Joel and Michelle Levey

  • Joel and Michelle Levey

  • Dr. Joel and Michelle Levey are the authors of Living in Balance: A Mindful Guide for Thriving in a Complex World;  Mindfulness, Meditation, and Mind Fitness; Wisdom at Work; The Fine Arts of Relaxation, Concentration, and Meditation: Ancient Skills for Modern Minds, and many other books.

    Joel and Michelle Levey are regarded as pioneers in the global “mindfulness revolution,” “the international compassion movement,” and work to integrate contemplative science and contemporary mind-fitness training in leading organizations in modern times. They were among the very first people to develop and introduce Mindful Leadership, Mind Fitness, and Compassion based programs within mainstream medical, higher educational, organizational, government, and military arenas beginning in the late 70’s.
    Over the past 40 years they have worked with thousands of leaders in hundreds of organizations around the globe including: NASA; Google; World Bank; British Parliament’s All Parliamentary Roundtable on Mindfulness; NHS; NIH; M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; Clinton Global Initiative; Stanford Research Institute International; Intel; M.I.T., Prime Minister’s Office of the U.A.E; U.S. Army Special Forces; Surgeon General’s Office; and World Business Academy. They have served as Chairpersons for the Center for Corporate Culture and Organizational Health Taskforce for the Institute for Health and Productivity Management, and as core faculty for the International Institute for Organization Design. They currently serve as clinical faculty at University of Minnesota Medical School and Bastyr University’s Center for Science, Medicine, and Spirituality. The Leveys helped design the Contemplative Education and Transformational Learning Graduate program for Mahidol University in Thailand, and taught a post-graduate MBA course on Mindful Leadership and Resilience at IIM (Indian Institute of Management) in Ahmedabad, India. They stewarded the development of some of the first “mindful organizations” in the Western world – at Hewlett Packard, Intuit, Weyerhaeuser, etc.

    Nobel Peace Laureate, the Dalai Lama, an advisor on a number of the Leveys’ projects once wrote in a letter to the Leveys: “You are presently engaged in work that has great prospects for bringing the Dharma (the inner sciences of human transformation)to a very wide section of people who may not under ordinary circumstances come into contact with these teaching. I am very pleased about the work that you are doing and send you blessings and prayers for your success.”
    Joel and Michelle were fortunate to be among the first professionals in the Western world to widely introduce mindfulness, meditation, mind-fitness training, and contemplative science into mainstream organizations. They offer a unique and rich blend of insights and experience distilled from 47 years of intensive contemplative study/practice, and the seamless integration of their work in leadership and contemplative science through multiple roles as: clinicians in medical centers; corporate trainers/consultants working with leaders and executive teams around the globe; mindfulness and meditation teachers (in numerous traditions – including study with very respected teachers from many different “mindfulness lineages” and authorization to teach); mentors to leaders in government, business, medical, and military arenas; faculty at universities around the world; mind-fitness coaches for world-class and Olympic-gold athletes; and contemplative science researchers. They also have the unique distinction of having done this work together as a couple for 33 years.

    The Leveys were invited by Pentagon leaders to develop the “Jedi Warrior Program” for the Special Forces, where they led the advanced “biocybernautic training” (integrating neurofeedback, “mind-fitness training,”and a month-long, silent Mindfulness style Vipassana-retreat) for this once secret, six-month, full-time program. Military leaders described Jedi as, “The most exquisite orchestration of human technology we have ever seen.” Advisors Michael Murphy and George Leonard called Jedi, “the most advanced leadership development program to be offered in modern times.” Jedi’s profound success opened the way for their work with leaders at: NASA, Navy, NOAA, Surgeon General’s Office, NIH, NHS, West Point, and Prime Minister’s Office of UAE.
    Michelle and Joel have been fortunate to study closely with many remarkable teachers in the diverse foundational mindfulness traditions including:  Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Dipama, Anagarika Munindra, S.N. Goenka, Thich Nhat Hanh, Ruth Dennison, and Robert Hover.   They’ve also studied closely with many of the world’s most respected leaders in fields of interpersonal neurobiology and contemplative science teachers and researchers including: The Dalai Lama, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Otto Scharmer, Daniel Goleman, Daniel Siegel, Robert Thurman, Kalu Rinpoche, Krishnamurti, Karmapa, Lama Yeshe, Chagdud Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, and Joanna Macy. The Leveys have devoted nearly 2 years to silent contemplative retreats including sitting the historic first Shamatha Project – a year-long silent retreat and research project that was sponsored in part by the Dalai Lama.   
    Joel and Michelle have been actively involved in many global learning communities related to this work including: Mind and Life Institute; Presencing Institute; Institute of Noetic Sciences; Contemplative Mind in Society; The International Campaign for Compassionate Cities; Compassion Games International;  Society for Organizational Learning (SoL); Meaning Conference; and International Center of Compassionate Organizations. Joel and Michelle are also contemplative mentors and advisors for the Art Monastery Project and the ArtMonks, an international network of artists dedicated to blending contemplative practice, creative endeavor, and social transformation.

    Their published works are available in 12 languages and include:  Living in Balance: A Mindful Guide for Thriving in a Complex World;  Mindfulness, Meditation, and Mind Fitness; Wisdom at Work; The Fine Arts of Relaxation, Concentration, and Meditation: Ancient Skills for Modern; Focus! Mastery of Mindfulness and Attention; The VUCA Savvy Leader; Corporate Culture and Organizational Health; Intuition at Work; Community Building in Business; Learning Organizations; and The New Bottom Line.

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    “Joel and Michelle Levey have skillfully woven together contemporary insights into the value and need for mindfulness and mind-fitness training with a large number of evocative suggestions for practice. Joel and Michelle clearly have a great deal of experience teaching a wide range of different settings and this is reflected in the precision and vividness of their instructions. There is strength in the simplicity of their explanation of the value of these mindfulness and mind-fitness disciplines and their clear instructions for how to practice.” 

    Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., Professor of Medicine Emeritus& Founding Director The Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Author of many books on Mindfulness

    “The work of Joel and Michelle Levey has long been a luminous thread in the fabric of the Great Turning. They embody in many ways this epochal transition to a life-sustaining society.”
    “Their book (Living in Balance: A Mindful Guide for Thriving in a Complex World) like its luminous authors, brings refreshment to mind and heart. It open us to our inner wisdom, and brings us tools, visions and whispered counsel that restore the blessed balance we deserve.”
    Joanna Macy, Ph.D.,  Author, Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy

    “The Leveys’ work and writings offer a skilful blend of time proven antidotes to the stress of modern life.”
     – Dan Goleman, Ph.D., author, Social Intelligence, Emotional Intelligence, and Focus

    “Living in Balance is a beautiful book that brings wisdom and love into a world that longs for balance.”
     – Roshi Joan Halifax, Abbot, Upaya Zen Center

    “This book is an absolute treasure, filled with an abundance of insights and practices that lead the reader into depths of peace.  But with all these riches, I was most affected by the love, compassion, and wisdom of Joel and Michelle present in every page.  Their embrace of the reader is the best testimony that these practices lead to lives of wholeness and harmony.”
     – Margaret J. Wheatley, author of Leadership & the New Science and coauthor, A Simpler Way

    “Today more than ever modern society makes demands on an individual for which evolution has not prepared us. Living in Balance gives each of us tools that not only allow us to navigate through a complex world but allow us to thrive. By gaining insights into ourselves and learning techniques that fundamentally allow one to rewire their brain, Joel and Michelle have given us a wonderful gift…the gift of transcendence.”
      –James R. Doty, M.D., Founder and Director of Stanford’s Centre for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE), part of the Stanford Institute of Neuro-Innovation and Translation Neurosciences and Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at Stanford University

    Living in Balance is the wisest, most practical and inspiring book that I have read in years.  Joel & Michelle Levey are consummate teachers because they live the teachings, humbly and compassionately laying out a roadmap that anyone motivated to lead a happier, more balanced life can follow.  The simple exercises and questions they ask were like lightbulbs that helped me see my own life more clearly. This is one book that really does have the power to help you change your life.”
    Joan Borysenko, Ph.D., author of Minding the Body, Mending the Mind, and A Woman’s Book of Life cofounder and former director of the Mind/Body Clinic, New England Deaconess Hospital, Harvard Medical School.  
    “Michelle and Joel Levey demonstrate–in a style that is graceful and gentle and personal and inspiring–how balance in our individual minds and lives is both the key to healing the world and the source of our greatest happiness. Their invitation to awakening makes the spiritual journey clear enough to be accessible to everyone while preserving the profound sanctity of its purpose.”
    “Michelle and Joel Levey have done such a graceful, personal and inviting presentation of the profound necessity to devote/dedicate oneself to as full a practice of living in balance as one can, without at all trivializing it and making it less profound than it is, but making it sound like everybody can do it–like it’s just normal–which is what it is!”
     “I’ve really enjoyed Living in Balance–I found I didn’t want to skim it because it had so many wonderful things in it. So thanks a lot for it!”
    Sylvia Boorstein, author of: It’s Easier Than You Think;  and Don’t Just Do Something, Sit There

    Living in Balance invites us to return to the inner source of serenity and wisdom within.  Never before have we so urgently needed the clear, compassionate teachings that are so lovingly described in this book.”
     – Larry Dossey, MD, author of Be Careful What You Pray For, Prayer is Good Medicine, Executive Editor, Alternative Therapies

Jan WalburgAlexandra Abensperg-Traun