Noah Levine

Photo of ()\

Noah Levine is the author of Dharma Punx, Against the Stream, and The Heart of the Revolution. Trained by Jack Kornfield, he is the founding teacher of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, with over 20 affiliated groups around North America. Noah lives in Los Angeles. Visit againstthestream.org .

Also By Author

Noah Levine’s Revolution of Kindness

Noah Levine is someone whose name I was familiar with long before I had the opportunity to record with him last fall in Los Angeles. I’d been intrigued by his story. He was someone from my own generation, 20 or 30 years younger than the most prominent American-born Buddhist teachers. He had a punk sensibility and a made-for-movies backstory of anguished teen years filled with drug use, incarceration, and suicide attempts—all chronicled in his first book Dharma Punx.

Through Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, which he founded, Noah has worked to bring the dharma to inner city youths, prisoners, and many others. With his shaved head and tattooed torso featuring a giant OM symbol over the heart, he seemed like the quintessential outsider.

Yes, he was also an insider, inheriting a rich lineage through his father, Stephen Levine and his teacher Jack Kornfield. As I headed west for our recording, I wondered how those two strands would weave together.

Effortlessly, as it turns out. Noah’s desire to make the tools of meditation available to all certainly stems from his own experience as an outsider, and the sense of rebellion that fueled his teen years has not diminished—but now it’s turned inward, toward an inner revolution whose goal is ultimate freedom.

His teachings—especially on lovingkindness practice and what he terms “kind awareness”—fall squarely within the tradition, but have a flavor and energy that I find really resonate for me.

My usual meditation practice, such as it is, is simply to sit and see what arises. The more formal structure of lovingkindness practice took me a little while to get used to, but, while editing the program I recorded with Noah last fall—Kind Awareness: Guided Meditations for an Inner Revolution—I took time to work with all the guided practices, and I found them to be extraordinarily powerful.

In particular, I was moved by the practice of asking for forgiveness from those I’ve harmed, and in turning compassionate acceptance toward myself. Doing so, I discovered a tenderness just beneath the surface—one that, when I softened, brought me to a new sense of openness and quietude. If you haven’t done a guided lovingkindness practice recently, give it a try—especially if you ever find your meditation practice becoming dry or detached. There’s an emotional sweetness to be found here—right on the other side of our vulnerability.

Footsteps of Buddha, United States, 2005

You Might Also Enjoy

Giving Your Heart Over to Real Change

In this podcast, Sharon Salzberg joins Sounds True’s founder, Tami Simon, to discuss her recent book, Real Change: Mindfulness to Heal Ourselves and the World—and how you can begin to bring the core of your being into your work, your community, and your life. Sharon and Tami also discuss how contemplative practices can open the heart, agency and reclaiming your power to effect change, the empowering symbol of the Statue of Liberty, transforming anger into courage, determining the next step you can take when you’re uncertain, patience, faith as the act of giving over your heart, generosity and how you end up with more through giving, moving from grief to resilience, suffering and the First Noble Truth, the role of joy on the path, living by the truth of interconnection, caring to know as the first step in making a difference, and a sneak preview of Sharon’s forthcoming book, Real Life.

Hard Pivot

In this podcast, Apolo joins Sounds True founder Tami Simon to discuss his new book, Hard Pivot: Embrace Change. Find Purpose. Show Up Fully. Tami and Apolo also discuss being relentlessly curious; fear of failure and “FOPO”—fear of other people’s opinions; doing the hard work; how to work with disempowering self-talk; the power of visualization; the concept of “process over prize”; having a full dedication to one’s craft; the Japanese principle of ikigai; maintaining self-discipline; and Apolo’s Five Golden Principles for building resilience, overcoming self-doubt, reinventing ourselves, and pivoting gracefully into new opportunities for success.

What Is Wanting to Find Expression Through You?

Dr. James Hollis is a Jungian analyst, a former director of the Jung Society of Washington, DC, and a professor of Jungian Studies for Saybrook University of San Francisco/Houston. He is the author of The Middle Passage, Living an Examined Life, Through the Dark Wood, and Living Between Worlds, among many others. With Sounds True, he’s released the expansive audio program A Life of Meaning: Exploring Our Deepest Questions and Motivations. In this episode of Insights at the Edge, Tami Simon speaks with James about the journey for personal fulfillment—how it starts, what it demands, and how it changes your life. James explains what it really means to take responsibility for your life’s path, as well as how you can rediscover and reclaim your innate authority. Tami and James discuss how childhood experiences shape our present behavior and what it takes to live fearlessly. Finally, they talk about overcoming lethargy and the joy of becoming comfortable with mysteries.

>