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Michael Stone
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"2017-03-23 23:53:23"
I Saw You Fall. So I Helped.
\\I so good evening it's nice to be here I'd like to start tonight with ... Sam Cohen a story from the early Zen tradition about ... hang family and it goes like this ... Mister Pang was selling bamboo baskets with his daughter and on the way to the market he was coming down a hill and he tripped and fell and all the baskets flew away from him and he fell to the ground and as she saw him falling to the ground ... his daughter Lian Xiao threw herself to the ground when when she landed on the ground Mister Pang said to his daughter what are you doing and she said I saw you fall so I'm helping and the father said it's good nobody was looking so I want to unpack this story for the next hour when the Buddha died several a decades after his death there was a meeting called the first council where the monastics got together and determine what the rules would be for the community I should they handle money for example and what should the diet be and various other of rules and they came up with a list called the venire hundreds of rules about what to do and how to structure a community in the wake of the boat as death and of course when many community means there are always people who are excluded or just don't make it to the meaning or didn't care about the meaning ... anyways ... almost a century after the first council there was a second council and in the second council a lot of different kind of people showed up up people more like you and like me people who were merchants artists householders people with families ... monks and also nuns and in that second council they developed a new spirit of practice that they called the bodhi software practice and the basic idea of bodhi sought for practice of bodhi means a to awaken and such but isn't being so bodhi software is not just a being who is awakening but a being who is awakening other beings and the being who is awakened by other beings and the basic premise of bodhi softball practice is that if all of us are inter connected if all of us are deeply drenched with one another then how can you be free if other people are in prison if other people are in pain if other people haven't healed from their wounds how can you be free so it's almost like you're on this path towards freedom and then you get to the door and you're ready to go through and you put your hand on the door and then suddenly you look back and you realize all there's all these other people they're all these other people and this is the spirit of a body such a practice so Mister Pang in his daughter are on their way to the market selling bamboo baskets this was a traditional Chinese family ... you can imagine them I'm going to the market every weekend during the day they made bamboo baskets and you tonsils and on the weekends they sold them at the market Mister Pang in his daughter were inseparable they really loved each other and ... one thing that's interesting about this story is that ... ling shall his daughter was actually a Zen master in her own right that's an important detail so she's doing body suffer practice she's made this vow to include other people in her own practice of a wait sometimes I think some of us we forget this about because though we come into practice we're just suffering so much and we think oh my god how can I think about anybody else my hamstrings are so tight or as I did when I was a younger person is ... you hear stories about ... doing epic silent retreats so that you can get in line which is a kind of young man's fantasy I think and then you start to realize that the skills you learn of doing incredible back bending or getting flexible hamstrings or even being able to sit long periods in stillness don't necessarily give you the tools for being able to heal of relationships sorry nnst some of you have amazing Instagram accounts I know you so I I'm sorry their backgrounds are so good who but imagine this imagine that you see this scene and they're heading into the market and link shall see is her father fall and just leaps and lands right next is it a literal story it doesn't matter is it a metaphor it doesn't matter the point is is that she response to the situation without flinching she responds to the situation compassionately without needing a badge she just responds a creatively to what's happening and the other side of the story is her father allows it her father takes hadn't he receives her help but he also gets a little self conscious it's good nobody was looking and I like that part of the story because I think it can be a little bit idealistic you know and then there's just this moving at that I think all of us feel when somebody wants to help us which is a little bit embarrassed or may be ashamed Meg not ashamed in in a deep way but just ashamed in the con has a look of passing the motion and when you take in somebody of support it really changes how you view the world and it changes how you view yourself because most of the time when we fall down we immediately are at odds with ourselves and when you're at odds with yourself you can even see another person's help let alone ask for it let alone receive it I also like this story because it's not just a story about an individual having an awakening experience it's a story about relational and lightning and if you enlightening one another it's a story about a family waking each other up we don't tend to think of our families this way or maybe there's one member in your family that you idealize and someone who's mentor do you are inspired you but every member of our family has woken up so the people who have healed us the people who hurt us the people we can easily forgive the people we can't forget they're all teaching us all the time and we're always waking up together if so lingo jumps and comes to the same level as her dad if you ever hang out with kids if you ever go to a party this time here there's lots of kids around anybody done this yet okay but not yet the soon you're gonna be a party is this going to be kids around and if you walk up to a kid when you're standing and you go and reach and go to shake their hand and say what's your name they're probably not going to speak to you right we've all had this experience but if you kneel down on one knee and you get to the same high level as the other kid then ... they'll connect with you and my experience of this is they will then follow you around hard and in the ... tradition of dharma practice this is called non duality non duality has been ... perverted by academics and a new age thinkers I think but the basic idea of non duality is to be in an activity where there is not a separate you standing behind you talking to yourself about what you're doing so compassionate action is non dual action non duality is whole hearted activity when you acts with your whole heart your whole heart is in the intention of the activity this is called non dual active and it's impermanent and it doesn't guarantee that it'll work if it doesn't work you try something else but the point is you're fully in the activity link Zhao sees her father falling and he says what are you doing well I saw you fall so I'm hoping this is non dual activity that's my understanding I used to think nondual states were some transcendent thing one experiences so I'm here to puncture that idea and tie together the fact that ... teachings about non duality and being fully present in one 's experience fully present fully present meaning there isn't another you having the experience is compassionate activity its wholehearted active so let's imagine that in every single situation no matter what it is intimacy is at the base intimacy is at the base of every situation and we make all kinds of abstractions and we have all kinds of habits that are mostly deepen explicit or unconscious memory that cover over the intimacy that's in every moment and over time we forget that there's a connection in every moment and my understanding of yoga practice both in movement and stillness is that we're just uncovering the inherent intimacy that's there already so intimacy and awakening are synonymous they're exactly the same thing their twins and again intimacy is not something you're trying to pull out of a situation or pull out of a relationship or even achieve in a relationship it's already there it's the ground that's already there before you start splitting things up and the first way of recovering this connection is to not abandon the situation that you're in and to not abandon yourself and the way I think about this most of the time is to practice not separating from yourself to use the breath to titrate what you're experiencing to use community to help you hold and metabolize what's arising in your life but to learn the skill of not separating from your experience and then you learn a valuable skill of being able to hold out for other people to so not fleeing from yourself so this suggests that ... work of a bodhisattva or the work of a bodhisattva an awakening being is that if somebody falls to the ground we fall with them if your kids need attention and they're preoccupied you give them your attention my son was upset last night because I had to come here to Portland and thank you to be away for 10 days he's just starting to get this idea of me being away so he really want to sleep with me but he has the flu so I said fine if you really want to sleep together we can sleep in the same bed but we have to take all the pillows and build a wall and you're not allowed to come over on my side of the bed so he was like really excited about this and he was also excited that when you build a wallet of pillows that turns into a nest so the wall turned into a nasty he slept in his last night slipped in Minas and then about one in the morning I could feel like a foot and then it too I think I felt an elbow and the next thing I know he's like in my mast and basically all over me and ... now today I have a fever it also reminds me of whoever had the experience where ... if your your kid ... throws up and immediately you put out your hands I wouldn't do that for anybody in the but that's what I mean about non dual activity you don't even think about it there's no separate you saying oh should I do this or not you just immediately take action if your body is yelling at you you listen maybe at this time of year when there are a lot of social events and your emotional system is telling you to have some time alone maybe you need to listen I always ask myself when I have to go to a social event I know that my mind can go but can my skin go the other thing I like about the story is that when ling Zhao throws herself to the ground it's funny it's a comedy and being a body safadas like this because if we're training to work with our reactivity if we're learning practices to be able to be with our somatic experience without separating from ourselves if those are the key tools that were learning then a boating Asafa realizes that there is no power the path is just to keep training because you don't know how you're going to be called to serve and this motivates ability Songkhla to get up in the morning because it's exciting how am I going to survive no idea and I have no idea what to do just like if you have a friend who's in the hospital and you get the phone call to come straight to the hospital you'll be a little nervous because you might know not know what to do when you get there what to say we've all been through experiences like but you just show up you show up when you see what's needed and sometimes this is important to underline in the yoga community because a lot of times in the over community there are situations where someone in your circle of friends is having a hard time and you go to support them and then you tell another friend ... so and so's having a really hard time they're struggling with an addiction again or what have you and immediately the person will say well just make sure you're taking care of yourself how are you taking care of herself it's like this mythology that self care house to come first but our practice if we're looking through a bodhisattva lands is if we care not self care anyways who is the self if you have a lover who's having a really hard time and your relationship is feeling unstable and you just go to help yourself and that relationship keeps getting more and more unstable than you're going to be more and more stressed no amount of time it loyally is going to help you recover your stability when someone that we depend on when we're young can't tolerate a some aspect of who we are maybe our sexuality or maybe our ambition or ... our abilities how our bodies move or our body type we split off parts of ourselves so we can remain calm maintain contact with that person think about the early care giving environment you'll compartmentalize whatever you need to in order to maintain contact maintain contact with the primary care giver and most of that compartmentalize ation is not conscious it happens unconsciously and then we build a new life which is actually a half life around this half self that we have now and I want to underline this happens unconsciously it's not like you choose to do this and then what often happens is we end up not feeling real anymore feeling empty and sometimes it's not one thing we cut off but just on the motion and one of the things we know about numbing the motions is that when you try and ... the negative emotions you also end up numbing the positive emotions because numbing us just numbing so if you try and dull down your anger you will also dull down your joy and the problem with cutting off our emotions is that we've been lose connections with the way or we lose our understanding or we lose our ... I kind of lose the thread that connects us with the world because we connect with the world emotionally so for example if you can't feel the spectrum of trust you might make some really big relational errors an adult hood if you can't feel fear appropriately you also might make some poor decisions if you can't feel danger appropriately you might end up in some bad situations to why am I bringing up all this what does this have to do with the bodies up well our brains and our bodies are relational the relational spend sometime by yourself and you'll see very quickly that everything you think about is all relational using African the way you interact is relational how your brain was structured is relational and so what that means is if we're gonna talk about awakening before going to talk about yoga if we're gonna talk about a practice of being ... alive and flourishing we have to talk about it in terms of relationship relationship is at the center of yoga practice it's at the center of yoga practice and deep down we all crave a haven where a lot of his live it's what we all want whether it's with a lover or in friendship or in community a place that's safe to heal old wounds a place where we can put our bodies back together again or a place just to start to get to know this body that you have that's aging because I don't know if you've noticed this but your body is not turning out the way if that you play the yeah so from the perspective of a bodhisattva practice somebody who advertises they're ... self sufficiency it's likely masking and in their loneliness we need each other were made up of each other there's no way out of so part of our body soccer practice is we need to invest in love relationship we need to invest and loving relationship I think even up in Canada where I was 2 weeks ago we were all completely shocked by the election for the first day I had no idea how to even process it I'm so attached to my world view there was no way for Donald Trump to even get him to the world view and I could see my grasping to ... it's supposed to go supposed to go this way it it was supposed to go it wasn't supposed to go this way so now especially there are going to be many people and many groups that really need our support people of color Latinos juice Muslims we need to support a lot of people who are losing support and so all of us I think have to take some responsibility for where we've been born in this lifetime our ability our health our access to education our access to power or even our ability to be in a room like this and have healing practices like that we can drop into yoga classes it's an incredible privilege an amazing privilege so how can we care for those in need people are falling down and the going to fall down and we have to fall down with them to how are we going to care for those in need this is not an abstract thing like looking out the window I people who are in need people shouldn't be afraid to be clear people shouldn't be afraid to be Muslim so spiritual practitioners we have something real to offer we have something real to offer first we know because we have practices how to stabilize our boat our ship our canoe we can't control the waters but we know how to stabilize our ship eating right mindfulness of breathing knowing when to be with others knowing when not to be with others knowing how to listen and really knowing what it's like when we feel our hearts open and also really knowing what it's like when we feel ourselves shutting down you know in the Zen practice there is ... something we do called and so practice which is you take a brush on a piece of paper with ink on it and you put it on the paper one move and then you inhale go up and exhale around making a large circle called in and so and I've always found it interesting when you look at and so's you can never quite get the circle closed every time you see an end so you can see the mark where the circle started and you can see where it's finished and I think our healing us like that all of us of come to practice because we have different kinds of wounded now and if you keep sticking with practice both movement practice stillness practice and also relation prime you will start to see your own wounded ness and the interesting thing about the scars or the some scars that we call a wounded ness is that there never completely healed I think this is a kind of search fantasy that all of our wounds eventually will be healed and will be free from in fact it's the fact that the circle can't be closed but the wound can't actually be fully healed that connects you with other people right you're working for a wound and that wound becomes a bridge and becomes a gate through which you can connect with other people and I don't mean other people who have exactly the same wound I just mean your ability to be connected to your own pain allows you to fall down and connect with if other people and sometimes if you have the internal fantasy that you have to heal your wounds 100 percent before you can help others then you end up putting an expectation on other people that may need to get over their addiction and or their pain 100 per before you can accept and that's just suffering for everybody isn't that's not falling down with I chose the story because it's about falling down it's not a story when you think of it in an embodied way that's kind of like a relic and the mountain post election we need to do everything we can not to make things worse if that's your motto that would be a great take away from this evening bodhi soccer practice is basically recognizing that we need to make a vow to help others so we don't make things worse and some of you might think that is setting the bar solo but my hand hurts you just touch her just to try for one week just not make anything worse why did we all of Leonard Cohen so much I'm because Leonard Cohen are embodied the fact that it's okay to be and melancholy and it's okay to be in despair and it's okay when the Mellon collie and the despair completely take over as they will from time to time and then in that to spare you start learning how to navigate the landscape a landscape that's different than the one our culture is obsessed with which is consuming and producing and getting back to work as fast as and with that energy of despair which I don't know about you but I have certainly felt after this election take that energy and then you do something with but you have to give it time you have to feel that energy before you jump the gun and decide what you're going to do it so we just keep offering our body suffer spirit no matter what one day you make a vow and the value is that sends him beings are numberless and we're gonna serve and then you spend your rest of your life trying to figure out what that vow means marriage is like that too you get married and you're so excited on the wedding day you make all these valves and then you have to spend the rest of that marriage victory what on earth did we value and what does that mean and how do I live this and it's exactly the same with the bodhisattva vow I'm practicing to serve other people what could be more exciting so 2 points one is it's really important you have a practice practice is a refuge it's a place to come home to it's a real break I don't mean practice as a place or space to space out I mean practice as a place to really know what it's like to let go of your efforts get calm and get still practice as a space where you honestly see your levels of reactivity and you learn how not to identify with them and how to calm down and yoga centers like this one that were in here and dharma centers and class so some of you hold in church basements are in your living rooms these are really important cultural spaces right now because it's where we can hold a space against this tide that wants to shut down our bodies up a practice the second thing is that so the first thing is practice is a refuge and the second thing I want to underline is that practice then becomes a training and compassion our practice is a training in compassion when you learn how to transform your reactivity you are completely different kind of friend you are totally different colleague at work you are a different parents and then we learn how to love people more deeply everyone including your enemies and to appreciate that we don't know what we will do in the future you don't know how you're going to serve when I was young I wasn't in the streets with placards and ... protest kind of guy and really really happy doing that work there is nothing more thrilling then ... being with the group so much larger than your individual body ... now as I've aged you can tell ... my interest has focused more on mental health because the more than I do this work of sitting still in working with other people's hearts and minds the more I see how invisible ... mental health is as an issue and it cuts across all class lines to and the reason why I'm sharing this is because I think it's important that you don't get stuck in an idea of how you are a body such because that wouldn't be non dual activity right so bloody soft activity on Monday morning might be completely different than Monday afternoon right or maybe even a lawyer for 10 years doing environmental defense and now you don't feel like that's the thing to do anymore so you shift try something else maybe have been a really dedicated parents doing body suffer practice and now you feel like ... there's something else I want to do now you don't stop being a parent but maybe for some hours of the day your body suffer practice looks you get what I'm saying here it's not like one thing if you're listening you like yeah I'm a bodhisattva if totally missed Cody Saba I'm voting stock but is just somebody who's available who's offering them so and this is the sad thing about holding a posture because of your wounded in us that doesn't advertise none either your availability or the fact that you need help right like if you don't allow other people to help you then they can't practice generosity so this is a terrible thing in a family because if you want the people in your family to learn jet also do you then you need to allow yourself to be helped you need to allow other people to fall down so we need to advertise this in our posture so that were available we can give and also we can receive Mister Pang in his daughter we're selling bamboo baskets coming down a hill towards the market Mister Pang stumbled and fell baskets went fly and his daughter ling Zhao immediately jumped to the ground startled Mister Pang said what are you doing and ling Zhao said I saw you fall so I'm helping so thank you very much //
"2016-01-08 16:55:59"
Mindfulness & Concentration: Practice Tips with Michael Stone
\\I ... managing that my hands is my attention and imagine that the surface of the ball here is my breathing so the attention is connected to the breath connected to the in handling an excellent and then the attentions slips off we hear a sound we go after that sounder we start planning our days or we start thinking about a something were feeling and how reminds us of a conversation we earlier in the day and then what flag goes up and then we come back again to the breath inhaling and exhaling this is called mindfulness practice mindfulness is the practice of noticing when we fall in a way coming back again as I said this practice is something you'll be doing the rest of your life is constantly during the day you're having a conversation you fall off you come back to the broth over and over now the informal meditation practice it's a little bit different because what happens is when you train yourself to keep coming back you start to not drift off so far anymore then you start staying closer to the briefing or as I like to describe it you become intimate with the breath so there is no you anymore that's breathing there's just briefing happening and then the boll flips and when the ball flips what happens is is that the attention is with the brown but it's slow winds up the side of the bowl and comes back quickly so now the breath is holding your attention so this is the basics of mindfulness Chris you slip off you coming back in overtime you don't slip so far what happens sometimes without any effort is you know this the whole pattern flips and instead of slipping off you now go gently up the side and come back again and that's concentration practice so an example of this in your experience might be you're sitting now it's been a few weeks of practice noticing the breathing he gazes open the eyes are uninterested in the field of vision and then you notice that your thoughts go way back into the periphery so it's important to know your thoughts don't stop here it's just that the thoughts go really far back so there might be thinking like ticker tape often the periphery but the brat is just happening and it's very shallow and the attentions undisturbed and then distractions don't comment it's almost like the sides of the ball are presenting the distractions from coming in because we're soul involved in the briefing which is very very shallow so this may happen sense of open spaciousness and when this happens you can let go of the technique of your breathing stop focusing on your breath and just be in the spaciousness just being in the awareness BME awareness and then that's what will happen every time your attention will come and go how this is really cool and as soon as that happens whole thing collapses everything flips you get distracted and you have to come back to the //
"2012-06-10 16:02:36"
The heart of non-attachment - Michael Stone
\\I ... a I ... part of it very spare totally engaged with our lives forests rivers polluted cities don't care about your enlightenment what they care about is your alive minister present experience your action in the world and the effects of your actions and one of the terms and spiritual practice that is so misleading is this idea of non attachment so many times people hear the word non attachment and they think of kind of dissociation I'm not going to be attached to how things are nothing moves me and then I you know you walk around like a zombie and in a way I came to spiritual practice at a time of really turbulent emotion in my life and I really thought that practice and meditation especially would become a way to kind of you know get out of feeling but actually things don't really work that way and non attachment doesn't mean just not being attached to your bicycle or your apartment to your bank account ... non attachment means not clinging to fixed ideas not clinging to the way you think things should be but actually opening to the way things really are so I would translate non attachment as engagement non attachment is a deep intimacy so to see the way that that everything leans into everything else to wake up to be inherent interconnection of all things but to do it in a way that's non attached so not to open up to the interconnectedness of things and say oh this is the interconnectedness of it's right there you've lost that but how do we become intimate with the way things are under Neath language under Neath our concepts of how we think things should be this is really the heart of non attachment is this this kind of deep engagement and it comes from this term yoga which is a Sanskrit term which comes from the root you urge which means to unite but taken out of the verbal form yoga means ... unions and I like to translate the term yoga's intimacy because it's not something you do you don't do intimacy and fact intimacy is is the byproduct of giving up fixed views of the way things are ... it you know fixed and rigid ideas are really the enemy of intimacy and it's really what shuts down relationship and because we're living at a time where we don't need anymore ideology and philosophy ... what we really need is a way to to to let go and to drop in you know to the truth of how things are economically a motion only ecologically socially and that includes both what's Viewtiful and also what's devastating it means opening up to the fact that this world is stunningly beautiful and also a total catastrophe and how to hold votes how to hold both how to open up to the choice of being alive and also to the suffering that's inherent in being in a body and being in the body that's aging and being in the world right now that really needs our help so I think we need to re imagine this idea of non attachment as a practice of not clinging to fixed ideas so that we can be engaged with the world the world needs us and our actions make a difference so how to really rethink spiritual practice not as trying to transcend not as being dissociated not as a witnessing our lives but as being totally immersed in life //

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