calibrate the inner energy centers/chakras/discs of our inner being, we understand who we are, not as floating heads but as spiritual beings having a material human existence.

We use mantras, color visualizations and innovative movement to balance and re-align the inner and outer bodies in ra’yoKa to dial us into our brighter selves. Therefore, our choices and actions become clear manifestations, an example of the internal work.

My recent trip to India was especially exciting for me because it was to be part of a ceremonial initiation of enlightenment/Buddha Maitreya led by the Dalai Lama – something that has never been done before – and to hands on feel and experience the presence of 10,000 monks embodying prayer, discipline and compassion was simply something to be experienced first hand.

Bob: How do you reconcile the differences between East and West?

Rainbeau: The planet is going through a major awakening at the moment. We as the yogis and beings who are working on self-actualization must realize that each step we take into existence is also an offering and blessing to the people and places that influence us. There is urgency for us to learn from each other, take what is essential and leave the rest behind.

We are all learning from each other, the west from the east and the east from the west. Being on the humble and holy lands of India is always a reality check on not only the vast wealth we have in the west but the realization of our oneness with all things around and within us, from the dark to the light, we must find the darkness within our own 72,000 channeled material form and bring light there.

How do we do this? We are continuously learning. Then, we take this light, and we light the torch of others and so on. Now is the time, and we are the ones. To be part of this process on any level is a beautiful blessing and honor. To be standing and sitting among my spiritual teachers and friends is a gift, and I am dedicated to fully awakening and being of service to the planet. I will forever be a baby student with the realization of how much there is to learn everyday.

Bob: Do you ever find the demands of your commercial activities interfere with your personal practice of Yoga?  Is it ever hard to balance your entrepreneurial success with your spiritual practice?

Rainbeau: No, although funny, I just was talking to a Rimpoche about the Bodhi Satva philosophy – “no one gets enlightened until we all do.” He looked at me with glowing eyes and a bright smile and said, “If you want to make a billion dollars to serve the planet, then this is a good cause.” Here they needed to raise $200,000 in order to allow all the monks to attend this ceremony for free (unlike the spiritually enlightening rock concerts that we fork over money to get into). Someone must pay for the spiritual work these beings are doing. Where does it come from?

I dream of giving hundreds of people jobs and millions and millions of people the knowledge to heal their home, health, bodies and lives. Green energy goes and flows around in order to heal. I celebrate prosperity and realize that we cannot be attached to it. I am grateful for the partnerships Rainbeau Mars Lifestyles has had and the lessons we have learned from the corporate world.

It’s not enough to be on the right path, but we also must know how to walk and be part of the planet, so we are serving and becoming one with our brothers and sisters on earth. The Dalai Lama says…”Give until it hurts”, Empty yourself from grasping or judging, cultivate loving compassion and loving kindness and become empty.  The world is small, time is short and judgment worthless. All we can do is our own personal best and put our time and money to do things blessed. Our thoughts become reality and my hope is that we see the yoga community lead by example.

As my business relates to my own personal practice, I believe it’s all connected.  When I am in alignment with the commercial aspect of running a business, my practice and business are not separate, I am always in practice, regardless of whether I am on or off the mat. It’s all one and the same.

Bob: You are traveling the world as a kind of ambassador for Yoga.  What kind of differences do you find in various parts of the world in the approach to Yoga?

Rainbeau: Each culture has their different textures, styles, talents, foods, beliefs and limitations. At the core, it is usually the same – everyone wants equanimity, beauty, health, greater success, better postures.

In Asia, you see great warrior like discipline, Korea is balanced with health, Brazil, raw freedom, Sweden, aesthetic sophistication, Dubai, modesty and yet, great fitness, India an inner light with not as much attention to detail.

I could go on and on, but again, it’s the simple refinement and balancing out of the cultures tendencies and assets with whatever may be lacking. In some places, more grace may be needed, softening, in others, less shame, and still others, more focus, better food, more love. I say we go in to go out, down to go up and back to forward – but these can all be reversed as well… Where we begin and where we will end up no one knows, but the idea or strengthening, aligning, realizing, expanding and yoking or unifying is pretty universal I would say.

Bob: What is the most surprising experience you’ve had in your travels?

Rainbeau: Hmmm… Actually, I was very surprised on a pure yoga performance level with America… Is it the food, the freedom, the evolution of our mutual cultures? I don’t know. But I know that I have experienced a melting pot of talent that I am sure we as Americans must realize we have a lot to share with the rest of the world and the 6 billion people on the planet.

There is room for a lot more teachers and a lot more in-depth study, which is why we created a virtual teacher training on www.rayoka.com. We want people to be able to go deeper virtually with their studies and also give people around the world access to some of the information that we are accessing here. We all have room to grow and have a lot further to go… But the steps are being taken and it’s a very exciting adventure to be a part of.

Bob: What’s the most important thing you’d like your fans to know about your work that they don’t know already?

Rainbeau: Rainbeau Mars Lifestyles is an omnimedia company at your service to heal the planet one home at a time. Our focus is what’s in your life and sport is affected by what’s in your kitchen, what’s in your kitchen affects what’s in your bathroom (your beauty rituals), bedroom (how and why you make love or don’t), your home (inner cleanliness) and garden (tending to the fruits and flowers that are the earth’s treasures) affect what you do in your life.  We are here to help give you the tools you need to awaken all of these aspects of your life and the lives of others.

I want you to know that we are always thinking of your best interests and we exist because of you. I read all of your emails and suggestions and take them to heart – even if I can’t always immediately respond. We thank you for all of your support.

Bob: What’s the most interesting question I should be asking that I haven’t thought of yet?

Rainbeau: “Who is your Greatest teacher?” Answer: My daughter is by far the most endless giving and strengthening project I have been a part of. I suppose all of my enemies, my judgments, the people who don’t just drink the kool-aid I am serving, my sicknesses, my fears, my egos. I have learned and continue to learn, not by what was handed to me, but every moment that has been hard. I am so grateful for every role that everyone has played to help me realize all that I am learning today.

Bob: Thanks for joining us here, Rainbeau.  And best wishes for all your ambitious projects.

Rainbeau Mars
(rainbeaumars.com)

Raised by a family of natural healers, Rainbeau Mars (yes, that’s her real name) brings a lifetime of learning and practicing yoga to her successful career, which includes being the founder of the ra’yoKa fitness and teacher training system. She was the Global Ambassador for a major sports brand and consulted for their clothes as well as co-designed her own clothing line. Rainbeau is also an author, a mother, the creator of numerous yoga DVD’s and a highly sought after yoga instructor in Hollywood.

Rainbeau has taken her yoga philosophy all over the world, participating in celebrated yoga events in over 20 countries and facilitating classes of up to 3,500 people to help bring yoga to the mainstream. It has been her infusion of modern day living with thousand-year-old roots that has allowed her to connect and resonate with cultures around the globe.

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Bob vs. Buddhism: The Satisfying Conclusion.

When I first started reading Elephant late last year there weren’t too many Yoga writers around, so I started hanging out with the Buddhists.

I didn’t know that much about Buddhism, so I started asking naive questions and comparing Buddhist philosophy to Yoga philosophy, etc.  Some of my questioning got pretty aggressive, because that’s the way I like to learn.

Instead of cyber-tarring and feathering me and riding me out of town on a cyber-rail, the Buddhist writers warmly welcomed me in, patiently answered my questions, and even engaged in lengthy debates with me about Yoga and Buddhism.

I will always be grateful for this.  You could say they lived up to the best principles of Buddhism in the way they treated me, the insolent outsider.

After many fascinating and passionate but respectful exchanges, Waylon put out a blog which once again reinforced my impression that Buddhism is preoccupied with illusion and nothingness.

In this blog Chogyam Trungpa refers to our sense of reality as a  “cosmic joke” and Longchenpa is quoted on an Elephant sticker as saying “Since everything is but an apparition…one may well burst out in laughter.” (Bad Day? Here’s a reminder not to take yourself too seriously.)

I wrote the following comment, which kind of summarizes all the problems I was having with Buddhism at the time:

You see, there it is again–that gaping difference between Buddhism and Yoga, which I keep trying so hard to explain and study away.  In spite of their common roots and overwhelming similarities:

Buddhism concludes we are nothing, a cosmic joke.

Yoga concludes we are everything, that we are the cosmos itself.

This spark set off a startlingly diverse array of responses, like:

“This is slanderous–Buddhism isn’t about nothingness at all.”

“Buddhism is exactly about nothingness.  Get over it.”

“We Buddhists don’t need starry-eyed Yoga hallucinations to face the reality of our lives.”

and, most accurately:

“It all depends on which type of Buddhism you’re talking about.”

Then, just when I thought this exhilarating discussion was winding down, tobye stunned me with this comment:

It’s all quantum physics and string theory isn’t it? There are 100 trillion cells in our “body”, but only 10 trillion cells are actually us, the rest is parasites, bacteria and micro-organisms! But do those micro-organisms see “ourselves” as us, or do they look up into “outer-space” wondering if there’s other life out there, or if there really is a God?

100 billion stars in the universe…. 100 billion cells in the brain! Buddhism sees everything as empty (sunyata), because it understands life at the sub-atomic level…. loads of particles rushing around in circles, with lots of space in between. We dont exist because we’re made up of those particles and if we had a camera small enough, we could video the space in between what we feel is solid.

Yoga, sees love as the glue that holds everything together, even though none of it really exists…. what does exist is the will, the feeling, the need, the energy that holds it all together. We are that energy, the same as the sea is that energy and redwoods are that energy. Everything is just a need to express the capability of that energy. We don’t exist, only energy exists and energy will always exist. It may take on different forms, but it will always be the same energy.

The humour is in the fact that we have 300 different types of yoga and hundreds of buddhist sects, all getting caught by ego and trying to explain the same thing in their own personal way. And then we argue and debate over how we see things through what we’ve learnt in our own way, but it’s all the same and none of it exists!

Endless scriptures in sanscrit, that takes years to translate and then understand and then we argue over the translations and which version is the best…. Yoga teachers spouting sanscrit mantras because they think it validates them in some way, buddhist monks talking riddles because, while you’re trying to work out what they mean, you’re in the moment, it doesn’t matter what they mean, only that you stay in the moment for as long as you can!

And the longer you stay in the moment, the more obvious it becomes that everything is complete nonsense, because all we are is dust in the wind! You have to laugh deep in your belly, because its one big joke, but it’s not a sick, black humour, its joyous and full of love! You have to wake up in the morning and start smiling at how we’re all stuck yogether with God’s glue, for no other reason than he just wondered what he could do with it all!

We could debate for millenia about his reasons for doing so, but in the end all we need to do is love it and know we are an equal part in all of it! And when I say “God” and “him” I’m talking about the energy. And when i say “equal part” I mean one and nothing.

To which I responded:

Thanks, Tobye! This is an astounding conclusion to a great conversation. (Well, maybe not the conclusion quite yet.)

Your wonderful and eloquent summary takes us right back to where we started. Everything that you write above about the universe being a single energy with many different forms could have come right out of the Upanishads or the Bhagavad Gita, WITH ONE ENORMOUS EXCEPTION.

Instead of concluding that “we don’t exist”, the ancient Yoga texts conclude that, because we are all that one energy you speak of, we all exist in an infinitely more wondrous form that is way beyond our ability to fully understand or comprehend.

In other words, instead of us being nothing as you say, each of us is the infinitely-wondrous, blindingly-amazing life-force of the universe itself. Instead of being nothing we are everything.

While this sounds “high-falutin” on the surface, as some have written, to me it makes perfect sense because it acknowledges that even though we can understand that we are all just energy, we aren’t even close to understanding the ultimate source of that energy and its wondrous manifestations.

That’s what Yoga and some schools of Buddhism call God. It’s not really a deity, but an acknowledgement of the infinite, awesome, very real but ultimately unknowable, wonder of the universe, and each of us is an integral part of that wonder.

You know what? In spite of this apparent difference in point of view, I think we are actually looking at two sides of the very same coin, my friend!

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Steve Jobs Sought Enlightenment in India After Dropping Out of College

Steve Jobs

Fascinating excerpt from all about Steve Jobs:

It was at Reed that Steve started experimenting with Eastern mysticism. He delved into weird books and came to believe that if he ate only fruits, for example, he would eliminate all mucus and nten yearsa decade later, when he was a multi-millionaire). He tried LSDs, and became part of the whole hippie movement, although it already belonged to the past back then (he was a decade late). One of his best friends at Reed was Dan Kottke, who shared his interests in such philosophies.

The following year, in 1974, Steve desperately needed some money and he got himself a job at Atari. Atari was arguably the first video game company: it was created by Nolan Bushnell in 1972, and one of its first employees was Al Acorn, the inventor of Pong. Steve was hired although he would often call his co-workers names and smell pretty bad. That’s why he was soon moved to the night shift.

Young Steve Jobs looked up to Atari’s founder Nolan Bushnell. He was impressed by this iconoclastic man who made a lot of money by building pinball machines. He was clearly an inspiration for him to start Apple.

India

While he was at Atari, Steve convinced Bushnell of paying him a trip to India. Atari did pay his trip up to Germany, where he had to work on fixing some Atari machines. Then Steve was joined by his hippie friend from Reed, Dan Kottke, and they went to India in search for enlightenment. They came up pretty disappointed, especially after they met the guru Kairolie Baba, who, as they quickly found out, was a con man.

“We weren’t going to find a place where we could go for a month to be enlightened. It was one of the first times that I started to realize that maybe Thomas Edison did a lot more to improve the world than Karl Marx and Neem Kairolie Baba put together.”
(quoted in Michael Moritz’s The Little Kingdom“)

When Steve came back, he resumed his job at Atari, and would spend some of his days in primal scream therapy sessions or at the Los Altos Zen Center, where he befriended Governor Jerry Brown and his guru Kobun Chino. He also spent several weeks with his girlfriend Chris-Ann and Dan Kottke in a hippie commune in Oregon, the All-One Farm. Here they would cultivate apples and for some time, Steve would eat only that — when he wasn’t fasting, that is.