12 steps to a more engaged life

Michael StoneIn case you missed this the first time around, I urge you to watch Michael Stone’s talk entitled “Mindfulness & Social Action: Towards a Secular Spirituality”, which was recorded in Vancouver in January 2015 (see video below).

Michael Stone is a Canadian Buddhist, yoga practitioner and social activist. In this talk he covers such diverse topics as climate change, intimacy, having a spiritual practice, death, suffering and cravings. Except they’re actually not that diverse because everything’s connected – right? 😉

I was blown away when I watched this and find Michael’s teachings to be engaging, down-to-earth and very inspiring. This talk touched on so many things that are relevant to me right now so you might find it resonates with you too.

Here are some of my favourite excerpts from the talk to give you a flavour of what’s in store:

The key task of practice

“The real courage of having a practice is to be able to tune in, make contact with what’s arising in the present moment, and simultaneously not hold onto it. So how do you have the courage to turn to what’s arising, even when what’s arising is painful, and simultaneously to be intimate with it without holding onto it? So I think this is the key task of practice.”


“You can’t get happy by yourself. A path towards joy, a path towards freedom, has to include other people.”

Healing through intimacy

“The only way healing can happen is through intimacy. If you take one thing away from this evening it’s this message: that healing only happens through intimacy. Getting closer to the parts of ourselves that we have a hard time being in relationship with. Healing in communities happens when we start to have relationships with the people in our community that we treat like garbage – you don’t have to look very far. Healing in family happens when people call us on our stuff that we don’t want to look at and we have the courage to actually look at it.”

Suffering causes craving – not the other way around

“When we turn towards suffering, craving arises. This is biological and cannot be negotiated. There are moments when we can work with craving so that it subsides, but every time you turn towards suffering, the human organism is designed to crave pleasure. We’re built that way, you see.”

You make your own path

“Nothing is inevitable. We can write the next chapter. You do not have to be the same person today that you were yesterday. But the thing is, what blocks our hearts more than anything, is not allowing ourselves to have our own experience. When you can’t allow yourself to have your own experience, you’re not living your own life. And then the next chapter’s predetermined.”

Keeping it simple

“Once you have all your basic needs met – privilege, a house, your health, access to good food – there are only 2 things left to do: (1) take really good care of yourself, and (2) help other people.”

Ok that’s enough from me – go watch the video!

– Hannah

What do you think?

As you can tell, we’re big fans of Michael Stone here at Ashtanga Brighton 🙂 What was your reaction to the video? Did you feel inspired by his talk? Or perhaps confused or overwhelmed? We’d love to hear what you think, so do leave a comment below.


4 Responses to 12 steps to a more engaged life

  1. Michelle 14th June 2015 at 10:58 pm #

    Lovely talk. He’s very simple, very pragmatic – a true Buddhist! Thanks for sharing.

    • Hannah Moss
      Hannah Moss 22nd June 2015 at 2:52 pm #

      You’re welcome Michelle – I completely agree!

  2. Kerstin 25th June 2015 at 4:25 pm #

    Lovely to see a post about Michael Stone.
    I had the honour of training with hime earlier this year, and I have never been so inspired. He really embodies his teachings and has a very simple down-to-earth way of teaching. I highly recommend his book, The Inner Tradition of Yoga.

    • Guy Andefors
      Guy Andefors 27th June 2015 at 11:55 am #

      Thanks for commenting Kerstin. We’re all fans of Michael’s work here at Ashtanga Brighton. The Inner Tradition is a great read on applying the philosophy of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras to modern every day life. I’m currently reading Family Wakes us Up which Michael co-authored with Matthew Remski. Its fab too!

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