The Ruben Principle

Ever wonder why some people seem to have an easier time of things professionally?

I’m talking about the servers who rake in the tips, the sales people who really connect and the business owners who seem to make all the right choices.

There’s a lot going on, I know, but I think I’ve discovered a piece of the puzzle that’s rarely mentioned. It’s an ancient yogic secret. Some people call it the X Factor.

I call it the Ruben Principle.

That’s Ruben, as in Ruben Studdard, not Reuben, as in the sandwich.

In order to explain it, I’m going to have to “out” myself: I watched television from time to time while living in the ashram. You know, just to keep up on the news.

Anyway, Ruben Studdard was the winner of American Idol, second season, and was known as “The Velvet Teddy Bear,” remember? He was an unlikely candidate from the start due to his size, and he didn’t really move around much on stage. He was a beautiful singer, but what was it that was so utterly captivating about him?

Look at his face. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Doesn’t it look like he’s tasting something wonderful?

When Ruben performed, it really looked like he was relishing his own song. It looked like he was enjoying it as much –or more!– than we were, which made us want to taste what he was tasting. He made us want it bad.

He was so focused on it (because he loooooved it), that he seemed to forget himself at times entirely. That’s the yoga part.

Maybe when he won the contest, all the attention broke his “meditation.” That happens sometimes. All that praise, all that pressure; it has a way of distracting us from our object of love.

Just this week, I had my own mini-moment of this. Following an internet shout-out by the beautiful and influential Havi Brooks, I saw my readership balloon into GARGANTUAN PROPORTIONS.

Okay, gargantuan for me. It went from a virtual vacuum chamber to, mm, maybe a nice lecture hall.

All of a sudden, I found myself thinking, Crimminy. People are reading this. Now I’ve got to be good. What if I write something stupid, and they all leave? I’ve got to be smart. I’ve got to be clever. I, I, I…..

I forgot the thing. Oh, me.

As luck would have it, I’d recently purchased a book called, Stage Fright, by Mick Berry, which is a collection of interviews with celebrities and speakers on the subject of performance anxiety. The choicest bit of advice I found in it was something from Seinfeld alum, Jason Alexander. He said,

“I had a wonderful acting teacher who I confided in about [stage fright]. He told me that he believed that that kind of debilitating fear was a result of misplaced ego. He used to say, ‘Jason, these people are not here to see you…They are here to see the story. Just tell them the story.’

“Big idea. When I began to make the story the most important thing, I became much less the focus of my concerns. I realized that I was one small element on the stage, working with my colleagues to tell our audience a story…The material –the work– is everything.”

So by gently taking our focus off ourselves and placing it back on the thing that we love, the world can throw shoes or flowers at us or ignore us completely; we will remain happy as clams.

Saints are so absorbed in divine love that everything reminds them of God. So no matter what they do –whether they are chanting or digging ditches– they always demonstrate the Ruben Principle.

But let’s say you’re not a saint and you don’t particularly love what you do? Find something in it to love. Anything at all. Focus on that. That love will attract others, as it did for Ruben and as it does every day for star servers, sales people and business owners.

And Havi, if you’re reading this– I’m fine now.

Really, I am.

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2 Responses to The Ruben Principle

  1. julekucera says:

    Rupa, thank you for seeing my loss and allowing me my own way out of the grief hole. Right now the people who are reading my posts are mostly people I know and when I read your comment I thought, “Oh no, what if she starts reading my blog and doesn’t like it?” Well, this Ruben post was just the perfect thing. And I love the image in my mind of you watching a bit of TV in the ashram.

    Peace to you.

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