While he struggled with a illness, the entire world knew Michael Stone, who died in Victoria Zen Buddhist teacher, as a yogi, activist, speaker and writer.

He had a devoted following for his teachings, which combined mainstream psychology and ideas together and showed people enlightenment can come through action and mindfulness in life.

He shared his thoughts from five published books, including his most popular, The Inner Tradition of Yoga (2008), for which he recently wrote a brand new variant. He taught and talked at retreats, workshops and events in the USA, Canada, Thailand, Denmark and other parts of Europe. He conducted the podcast Awake on the planet and nurtured a virtual network through social networking and a website packed with content, such as writings and videos.

While many leaders at the North American Buddhist community were from an older era, Mr. Stone was the “new new voice,” says Elaine Jackson, a friend and former student.

“He saw ideas whatsoever,” Ms. Jackson says. “He made things feel practical and relatable and contemporary.”

Mr. Stone often combined complicated ideas with humour. “All my friends have Buddhas in their houses now. Zen is now an acceptable way to decorate your home,” Mr. Stone wisecracked at a 2014 TED Chat filmed in Toronto. (The joke followed a speedy but intelligent history of physical representations of the Buddha.)

“He knew the moment when to drop some pop-culture mention in the middle of telling an early dharma narrative that would make it a lot deeper,” says Ian Mackenzie, a filmmaker who showcased Mr. Stone in his short films Reactor and Love and Shadows from the Occupy Movement.

Following the Occupy Wall Street protest began in September, 2011, Mr. Stone began speaking out in support of their motion, finally travelling to protest camps in a number of cities. He believed there was a connection between the teachings of the Buddha and the improvements he saw.

“These protests are exposing the gap between capitalism and democracy. Capitalism and the way democracy have been bound is currently coming to an end. We need democracy but we can not afford the runaway-growth market that is not benefiting the 99 percent,” he wrote in an essay for Lion’s Roar, a Buddhist magazine.

While his activism was heartfelt, he made space for levity and humor in his life. Mr. Mackenzie recalls seeing a boyish playfulness in his buddy when he was with his young sons. (Mr. Stone wrote about fatherhood and believed in his 2014 publication Family Wakes Us Up.) “It was like a celebration broke out wherever we went,” Ms. Jackson recalls. “We would go to the park for a picnic and ended up creating a human pyramid.”

A lot of Mr. Stone’s victory traces back to a mind that his wife, Carina Stone, calls “rapid fire and wide open{}” She adds, “I believe his neurological wiring made him a particular kind of genius and also exposed. A coin has two sides: the shadow and light.”

Mr. Stone had bipolar disorder, a condition many of his pupils and followers didn’t know about, though he had divulged his identification to close family and friends in recent years. Mr. Stone was taking medicine under the care of a psychiatrist and had shifted his prescription lately due to concerns about his kidneys. Although the dose had increased, his moods were not being controlled by it. “It was exhausting for him,” Ms. Stone says.

On July 13, Mr. Stone left his home on Pender Island, B.C., and proceeded to Victoria. He had spoken about trying to locate a non-addictive opioid to level his moods. He called a dependence and substance-abuse pharmacy to ask a drug that day, but he was denied. He bought a drug. When he didn’t return home that night, Ms. Stone called the authorities. He was transported to a hospital and was found unconscious after. Results will not be available for months, although tests suggest that he’d opioids fentanyl — in his system. While his kidneys and lungs were harvested for donation he was declared brain dead and for 2 days was kept on life support. He was 42 at the time of his passing.

Michael Jason Stone was born on Aug. 19, 1974, to Henry Stone, an architect, and Bonnie (née Eckler) a teacher. When he was a young adult and his mother remarried, his parents split up. Jayme, Michael’s brother, was a couple of years younger than he was and his sister was a decade younger. The family lived in the affluent Forest Hill neighbourhood of Toronto.

As a child, Michael and Ian, who had schizophrenia would see his uncle. Both used to listen to the Beatles’ White Album and read aloud from Buddhist texts. “The center of the Buddhist teachings is moving against the flow and that is what you will need to do, Michael,” Mr. Stone once quoted his uncle as saying {}.

As a young adult, Mr. Stone started practising yoga regularly and took teacher training. “Anything he did, he can do it well instantly,” says Simone Moir, a long-time buddy. He taught yoga while studying psychoanalysis and philosophy at the University of Toronto. He read about philosophies Zen Buddhism, and incorporated those ideas. Ms. Moir says other teachers would often speak about religious ideas they had learned from their teachers; Mr. Stone got his content from the original texts.

Mr. Stone then completed a master’s in psychology from Vermont College of Fine Arts and began a private therapy practice. He gave his dharma talk in a Toronto yoga studio and did training. Ms. Moir recalls he was convinced he made an audio recording of the talk

In 2003, he founded Centre of Gravity, a sangha — or neighborhood — that focused on meditation and yoga, and ran it from his garage in downtown Toronto. The same year, his son Aryln was born.

A couple of years later, he and his partner, musician Michelle McAdorey, awakened and the sangha worked from different locations in town. It grew in popularity: He’d have 40 students to do yoga, meditate and listen to a conversation. At one stage, his events garner lineups.

From 2008, Mr. Stone had completely wound down his personal psychotherapy work, published his first book and turned to his writing, teaching and religious work full time. He conducted his retreats, including the silent escape of an annual New Yearin Ontario.

He also published a book a year. In 2010, he started dating a nurse who was one of his pupils at the Centre of Gravity, Carina Lof. (She left the community for a few months at the beginning of the connection to avoid any worries about conflict of interest).

The couple had their first son in 2013.

“He was overwhelmed,” she says of the busy time. “He needed nature {}” In 2014, they moved to Pender Island, which was close to sister and her parents. Other members of this sangha took it over and renamed it Gravity, while Mr. Stone centered on his freelance work. The couple got married and a few months later had another baby, a boy. Ms. Stone is now pregnant, together with the child due in December.

At the time of his death, Mr. Stone was involved in an array of jobs: He had a busy travel schedule beforehand — his long-time personal assistant had only increased her hours to assist — and was working on a number of major writing projects, such as a book on injury and one on psychological states.

Mr. Stone was profoundly committed to the ideas he wrote about. He often rose as early as 4 a.m. to practise meditation and yoga. He would incorporate meditation, when family life made that hard. He worked hard doing his writing and on airplanes.

“I have seen him working when he could hardly stand up,” Ms. Jackson recalls. He accomplished a great deal due and a strong belief in himself bolstered that. “He always had this unbelievable confidence and this way of moving across the area where he simply controlled focus,” Ms. Moir says. “The charisma was really powerful.”

Mr. Stone leaves his wife, Carina; sons, Arlyn, Olin and Hudson; dad, Henry; mom, Bonnie Lewis; brother, Jayme; and sister, Sunny.

“It could be hard … to imagine how he could take such a risk with a young family, baby on the way, with such a complete life and such fate,” said a statement by Mr. Stone’s spouse and senior pupils, which was posted on his Facebook page. “It could be simple to shake one’s mind and think, what a shame. We do not have language. As opposed to feel its shame and tragedy, can we find questions? … What am I uneasy hearing? What can we do for ourselves and others that have impulses or behaviours we can’t understand?”

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