By Ann Bradney, Founder and Director of the Radical Aliveness Core Energetics Institute of Southern California. Ann will be teaching Radical Aliveness: Core Energetics at Hollyhock on July 31 – Aug 5, 2016 Feature Image Source: http://www.radicalalivenesstoronto.com/
I just want to write about how it began. I imagine there are so many moments in life when a huge door is opening and we don’t even notice. We walk right by. In some ways my life had prepared me to listen. There had already been so many powerful moments that came because I listened. I had listened to the voice that said, “I want to live” when I was almost 31 and dying from drugs and alcohol. That time I had to be almost dead in order to hear, and the voice was close to a scream. As time went on there were other shouts and whispers along the way.
What does it mean to be in the moment? What does it mean to be mindful? Yogi and Buddhist teacher Michael Stone breaks down the oft used term and shows how it relates to being mindful about what’s really going on.
The gift of our wounds – Michael Stone
The heart of non-attachment – Michael Stone
True non-attachment is an intimacy with life. Buddhist teacher and yogi Michael Stone shares his perspective on how to live an engaged life.
Michael Stone leader of Centre of Gravity, is a psychotherapist, Yoga teacher, author and activist, committed to the integration of traditional teachings with contemporary psychological and philosophical understanding. The components of his practice include Yoga postures, breathing technique, meditation and textual study. Over the years, his goal has been to cultivate long-term relationships with people who want to deepen their understanding of Yoga and Buddhist teachings and practice. He also maintains a dedicated workshop and retreat schedule in communities in Canada and abroad. Michael is a father and lives in Toronto with his partner Carina Lof and his 9 year old son Arlyn. These days you can find him working on a documentary film called “Reactor,” a new book of the same title, teaching, and also giving talks at conferences and in community.
When I think back to my earliest childhood memories it’s crystal clear for me today that I’ve always been on a path of self-discovery and exploration. Perhaps it’s because the darker shades of life permeated my environment for most of my upbringing. Or maybe it is just the journey I was meant to be on. I’ll never truly know, but I would always look around and think, is this it? Is this everything life has to offer? For most of my upbringing I found that this thing called “life” wasn’t this grand, exciting and fun adventure.
I found that I was looking for happiness and fulfillment in all the wrong places. I would constantly think that once I achieved this or acquired that then life would become fun and exciting and I’d be happy. Falling into this paradigm of cultural domestication cost me so much heartache and pain. This continued until the pain and discomfort couldn’t get any worse. When I hit this breaking point, which was the most challenging thing I’ve ever experienced, something within me transformed. This was when I knew that every experience, challenge and hardship that was placed in front of me was an opportunity to wake up to something greater than that present reality.
Then one day it happened. When the universe pushed me to the edge I was forced to ask myself, “who will I be when I’m no longer me? Where will I go? What will I feel? Who is this “I” that looks out upon this world? Does it all end when this physical body dies?” At that moment I had all these questions and today more than 21 years later I’ve discovered that I’ll never truly have an absolute answer.
What is this thing called spirit? We’ve all met people who say they’re spiritual, but what exactly does that mean. Today I’ve learned that the essence of spirituality is in the eyes of the beholder. It is obtained through the efforts to become better acquainted with the “I” that is within us doing the looking and seeking. This path can take many forms and looks very different for each of us. Yet when you’re on it, something intangible shifts from within.