written by Michael Stone, Teacher, Thinker, Activist
“Tonight after I put our 4-year old son Olin to sleep, I meditated under the skylight next to the bed. Carina put Hudson to sleep in another bed down the hall. Aware that the dishes had piled up over the day, I decided to let all domestic tasks go and sit for 30 minutes. At the 30-minute point, ready to get up, I felt the usual build-up of energy around doing evening chores before bed. So I sat another 15-minutes and that’s when some deeper holding started to finally unwind.
We are expecting another baby. Carina is due in December. I feel nervous, joyous, and unsure of what it means being the father of four kids. While sitting I thought of how many times I’ve heard meditation teachers invite me to open myself to each sensation and become one with them. If you try to escape you will suffer. But it is not so easy to be one with reactivity or stress or even pain because of the embedded associations of our past. Most of us have to go through the painful process of feeling thousands of patterns of reactivity before we can truly open up and be free from our conditioned responses. I learn this again and again.
Suzuki Roshi encouraged people by saying that those who have the most difficulty and see it through will have the most benefit. As soon as an ‘uncomfortable’ feeling arises and we don’t ‘like’ it and don’t ‘want’ it, we form an attachment and begin to suffer. Resisting life is exhausting. In many ways, one can never be completely prepared for a baby. This reminds me of the choreographer Deborah Hay’s injunction, “Start before you’re ready.”
There is no special state of mind to attach to and no special feeling to desire and no special self to hang on to. This can be called Samadhi. It can be found in parenting, everyday activity, and in meditation. It’s the ease that comes when we can open to what’s really going on in and around us, and it’s possible to discover even in situations that make us feel unsure.
Suzuki Roshi said he admired the frog sitting completely still on a rock. When a fly buzzes by, without hesitation the frog’s tongue darts out and catches it. If he likes it, gulp. If not, he spits it out and just keeps sitting. Frogs are really great teachers. So is becoming a parent (again).”
Michael Stone: Teacher, Thinker, Activist.
“In 2004 I cleaned up an old garage in downtown Toronto and invited people to come and meditate with me. Now, here we are: an international community without walls.
My mission is to translate traditional wisdom teachings into contemporary tools and make them available globally. Tools to create a culture of compassion and collaboration. I’ve realized that the habits I once thought were personal are actually internalized narratives from the culture we live in. Therefore, I believe that inner transformation and social awakening are one.
This is how I help.”