Dr. Joel & Michelle Levey, Founders, Wisdom at Work
Pioneers: Introducing Contemplative Science, Mindful Leadership, Compassion Science, Collective Wisdom, and Mind Fitness Practices for ExtraOrdinary Human Performance into Mainstream Business, Medicine, Higher Education, Arts, Sports, Military, and Sports Arenas.
Faculty: University of Minnesota Medical School, teaching Mindfulness, Clinical Science, and Contemplative Science; former faculty Indian Institute of Management (IIM Ahmedabad); Mahidol University (Thailand).
Authors: 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; Luminous Mind; and many other books.
Dr. Joel and Michelle Levey, founders of Wisdom at Work, are regarded as leaders and early pioneers in the global “mindfulness revolution”, the “contemplative science”, and the “collective wisdom” movements. Their inspired wisdom at work demonstrates the profound sensibility of integrating contemplative science, interpersonal neurobiology, and contemporary mind-fitness training for develop the extra-ordinary capacities of leader, teams, and organizations in these complex modern times.
The Leveys were among the very first people to develop and introduce Mindful Leadership and Advanced Mind Fitness based programs for realizing extra-ordinary levels of human potential in mainstream medical, higher educational, organizational, sports, government, and military arenas beginning in the mid-1970s.
The Leveys extensive experience, expertise, and enduring success in making mindfulness practices and teachings relevant and accessible to corporate and organizational audiences distinguishes them from many others working in this field who have far less personal and professional experience. Their unique approach to introducing mindfulness into workplace as a “vital organizational operating system” has far wider and deeper impact than merely teaching mindfulness as an app that is used by some but not widely understood or integrated into enhancing the quality of every aspect and encounter of life-work within an organization.
Over the past 40+ years Joel and Michelle have worked with thousands of leaders in hundreds of organizations around the globe including: NASA; Google; World Bank; NHS; NIH; M.D. Anderson Cancer Center; Clinton Global Initiative; Stanford Research Institute International; Intel; M.I.T., Prime Ministers Office of the U.A.E; U.S. Army Special Forces; Surgeon General’s Office; U.S, Federal Court System; the World Government Summit; and World Business Academy. They were honored to be advisors for the Mindfulness All-Parliamentary Group (MAPPG) at British Parliament in their development of the historic Mindfulness Nation UK Report and recently offered a workshop on The Future of Leadership at the World Government Summit hosted by the Prime Minister’s Office of the United Arab Emirates.
The Leveys have served as Chairpeople 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. They 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. The Leveys are advisors for Mindfulness programs at Universities in Madrid and Barcelona, Spain. They stewarded the development of some of the first “mindful organizations” in the Western world – at Hewlett Packard, Intuit, Weyerhaeuser, Intel, etc.
Nobel 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 teachings. I am very pleased about the work that you are doing and send you blessings and prayers for your success.”
Joel began a mindfulness and mind-fitness based clinical program at Group Health Medical Center in Seattle — the same year Jon Kabat Zinn started his program at University of Massachusetts. Over the years Jon has become a friend and ally praising their work saying, ““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.” Chris Ruane, MP at British Parliament praised our work saying, “You have been so inspirational in the field of mindfulness teaching over so many decades.”
Following the tremendous success and popularity of Google’s famed “Search Inside Yourself” program, leaders in Google’s training and development department searching for a new program to meet the interests of people looking for more and deeper skills to cultivate higher levels of resilience, personal energy management, mastery of attention, stress mastery, wellness, and high-performance, contacted us, and we were requested to design, develop, and facilitate Google’s Global “Mindfulness and Meditation Laboratory.” These programs began in 2010 and continue to this day having reached Googlers in 24 Google locations around the globe. Learn more about our Mindfulness and Meditation Laboratory program at Google.
The Leveys offer a unique and rich blend of insights and experience distilled from 50 years of intensive contemplative study/practice/reseach, 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 of mindfulness practice – 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 and lecturers at universities around the world; mind-fitness coaches for world-class and Olympic-gold athletes; and contemplative science researchers. Michelle and Joel also have the unique distinction of having done this work together as a couple for 36 years.
The Leveys were invited by Pentagon leaders to develop the once secret “Jedi Warrior Program” for the Special Forces, where they led the advanced “biocybernautic training” (integrating neurofeedback, “mind-fitness training,”and guided a month-long, silent Mindfulness style Vipassana-retreat for this once secret, six-month, full-time program. Military leaders described Jedi Warrior 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, Swedish military, Prime Minister’s Office of Dubai, and British Parliaments Hearing on The Vital Role of Mindfulness in the Military and Blue Light Emergency Services.
Michelle and Joel have been fortunate to study deeply and closely with many remarkable teachers in the foundational mindfulness traditions including: Jack Kornfield, Thich Nhat Hanh, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Dipama, Anagarika Munindra, S.N. Goenka, Ruth Dennison, Robert Hover, Rina Sircar, Stephen Levine, and Tangpulu Sayadaw. They’ve also studied closely with: The Dalai Lama, Kalu Rinpoche, 16th Karmapa, Zong Rinpoche, Geshe Dhargye, Lama Yeshe, Chagdud Rinpoche, Tharchin Rinpoche, Tsoknyi Rinpoche, Dzigar Rinpoche, Gen Lamrimpa, Kilung Rinpoche, Joanna Macy, Sakya Trizen, Daniel Siegel, Dan Goleman, and Robert Thurman and have also worked closely with many of the leaders in the emerging field of “contemplative science.”
The Leveys have taken their research and practice deeply and have been fortunate to devote nearly 2 years to silent contemplative retreats — including sitting the historic first Shamatha Project – a year-long silent retreat under the guidance of the Venerable Gen Lamrimpa (a teacher of the Dalai Lama) that they organized with Alan Wallace, and that was sponsored in part by the Dalai Lama. The Leveys were also the first directors for research for The Shamatha Project.
Joel and Michelle have worked closely with many of the leaders in the emerging field of “contemplative science” and have been involved in many global learning communities related to this work including: Mind and Life Institute and Academy for Contemplative and Ethical Leadership; Stanford’s CCARE Science of Compassion Program; the Presencing Institute; Institute of Noetic Sciences; Contemplative Mind in Society; The International Campaign for Compassionate Cities; Compassion Games International; Society for Organizational Learning (SOL); Seeds of Compassion; The Compassion Action Network; and the International Center of Compassionate Organizations. They 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. Working closely with Ram Dass, Stephan and Ondrea Levine, Joel and Michelle developed extensive programs on Conscious Living, Conscious Dying that have inspired thousands of people working in Hospice and palliative care.
The Leveys published works are available in 13 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. Michelle is also a contributing author to: Buddhism Through American Women’s Eyes; Dipama; and Keys to the Open Gate.
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See the Leveys in action on their Wisdom at Work YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/wisdomatwork
“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, 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
“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 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
“The Leveys’ are OG’s (original gangsta’s) of meditation! They are awesome, wise, inspiring guides for your mindfulness journey!”
— Sid Gennette, Luminary Wizard and founder of Lighting Design (and Burning Man host)
“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.
“The first names that pop to my mind are Dr. Joel and Michelle Levey, founders of Wisdom at Work, whom I worked with in several corporate settings, including in FC (Future Considerations). We invited them to facilitate our Annual General Meeting, last year. They demonstrated their mastery of linking business concerns with the the teaching of profound mindfulness and mind-fitness practices. FC has also organized a series of public-enrollment workshops with them where they received raving recognitions from the participants. Joel and Michelle are pioneers of bringing contemplative science into the business world, and have designed and introduced highly successful mindfulness programs at NASA; Google; World Bank; NIH; Clinton Global Initiative; Stanford Research Institute; Intel; M.I.T., U.S. Army Special Forces; U,S. Surgeon General’s Office; and World Business Academy.”
– George Pór, Fellow, Future Considerations, Fellow of Royal Society for the Arts
“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!”
–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