In Memoriam : Stephen Levine, 1937 – 2016

In that first breath
we step onto the dance floor,
and waltz unnoticed through the void.
The sacred everywhere we turn
and turn again, as form so generously dissolves
and only the Beloved remains.
— Stephen Levine

For many of us who grew up in the Sixties and leaned towards the dharmic path, Stephen Levine became our guide for meditation practice as we explored the landscape of our inner life. His workshops around forgiveness and loving-kindness helped many release the pain they had been carrying for a lifetime. He showed us how the Beloved became an integral part of conscious relationship in his book, Embracing the Beloved: Relationship as a Path of Awakening, as well as writing on the subject of dying and the spiritual path in A Gradual AwakeningWho Dies and A Year to Live. After years of offering workshops around death and dying and conscious relationship, Ondrea and Stephen moved to New Mexico to take care of their own health challenges. They continued to offer their services through counseling, and they shared their teachings online, which they simply called Couch Talks.

They taught the importance of the inner life through meditation, balanced with the outer life of service, which they truly exemplified. They completed their final Couch Talk in September, Stephen's last appearance online, only months before his transition.

The Final Couch Talk

The Final Couch Talk

In my own journey through life, as the ever-increasing distractions of daily life pull me away from being truly present, Stephen is always a touchstone of sanity, as he brings me back to the importance of love through the practice of mindfulness, forgiveness and compassion. His poem, Mystical Wedding, became the vows Abigail and I exchanged on our wedding day. After four decades of listening to Soft Belly meditation, his voice always reaches deep. Yes, Stephen, "The armoring of the heart can be discovered in the hardness of the belly."

Ondrea, may Stephen continue to stand by your side and accompany you within.

with a bow of gratitude for your offerings to all sentient beings,

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?
— Stephen Levine, A Year to Live