Living your purpose: An interview with Rudá Iandê

Thousands of people have sought out the shamanic teachings of Rudá Iandê through individual work and his retreats.

These people include some of the world’s most well-known artists and celebrities. One notable example is the performance artist Marina Abramovic who brought Rudá to worldwide attention by showcasing the work she did with him at his home in Curitiba, Brazil (you can watch her documentary about the experience here).

When I look back at my experience working individually with Rudá and also visiting him at his home in Curitiba I can see that Rudá has helped me to live the life I always dreamed of.

But I ended up arriving at this place in the most unconventional way.

Rudá’s teachings aren’t what you would expect. He won’t encourage you to visualize the perfect life for yourself. He won’t urge you to become one of the ultra-rich, using his shamanic teachings to help you get there.

Rudá isn’t a fake guru pretending that he has the power to give you whatever you most desire.

Rather, Rudá is a shaman. He’s a genuine human being. He’s fully grounded in his own being. He knows himself.

Rudá is someone I admire greatly, and he’s someone I’m also proud to call a friend.

What follows is an interview with Rudá. After the written responses below, Rudá shares his perspective on some provocative topics by video.

I hope you get to know Rudá better from this interview and that it inspires you to develop your own personal power and connect with the mystery of life that exists deep within you.

Justin Brown: Rudá, thanks so much for being here with me. First of all, I want to ask you: How did you become a shaman? Were you born with some sort of special gift?

Rudá Iandê: Thanks Justin, I’m delighted to be here.

To be honest, if there was a gift, it was a whole set of traumas and blocks which gave me little choice but to embark on my personal quest for self-knowledge from an early age to find a way out of my own mess.

It’s not been an easy path, I must say.

I’ve tried so many therapies, religions, spiritual groups, and esoteric schools! But the traditional psychotherapies were far too limiting for me and new age spirituality was such a load of bullshit.

In shamanism, I found a more solid, holistic and useful sort of knowledge. But it’s certainly not been easy nor safe. I’ve entered a world of shamans, witches, and warlocks and traveled the whole planet visiting them. I’ve learned a lot but also gotten in trouble many times.

I’ve found wise and powerful people (not always well-intentioned), and found many impostors, too. I had to face challenges, I’ve made many mistakes, and paid for them. Fortunately, I am a determined (actually quite stubborn) person, and one day my efforts started coming into fruition. I found myself and my place in life.

And in the depths of being, I found the Shaman I am. It has always been there, but it didn’t come as a gift. I had to pay the price for it. But this is a price worth paying.

Justin Brown: I know this is a journey that has taken you to many different worlds and ways of thinking.

I’m curious about the shift you’re currently undertaking from being a shaman who helps people individually and with retreats to now also offering an online workshop. I know first-hand the incredible amount of knowledge and experience you’ve shared in Out of the Box.

Can you tell me more about this part of your journey, putting together what you’ve learned into an online workshop?

(If you’re interested in finding out more about Out of the Box, check out our free salon: An introduction to living your life “out of the box”)

Rudá Iandê: For many years, I resisted going online. The main reason is that I love real life and face-to-face interaction. I have a very solid grounding working this way with very good results.

But ultimately it limits my range, and the world urgently needs more balance and consciousness. The technology we have created is bringing us new challenges as a species. We’re being bombarded with information. Our technology accelerates our lives. We’re getting lost and disconnected from our own selves.

But stopping everything and going to live in the jungle and desert is not what will help us. Trying to relive the past is not going to help us. We cannot stop our evolution.

Therefore, going online seems to be the logical path to take, even for a shaman. The knowledge I have is a good and necessary contribution to our world. I’m happy that I can use technology to make it available to more people.

This technology has completely changed our world. Whether we like it or not, if we don’t catch up with technology there’s no place in the world for us.

That’s why so many aboriginal and indigenous tribes are being extinguished.

Our devices and the internet have already become more than a part of our lives. They are a part of us. It’s up to us to employ the technologies available with awareness and wisdom. Shamanic knowledge is ancestral and transcends time. A shaman living in the 21st century must access this knowledge and translate it to our socio-cultural moment, employing it to solve our current challenges.

This is what I’m doing.

Justin Brown: I’m also curious about the kinds of people you’ve worked with in the past. If I look at a lot of the press, I’ll see that you’ve worked with a number of quite well-known people. But who do you get the most satisfaction working with?

Rudá Iandê: I’ve worked with so many different people, from seven continents. My work is not superficial. It happens in a place beyond masks, so the interactions are profound. This is what gives me real satisfaction.

What exists behind our husks is usually beautiful and painful. Many people believe that they suffer more than the rest and envy those who they suppose are luckier than them. There are also those who close their hearts to everybody, even to themselves and pretend to be beyond the rest of the world.

What I’ve learned from my work is that it doesn’t matter how much money and success we achieve, we all carry excruciating emotional pain and confusion. We’re all facing very similar existential challenges, which present themselves in different ways to each of us.

By connecting with such pain around me, and for being conscious of my own pain, I’ve developed compassion. Compassion doesn’t mean feeling sorry and forgiving from a place of superiority. Compassion is deep, emotional consciousness, coming from the awareness that we’re all in the same boat.

Justin Brown: How important is “shamanism” in your life experience and knowledge?

Rudá Iandê: Shamanism brought me back to myself. The shamanic path showed me aspects of myself, of my nature, which I didn’t know. Shamanism showed me how to be grounded in my life.

Walking this path enabled me to go beyond the limits of my intellect and open the doors to experience my true nature. The best contribution which shamanism brought to my life were not answers, but the possibility of embracing the mystery that I am. I am no longer trapped inside my mind. My consciousness is grounded in a much deeper layer of my being, and I have to thank shamanism for that.

Justin Brown: Does this mean that you a modern day spiritual “guru”?

Rudá Iandê: Yes, I am a guru, but with one single disciple: myself.

I know there’s a place for gurus on our planet. There are people who really need a guru. But I prefer to talk with people like me, who prefer to take responsibility for their own lives, instead of letting someone else lead them through the prairies of life.

I have knowledge which is useful to bring people back to themselves. But all I do is open the doors. I’m not going to tell you what is right or wrong or how you are supposed to live your life. My function is to help you find a place where you can respond to your questions by yourself.

Each of us has a different nature. We’re not supposed to think and live in the same way. Our uniqueness is sacred and must be respected. So, I’m very careful not to impose my perspective over anyone else. Instead, I come with curiosity, looking for the opportunity to explore together. If I help you reach your core, I want to be there to witness it, to celebrate with you and also to learn from your essential wisdom.

Justin Brown: It’s interesting for me to have observed how impactful a number of your messages have been when you’ve shared it here on Ideapod. For example, you shared a perspective on the “dark side of positive thinking”. I want to ask you: What’s wrong with positive thinking? Shouldn’t we encourage people to look for the silver lining in whatever happens to them in life?

Rudá Iandê: As you said, I’ve already detailed my perspective on positive thinking in the article “The Dark Side of Positive Thinking”. The article has now been translated into nine different languages. I received many messages from people reading it, most of them expressing their gratitude because it lifted a burden from them. But I also got some haters because of this article, all of them deeply committed to the “positive thinking” movement. Basically, they said I completely misunderstood it, that I was an idiot and should shut my mouth.

How is that possible that those positive thinkers couldn’t see any positive aspect in my whole article? When you push too much to convince yourself of something, you tend to close yourself to anything that can threaten your ideas. It can narrow your human perspective and induce you to waste so many opportunities which could enrich your life.

This is the problem with positive thinking. Apart from the fact that it doesn’t work.

Justin Brown: Many self-develop programs will try to help people defeat their anger, anxieties, insecurities, and frustrations. You, on the other hand, seem to advocate for turning these emotional experiences into your own personal ally for growth. What do you mean?

Rudá Iandê: Defeating our anxiety or any other emotion is an illusion.

Our emotions are our first nature. Before developing our intellect, we were basically emotional beings. This is our first layer, our core. We are all emotionally driven and we can’t escape from that.

If you look behind your goals and dreams, you’ll notice that you’re searching for or running from certain emotions. Even those who close the doors to their emotions and try to live only in their intellect are doing so because they fear their emotions. We cannot escape from that.

Our emotions can rule our intellect, but our mind doesn’t have power over our emotions. Since fighting with our emotions is fruitless, our best show is to align with our feelings. When we stop judging and fighting our emotions, we start to notice that they have a function in our psyche and that each of them provides a different opportunity for growth.

Insecurity is an open door for new knowledge when it is embraced. It’s healthy to doubt ourselves and our ideas so that we can keep our mind open.

Anger can give us the energy to take action, breaking through our limitations. For example, we need anger to face up to social issues that make our society so unfair and unequal. To just feel love isn’t enough. We must at least be irritated.

Another misjudged emotion is anxiety. You must understand that anxiety is unavoidable. We’re conflictive beings by nature and our anxiety is the result of our innermost struggles. Our anxiety is a powerful combustible. It’s a powerful ally of creativity. The most creative people on the planet are not calm and peaceful. They have a chaotic nature and are so anxious that they can’t stop. They must do something to put out their anxiety, otherwise, it consumes them. Having the wisdom and willpower to release anxiety in a productive way makes all the difference.

Your emotions are what makes you human. It’s sometimes a painful gift, but it’s a gift. Don’t fight it. Be grounded in this place instead. You’ll not only have a much more complete and profound inner life but will also be able to make your emotions work on your behalf.

Justin Brown: It’s certainly a powerful and holistic way to understand the role of emotions in our life. But what about gratitude? I’ve heard many spiritual teachers suggest that gratitude is the most powerful emotion, therefore recommending us to develop a daily gratitude practice. Do you believe that gratitude is one of the most important emotions to strive towards?

Rudá Iandê: Yes, gratitude is such a powerful emotion! Although we risk being insincere if we start trying to feel it. It should come to us naturally.

Many times, before we can feel real gratitude, we must access our frustration and our anger towards ourselves, life and God. Because we hear so much that we must be grateful, life is sacred and our creator is pure love, we end up closing the door to fully accessing our resentment.

My main disagreement with both the current religions and the new age movements is the way they place God beyond any sin and make us believe we are wrong for not being as pure and perfect as we “should be”.

Actually, we were born in this crazy world without a manual. We must suffer greatly before achieving some wisdom in life. Usually, when we finally start understanding how life works, it’s too late. We are too old to do anything with our wisdom.

We are destined to live our lives investing in relationships, knowledge and material possession. And we are also destined to die and leave behind everything we fought for so fiercely.

How can you not feel resentful about this?

If you want to live in gratitude, you first must bring up all your frustration, resentment and anger. You must embrace these emotions and have a good argument with whichever God you believe in. Only after doing this you can really make peace with life and start enjoying all the pleasure and pain of being alive. Then you can find real gratitude.

Justin Brown: What about our purpose in life? Where does it come from? Why is it important to live in alignment with a purpose?

Rudá Iandê: Purpose is usually a mistaken word. I’ve seen many people looking for a greater purpose in life, like a kind of mission to save the world. Basically, they were trying to find something to make them feel super special and fill their ego.

Purpose is something different. You don’t need to change the world. You just need to shift your perspective, from “what you can take from life today” to “how you can contribute to life today.”

Many people don’t understand this and get really sick, trying so hard to do more. It then doesn’t matter how much you get from life, for it will not fulfill you.

Fulfillment comes from inside out. It comes from acting, putting out your best, transcending your basic selfishness and contributing to the chain of life. It doesn’t need to be giant. It doesn’t need to change the world. It only needs your heart to be warm and present.

When you start living your purpose, you reach your place in existence. You start understanding that you belong to life and you’re an active part of it. Then you find fulfillment, and being grateful becomes something as natural as your breath.

We asked Rudá to share his perspective on a number of provocative and interesting topics by video, which is below. Rudá talks about spirituality, contemporary politics (2:58), transgenderism (4:59), soul mates (7:44), social media and fake news (8:56), WikiLeaks (11:18) and shaman (12:22).

If you would like Rudá to share his perspective on other issues, we invite you to let us know in the comments below.

Rudá Iandê is a shaman and the creator of Out of the Box, Ideapod’s new online workshop based on his lifetime of allying ancient shamanic knowledge with a practical and modern-day focus on how to live more fulfilling lives. Here are some useful links if you would like to explore his work more deeply:

What do you think?

Notable replies

  1. ACD says:

    Excellent! This is the story of Job, Sidhartha, and أَيُّوْب. It is universal across cultures. Gratitude grows in one who loves. The opposite grows in hate. Words such as bullshit point to hate.

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Written by Justin Brown

I'm Justin Brown, the founder of Ideapod. I've overseen the evolution of Ideapod from a social network for ideas into a publishing and education platform with millions of monthly readers and multiple products helping people to think critically, see issues clearly and engage with the world responsibility.

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