New Mexico, USA
Foundation of Teaching
Non-Duel, Compassion, Forgiveness, Conscious living & dying, Native American, Sufism, Theravada Buddhism, mystical Christianity
Example of Teaching
“Letting ourselves be forgiven is one of the most difficult healings we will undertake. And one of the most fruitful.”
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Stephen Levine, born 17 July 1937 in Albany New York, is an American poet, author and teacher best known for his work on death and dying. He is one of a generation of pioneering teachers who, along with Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg, have made the teachings of Theravada Buddhism more widely available to students in the West. Like the writings of his colleague and close friend, Ram Dass (formerly Richard Alpert), Stephen’s work is also flavoured by the devotional practices and teachings (also known as Bhakti Yoga) of theHindi Guru Neem Karoli Baba.
This aspect of his teaching may be considered one way in which his work differs from that of the more purely Buddhist oriented teachers named above. Since Buddhism is largely considered a non-theistic faith, his allusions in his teachings to a creator, which he variously terms God, The Beloved, The One and ‘Uugghh’, further distinguish his work from that of other contemporary Buddhist writers.
One of the most significant aspects of Stephen’s work and one for which he is perhaps best known, is his pioneering approach to working with the experience of grief. Over 34 years, Stephen and his wife Ondrea have counselled concentration camp survivors and their children, Vietnam War veterans as well as victims of sexual abuse. Although Stephen acknowledges that our experience of grief is perhaps at its most intense when a loved one dies, he also draws our attention to grief’s more subtle incarnations.
“Our ordinary, everyday grief,” accumulates as a response to the “burdens of disappointments and disillusionment, the loss of trust and confidence that follows the increasingly less satisfactory arch of our lives”. In order to avoid feeling this grief we “armour our hearts,” which leads to a gradual deadening of our experience of the world When a loved one dies, or indeed when our own death approaches, the intensity of the loss often renders our defenses ineffective and we are swept up by a deluge of griefs, both old and new.
Articles and Posts
- What We Can Learn From The Dying - Stephen Levineviews: 3018
Stephen Levine: interviewed by Tom Ferguson MD: Many people think that if they came down with a fatal illness, they’d react by grabbing a giant bottle of whiskey and an attractive sexual partner and spending their remaining time at the [...]
- Opening to Deathviews: 2356
By Stephen Levine: Today, approximately 200,000 people died. Some died by accident. Others by murder. Some by overeating. Others from starvation. Some died while still in the womb. Others of old age. Some died of thirst. Others of drowning. Each [...]
- A Year to Live An Interview with Stephen Levineviews: 2362
By Mary Nurrie Stearns: Stephen Levine is a poet, author, and teacher of guided meditation and healing techniques. His books include “Who Dies?” “Healing into Life and Death,” “A Gradual Awakening,” and, with his wife Ondrea, “Embracing the Beloved.” His [...]
- Pain Meditation - Stephen Levineviews: 2689
Stephen Levine, along with his wife Ondrea, are from the USA and have devoted much of their life to working with people with terminal illness or chronic pain. His many books and meditations focus on death, dying, illness, grief, and [...]
- Steven Levine - Who Dies?views: 2400
Stephen Levine: When we recognize that, just like the glass, our body is already broken, that indeed we are already dead, then life becomes precious, and we open to it just as it is, in the moment it is occurring. [...]
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- Stephen and Ondrea Levine Discuss Fear & Deathviews: 2868
- Poems about The Beloved, Grace and The Guruviews: 2280
- The Poetry of Stephen Levineviews: 2802
- Stephen Levine Reads Animal Storiesviews: 2082
- The Healing I Took Birth For - Ondrea & Stephen Levine - Book Trailerviews: 2290
- Steven and Ondrea Levine: Pioneers of Dying With Dignityviews: 2365
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- "Detachment means letting go and nonattachment means simply letting be."
- "Don’t cling to your self-righteous suffering, let it go. . . . Nothing is too good to be true, let yourself be forgiven. To the degree you insist that you must suffer, you insist on the suffering of others as well."
- "Simply touching a difficult memory with some slight willingness to heal begins to soften the holding and tension around it."
- "Letting ourselves be forgiven is one of the most difficult healings we will undertake. And one of the most fruitful."
- "If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?"
- "Those who insist they’ve got their ‘shit together’ are usually standing in it at the time."
- "If there is a single definition of healing it is to enter with mercy and awareness those pains, mental and physical, from which we have withdrawn in judgment and dismay."