Monday, December 17, 2007

An Open Letter from Jack Kornfield, Ram Dass, and Sharon Salzberg

Please feel free to post or pass along to friends.

Also, you are welcome to leave posts for Stephen and Ondrea in the comments section.

An Open Letter from Jack Kornfield, Ram Dass, and Sharon Salzberg

Dear Friends,

We are writing to ask your support for two beloved friends of ours, Stephen and Ondrea Levine. They are currently facing significant difficulty. After a life-time of giving, they are now at a time to receive from those of us whose lives have been touched by their presence and teaching.

Their greatest needs are financial. Ondrea has Leukemia and the costs of her insurance and treatment have used up their savings. Stephen's health is not good either, and he is too frail to travel or teach. When we heard about this, we felt moved to contribute to a fund set up for them, and to encourage others to do the same.

Stephen and Ondrea have been among our generation's most important teachers, demonstrating and encouraging others to embrace the power of love and generosity. For three years, they ran a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week free phone line for those dying or in need of support. When the phone bills got too high, they sold their house to keep the project going. For decades they regularly corresponded with thousands people who were seeking spiritual guidance, giving freely to those in need, many of whom were sick or in the final years of their life.

The circle has now come around, allowing us the opportunity to give to these two life-long givers. We hope to raise several hundred thousand dollars in small and large donations to help them through this time.

Caring for friends and teachers is an essential part of any spiritual life. As we age, spiritual friends are more important than ever. Stephen and Ondrea have been dear spiritual friends to us and to thousands of others through their books, workshops, and correspondence.

If you are one of these people and are moved to give, below are three ways to donate to the Levine Fund at Bread for the Journey. Bread for the Journey informs us that donations are tax deductible.

With gratitude and love,

Jack Kornfield, Ram Dass, and Sharon Salzberg

Mail: Send to: Bread for the Journey, 267 Miller Ave., Mill Valley, California 94941. In the letter, please enclose a note indicating that your gift is for the Stephen and Ondrea Levine Fund and in the note section of your check write "Levine Fund." In honor of the immeasurable gifts Stephen and Ondrea have given to the family of the earth, Bread for the Journey has generously offered to manage the fund with 100% of your donation going to the Levine Fund.

Online: click here and designate the donation to the Levine Fund:;

Phone: call 415-383-4600 with a credit card number.

* Please feel free to post this letter on blogs or forward it to individuals or groups you know who may wish to hear news of Stephen and Ondrea.


Committed said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea.

I first attended a workshop the two of you led back in 1980. It was memorable for many reasons, first among them the fact that so many parents of children who were murdered or who died in accidents were present. The equanimity and grace and compassion and empathy with which you both were present to such profound suffering has stayed with me for all these years. It has been a model I continue to aspire to.

I'm sorry to hear of your current struggles. I have contributed money to the Bread and Roses Fund. I hope that they open up their website and find more money there for the two of you than you will possibly ever be able to use. Bill Gates is famous for saying "It's harder to give away money well, than it is to earn it in the first place." He obviously doesn't know the two of you! ;-)

I will also hold you in my thoughts and prayers over the next weeks and months. The empirical research results on intercessory prayer seem to be leaning towards no efficacy. I figure it's simply "operator error." I'm going to send kind and loving thoughts regardless.

Many continued blessings to you both.

Mark Brady

Nicole Bordeleau said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,

After reading the open letter, I realized that I never have done the graceful thing of writing to you before today.

My heart is aching to hear that you both are experiencing such difficult times.

May I choose this opportunity to express to you both my deepest gratitude for turning my life around at a time where I was in a lot of pain.

I never had the priviledge to attend one of your workshops as I live in Quebec but I have followed the two of you for a very long time and have been truly transformed by your work.

Later on, when I started to teach meditation, I introduced your work to my students who today are teaching it to their students.

Today, I can only contribute money to the fund and prayers but please know, Stephen and Ondrea,that you have touched many millions of others on this planet and I trust that you will continue to do so.

I will pray for you Ondrea every day and pray for you Stephen also.

May you both find infinite blessings on this difficult path that we call life.

In gratitude,
Nicole Bordeleau

Elizabeth Keith said...

Stephen & Ondrea,

I send you my greatest blessings & love.

I really could not say it any better than Nicole (above), but I will try.

When my father was dying in 1989, I sought help in many ways, your books were paramount to the great blessings I received. I was able to tell my father long held reasons for past actions, give him unconditional love and come out of the experince feeling transformed.

I have often said that it was like I was on the edge of a dark abyss and I was ready to fall in, when I found myself miraculously on the other side in the light.

I cannot begin to thank you enough for your work! I am giving a donation and I will be sending prayers and love out daily to both of you.

In Deep Gratitude & Love,
Elizabeth Keith

swanfether said...

Dear Stephen & Ondrea,

The two of you are among a handful of people who are almost always with me. You are back behind my shoulder, where I hear your wise, playful voices, and see your radiant, lovely faces, whenever I turn around. You will always be there. I have written countless letters to you both, in my heart/mind. There really are no adequate words to tell you how much difference you have made in so very many lives.

I attended 5 years of your awesome Lake Merrit Weekends. These were life-transformative experiences for me. I still cherish the ‘ah-breath’ and the memories of seeing deep into the eyes of so many others at the concluding Sufi dance you always led. And, of course, Ondrea’s colorful socks!

I have shared your books, tapes, and words of wisdom with so many others. Mostly, tho, what I take with me, from knowing you both, is the incredible example of how you’ve shared your lives, your time, and your passion, so selflessly and so readily, as others needed it.

You were there with me at the death of both of my parents, where I utilized the ‘grief point’, moved from the silence, and drew so much support from your tapes and your writings.

I wish this golden time of your life, now, to bring you all the happiness, well-being, and assistance possible. I know of no two people who are more deserving than you are. I’m letting everyone I can think of know about this precious opportunity, which we now have, to give back, just a little… in return for all that we have received from you.

much love, respect, deep gratitude and affection,

Stephanie Ulrich

David Von Kohorn said...

Dear Ondrea and Stephen,

I'm glad for this opportunity to thank you both for the gift of your Selves, your gift to so many people. I am a therapist today in large part due to your teachings and inspiration.

A few things I will always remember: the dance of courage and love at the end of the weekend. (I dreaded this ritual at first, but then came to relax in it.) Your socks. Both of your socks! Stephen's comment that when about to die in a car accident, for example, the last thing someone typically says is not a sweet prayer of forgiveness, light and spiritual farewell, but instead: "Oh shit." ...i.e. the time to make amends and live out loud is now. I remember Stephen's responsible, graceful and powerful way of embracing his anger. I remember -- and I tell this story often -- Stephen's repeating "Have mercy (on yourself)" over and over one weekend; it sunk in. And I remember Ondrea's remarkable beauty -- inside and out -- and her gentle strength and occasional ferocity. A rare and precious woman.

You are both held in such high esteem by so many. You and your teachings and stories are now used to teach others.

Thank you both. I will pass this on, too, and also make a contribution to the fund that has been set up to ease this time in your lives a bit.

I heard a quote once that has always reminded me of you guys -- don't remember by whom, but it's: "When you truly possess all that you've been and done, you become fierce with reality."

With great respect and warm regards,
David Von Kohorn

Eileen Durham said...

Dearest Stephen & Ondrea,
Each posting encapsulates the joy, kindness, and wisdom you have shared with so very many of us.
My experience with you was incredible, you made a dream come true.

I cannot express in words how excited I was in March of 1992 when I recieved a hand written letter from Ondrea & Stephen Levine! I could hardly believe it was real, but it was.

Your letter was to precede a wish you fulfilled later that year. You and Ondrea came to speak to the nusing staff at Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.

The health care team needed someone to help guide our work and expand our mind about how to deal with dying children and their families and ourselves.

You were both so honest and real about your own journeys. You gave us another mindset from which to view our work. Your visit was so very important.

I want to add that you impacted my life in such a way that I went on to meet and stay for a brief time with Elizabeth Kubler-Ross.

You must know Stephen that Elizabeth adored you. When she was alive she spoke of you often and most lovingly. She had the highest respect for you and your work. I am sure you must have known how she felt about you but I am sure she would have wanted me to tell you again.

Blessings to you and Ondrea, contibution to Bread and Roses.
With love, Eileen Durham RN

Kathleen said...

Many blessings and warmth to you both. Your work was so important to me as I completed an internship in counseling at a center for those with serious illnesses in Denver, Co five years ago. I had no idea how much I didn't know about death, and your writings helped me to open to new mind and heart knowledge, and to not run and hide from it all. You have helped me work compassionately with my own deep grief as well as with the grief of others. There is so much to be learned and heard in that place in our hearts (or is it just one big heart, with each of us working with a fragment of it?) I have so much more to learn from myself, from others, from you. Thank you for your heartfelt gifts to the world.

Deep healing and love,


Ramón Sender Barayón said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea:
We are born out of love and we die back into love. But between the two, as you wrote, Stephen, 'The more we love, the more real we become."
Thank you, both, for being so totally real.

Ramon Sender Barayon

lis y said...

dear dear you s......

hard to find words right now...right ones..

you have touched my life, my heart so deeply.

at workshops....thru books & listening...i hear your echoes inside my head & in my heart. passed your books on to so many people....
felt so sorry to hear of your troubles. wishing i could do magic, swoosh of a wand & it would all be wooshed away. sent the letter around as far & wide as i could, being $ challenged here.

sending love & prayers & good & healing wishes.....

may the long time sun shine upon you all love surround you & the pure light within you guide your way on ......

thank you for the inspiration to go on in this life.
& the feeling of "it must be alright to be here, if you guys are here"

in awe and
profound gratitude.

lisa young
warm wishes from da big apple

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen & Ondrea,

"Out of the blue," I just found myself thinking of you. Very vivid recollections came to mind of workshops I attended maybe twenty years ago. So I Googled you and found "An Open Letter." I am sorry to learn that you are going through some shit and hope that my gift brings comfort to each of you wonderful beings.

Your work changed my life and the way I relate to people, the present, grief and death. Thank you, thank you.

Blessings from the California coast.

Peace. Victoria

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea:

Similar to last post, you have been on my mind regularly lately. I've been having "fantasies" or perhaps true guidance that I need to be your protege--passing the great works you published in GUIDED MEDITATIONS, EXPLORATIONS AND HEALINGS. Then I googled you and found this "open letter." I am contributed to the fund today.

Your published work has had, and continues to have, a deep reaching impact toward my transformation and waking up. We've never met but know that there is much loving service you have provided to me through this book.

I am doing a lovingkindness meditation for you both right now. May you be free of suffering (maybe you are even though physically you are in pain). May you be at peace (I trust you are).

With merciful care and tenderness,


Kevin Berrill said...

Dear Stephen and Andrea...Your teachings and presence have been a blessing in my life.

I wish you healing wherever healing may be found.

Denise Cargill (Bruce's Daughter) said...

Stephen & Ondrea-
I am Bruce Cargill's oldest daughter I have been trying to locate you to let you know that he passed on January 25th. I have included a link to his obituary & guest book.
Tributes to be held in June 08.
Denise Cargill

Anonymous said...

It's tragic - but so is the American health care system where people who are sick can die because their money runs out. People with the "socialised" medical benefits of Western Europe can at least get the full treatment they require for leukemia free of charge - without having to watch their money drain away. Good luck to you both. David.

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea, You both came to the Providence Zen Center and did a weekend with Zen Master Seung Sahn. It was a wonderful retreat. When it was over, you donated your honorarium to the Zen Center. I imagine you both did this many times.
I trust that it is all coming home to you both as you need it. Thank you for your wonderful teaching.

Marilyn said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,

What a shock to see this letter while I was googling you! I am writing a book on aging (I am now 85) which is becoming more and more a book about dying. I have learned so much from you both over the years. You may remember me, Stephen, from several Ram Dass retreats, one in which I had the nerve to play the part of Ram Dass in a skit, against your playful warnings). I have never met you, Ondrea, but was so happy to learn that you had attended the workshop I put on in Santa Fe, April 1980, called "Blessed are the Peacemakers." I felt that your presence had blessed the gathering.

You are both beloved members of my spiritual family, and I wish I could do more to help you than the meager check I am sending to Bread for the Journey. If holding you in prayer counts, and I believe it does, may the prayers of all of us bring you hope and healing. and may the financial contributions of the many you have helped and inspired over the years bring you what you need today. With love and deep appreciation, Marilyn Gatlin

Anonymous said...

Dearest Stephen and Ondrea and all who are reading. I do not know your work as well as others commenting. I just seem to keep reading "Who Dies" over and over again. I have picked it up again recently and was searching for workshops today when I found this letter. What a blessing to give to you. It gives me a gift at least as great as attending a workshop with you.

Blessings and love to both of you.

Melanie Reinhart said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,

Although we've never met in person, you have been my spiritual companions and inspiration for more than two decades. I am profoundly grateful for the healing your work has brought me, and it gives me joy to feel that I can return something to you. Your books are also a major resource for my client work, and I know how much they have helped so many people.

I will hold you in my heart and mind in thankfulness forever. You have immeasurably enriched my life - may the spiritual riches that you have shared so generously now abundantly return to you, in whatever form you need.


Melanie (UK)

Ms. Kevin Ferris said...

Dearest Stephen and Ondrea:

I was first introduced to your work 20 years ago by a Helper - Gloria - in my spiritual community, The Pathwork. She had ovarian cancer, and read the Soft Belly meditation to us which she said had helped her immensely. It opened my heart at a time when I was finally beginning to integrate my own losses. The result of that work (with the help of your books and tapes) was a call to change the direction of my life.

Today, I am a social worker in St. Louis who worked in hospice for 10 years (6 at a hospice house), and now have a private practice in grief, loss, and transition, specializing in individuals and families with cancer and ALS. I also work with The Wellness Community here as facilitator and teacher. Just last week it was my privilege to conduct the Soft Belly meditation with a class of cancer patients and caregivers.

As I read this beautiful meditation, once again my heart and belly opened to the power of mercy and the tremendous need for compassion - particularly self compassion - in our world. "Have mercy on you" has become the center of resonance in my life and my work. My clients and I owe you much.

(Incidentally, I also specialize in Financial Wellness as a spiritual and psychological challenge - and I've observed that no one hardens their bellies like those with shame and fear about their money.)

Money is only one form of energy flow regarding which I am grateful to be of service to you. Holding you in prayer and meditation is another. You have given me so much, and inspired my giving. The ripples of your influence will always be expanding!

I hope we can continue to receive updates on your website as to how you are. You are truly bodhisattvas to those of us who live and work at the boundaries of life and death.

Ms. Kevin Ferris

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen & Ondrea,

I am sorry to hear of your difficulties. I wish you both peace and healing. I've sent a gift to Bread for the Journey, in hopes that I can be of help.

As always with love,
Eve Fielder

Lynn Park said...

My dearest friends,

I am stunned. My newly broken heart opens to bring you both inside, where you have held me so many times.

May what we are all able to send you multiply and become sustenance that will help provide for your needs and lighten your hearts.

Many blessings.

Lynn Park

Anonymous said...

Stephen and Ondrea,
I am greatly saddened by the news of your circumstances and was so glad to be given a way to give back to you. Though i spent little time with either of you, your books and presence left an imprint on me in my early days of searching for a more authentic self. I think of you on the leading edge as leaders in the arena of human transformation and compassion building. I am certain you will receive back in quantum amounts all you gave out and then some, and hope you are sustained by all the love in all its forms coming to you now.
With great gratitude for both of you being in this world...mine is a far more beautiful place for having met you. elisabet skyhawk

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea..
I was greatly saddened to hear of your circumstances and so glad to know of a way to give back to you. Your books and presences left an inspiring imprint on my psyche in the beginning days of searching through my unconscious traumas for my authenticity. i am making a donation to your fund in hopes that you will receive way more than what you need to sustain you. My world was certainly made a more beautiful place for having been with the two of you. With love, elisabet skyhawk

Anonymous said...

There really are no words to describe the profound impact the book "A Year To Live" has had on my life. It led me to become the person I was born to be. If you could know where I came from and know me today, you would know it is nothing less than a miracle.

I went from being a person so afraid of death to working as a hospice volunteer to now being a Manager of Volunteer Services for VistaCare Hospice, as well as, becoming an ordained minister. All of this started with my reading your book and listening to many different facets of God...Holy Spirit.

Thank you for blessing my life beyond measure.

Your Pal,
Rev. Angie Campbell

Anonymous said...

Stephen and Ondrea:
I hated hearing this news of suffering, and...such a surprise, as Stephen would say. I never atteneded a workshop, but have read and listened to tapes.

Thank you...I'm happy to contribute to the fund.

Aliyah Alexander said...

You don't know me at least in this life, or this body. Recently I visited my closest male friend who was in the process of making his transition at 56. We had lived through Katrina together and they moved to Austin and we moved to Crestone. I found your book Healing Into Li... I came home and ordered it immediately and it has the exact message my soul needed right now!

I have been an avid student of this illness sometimes called MS, sometimes called late stage lyme disease for nearly 20 years. I have learned a lot, but what I learned from your book that I am Blessed to do with others, but not myself is love unconditionally. And the answer to my healing was always here, but I needed you to instruct me in the poetic, deeply moving way that you do. Thank you for that Stephen and Ondrea.

So now you know me in this lifetime. And I am so happy to be able to give back! Thank you for that, too. Aliyah

ClarkB45 said...

Stephen and Ondrea, You are new to my circle of life. Teachings and becoming happen when you are ready. I just re-read Be Here Now again after 40 years. My daughter just visited Breitenbush and sent me a link. Your presence has been vital to so many the karma is returning in love and support. I join that growing family and hope to grow with it and you.

Clark Blomquist, West Bend WI

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,

After seeing the announcment in the Shambala Sun concerning the upcoming benefit I pulled my copy of "Who Dies?" off the shelf. I bought it in 1986 and now the front cover is torn but taped and the pages are somewhat yelow and stiff,paragraph afte paragraph underlined and accentuated with !!! This book was one of the most important books I ever read and I bought multiple copies and gave them out to my family and friends. It was a great comfort to me when my father died in 1988. I was a young ER doc and was so excited by this book that I wrote Stephen asking if I could pick up my family and move to New Mexico so that I could work and study with the two of you. I recieved a very nice personal letter from you Ondrea explaining to me that you really weren't set up for that type of relationship with your readers.
The lessons I learned from your writings have been profoundly helpful, supportive and comforting in both my personal and professional life.
I end my daily Zazen sessions by dedicating the merit to the mindstreams of those members of my family, close friends who have died or are currently ill or struggling with life's many challanges. May they all find happiness. May they all be well. The two of you have given me so much in so many mysterious ways and I want you to know how grateful I am for that. Years ago I attended a weekend retreat at ZMM in N.Y. with Robert Thurman and he said he wanted to tell us a secret. "No One Dies!" Perhaps that is the answer to the question asked on the front page of your wonderful book.

May peace be with you,

Jim Freeman
Clarkston, Michigan
Mar. 25, 2008o

jleaton said...

Dear Stephen,

You are such a beautiful example of how to live. You are one of my most cherished teachers. I discovered your work through a friend who you helped to die without fear and with deep honesty and integrity. That death changed my life. I studied your work, went to graduate school, learned to meditate, worked as a psychotherapist, established a low fee mental health clinic, began working with autistic children, married, built a life. Your teaching began to crack open a hard shell. I started to listen to the whisper of "yes" underneath all the pain. I started to believe in the reality of the eternal, the "great perfection". Your voice has been a background encouragement in so much of my life. I hear you saying "have mercy on yourself" and "big surprise". I hear you saying "if you meet someone who says they have their shit together, they are probably standing in a pile of it". I hear you saying "if suffering made a sound we would all be deafened by the roar". I hear you saying "soft belly, feel the hardening, how automatic it is, and soften into spaciousness." Your work helped me discover how wide my heart can be. Your generosity kindled my great sadness and helped me touch a caring and fiercely intelligent state of mind. I'm deeply grateful. With great love and respect, you are and will remain a hero to me.

Jeffrey Eaton
Seattle, WA

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea

Your books 'Who dies?' and 'healing into life and death' were my guiding lights trough my father's terminal cancer. A time which could have been deeply unpleasant became a time of love, healing and connectedness for me. The books helped me open up in a most magnificent way to something sacred. So my father's loss was not a loss but a gift. Strangely only recently after 12 years I have come to realise that what I learnt from those books is equally valid in how to deal with everyday 'unwanted/unpleasant' emotions....I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart and wish you well.

Much love
Shirin Eghtesadi-Thomas

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea Levine,

I was so shocked to read about your illnesses in the
Shambala Sun, forgetting that we are all mortal!

In my life, I think of you often, and laugh or maybe get a little misty-eyed for your wonderful teachings and presence. I remember after one retreat I called my sister from New Mexico, I think, to do the forgiveness and Metta meditations from the phone booth. It made us both so happy.

I also used a meditation in one of your earlier books, Stephen, with Ram Dass, for grounding when I was hitchhiking alone across B.C.- safely.

I will send a donation and share the merit of my meditations with both of you. You have given me so much. I will always feel love for you and grateful for the wonderful time spent in your physical presences and in your books. I wish for your happiness, and ease and health.


Jenny Ogier

Anonymous said...

having experienced your wisdom has been an honor and a blessing. i can only believe you will be surrounded by love as well as all that you need. my financial contribution is a mere token of my gratitude....

with hope.
bayla claudine kraft

At Big Mind, Utah - Oct-Nov 2007 said...

Dear Stephen & Ondrea -

Many years ago your work touched me through your tape set "To Love and Be Loved". At that time I was seeking to return into life partnership but flummoxed as to how. Your words and teachings touched and changed me.

I will contribute to your fund. I live and work in a retreat center. I will offer up your names in our morning prayer as well.

with love and gratitude,
Pat Parisi

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty much an average schmuck of a guy to whom you have opened a whole new world. Through your works you have inspired me to work with others in difficulty.
What you have brought to the world is that which Mother Theresa, MLK, Ghandi brought. Your work is and will always be an inspiration to me.

Udofia said...

I can't remember ever hearing the names, but reading through the open letter tells me these are wonderful people who spent their lives blessing others. So I pray my little donation through the; blesses your lives.

I pray for you that the invisible hands that carried you through the years you spent for others will carry you through this trial.

Etuk Udofia, Nigeria

chris zydel said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,

Well, it looks like the message of need from both of your great hearts has been getting through on the psychic as well as internet channels. I, too, in the past few weeks have had the two of you on my mind... a lot. And, like some other's, Googled you and found out about your current predicament.

I've read your books, attended workshops, (so many moons ago) and soaked up so much from the fierce tenderness of your words and wisdom. But what has stayed with me even more than your teachings ( which I quote often, one of my favorites being "Big Surprise!") is the sweet, sweet mercy of how I witnessed you as you touched the souls of so many people. And you always, ALWAYS made me laugh.

I am sorry to hear of your struggles and suffering. And I am grateful and absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to be of service to you who have devoted your lives to service, and to give back in deep, deep appreciation, some small token of what I have received from you over the years.

You have been beloved teachers for me and obviously for so many, and I continue to hold you in my heart and prayers with the fervent wish that your time of difficulty can be held and shared by all of us who have come to love you.

Chris Zydel

Anonymous said...

May I be safe and free of fear.
May you be peaceful and abide in joyful repose.
May we be healthful, whole, in accord with Life and Being.
May all walk in Beauty and dwell in Lovingkindness.

lion-hearted said...

dear stephen and ondrea,

how well i recall something you said to me stephen, in a workshop i attended soon after my father died, 11 years ago. i spoke at the mic, crying, hundreds listening attentively, as i spoke of taking my father to the toilet for the last time, and worried that i could have dropped him, wanting to have loved him perfectly, cared for him perfectly.
you took a breath,and said, " When there's that much love, you can't go wrong".
i've quoted you many times...

stephen and ondrea, your books and workshops profoundly affected my life, as a woman, as a healer/therapist, as a human being on the path.

it's all path. and you two are brilliant lights radiating compassion and wisdom everywhere which never dies.

i love you both, and was very sad to hear of your illnesses and difficulties.
i hope my small donation will be of some help, along with so many others.

may you both have the total healing you took birth for.

your love for each other has been a deep inspiration to me. i remember before one workshop, watching you gaze into each other's eyes quietly before the formal beginning with the group. i never forgot that moment. something got transmitted to my own heart in that gaze, i resonated with that like a tuning fork, understanding intuitively what intimacy really is, really could be between two human beings, two lovers.

thank you for offering yourselves so utterly, so completely, with so much power, love, energy.

jai levy
p.s. i just gave my nephew, who is in jail, a copy of Dharma Punx. He read it(something he would have never done out of jail!) and it's being passed around to other inmates. thank you for bringing Noah to the planet, Stephen!

Rumia said...

Stephen, I have never forgotten the afternoon that I first heard your voice. I am a nurse, I was in the car driving to make a Hospice visit. I was listening to New Dimensions to your interview with Michael. Just before you began the forgiveness meditation, Michael wisely advised that those in their cars might want to pull over so I did. Good thing. I sobbed through most of it. Some 20 plus years later, I still invite patients to listen to it on an IPOD. I can honestly say that you dramatically changed my life....your books, your tapes, your walk on this planet. I am now a nurse case manager for the Hematology in patient physicians at KUMC in KC. Many of the patients on our unit have leukemia. My heard goes out to Ondrea as she breathes through this illness. Thank you so much for all the two of you have shared with so many on their journeys. Namaste'.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ondrea and Stephen,
It is my fondest wish, that you feel the love with which your spirtual
community is enfolding you!
I am one of many, whose lives have been touched by your "loving kindess".
Several years ago, I came upon the "Opening the Heart of the Womb" tapes.
Although I'd been working
through a healing process for some time, I had difficulty releasing fully. Stephen, when I heard your voice, a male voice, one engendered with such gentleness and
loving kindess, my shell broke, and the tears flowed. There was no issue of "not" trusting, with you. I let you lead me, where I had been afraid to go, for years, the heart of the womb and the heart in the chest.
There are no words, to express appropriately, the love and gratefulness that come to the two of you for the selfless service, heal-
ing and compassion that you have extended to so many!
I would end with a plea.You are not forgotten,
please find a way, if you cannot yourselves, to save and promote your work in
perpetuity, for there is a
whole new generation, who can truly be taught, the meaning of "loving kindness".
May God Bless both of you on your journey, where-
ever it may lead"!
Love, Jan Vukcevic

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,

I've read all these beautiful tributes to your amazing kindness, generosity, and healing love and teachings for so many people... and my heart is so full of love for both of you. I feel surrounded by the most intimate family of those who have written these messages who love you like I do.

Thank you for all you have given me. Your work will continue to heal me as long as I live.

The one time I was able to hear you speak - in the mid-80's in Austin, Texas - you were sitting outside on the grass and there were so many AIDS patients, many in wheelchairs, and several on gurneys. Everything you brought of yourself to that moment was so healing, so exquisite...and sometimes very funny. You said "You must always be willing to be God's Fool". Serious advice I treasure.

May you both be comforted by the love,gratitude and generosity from your world-wide family. You are in my prayers.

Sherle in Texas

Suz Fields said...

May you find grace and peace and joy on your path, where ever it takes you. And may you feel love every day.

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,

In May of 1990, my only child, Zach, died in an automobile accident. People kept bringing us books, which ended up under the couch, until I received Who Dies. Your words were the first ones that provided comfort to me with my loss. Within the next 18 months, I would lose my mother to heart disease, my dad to suicide and every THING else in the Oakland Firestorm(including my home). I think it was in June of '90, I attended a weekend workshop with you both at Fort Mason in San Francisco- it was the weekend the US bombed Afghanistan, so our meeting was timely and haunting. When I heard about your illness and life situation, I wanted you to know how much your words got me off of my knees, up and running and down on my knees again - only voluntarily! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Ginny Felch, Stinson Beach CA

Marnie said...

Dearest Stephen and Ondrea,

There are no words to adequately express the positive impact you have made on my life ever since my first weekend seminar with you in NY in June of '91 or '92. You have been there for me ever since as I moved through life, death and illness of my family, and much personal challenge, change and upheaval. I have taken your spirit, your faces and voices, words, tapes and books with me wherever I have gone and kept them in my heart, for it was you who helped me learn how to navigate the sometimes dangerous waters of life. I have shared with countless others the nature of your work and the blessings I have had just from knowing you. You have given so very much to so many people that it would be impossible to imagine being able to adequately reciprocate but please know that I continue to keep you both in my heart, soul and prayers, and that I will give as much as I can to help. You taught me that love is all there is--that it is eternal, and that there is room in the heart for all that which the head cannot handle. I wish for you all the blessings that you have given others and peace and love as you face this most recent challenge.



sad kali said...

Nobody should have to die without money for health care, especially ones who have worked so long and so hard on behalf of the dying.

I have avoided Steve and Ondrea's work ever since attending a "Who Dies?" workshop in Minneapolis in about 1990. I cried for days after Steve told me I was "just like" my abusive mother for "telling her she was wrong". Sometimes messages aren't right, or are communicated poorly. The Levines have done SO much for so many people, and, hearing about their trouble, I wanted to give a little back where I am still wounded. No one should have to die alone or in need. They may not have helped me but they sure helped thousands of others. Namaste.

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,

I'm so sorry to hear about your current health and financial struggles. I have never met you but have been touched by the work you both do. I have several of your books. A Gradual Awakening was one of the first spiritual books I owned, and I have read it many many times.

You will be in my thoughts and prayers. May you be well and free from suffering.

Warmest Regards,

Sharon said...

Dear Stephen & Ondrea,

I have been inspired, awakened, healed, and amazed by your work and extraordinary service. I am sitting daily now with healing intentions for you both and offer this lovingkindness...

May you be at peace.

May your hearts remain open.

May your continue to awaken to the light of your own true nature.

May the healing for which you took birth unfold with grace and holiness.

And may you be an evershining presence for one another as you have been a source of healing for us all..

With love and gratitude.

Tucson, AZ

Anonymous said...

Dear ones,

Thank you for these many years you have served us as examples of living awareness, breath, love and freedom.

Annica vatta sankhara.


Anonymous said...

In The Heart Lies The Deathless

I picked out your tape by this name just because it moved me so. You became my teacher, guide consolation inspiration and great friend just from reading and listening to your words. you are in my prayers and heart, that you be surrounded by great love always

Anonymous said...

I'm a psychologist practicing and teaching in Chicago. Your work has had a more profound impact upon me, my psychotherapy work, and my teaching than any other source. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Robert Moretti

phil said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,

A Gradual Awakening was one of my earliest introductions to mindfulness and meditation and I found it to be very profound. I had given it to a friend of my wife's many years ago and had always wished I had another copy to refer to. Just last week, I picked up a copy at our local used book shop and, on reading it over after all these years, I found the teaching just as profound, if not more so, as I originally did so many years ago. Thank you so much for your teachings - they have been a great blessing to me as I am sure they have been to so many others. I wish you both much love and all the very best.


Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea, We've never met, and I only came across your work a couple of months ago, when I bought the book "Who Dies?"

I've been telling everyone I know about this book ever since. I tell them that each chapter has a "wow" moment. I find myself nodding my head as I read each page, intuiting that these things that I have no provable knowledge about must be true.

I'm currently studying to be a psychotherapist and brought one of your guided meditations into the course a couple of week ago.

I've made a small contribution which still sees me indebted to you for the light that you've shined into the darkness.
With Meta,

Anonymous said...

Stephen & Ondrea,

Reading your books, listening to your tapes, and attending your classes was some of the most important work I did in the early days of my practice. It gave me a base on which to build and it taught me an important skill, how to forgive. I will hold you both in my thoughts and send love.

PJ said...

Dearest Stephen and Ondrea,
I had heard and now have read the updates that confirm that you are in a challenging place with health issues and financial strains. I have been a hospice nurse for 22 years and know of your work with the sick and dying. More importantly, I must tell you that you have changed my life. I have read many of your books and heard many of your tapes and it is the lesson of "having mercy" that has been the most magnificent kernal of gold that has made such a magnificent impact on my life. I hear your voice in my head, Stephen, that says, "have mercy". Your teachings have been infused with Goddes' wisdom and has taken root in my spiritual heart. Thank you for your faithfullness in all your ways. I pray for you during my morning meditations and will continue to lift you both up to the throne of Godde. Blessings and peace be yours as you walk this path.
I send you love.
Pat Johnson (Missoula Montana)

madison said...

First I'd like to know that Stephen or Ondrea is actually reading this? If so, can you get just one line back to me at:

Somehow the internet seems often too surreal.

First I was in a SF bookstore, wandered over to the spiritual metaphysical section and for 3 months flirted with passages from WHO DIES? It was too real for me to purchase initially. I had to work up to it!

With that said, I have attended multiple workshops starting with Stephen. We first met at a workshop for caregivers at the SF Unitarian Church and I was neither a cancer patient nor a caregiver but somehow I showed up. I had a sore back and mentioned it to Stephen during a break.

I was cursing my body and he remarked about this. In those days we didn't have terms like " metta or loving kindness" but that is pretty much what Stephen communicated. More than that however, I felt a distinct rush of head to the affected area and almost immediate relief.

I later attended a few workshops with Stephen and Ondrea including one on healthy relationships.

Sometime later I was in emotional pain, living in Honolulu and I wrote Stephen, Ondrea answered with a handwritten note of empathy also advising me to being "singing in the shower". The note was so personal and filled with love that I almost cried for joy just reading it.

You folks have meant so much to me and I'd like to know if funds are still needed and if so, I'm ready to contribute metta, money and more thanks yous than I can possibly communicate on a blog.

ondrea levine said...

Sweet ones,

We are deeply comforted, by your kindness and loving energy sent our way.

Treasure Yourselves
ondrea & stephen

Anonymous said...

May you be at peace.
Your names are new to me BUT tales of your compassion overflow on the internet.

disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed

Deepti- Neil's Mom said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,
I am sorry to hear of the health and financial troubles you are going through. I have never met you but have been much helped by your books and meditations. Your kind compassion and benevolent spirit has filled me with the courage to go forward on my own healing path. Thank you for lighting my way and that of many others.

Nicole Roberts said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,

I haven't seen you guys for years, but the few times I have seen you, the old letters I still have from correspondence with you, and of course your books and tapes are with me every day and have touched my life more deeply than you will ever know.

The last time I saw you was probably ten years ago when you were at the Convention Center in Minneapolis Minnesota. I have a neurological disease like ALS and use a power chair. You two have helped me so much to deal with my physical deterioration as well as enormous amounts of fear and panic that I have carried in this life. Anyway, the last time i saw you, Stephen not only suggested I take singing lessons and sing to God, but he found me a singing teacher right there and then and paid for my sessions for me! Your act of generosity toward a near complete stranger touched me deeply and I took my singing lessons very seriously!

Anyway, to make a very long story short, the singing literally changed my life. I was able to sing through the immense anxiety and panic until the fear was no longer a wall preventing me from experiencing life..the fear became transparent and manageable and just something I could embrace in my daily life. This lead to a huge awakening within me and in time I was able to integrate this awakening and start being a sort of spiritual counselor for others experiencing intense pain and grief and loss. People benefited from my help enough to even start paying me for it! So once again I was able to work despite very significant physical limitations, I got off welfare. I even made enough money to buy my own wheelchair accessible house and van. I attribute my healing and the healing that others find through me all to you guys.

Without you guys no one would have taken the care to lead me out of my dark hole. No one would have thought that someone as disabled as me could have even had a meaningful life that actually benefitted others. I can never thank you enough.

I'm sorry it has taken me 10 years to write you. I have started so many letters over my transition period trying to describe what i was going through and how you have helped me, but it never sounded good enough so the letters all went unsent. I always have you guys in my heart where I talk and sing to you daily.

I hope that through your hour of need, you will be able to see just how many hearts you have opened.

Much Love,

Bhavani said...

Blessing Stephen & Ondrea-

I/we acknowledge and appreciate that your life’s work of service has truly helped multitude of souls on the planet!! You both have given me comfort and heartfelt softening when I wanted and needed… May you receive 100 x’s the loving kindness that you have ‘mete out’ (metta out). So much love & care from my husband and myself.

Bhavani & Richard(Laxman)

Barbara Catlin said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,
I am sad to know of your pain and difficulties, and glad to know you have a practice seeing and being that allows a 'big enough story' in which to live and die. I trust that grace, goodness and glory are with you.

The Beings you are and the work you have done have been instrumental in my own transformations and the work I now do. You have inspired and touched so many of us, and the world is a kinder place because of you've taken the paths you have.

With deep gratitude and respect,

Grace7221 said...

I have been speaking of Stephen over the last two months or so with friends....finally I bought books as gifts, then " Googled "
Stephen ( Ondrea ) to discover the " troubles " they know....I bought two more books...

I live on a very fixed income but will send a check...Stephen ( Ondrea ) been berry, berry, berry good to me....Philip Reid

Grace7221 said...

I have been speaking of Stephen over the last two months or so with friends....finally I bought books as gifts, then " Googled "
Stephen ( Ondrea ) to discover the " troubles " they know....I bought two more books...

I live on a very fixed income but will send a check...Stephen ( Ondrea ) been berry, berry, berry good to me....Philip Reid

Grace7221 said...

I have been speaking of Stephen over the last two months or so with friends....finally I bought books as gifts, then " Googled "
Stephen ( Ondrea ) to discover the " troubles " they know....I bought two more books...

I live on a very fixed income but will send a check...Stephen ( Ondrea ) been berry, berry, berry good to me....Philip Reid

ben black said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,

May this message find you happy, healthy, and free from suffering. I am writing to say "thank you" from the bottom of my nonexistent heart, for the healing that has flowed from the divine through your mindstream onto the pages of your books. "who dies" has been a companion to me over the past 20 years as I have come to terms with the mass suffering and loss from the AIDS plague, suicides, parents and family dying, partner dying, and facing and preparing for my own death/birth in this incarnation. Your words have comforted my aching heart on many occasions when I thought I could bear no more. Your words have offered insight, clarity, consolation and awakening, and have helped to clear away so much confusion and challenged me to really let go and practice the discipline of mercy and gentleness. Reading these posts have opened my heart again. Moving forward with an open broken heart and "having mercy" on ourselves and others are profound lessons that you have taught us. As you continue to move forward in Love, please know that we are holding you in deep heartfelt prayer and passing your request for help to the universe. With infinite mercy and wisdom, I pray that your forms remain stable and strong and your lives and work continue to inspire and inform the collective consciousness.

much,much love, and deepest respect.

I bow to you.


Donaleen said...

Dear Stephen,

I have just published "Did You Know I Would Miss You," a book that traces my healing journey, having lost a brother to suicide four years ago. It is intended to help others who have lost loved ones to suicide.

Your beautiful writing helped immensely in healing my heart, and I reference it frequently in this book.

I owe a lot to you and to Ondrea and I know your work has touched many many hearts.

I feel sad that you are struggling now and have made a contribution on your behalf to the Bread and Roses Fund.

with much love and many blessings,

Donaleen Saul
Vancouver, BC CANADA

Ilene said...

Stephen & Ondrea

I hope there have been happy changes since this open letter first went up many months ago.

I first heard of your couple's work nearly 20 years ago. At that point you had stopped that work, so I never heard/learned more than the one tape a friend had. My interest remained and years later, at the needed time I found "Who Dies". Since then it has helped me to be there for those in my life that have become ill and died. I have shared it with many friends when their parents became ill, as the best tool I knew to help them on that journey.

Over the years I have discovered what is needed when others are in pain over their loss of a loved one, is neither my advice nor my lode of experience. Instead, what I tell them I think I learned from your writings... I tell them what ever they did was perfect. They should not blame themselves for anything in that process, but what they did do, was perfect.

In honor of the people I've loved and lost and of your work that has helped me through and helped me to be there for them in that process, I am grateful to contribute to this fund. I send you warm and loving thoughts.

From a stranger, an admirer and a student.


Anonymous said...

beloveds- Andrea and Stephen
my heart is heavy to know that each of you are suffering with ill health. You have inspired me for years. I was given Who Dies when I lay ill in my isolated cabin in Nova Scotia Canada in the early 80's after having what appeared to be a heart attack. I was many months alone and ill. A friend came by and gave me your book. Who Dies- That book is still with me, well read ragged edged and treasured. It is the most important book of my life and it started me on a new path. In the 80's I worked for Together Books in Denver and asked the owners to have you come and do a talk for them and you did come- I was to shy to say hello- alas- you are both my spiritual heroes. My book is ragged and worn and read and reread- I cry to think of you ill now. I am now 70 in September and I know that none of us know when we shall leave but truly I do not like to think of this world without either of you. I want you to know how loved you both are!
thank you each for being who you are.
love, misty
misty santana ontario canada

Bhavani said...

Dear Stephen-
May you be happy on your birthday today!I feel so fortunate to have met you originally in 1976 and didn't know that you would be with me always. I wish that I knew Ondrea's birthday since I would love to send happy well wishes to her also- I can never think of one of you without the other.

So Stephen and Ondrea may you feel all the love and blessings that so many of us feel for you!!!

Infinite love & gratitude,

PS Richard( my husband)wants to be included in this 'love letter' too. In love and the warmest of wishes.~ Richard
Windham, NH

Anonymous said...

sweet friends,
still reading all your loving emails.
we are filled with the love !
Treasure Yourselves

L&L said...

I too have been deeply touched by both Stephen & Ondrea. May you both be at peace! I got to attend your workshops, listen to your tapes and introduce my husband to your wisdom. You gave us both so very much. I now work in a children's hospice trying to keep my heart open and learn each day.
Life is good and I must believe that what you gave to us, the world will give back to you.
deeply touched & grateful,

Anonymous said...

How 'bout a wee story & Big Yummmmmie Hug before bedtime?
In late 1970's Mom came home from a workshop at Yoga Institute in Houston with an original two volume set of 'I AM THAT'. According to Mom Stephen said something like, 'If you never have another ('Spiritual') book have this one'. What little I read at that time resulted in a terminal infection. Happy to be with y'all a couple times over the decades. And though the teenager got stuck teenagering a long while...seems in the end all well. Thank you so much for being in my journey.

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,
I just wanted to send my very best wishes to you both. I am sorry to hear that you have been suffering so but I know that you both have the tools and the inner riches to deal with this phase of the journey. A gentle friend of mine steered me in your direction some years ago and through reading and practicing I have been brought to a kinder way of approaching people and life. I get such a kick of joy when I think of you both, never met you guys but have the feeling we would laugh it up something special if we got together for some tea and cake. I will keep you in my prayers and trust that your wisdom and kindness for one another will see you through. It is an honour to be able to give something back to you both as I have learned so much from your work.
Keep on keeping on, pax

Rodney Sharp said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,
My love and prayers to you both. Thank you for your guidance on the path of heart and mindfulness. I remember evenings sitting in Santa Cruz and at workshops in the mountains years ago. Although I still haven't found whether I awaken on the in-breath or out-breath the awareness you taught me is. Thank you!


Rodney Sharp

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,
I also want to thank you for your service to the world. My emotional, spiritual wounds were great and deeply hidden and festering ...Your words and mentoring called to me, suggesting kindness and softening. To honor the path and take the quiet moments....You reminded me of the great Love that is offered us all.
In Love and healing,
Windy Lyle

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,

I'm saddened to hear that you have both been suffering and wish you both good health and serenity. One of my zen teachers introduced me to Stephen's grief meditation a few years ago, and then more recently, my mother gave me the tapes from your To Love and Be Loved retreat, which led me to locate your books as well. I was suffering greatly after a 3 year relationship ended, and found so much insight and support in your words. I spent much of the winter working with your meditations, and simply digesting the struggles I'd had in my previous relationship. It's very obvious how many lives your work has touched, and we're all the better for having been "touched" by your kindness, gentleness, clarity, respect, and divinity. All the best to both of you!

Peace and love,
Nathan Thompson
St. Paul, MN

Marie Dewez said...

Dear Stephen Levine

I’ve read your book « A year to live » with great pleasure.
I wonder why I cannot find your book in French, I’ve found “Sur le fil” and “Qui meurt” ( “on the edge” and “who dies”)

I’m group therapist, living in Belgium and I’ve given some workshop around death.

I would like to be able to ask my participant to read “A year to live” in French and I could arrange the translation providing I’ve the required authorisations from you, if needed from your editor.
Perhaps “Le souffle d’or” where the two others books were edited could be interested if the basic translation work is done.
Looking forward hearing from you, I send you my best wishes
Marie Dewez

Siobhan said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,
My heart goes out to you both. I've spent some time this morning re-reading "A Year to Live", after having finished Noah's book (Dharma Punx) yesterday and feeling full with the possibility of re-creating a more meaningful life. The two of you personify love in action, and yours are my "go to" books whenever I need a shot in the heart - with your words, I feel myself soften and am often moved to tears, an all-too-rare occurrence. I set out this morning, via Google, to see what of you I could "get" for myself - and instead, with the open letter, am reminded once again that no one is immune to the suffering, just as no one is excluded from the joy. My deepest thanks to both of you - I will continue to hold you in my heart and thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea

In our Western culture, we're taught only to ascribe worth to something of a monetary value. The teaching you have shared have been far and away the most valuable gift I have received in my lifetime and have helped me (slowly) to choose freedom and delight over pain and misery.

As liberating as the Buddhist teachings are, they're no use to you if you don't know about them. Thank you for having the conviction and selflessness to make these teachings (and your profoundly real spin on them) freely available.

I'm now a meditation teacher and I know that the most profound and healing of teachings I give are just echoes of your wisdom.

I've relished this opportunity to give something back to the 2 of you. I hope it brings you some comfort and ease.

with love and adundant thanks


Anonymous said...

I just completed a donation to your fund, and I encourage others to do the same, but no financial amount can express my appreciation for the gifts that your presense offers to our world.


Gail said...

Dear Stephen (I never had the chance to meet Ondrea),

I am so sad to hear of your diffficulties. I trust that the community that you've nourished will keep you safe and prospering.

One workshop I attended with you in NYC in 1991 changed my life. You opened the door to the dharma and I'm forever grateful. And grateful too for your books. The sangha and I thank you again and send you both sweet metta.

Gail Zivin

Anonymous said...

Stephen and Ondrea,
You saved me by allowing me to save myself. Your words are elegantly poetic.. gentle.. graceful.. and they gave me permission to be.. here.
Thank you thank you and thank you.
I send you warmth and healing,
Casey Anderson.

Anonymous said...

I am reminded that at one of the many workshops that I went to with Stephen and Ondrea that Ondrea said that one of the few things they argue about is who will die first. I am so sorry you are both having to confront such a difficult illness and hard times. Knowing that I am indeed mortal I know personally how trying illness is. I am glad that the expressions of gratitude and love from so many are helpful. I hope there will be much to comfort and cherish you during this difficult time as you have comforted and cherished so many when they were truly desperate.


lakshmi ma said...

Ram Ram,
You are both in my heart and prayers. Remembering your generosity/advice/guidance when we were doing our mini dying center in Richmond Hills, Queens, NY circ '78-79 and all your wonderful support [with Ram Dass/Hanuman Dying Project] and attending retreat in Yucca Valley.

If I can be of any assist, please let me know. Will send funds forthwith.

Much Love,
Lakshmi Ma

F. Michael said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,
I cannot begin to describe how the two of you have touched my life through the incredible spaciousness of your precious hearts.
I remember at one workshop of yours, a woman was asking for help with her meditation. Stephen, you asked her who her meditation teacher was and she replied, "You are!" Without knowing me personally, you both have long been my mentors, teachers and guides...
My heart goes out to your both and holds you both within.
Through my work in hospice and my work as a therapist, many more precious souls have come to know you and be touched by you as they have connected with their own hearts...
You have so helped to touch this crazy ol' world with your love, mercy and compassion. This is your living legacy.
Eternal blessings sweet precious hearts,

F. Michael Montgomery

Cynthia Moore said...

Dear Stephen & Ondrea,

I am engulfed again in love as I was by day 2 of the Grief workshop you gave in NY at Omega,Stephen ~1987. "Have Mercy" and the ripples of forgiveness and gentleness live always with me & through me, to others. Ondrea, I have shared your sharing re: (self)forgiveness before you lift your morning head from the pillow with treasured others. I am so grateful and feel so loved that in this lifetime I had time with you both. I would treasure more. I delighted in the video I saw somewhat recently of the two of you talking from your home. Om Shanti, Shanti,
With love & gratitude,
Cynthia (Payne) Moore

Suzanne said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea

I'm so glad to see you on the Youtube video and to know that you are still maintaining the practice and good spirits through your illness.

I was introduced to your work many years ago. I still use the 'soft belly' practice with clients, who appreciate it so much.

I've been supporting my elderly mother through dementia and increasing frailty. 'Who dies?' has been an enormous help in opening the heart and guiding me to stay in the moment and deal with what I find each day.

Love and blessings to you both.


Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,

Years ago while in a relationship, my friend attended a workshop and then introduced me to your work. You have profoundly altered my view of life and death, allowed me to be present for my father as he died, and now as my mother dies.

When I gave birth thirteen years ago, my friend meditated as I pushed, creating a most profound and fulfilling birthing experience as well as welcoming in my son to his new life. I don't know the name of the meditation, but he learned it from you and involved matching my breath. I also matched the breath of my father as he died.

I think of you both often and I love you.

Anonymous said...

...just today, after dusting off yet another set of levine tapes, i heard of your illness.

as my heart breaks open at the news of your suffering may it release a rain of blessings upon each of you.

om mani padme hum, meg rinaldi

PJ said...

Blessings and Peace be yours!
As you both have taught me the peace of being in the moment and of having Mercy. It is amazing and wonderful to read of so many here that have been touched by your life. Whatever challenges you may be in this very day, moment.... Peace to your deep souls...
I carry you in my heart and thru' my day. What joy it is to see such an outpouring of love back into your own hearts from that love that you gave to us all.
Whatever be in the road on the way that is set before you now... may you meet it and great it with peace in your hearts and trust in your very breath.
Pat Johnson (hospice nurse, Missoula, Montana)

Anonymous said...

Dear Ondrea and Stephen,

I have been wondering for a long time where you have been and just Googled your names; only to find out that you are both very ill. My heart aches to hear this. I decided to write to you, as well as send money to the fund that has been set up for you.
I attended long and short retreats of yours in San Francisco, Oakland and Mt. Madonna, for a period of at least ten years. It was your humor and your kindness, above all, that kept me coming back, and I grew to love both of you very much.
I have always struggled, my whole life, with a belief that I'm not good enough to deserve connection with people, happiness, to be loved or have my love received, et al...It was a life of intense, tyrannical emotional and spiritual deprivation that I was imposing on myself, although the teachings that structured my thinking originally were externally imposed.
Anyway, your teachings and your presence (s)enabled me to interrupt those rigid, fossilized thoughts, even only for a few minutes at a time, and to come to feel the grief of what I was missing. That grief has been the motivator for decades of deep emotional and spiritual healing. I have had you in my thoughts often over the last 20 years; and ThESE thoughts have been a lifeline and and antidote.
You are precious and I hope that you are as free from suffering as is possible; and that you know that you are deeply loved.
Sima Schoen

Peter said...

Stephen and Ondrea,

I was saddened to hear of your illnesses.

Thank you for your life of work.

In peace,


Anonymous said...

I would like to send my heartfelt wishes on this unpredictable journey and appreciation for your generosity and love in sharing your teachings to those of us in difficult places,

May you both experience continuing love, peace and freedom


Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,
My partner and I have used your teachings from Embracing the Beloved as the cornerstone for our relationship and partnership of over 12 years. The energy of your books is palpable and I can just open any of your books and rest it on my belly and feel peace when I'm too sick to pray. How are you now? Thank you for your body of work and tender care.

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea

All these notes echo so much of my experience with you both. My work with Hospice for 7 years and now my work with caregiving the elderly with Alzheimer's has been possible through yoru teachings.

And now that I have found a life partner who also has been affected by your teachings, we have the added joy of connecting our spirits through Embracing The Beloved.

Your teaching on buddhosn and Death and Dying have shaped my life and given it so much meaning and also connected me to other leaders in the field.

Experienceing your calming presence and skill in truly listening at your workshops taught me more than an course in counceling.

Bless you both , circles of love and gratitude to you both

Gina Sonne

Soaring said...

God and Grace, and Light and Joy…and Healing and Radiance and Beauty… in an explosion of Peace and Light and Love…to the Highest… we are the One… channeling clear Light…
Blessed me… my dearest Brother and Sister.
Know how much we love you, and we are with you.
We are one family… My heart is Open…
Love, your sister, Soaring.
Lori Skyrud
639 W. Kent Ave
Missoula, MT 59801

F. Michael Montgomery said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,
Please know that my heart and prayers go with you always.
I can never thank you both enough for the many ways through your workshops and your books how you have both mentored and guided me.
Through your words and presence, you helped me to discover my own words for this incredible connection with my own heart and the hearts of all others - an ongoing daily practice.
Feel the love and support of our hearts now in return.
F. Michael Montgomery
Santa Rosa, CA

Sharon Simmons said...

Dear Stephen & Ondrea,

It is hard to believe that I am just now finding out that you are in need of our help.

I carry you both with me every day in my heart and although you do not know me, your work has carried me through the past 3 years of the cancer diagnosis, treatment and passing of both of my parents. Through your work, I was able to be of service to them on the journey to the threshhold.

I have attended your workshops at Duke and Omega, have all of your books and my copy of Who Dies is well worn. I consider you both my spiritual teachers. It is because of you that I have been a hospice volunteer and your work has permeated every aspect of my life.

I hope that this small gift is a seed of caring that will germinate and bring multitudes of blessings to you on your journey. No words of gratitude nor dollars could ever suffice as a thank you for the impact of your gentle wisdom and the ripples that have circled out from my heart over these years

Namaste, Sharon Simmons

Anonymous said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea

I’m so very sorry to read of your current challenges. Having been blessed by your work at two key points in my life, may I add to these beautiful messages my own message of love, gratitude and appreciation.

Around six years ago I suffered a mental breakdown after years of depression, and was suicidal. Two things stopped me from acting on that. One was a quote from Stephen, which said something like 'contrary to popular belief, suicidal people don't actually want to die, they want to live so much, but somehow feel thwarted in their ability to do so’. That insight was so important to me. Instead of ending my life, I went to an ashram in India to take time to just be, and to see if I could find in myself a spark of zest for life, and to grow that spark into a flame strong enough to come home and rebuild myself and my life. This I did. I found a wonderful counsellor and healer, who helped me grow free of depression, open to life in all its dualities, and connect with the truth of what is.

A few weeks ago my mother became seriously ill. While we were packing some of her things to bring her to my home, I came across a copy of Stephen’s book, ‘Who dies?’. I was immediately drawn to the book and asked my Mom if I could bring it with us. As we go through this experience of illness with my Mom, the book is an oasis of calm, a spiritual teacher with exactly the words and lessons needed at this time. I come to it whenever I can find a quiet moment, and in it find peace and acceptance within the current situation.

Thank you so much – for your wisdom, your kindness and compassion, your openness, your courage to be with what is where most would turn away, for being there in truth.

From a heart that you have helped to open – with love, blessings and peace to you both.

Anonymous said...

I was out looking for books on meditation a few weeks ago and stumbled across a worn copy of "A Gradual Awakening" and ended up taking home without much hope of it being interesting. After reading the first few chapters I realized that I had something very special in my hands and I was so thankful that this man, Stephen Levine, existed.

Thank you so much, Mr. Levine, for dedicating your life to be of service and to reach out to those lost, to those in need. Thank you so much for sharing your light and the beauty in your heart so that others may open their hearts to the same light and beauty that resides in us all. Thank you for touching my life in such a profound way that no words could ever contain; could ever begin to describe.

The wondrous gift of your love and your wisdom will live on and be passed onto future generations for a very long time. Thank you. Much Love and Blessed Be.

Anonymous said...


Dearest friends of my heart,
I have not seen you since
the "Burning Bush" 10-day Conscious Living and Conscious Dying Gatherings in the 80's. Your writings brought me closer to my own heart, which gave me a glimpse of the heart, which I had carelessly and mindlessly been offering to those unavailable to see it.
When I went to my first gathering at "B", and witnessed the pain of many folks and your healing words and touch, I was like the caterpillar munching on the flower, who looked up to see a butterfly, and remarked, "you'll never get me up in one of those things!" I had held in my pain for so long, I was afraid to feel it, especially in front of others.
One day before lunch, I remarked to Stephen that I wanted to work on my "stuff." After lunch, Stephen said, "You ready to work on your stuff now?" Ondrea offered me her hand, and we walked out to the grassy area in front of the "lodge." Ondrea sat down on the grass, and placed her beautiful shawl on her lap. She then motioned for me put my head on her lap.
Ondrea whispered to me in a soft and soothing voice, and soon I was crying and then I was wailing. In my crying, I was hearing the wails of a young boy with leukemia, who I held in my arms, as he wailed, in anger, as he was losing his life. At that time I really didn’t love life all that much, and I envied his anger about dying, and I felt selfish for my own good health.
Ondrea stroked my forehead, as my own crying and wailing ended. I realized it was raining, as I felt raindrops on my face. I opened my eyes and realized they were Ondrea's tears. Her healing presence and her love was beginning to wash away the shell around my heart.
In awhile, Ondrea asked me to look at the front deck of the lodge. I saw many friends who had watched this healing, including Stephen. Stephen honored me with a wonderful "bow," which all of the friends on the deck joined in on. I was so relieved to have begun the journey of “emptying, and then the filling of my heart."
I told you both how important that healing time was for me. The next year at “B” you offered me ideas and thoughts about how I could continue my work with the dying with greater “ease and soft belly.” I have shared your teachings and writings with many in my hospice, and grief and loss work. You have touched me, as you have touched so many. And all of us have touched others because of you.
I believe that you both probably look forward to this next adventure, this next learning that is upon you (and all of us too). I know that you will be as fully present as you can for this next workshop called "your deaths." I will look to the stars and the clouds, and then within myself. And in my heart, which you have touched and nurtured in so many ways, is where I will continue to hear your words.

PS: Nasrudin sat on a riverbank when someone shouted to him from the other bank:
"Hey! how do I get across?"
"You are across!" Nasrudin shouted back. :)
With much love and peace to you.
Will in Montana

Soaring said...

Will in Montana...what beautiful words to my heart....and soul… thank you for your healing resonance...Soaring,in Montana...and in shared love of Ondrea and Stephen...Clear Light in all Radiant directions...
**It is astonishing to me that I will not sit and walk with Ondrea and Stephen in this lifetime…that we will not now meet. they have always been there…I always knew that we would meet: at a pot luck, or someone’s house, or at a gathering…or in someone’s garden… funny…It has always seemed that I would…it is clear we are related, family; in this family of the earth, of the dharma.I am astonished that it is coming to pass; I am their sister, we have mutual friends and places...and now I will not sit with my sister and brother: break bread, drink tea...comfort them, laugh with them… share in the silence of being…not on this plane...I will deeply grieve this…as if by a missed appointment…Though the unfolding is eternally available to us all, it is still delightful to dance together on the earth with friends who remind us how to bring that nectar in, to touch the grass… And it is unavoidably reassuring to be in the presence of our kindred family, and with those of the old fellowship, of the unfolding of the last 40 years--a communion of the heart we all share. Sending love and light to my sister and brother... You are the most Beautiful and Radiant Souls in the Universe…Isn’t it Great we are all Equal Beings?.... Light and Love in your Radiant Unfolding… your sister always, Soaring.

Julia said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,

There are no words to express what you have done for me. Though we never met you have changed my life. Thank you thank you thank you.

May eternal love and gratitude light your way and lighten your load.

Tricia said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,

You two rock. You're real. You keep me inspired. The books of yours that I own have no covers left on them and are yellowed and ragged. They've been dragged around the country...stuffed into the bottom of my purse and into suitcases. At times they've sat patiently on my shelf awaiting my return. Your writings continue to have a huge impact on my life. You deliver the straight goods, making it incredibly accessible. So earthly. I just love and appreciate you both so much. Words are not enough. Truly. Keep on rockin the free world. May you be happy.

H G said...

My tiny, Maa-awesome mom...gazing from wearished orbits up toward nothing asked me last night (in reference to herself), "Is this me?"...and pointing upward, "Don't you see?"...('Can you tell me what you see Ma?')"It's open...Is that o.k.?!"...('Yes Ma. It's o.k.. You know I think it's fine that it's open.'). Thank you both for shepherding us. For pointing from 'soft belly''just enough''don't know'. This is so very beautiful. My mom, through whom beingness booted me up, is sharing her dying with me. Pranams to you and mom for introduction to Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj. So many moons ago. Same moon. I bid you fair well in the Thump. Selfishly, I'd like it for y'all cash it in together. That'd be just swell I reckon. Ma and me love y'all strong.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Teachers,
Your wisdom, care, and love have shaped my life and lifted me out of the darkness that ignorance imposes on the mind. Such gratitude I have for the grace of finding your work so many years ago. This planet has been deeply marked by your impression through the many lives you've helped transform. I'm grateful to have a chance to give something back.
So much love!
Antonia in Champaign

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Dear Ondrea and Steve,
I attended your workshop on dying in Los Angelos in 1989. I have cherished you and your book, "Who Dies?" all these years. The qoute I have put in every sympathy card since then is yours: "When you loss someone you love, you lose not only the one you love, but also that part of yourself that you only were with them." Thank you for teaching me to treasure the ones I love before they die.
Therese in Iowa

Shane Morse said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,
I feel like I know you well and yet it was only 1/22/2010 that I ever heard of you. The workshop which you provided the sick and dying at Omega Institiute is included in Elizabeth Lesser's The New American Spirituality. That is where I became familiar with the two of you and your work. Thank you so very much for what you have added to my life. Sometimes the smallest of things result in big changes. Such was the case. May you be blessed with the fruits of your work as you walk this stretch of your journeys.

Anonymous said...

I love readding, and thanks for your artical.........................................

Anonymous said...

just a "poem blessing" from Shion:

Seasons iii

It's over
it's finally over.

Every particle of moisture
sucked dry from the summer sky.
Such a dying of things
cracked open to the core.

In the stark crackle of
the season's abrupt end,
gaunt stalks breaking and exposing
homeless kernels of ourselves.

While rising on the wind,
thistle blossoms, milkweed and coyote bush
aimlessly scatter a fuzzy snow of seeds
across the barren landscape.

Each seed a solitary seeker
bound to the breath of life
and an aching thirst for the next.

Seeking a resurrection
we have never known.

Namaste loved ones. Thank you for my open heart and a joy-filled relationship with Quan Yin. Blessings and love for all of the poetry you speak, write and are.

Anonymous said...

It's a wonderful life... to have loved and to be loved...

Anonymous said...

I ust did a search for 'Lavine Fund' on Bread for the Journey website to make a small donation. But did not find this still going, or are the financial problems resolved now?

jake said...

i would like to make adonation too .
please advise

guyatree said...

Pranams, My 0wn Self

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,

I am listening now to our Metta Institute conversation, and am pleased to let you know how very nice it is to hear two human beings talk with such directness and simplicity and clarity to a sky filled with the unseen.

By the way, your admirer, Soren Gordhamer, has a nice page in support of you and your work: that page is

Sadly his HTML link to your site yields a NULL. I did read his ABOUT ME, but did not see an email or snail address which would allow me to alert him directly of that mistyped code.

If anyone reading this knows Soren, please advise him the correct URL is (He has the title correct, but the hyperlink also contains his own URL.)

I am making my way now to the levinetalks site to initiate a more direct contact, hopefully.

Jai Siva Sai


Leni Wildflower said...

Dear Stephen and Ondrea,
Stephen, you helped my husband, Paul Potter, die in 1984 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

You gave me so much in that process. It was one of the most profound teachings of my life...

I owe you more than the check I am sending will tell.

Leni Wildflower