Inspiring quotes by Michael Stone

December 23, 2016

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calligraphy: Thich Nhat Hanh

Let us, with compassion, vow to bring to realization humankind’s deep desire for freedom and construct a world in which everyone can truly and fully live.

Humans and all organisms are members of the system we call planet earth. As members of this system we form a web, knotted together intimately and inextricably. We are born from the earth, supported by the earth, and return to the earth, and we need the earth to live. The earth is not just what supports us; it sustains us. It cannot be considered a commodity, because it is our greatest resource.

Learning to perceive our lives as situated in the greater whole of organic life keeps us connected to the living and breathing whole of which we are made. The goal of yoga is vidya – seeing things as they are, being with life as it is, not as we need it to be or expect it to be. Yoga dismantles our basic mode of self-interest. Yoga teaches us to perceive the world more truly than our habits first suggest.

The yoga of Patañjali is groundbreaking in that it requires an awakening to the inherent insubstantiality of self-image.

Awakening is an accurate way of describing the spiritual path as it captures the concentric process of waking up from veils of habits and delusion. At the same time, we must remember that awakening is not dependent on a path, or anything else for that matter. Pure awareness is unconditioned.

Awareness is always free.

The freedom to be at ease in the world rests on recognizing the world as being free unto itself and especially free of our idea that the spiritual is a realm separated off from everything of which we are aware at this moment. Do you think that there is something else? Do you think yoga practice or any spiritual practice is going to take you away somewhere? What kind of belief system is operating behind the scenes if we think that “the spiritual” is anything other than this? Pay attention, this is all there is.

When I allow myself to dissolve in the freedom of pure awareness, I find myself completely myself, which in essence is the freedom to be nobody.

Yoga is not beyond this body, but rather it is the recognition of union through this body, this mind, and this very experience right now.

When we look outside, we try and find reality, and not finding it there, we search inside. If we draw a circle, what is outside is inside, and what is inside is outside. Life is outsideless. Nothing can be excluded. Reality is everywhere.

Go deep inside, our yoga practice teaches us, go deep into the feelings of inbreathing and exhaling, and suddenly the path leads outside. I look into the nature of the breath, in this very moment, and I’m looking into the nature of nature.

We must do our best to listen to one another and the pulsing world that sustains us, and to work on behalf of biodiversity itself, not on behalf of our infinite desires and habit energies. It’s not just reflection that the spiritual person must cultivate but also the response to the insights arrives at through reflection and the deep commitment to take our practice out into the world. The world is calling out for people like you.

If we want to change society and work toward issues like social justice or environmental awareness, we need to understand the inner dimension of change. Personal psychological transformation is key because culture is psychological. Simply performing outer ritual can only go so far, whether in religion or political action. All religious, spiritual, or justice-based practices come down to the personal psychological transformation that helps us think of others and, in doing so, teaches us to become less selfish. Spirituality, psychology, and social change cannot be separated.

(Michael Stone, Yoga For A World Out Of Balance)

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artwork: Banksy

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