“There are those who are trying
to set fire to the world
We are in danger.
There is time only to work slowly,
There is no time not to love.
-Deena Metzger, “Song”


This special page offers a treasure of inspirations related to a series of teachings offered during our on-line sessions throughout the CV19 pandemic.  Please check back from time to time for updates and inspirations)))

Links for “Essential Practices” and Guidelines for Daily Practice:
contemplations, meditations, readings, and recording from Joel and Michelle Levey
to inspire your continued practice: 

The Leveys’ Wisdom at Work YouTube Channel:

Favorite videos to gain an insight into our lives and work:


Embracing and Transforming Uncertainty & Suffering: Compassion on Every Breath Meditation 

(A potent practice to antidote to the distress of these challenging times.)

Written Version:

☀️NEW! Guided Audio Meditation from Michelle & Joel☀️

Also see brilliant explanation of Tonglen by our friend Lama Willa Miller – at
Also – see:  for some guided audio and other links and readings

Also – Lama Palden’s inspiring book – Love on Every Breath –

“Suffering is not enough. Life is both dreadful and wonderful. To practice meditation is to be in touch with both aspects. Smiling means that we are ourselves, that we have sovereignty over ourselves, that we are not drowned in forgetfulness. How can I smile when I am filled with so much sorrow? It is natural—you need to smile to your sorrow because you are more than your sorrow.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

“This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don’t be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, because these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings…. Our sorrow is the other face of love, for we only mourn what we deeply care for. The sorrow, grief, and rage you feel is a measure of your humanity and your evolutionary maturity. As your heart breaks open there will be room for the world to heal.”
~ Joanna Macy

There is no such thing as “Compassion Fatigue”!

A Vital Distinction

Regarding Mindfulness, Empathic Overwhelm, and Compassionate Responsiveness

Useful guidance and insight for our Deep Adaptation community can also be found in a wealth of recent research that shows that the notion of “compassion fatigue” is actually a misnomer. According to the research, this would be more accurately described as “empathy fatigue.” As sensitive social beings, our lives are interwoven with all other living beings and our natural environment. The parts of our brains that light up when we are in pain are closely intertwined with the parts of our brains that are activated when we encounter the pain of others. We are neurologically wired to empathically register and resonate with the suffering in our world. It touches us deeply, so deeply that if we don’t know how to manage it properly, we can become empathically overwhelmed and fall into empathic distress that leads to burnout. (See: )

The remedy and protection from empathic overwhelm is actually to move toward compassion. Compassion is engaged responsiveness – i.e. “compassion in action.” Archbishop Desmond Tutu reflects this wisdom saying, “Compassion is not just feeling with someone, but seeking to change the situation. Frequently people think compassion and love are merely sentimental. No! They are very demanding. If you are going to be compassionate, be prepared for action!”

Reseach on compassion speaks of three elements of compassion:
1. noticing others’ suffering (Mindfulness)
2. empathically registering the person’s pain as a feeling within us (Empathic Resonance), and
3. acting to ease the suffering (Compassionate Responsiveness)

As compassion is engaged and embodied in action, it may be expressed by reaching out from our hearts with kindness… offering food, shelter, protection… speaking kind and helpful words… or reaching out from our hearts with lovingkindess, compassionate or healing thoughts/prayers/energies such as in the meditative practice of “tonglen” – a profound practice from the Mahayana Buddhist tradition of gathering and transforming the experience of suffering and radiating compassion and healing… (See notes on this practice in the latter portion of this page: ) All of these are examples of being moved into responsive compassionate engagement that can protect us from the dangers of being empathically overwhelmed by the suffering in our lives and world.

There are also the practices of “self-compassion” which can be very helpful to turn to in moments of overwhelm or distress. Kristen Neff offers a 4 fold formula for self-compassion that blends mindfulness and caring toward ourselves:

1) Ah, this is a moment of suffering…

2) Suffering is a natural part of life…

3) May I be kind to myself…

4) May I give myself the compassion I need…

Three Principles of the Deep Adaptation Forum

Return to compassion.

We shall seek to return to universal compassion in all our work, and remind each other to notice in ourselves when anger, fear, panic, or insecurity may be influencing our thoughts or behaviours. It is also important to remember to take care of ourselves, especially when the urgency of our predicament can easily lead to burnout.

Return to curiosity.

We recognise that we do not have many answers on specific technical or policy matters. Instead, our aim is to provide a space and an invitation to participate in generative dialogue that is founded in kindness and curiosity.

Return to respect.

We respect other people’s situations and however they may be reacting to our alarming predicament, while seeking to build and create nourishing spaces for deep adaptation.


Here are some suggested questions for your own reflection, take them to your household and communities. The questions are inspired by Jem Bendell posts and original paper:

  • Resilience: What things, behaviours, patterns, institutions, structures or processes you would need to protect, keep or transform in order to make them more resilient in the face of societal and ecological breakdown? How does this apply to you and the work you do?
  • Relinquishment: What things, behaviours, beliefs, institutions, patterns, etc. do you, your family or community may need to relinquish as we enter more and more into DA and societal and ecological breakdown?
  • Restoration: What things, behaviours,beliefs, structures and/or institutions you, your family or community may need to restore in order to be more ready for DA?
  • Reconciliation: Who or what do you or your community need to reconcile with? Are there special steps you may need to take to forgive or be forgiven, to make peace with?
  • Radical Hope: What does radical hope mean to you, your family or community? How does it influence the work you do or plan to do?

“It appears that the process of unfolding complexity leads to new forms of reflective consciousness. Therefore, I could choose a purpose to reduce suffering, promote joy, enable reflection, and unleash emergence. This does not sound so different from the great wisdom traditions, as well as the common sense knowledge of most people I know, if not deluded by obsessions over race, nation, politics, status, wealth or religious correctness…

Create a positive vision of people sharing compassion, love and play. It may feel that an eco-tragic outlook means you cannot have any meaningful vision of a better future for yourself, your community, or humanity. An absence of something positive to work towards can be destabilising and limiting. Some people will think you are depressed – or depressing – and need some “positive thinking”. For a personal vision, the answer may lie in developing a vision for how you will be approaching life, rather than imagining attributes of a lifestyle. This may parallel the dimensions of a collective vision. A future full of love and learning, rather than flying cars and fancy robots, could be a way to imagine a more beautiful world. And remember, the future will still be beautiful in its own way, no matter what life forms are in it – or if your favourite town is under water!” ~Jem Bendell –  Fourteen Recommendations When Facing Climate Tragedy: What Comes After Climate Dispair – See longer version of his article at:

Notes and Media Illuminating the Science of Compassion – 

The Vital Role of Mindfulness for Blue Light Services, Military, Health Care and Emergency Services Professionals Who Work with Danger and Trauma (These are transcripts from our recent teachings at a special session exploring this topic at British Parliament.)

The Mindfulness All Party Parliamentary Group hearing: Armed Forces, Policing and Emergency Services Parliament Transcript-Military Bluelight Hearing Military Leveys

The Mindfulness All Party Parliamentary Group hearing: Armed Forces, Policing and Emergency Services

Tara Meditation for the Dead & Dying
From the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition

Pause for a few moments to contemplate and take to heart the precious gifts of life.  Then, moved by great compassion for those who are dying or who have recently died, call forth or envision a spiritual being of light into the space of sky above and before you.  This could be Jesus, Mary, Kwan Yin, Tara, or simply a being of light.

Reaching out to this being of light from your heart now on behalf of those who have died or who are dying, the heart of this great being is opened to shine forth the light of their loving wisdom deep into the hearts, minds, and souls of those who have recently died.

Bathed in this loving light the sufferings of these beings and dissolved and the worries, fears, suffering, and confusion in the minds of those who are dead or dying are calmed and they are brought to a state of clear hearts, minds, and peace.

Their ordinary forms dissolve into spheres of light and they are drawn up on rays of light into the heart of this great spiritual being, and delivered into a realm of peace, well-being, and limitless spiritual evolutionary potential for continued spiritual awakening.

Another more traditional version:

From Tara’s heart—or from the heart of any Great Spiritual Being with whom you feel a close connection
(the Buddha, Christ, Quan Yin, etc.)
rainbow light shines
forth throughout the six realms and the bardo, enveloping the deceased ones wherever they are,
purifying their karma, and
infusing them with Tara’s radiant blessing.

Their forms become brilliant spheres of light
and dissolve into Tara’s heart-mind —
a realm beyond the cycles of suffering,
a realm of absolute purity and bliss.

Meditate in this way during the forty-nine days after death,
dedicating the merit of your practice to the deceased.

Excerpted from Chagdud Rinpoche’s
Red Tara: An Open Door to Bliss & Ultimate Awareness


M.A.G.I.C.A.L. Meditation:  

A unique sequence of meditations that we have created to begin each day – beginning with the first moment that you are “awake that you are awake” – and ideally prior to getting involved with any of your devices.  Doing this practice first is a declaration of giving priority to your primary operating systems – the deep nature of your own mind-body-spirit.

M indful of Body/Breath– Embodiment!
A wake that you are awake!
G ratitude– mindful of whomever or whatever you are grateful for, taking them to heart,with gratitude overflowing as blessings )))
 I ntention– clarify your personal intention for the day – and add to this a Universal harmonic of that intention….”for the benefit of all”
C onnection–Take refuge in the matrix or constellation of all the inspiring forces and sources of inspirations thatsupport you…receiving and radiating waves of inspiration and gratitude with each breath)))
A wareness– resting in clear, boundless, sky-like awake-awareness
L ove))) Sensing deeper into boundless awareness to discover that itis inseparable from boundless love extending to and embracing all beings)))

Links for Leveys’ various books and audio programmes:

Living in Balance: A Mindful Guide for Thriving in a Complex World  (ebook – and print)

Mindfulness, Meditation, and Mind-Fitness – new book in print, ebook, and -audio book (Audible) format

Focus! The Power of Mindfulness and Mastery of Attention (Audible program)

Embracing and Befriending “The Mystery” – Wisdom of a Child:

The Radiance of Love (from Joel & Michelle Levey)

A very simple yet potent practice you can do on a daily basis to revitalize your interconnectedness at a deep level is the practice of lovingkindness. The essence of this prayer and meditation is the wish that we and all beings enjoy happiness and well-being. Here’s how it goes:

Begin by touching your heart, if you like, breathe deeply, and smile to yourself a smile of tender appreciation and care. Holding the sincere wish to be of benefit to yourself and others, heartfully repeat the following phrases mentally, first to yourself,  several times, and then expand the radius of your loving kindness successively out to wider and wider circles. Go for the meaning and the feeling behind the words:

May I be happy and peaceful.

                  May I be free from fear and pain.

                  May I live with love and compassion.

                  And may I fully awaken and be free.

Next, reach out with your heart/mind to embrace your loved ones and friends with the energy of loving kindness in the same way and radiate these thoughts of well-being to them :

May you be happy and peaceful.

                  May you be free from fear and pain.

                  May you live with love and compassion.

                  And may you fully awaken and be free.

As you hold the image of your beloved ones and repeat these phrases, sense or imagine that they are actually touched by the love radiating out from your heart and that it is truly helpful for them.  Next, hold in mind someone or some group of people toward whom you feel neutral, perhaps some of the neighbors whom you really don’t know, or folks you see on the way to work. As you repeat these phrases bring these people into your heart and wish for them:

May you be happy and peaceful.

                  May you be free from fear and pain.

                  May you live with love and compassion.

                  And may you fully awaken and be free.

Sense or imagine that these wishes and prayers really do support them.

Now, having primed your heart pump, turn your attention toward someone, or ones, toward whom your heart is closed with pain, resentment, or negativity. Reflecting that this person or group of people may in the past have actually been kind to you, and that, in their own way, they too are searching for happiness and hoping to avoid suffering in their own lives, let your heart open to them. As best as you are able, wish for them:

May you be happy and peaceful.

                  May you be free from fear and pain.

                  May you live with love and compassion.

May you fully awaken to your greatest potentials, and be free of any         ignorance and confusion that leads you to act in unskillful ways.

As you hold them in mind and radiate these thoughts of loving kindness, be merciful with yourself. Let your own heart open to free you from the prison of imbalance that you may have created for yourself out of your own anger, fear, or resentment toward this person or persons with whom you are having a hard time, or whose relationship you would like to heal.

Visualize yourself surrounded now by all your circles of supportive relationships, and invite into your loving awareness as well all the networks of support, visible and invisible, known and unknown, near and far, that make up the circle of living beings, the web of life.  Expand your love and care equally to this larger field as the sun shines its life-giving rays equally to all.  In this same way—with great equanimity to all living beings—extend the radius of your loving kindness to all your loved ones and friends; to all the strangers or neutral people in your life; to all the people toward whom your heart has been closed; to all the humans and non-humans who search for happiness, harmony, and balance on their fleeting journey through life. And, imagining that this vast circle of relations joins you as you open your heart to include and embrace all beings, extend the waves of loving kindness out now in all directions:

May all beings be happy and peaceful.

                  May all beings be free from fear and pain.

                  May all beings live with love and compassion.

And may all beings awaken to the light of their True Nature and potentials and be free!

Let these wishes radiate to all the  beings to the east. To all beings to the west, to all beings to the south, to all beings to the north. Let these wishes reach out to all beings above you and below you. To all beings in this world, or in all worlds. In this time and in all times. Then, with your hands, imagine that you can gather the energy and the light you have generated through this series of contemplations. Imagine that you can bring this all to focus as one intensely bright light of love and compassion like a clear shining jewel. Bring this light of loving kindness and compassion into your heart. Let it shine there like a luminous loving sun that bathes the world and all beings within it in the light of love that radiates through you as a blessing for the world. Carry the natural radiance of this love with you wherever you go. When your awareness of it fades, re-energize it by using the phrases and images offered here, and let the light of your love light up your world.

(Excerpted from Joel Levey & Michelle Levey, Living in Balance: A Dynamic Approach for Creating Harmony & Wholeness in a Chaotic World)

Metta Chant – by Imee Ooi (a jewel!) from the Buddha’s teachings on the practice of lovingkindness (metta) –
The Four Immeasurables
May all beings have happiness
and create the causes of happiness.
May they all be free from suffering
and from creating
the causes of suffering.
May they find that noble happiness
that can never be tainted by suffering.
May they attain universal impartial compassion,
beyond worldly bias towards friends and enemies.
”May all who are sick and ill
Quickly be freed from their ailments.
May whatever diseases there are in the world
Never occur again.
May the frightened cease to be afraid
And those bound be freed.
May the powerless find power
And may people think to benefit each other.”
~ Shantideva

Forgiveness Meditation

From Joel & Michelle Levey

(Excerpted from our book – Mindfulness, Meditation, and Mind Fitness)

NOTE: Traditionally this kind of forgiveness meditation would be done as a precursor to doing meditations on lovingkindness and compassion.)

The practice of a forgiveness meditation is a wonderful way to heal the pain of the old hurts that block our hearts and prevent us from trusting and loving ourselves and others. Forgiveness is the key to opening our hearts, to learning from the painful lessons of the past in order to move into the future unhindered.

Begin by sitting quietly, relaxing your body and focusing your mind with the breath. Allow memories and images and emotions to float freely in your mind—things you have done, said, and thought that you have not forgiven yourself for, no matter how painful they are.

From your heart say to yourself, “I forgive myself for whatever I have done in the past, intentionally or unintentionally, my actions, my words, and my thoughts. I have suffered enough! I have learned and grown and I am ready now to open my heart to myself. May I be happy, may I be free from confusion, may I know the job of truly understanding myself, others, and the world. May I come to know my own wholeness and fullness and help others to do the same.”

Now, the space in front of you, imagine a person you love whom you want to forgive or whose forgiveness you need. From your heart to theirs directly communicate the following: “With all my heart I forgive you for whatever you may have done, intentionally or unintentionally, by your actions, your words, or thoughts that have caused me pain. I forgive you, and I ask that you forgive me for whatever I have done, intentionally or unintentionally to you, by my actions, my words, or my thoughts. I ask your forgiveness. may you be happy, free, and joyful. May we both open our hearts and minds to meet in love and understanding as we grow into wholeness.” Imagine that this message is received and accepted, and affirm the feeling of healing between you. Then let the image melt into space.

Now, in the space in front of you imagine someone toward whom you feel great resentment or negativity. To the best of  your ability and from your heart to theirs, communicate the essence of the following: “From my heart I forgive you for whatever you have done, intentionally or unintentionally, that has caused me pain. I forgive you for the actions and words and thoughts that you have expressed from your own pain, confusion, insensitivity, and fear of me. I forgive you, and I ask that you forgive me for the way in which I have, intentionally or unintentionally, closed my heart to you. I ask your forgiveness for causing you suffering. May you be happy. May you be free from suffering and confusion. May we both open our hearts to meet in love and understanding as we grow into our wholeness.” Imagine that this message has been received and accepted, and affirm the healing that has taken place within you and between the two of you. Then allow the image to melt into space.

Next, think about the countless people toward whom you have closed your heart. Remember how you felt and what you did when people abused you, spoke harshly, took “your” parking space, crowded in front of you in line, ad infinitum . . . Consider how many people you have hurt in some way, by your own conscious or unconscious actions, words, and thoughts. How many times have youbeen the abuser, the one who crowded in, the one who spoke harshly? Imagine these countless beings standing before you. From your heart to theirs generate the essence of the following: “I forgive you for whatever you have done, intentionally or unintentionally that has caused me to suffer. I forgive you and ask you to forgive me for whatever I have done, intentionally or unintentionally, that has hurt you. May you and I and all of us create the causes for happiness in our lives. May we outgrow and transform the causes of our suffering. May we all come to know the joy of truly understanding and experiencing our interrelationship. May we open our hearts and minds to each other and meet in harmony.

Repeat this reflective meditation as often as you like. At the conclusion, imagine and feel as vividly and wholeheartedly as you are able that you have actually released all guilt and blame toward yourself. In this present moment, allow yourself to feel forgiveness and a patient acceptance of your past actions.

Dedication Prayer

from Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche & Dudjom Rinpoche

Throughout my many lives and until this moment

Whatever virtue I have accomplished

Including the merit generated by this practice and all that I will ever attain

this I offer for the welfare of sentient beings.

May sickness, war, famine and suffering be decreased for every being

While their wisdom and compassion increase in this and every future life.

May I clearly perceive all experiences to be as insubstantial as the dream fabric of the night and instantly awaken to perceive the pure wisdom display in the arising of every phenomena.

May I quickly attain enlightenment in order to work ceaselessly for the liberation of all sentient beings.


Buddhas and Bodhisattvas all together

Whatever kind of motivation you have

whatever kind of beneficial action whatever kind of wishing prayers

Whatever kind of omniscience

Whatever kind of life accomplishment

Whatever kind of benevolent power and

Whatever kind of immense wisdom you have

then similarly may I who have come in the same way to benefit beings

pray to attain these qualities.


At this very moment for the people and the nations of the earth

May not even the names disease, famine, war and suffering be heard

Rather may their moral conduct, merit, wealth and prosperity increase

And may supreme good fortune and well being always arise for them.


Utilizing the Ordinary To Awaken ExtraOrdinary Wisdom and Compassion

Guidelines Offered by Longchenpa

When entering a doorway, practice Bodhicitta by wishing that all sentient beings

attain enlightenment.

At night before going to sleep, wish that all sentient beings attain Buddhahood.

When dreaming, wish that all sentient beings realize the nature of reality.

When seated, wish that all sentient beings attain

the indestructible seat of Buddhahood.

When lighting a fire, wish that this fire might burn through the mental

afflictions of all sentient beings.

When the fire is burning, wish that the wisdom of all sentient beings might burn

like the roaring flames.

When eating, wish that your food might become the “food” of meditative

concentration that can be eaten by all sentient beings.

When going outside, wish that all sentient beings be freed from samsara. When

opening a door, imagine that you are opening the door to realization for all

sentient beings.

When closing a door, imagine that you are closing he door to the lower realms.

When walking down a road, wish that all sentient beings

enter the noble path of the Bodhisattvas.

When climbing a mountain, imagine that all sentient beings

are climbing to the pure lands.

When meeting someone, imagine that this meeting is like the meeting between

ordinary beings and a Buddha.

When walking, imagine that each step you take

is the steady work of benefiting others.

When encountering someone adorned with necklaces and jewels, wish that all

beings attain the major and minor marks of a Buddha.

When encountering someone living in poverty, wish that all sentient beings

become like yogis who care nothing for worldly life

and devote themselves solely to the Dharma.

When seeing a cup or a bowl that is full to the brim, imagine that it is the

completion of all good qualities.

When seeing an empty cup or bowl, imagine that all faults have been abandoned.

When seeing a being who is rejoicing, imagine that it is the happiness of all

beings who have received the precious Teachings.

“Full Acceptance of the Awakening Mind”:

A Bodhicitta Prayer

by Shantideva

May I be the doctor and the medicine

And may I be the nurse

For all sick beings in the world

Until everyone is healed.

May a rain of food and drink descend

To clear away the pain of thirst and hunger

And during the aeon of famine

May I myself change into food and drink.

May I become an inexhaustible treasure

For those who are poor and destitute;

May I turn into all things they could need,

And may these be placed close beside them.

Without any sense of loss

I shall give up my body and enjoyments

As well as my virtues of the three times

For the sake of benefiting all.

By giving up all, sorrow is transcended

And my mind will realize the sorrowless state.

It is best that I now give everything to all beings

In the same way as I shall at death . . .

When anyone encounters me

May it never be meaningless for him or her.

If in those who encounter us

A faithful or angry thought arises,

May that eternally become the source

for fulfilling all their wishes.

May all who say bad things to me

Or cause me any other harm,

And those who mock & insult me

Have the fortune to fully awaken.

May I be a protector for those without one,

A guide for all travelers on the way;

May I be a bridge, a boat & a ship

For all those who wish to cross.

May I be an island for those who seek one,

A lamp for those desiring light.

And may I be a bed for all who wish to rest.

May I be a wishing jewel, a magic vase,

Powerful mantras & great medicine,

May I become a wish-fulfilling tree

And a cow of plenty for the world.

Just like space and all the great elements such as earth,

May I always support the life

Of all the boundless creatures.

And until they pass away from pain

May I also be the source of life

For all the realms of varied beings

That reach unto the ends of space.

Just as the previous Sugatas

Gave birth to an Awakening Mind,

And just as they successively dwelt

in the bodhisattva practices;

Likewise for the sake of all that lives

Do I give birth to an Awakening Mind

And likewise shall I too

Successively follow the practices.

In order to further increase it from now on,

Those with discernment who have lucidly seized

An Awakening Mind in this way,

Should highly praise it in the following manner:

Today my life has borne fruit:

Having well obtained this human existence,

I’ve been born in the family of Buddha

And now am one of Buddha’s children.

Thus whatever actions I do from now on

Must be in accord with the Family.

Never shall I disgrace or pollute

This noble & unsullied race.

Just like a blind person

Discovering a jewel in a heap of rubbish,

Likewise by some coincidence

An Awakening Mind has been born within me.

It is the supreme ambrosia

That overcomes the sovereignty of death,

It is the inexhaustible treasure

That eliminates all poverty in the world.

It is the supreme medicine

That quells the world’s disease.

It is the tree that shelters all beings

Wandering & tired on the path of conditioned existence.

It is the universal bridge

That leads to freedom from unhappy states of birth

It is the dawning moon of the mind

That dispels the torment of disturbing conceptions.

It is the great sun that finally removes

The misty ignorance of the world.

It is the quintessential butter

From the churning of the milk of Dharma.

For all those guests traveling on the path

of conditioned existence

who wish to experience the bounties of happiness,

this will satisfy them with joy

and actually place them in Supreme bliss.

Today in the presence of all the Protectors

We invite the world to be guests

At a festival of temporary and ultimate delight.

May gods, anti-gods & all be joyful.


This is a really beautiful and inspiring audio recording
in English of the Sutra
On Entering the City of Vaisali
Invited to visit the city of Vaiśālī, which has been ravaged by a terrible epidemic, the Buddha instructs Ānanda to stand at the city’s gate and recite a proclamation, a long mantra, and some verses that powerfully evoke spiritual well-being.
Ānanda does so, and the epidemic comes to an end.
One of the mahāsūtras related to the literature of the Vinaya,
this text, like other accounts of the incident, has traditionally been recited during times of personal or collective illness, bereavement, and other difficulties.
Download the chant at:
Download the Text of the Chant at: