Remembering Stephen Levine, 1937 – 2016

Ram Dass’s dear friend and collaborator, Stephen Levine, died yesterday (Sunday, January 17th) peacefully in his bed. Ram Dass says, “Stephen and I have been deep heart friends in the same soul pod for many incarnations. Many lives are enriched through his heart, his soul, and his words. As Stephen helped so many others deal with death, may his entry into the clear light of love be easy.”

Stephen Levine is a poet and teacher of guided meditation healing techniques. He and his wife and spiritual partner, Ondrea, have counseled the dying and their loved ones for more than 30 years. Stephen Levine’s bestselling books A Gradual Awakening; and A Year to Live: How to Live This Year as If It Were Your Last are considered classics in the field of conscious living and dying. He is also the coauthor, with Ondrea, of the acclaimed To Love and Be Loved; and Who Dies?: An Investigation of Conscious Living and Conscious Dying.

The Levine’s work is said to stretch from the most painful experiences of the human spectrum to the furthest point on the human horizon, from hell to heaven, from pain to ease, from our ongoing sense of loss to the legacy of our unending interconnectedness.

Stephen and Ondrea produced a series of “Couch Talks” from their home in New Mexico spanning over the past four years. In this final talk, Ondrea and Stephen discuss depression, resistance to pain, and the dying process – a beautiful and poignant interaction. Watch it here.


In January 2017, LSR released a television series of Ram Dass and Stephen’s essential teachings for personal awakening on social action, impermanence and living life fully present. Explore and order “How Then Shall We Live?” Here.

Remembering Stephen’s Transformative Words

From Breaking the Drought (2007, Larson Publications, Burdett, NY)

The light has been left on for us, p. 61
[final verse]

I am the imaginary hero of my hopes
lost between verbs that require I know
who I am, but I am just a passing thought —
yet somehow, somehow — as close to a
miracle as we get — the nature
of the heart — the Beloved
has left the light on for us all night . . .

Lorca and Whitman deas as Basho, and just as alive p. 142
[final verse]

The sun follows the superstition of blue
across the arc of summer
and the world comes to an end
just the way it began yesterday.

There is a silence between breaths, p. 77

There is a silence between breaths
when the heart becomes a sacred flame
and the belly uncoils which reminds me
how remarkable it is to wake
beside you another day.

Between deaths we dreamed together
between breaths, in that stillness,
which has joined us ever since.

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.

In this moment which lasts a lifetime
there is nowhere to stand
where you are not beside me
where you do not accompany me within.

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