The process of growth is, it seems, the art of falling down. Growth is measured by the gentleness and awareness with which we once again pick ourselves up, the lightness with which we dust ourselves off, the openness with which we continue and take the next unknown step, beyond our edge, beyond our holding, into the remarkable mystery of being.

— Stephen Levine

The most provocative Stephen Levine quotes you will be delighted to read

When your fear touches someone's pain it becomes pity;

when your love touches someone's pain, it becomes compassion. To train in compassion, then, is to know all beings are the same and suffer in similar ways, to honor all those who suffer, and to know you are neither separate from nor superior to anyone.


Buddha left a road map, Jesus left a road map, Krishna left a road map, Rand McNally left a road map. But you still have to travel the road yourself


When your fear touches someone’s pain, it becomes pity, when your love touches someone’s pain, it become compassion.


Death is just a change in lifestyles.


If there is a single definition of healing it is to enter with mercy and awareness those pains, mental and physical, from which we have withdrawn in judgment and dismay. (48)


Letting go of our suffering is the hardest work we will ever do.

It is also the most fruitful. To heal means to meet ourselves in a new way -- in the newness of each moment where all is possible and nothing is limited to the old.


Non-attachment is not the elimination of desire.

It is the spaciousness to allow any quality of mind, any thought or feeling, to arise without closing around it, without eliminating the pure witness of being. It is an active receptivity to life.


Our suffering is caused by holding on to how things might have been, should have been, could have been.


Much thought has at its root a dissatisfaction with what is.

Wanting is the urge for the next moment to contain what this moment does not. When there is wanting in the mind, that moment feels incomplete. Wanting is seeing elsewhere. Completeness is being right here.


Go to the truth beyond the mind. Love is the bridge.


The saddest part about being human is not paying attention. Presence is the gift of life.


Letting the last breath come. Letting the last breath go. Dissolving, dissolving into vast space, the light body released from its heavier form. A sense of connectedness with all that is, all sense of separation dissolved in the vastness of being. Each breath melting into space as though it were the last.


About Stephen Levine

Quotes 83 sayings
Profession Poet
Birthday October 16

Sometimes pain and illness are not meant to be removed.

You can't second-guess God. Rather than praying for it to go away, it's often wiser to pray that you learn as much from it as you possibly can.


Meditation allows us to directly participate in our lives instead of living life as an afterthought.


The demons aren't the noise. They are our aversion to the noise...when you can accept discomfort, doing so allows a balance of mind. That surrender, that letting go of wanting anything to be other than it is right in the moment, is what frees us from hell.


Hell is not fire and brimstone, not a place where you are punished for lying or cheating or stealing. Hell is wanting to be something and somewhere different from where you are.


Nothing is more natural than grief, no emotion more common to our daily experience. It's an innate response to loss in a world where everything is impermanent.


Grief can have a quality of profound healing because we are forced to a depth of feeling that is usually below the threshold of awareness.


People ask what must they become to be loving.

The answer is ‘nothing.’ It is a process of letting go of what you thought you had become and allowing your true nature to float to the surface naturally.


In all serious disease states we find a concomitant low oxygen state.

.. Low oxygen in the body tissues is a sure indicator for disease...Hypoxia, or lack of oxygen in the tissues, is the fundamental cause for all degenerative disease. Oxygen is the source of life to all cells.


Our addiction to always being right is a great block to the truth.

It keeps us from the kind of openness that comes from confidence in our natural wisdom.


Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. There is nothing to do but be.


Buddha nature, is like the sun which is always shining, always present, though often obscured. We are blocked from our natural light by the clouds of thought and longing and fear; the overcast of the conditioned mind; the hurricane of I am.


Safety is the most unsafe spiritual path you can take.

Safety keeps you numb and dead. People are caught by surprise when it is time to die. They have allowed themselves to live so little.


I have seem even those who have long since abjured God die in grace.

. . . Atheists don't use their drying to bargain for a better seat at the table; indeed they may not even believe supper is being served. They are not storing up 'merit.'; They just smile because their heart is ripe. They are kind for no particular reason; they just love.


Acting from the appropriateness of the heart, we are freed from the neediness of the mind.


Quoting son, Noah Levine: Once you see what the heart really needs, it doesn’t matter if you’re going to live or die, the work is always the same. (25)


Gratitude is the state of mind of thankfulness.

As it is cultivated, we experience an increase in our "sympathetic joy," our happiness at another's happiness. Just as in the cultivation of compassion, we may feel the pain of others, so we may begin to feel their joy as well. And it doesn't stop there.


Oxygen plays a pivotal role in the proper functioning of the immune system.

We can look at oxygen deficiency as the single greatest cause of all diseases.


Forgiveness is mental floss! Build the capacity to forgive slowly - start with little unkind acts, otherwise you'll sabotage yourself. When we forgive, we forgive the actor, not the action.


[D]on’t cling to your self-righteous suffering, let it go.

. . . Nothing is too good to be true, let yourself be forgiven. To the degree you insist that you must suffer, you insist on the suffering of others as well. (90)


When the heart acknowledges how much pain there is in the mind, it turns like a mother toward a frightened child.


Loss is the absence of something we were once attached to.

Grief is the rope burns left behind, when that which is held is pulled beyond our grasp.


You can call it wisdom, or sanity, or health, or enlightenment.

I use the word God as a short-cut. I am comfortable with the word God because I don't have the foggiest idea of what it means.


I have seen many die, surrounded by loved ones, and their last words were ‘I love you.’ There were some who could no longer speak yet with their eyes and soft smile left behind that same healing message. I have been in rooms where those who were dying made it feel like sacred ground. (26)


If sequestered pain made a sound, the atmosphere would be humming all the time.


What would you say? And why are you waiting?


There is nothing noble about suffering except the love and forgiveness with which we meet it. Many believe that if they are suffering they are closer to God, but I have met very few who could keep their heart open to their suffering enough for that to be true. (124)


If you want the other person more than anything else in the world, you're in major trouble and the relationship is a wobbly pivot. It's different if the thing you want most in the world is truth, and your partner is the person you want most in the world.


...healing comes not from being loving but from being itself. It is not a case of being clear but of clear being. This healing is not about anything else but being itself. Nothing separate, no edges, nothing to limit healing. Entering, in moments, the realm of pure being, the gateless gate swings open- beyond life and death, our original face shines back at us.


Understanding is the ultimate seduction of the mind. Go to the truth beyond the mind.


[D]etachment means letting go and nonattachment means simply letting be. (95)


To heal is to touch with love that which we previously touched with fear.


Your distance from your partner is the distance from your heart.

The things that make relationships difficult are some of the most precious aspects to us.


We've all been should upon enough.


The only service you can do for anyone is to remind them of their true nature.


Our work is to keep our hearts open in hell.


If you can find the God inside yourself, you can find the God inside everybody.


I have never lived a life so much larger than death. (93)