Visionary Arts

Aug 1, 2012 | Wisdom at Work

Where do our visionary inspirations come from?

How can we become more adept at resonantly aligning ourselves with the source of visionary guidance?

How can the inner sciences and technologies of the contemplative wisdom traditions help us to open ourselves to source the downloads that inspire our visionary lives?

Drawing insights from 40 years of personal exploration, the Leveys guide our deep reflection regarding these questions and introduce you to a spectrum of meditative skilful means for activating your own creative visionary potential.



Leveys Contemplative Noetic Visionary Artistry  – download pdf

Dr. Joel & Michelle Levey, beloved friends of the Visionary Arts Tribe, have been deeply engaged in many dimensions of consciousness research and the contemplative inner science traditions, and have been blessed to work and study closely with many of the greatest contemplative teachers and mind-science researchers of our times. Joel & Michelle’s teachings have inspired many circles of visionary artists and healers through their teachings at IONS, ISSSEEM, Oracle Gatherings, CoSM, Beloved Festival, this year at Burning Man, and as teachers and advisors for the Art Monastery’s   International Otherhood of ArtMonks .

Joel & Michelle serve as graduate faculty in the Contemplative Education & Transformational Learning program at Mahidol University in Thailand, clinical faculty at University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality and Healing where they teach Meditation and Medicine for the Medical School, Clinical Faculty for Bastyr University’s Center for Spirituality, Science, and Medicine, and authors of many books including:  Luminous Mind: Meditation and Mind Fitness; Wisdom at Work; Living in Balance; The Fine Arts of Relaxation, Concentration, and Meditation: Ancient Skills for Modern Minds.  For more info, see: ,

Blessings & Praise for Joel & Michelle’s Teachings on Awakening the Creative Spirit for Visionary Artists and Performers:


“The presence of Joel and Michelle Levey in our life has inspired our creative spirit and will surely inspire others.”   – Alex and Allyson Grey,

Image below – Leveys guide meditation at CoSM Full Moon Gathering with Allyson and Alex Grey


“Joel and Michelle exhibit a beautiful and deep spiritual wisdom and understanding, while maintaining the innate ability to apply it in the form of their life and teachings to a modern world that makes it not exclusive, but accessible to any and everyone with a desire to deepen their search and open their creative hearts and minds…   Shimshai

Joel and Michelle are rare in their depth of devotion to the spiritual path. They are open minded, open hearted, creative and visionary learners and teachers. They have dedicated much time in this life, to meditation and the profound explorations within, then sensitively and creatively using their enhanced consciousness to help


individuals, and humanity as a whole through their obvious Bodhisattva vow of assisting all beings to gain enlightenment rather than simply seeking their own.  Wisdom at Work has been their vehicle of many years, offering a wide variety of great support, in forms that help individuals become empowered, feel and delve deeper into the rich terrain of life’s internal reflections. I can sense Joel and Michelle equally at home in large institutions teaching Dharma and compassion or in leading informal discussions with small community sanga, developing supportive relationships, urging people onward in their paths… I heartily recommend Joel and Michelle as teachers who lead with integrity and Love, whatever they are offering.” 

La aka Laurrien Gilman, artist, spiritual seeker, and community builder

pastedGraphic_4.pdf“To my fellow Burning Man devotees: Few people in my life have touched my life in such a positive way as Joel and Michelle Levey.  The depth of their understanding, compassion and love inspires me in every creative endeavor I undertake.  I highly recommend their workshops to anyone wanting to go deeper into their spiritual practice and creative source.  Joel and Michelle are “the real deal original gangsta’s of meditation.” Should their paths cross yours, count yourself as one of the blessed.

—Sidney Genette,

pastedGraphic_5.pdf“When I think of the type of people I want to surround myself with Joel and Michelle come to mind. They truly walk their talk. The love and grace these two radiate, continues to inform my daily practice, their endless giving and care for others, their passion for the advancement of humanity, serves as deep inspiration for my own work. I feel truly blessed to consider these two my mentors.”

— Nina von Feldmann,

pastedGraphic_6.pdfI strongly encourage anyone who has the opportunity to experience the collective wisdom field facilitated so compassionately and expertly by Joel and Michelle Levey. Their loving light shines through all that they do, and is so clearly grounded in decades of inner work and being in service to such a vast diversity of groups and organizations. If you are seeking to move into the heart of a collective issue or exploration, these are the two who can guide you there with true grace and feeling.” Jeet-Kei Leung, Vancouver, BC, DJ/Musician

“Joel & Michelle Levey express and exude a deep hearted Authenticity and Grace that simply feels good to be around! I find them to be wonderfully inspiring in their genuineness“.  —Kenny Telesco, Theatre Artist

“Joel and MichpastedGraphic_7.pdfelle are radiant embodiments of compassion, love and evolution in action.  They are emissaries of peace and their vibrations are felt beyond words or actions. If you have the blessed opportunity to meet them, you will never forget the light of these two incredible beings.  

– little woo, Vancouver BC Canada

“Joel and Michelle Levey shine the brightest light.  Whenever I’m around them I feel nurtured by the warmth of their glow, profound but gentle presence, deep wisdom, and pure love.  The stunning result is that my own heart and spirit are activated, my own vibration rises, and I find myself reflecting back to the universe the deepest and brightest essence of my creative nature.   The Leveys are potent in their ability to inspire us to share our own luminance, and in helping us clear the noise that obstructs that self-expression.   I’m deeply grateful for opportunities to experience their catalyzing gifts.” — Gwen Williams, Designer/artist,

“Joel and Michelle Levey generously offer their hearts and teachings to those who are blessed to cross their paths.  Their presence embodies their teachings and their teachings support all beings to step into their highest creative potential.   Being with Joel and Michelle is inspiring, in the same way I feel inspired when I smell the fragrance of a blooming gardenia.  There’s a depth, sweetness, and strong impulse to shout out Yes!” —Tamara Newmoon, Psychic & Healer

“I have known Joel and Michelle Levey for many years. Due to a lifetime of study of Buddhism and their own in – depth meditation practices, they teach from a place of true integrity and personal understanding.    Joel and Michelle work seamlessly as a team and are inspiring teachers, presenting the Dharma in a way that is both practical and  inspiring … resonating deeply with my own inner truth. Michelle’s joyful presence  fills the room, and her knowledge of Buddhism is vast. Joel has the extraordinary ability to make the invisible visible by articulating the world of consciousness so it becomes tangible to the rest of us. Clear presence and deep compassion is evident in all that they do and say. They have encouraged and supported my art in many ways, generously providing contacts, ideas, images and  new possibilities. In addition, their work encompasses a  passionate interest in integrating the various disciplines of science, art, social activism as well as spirituality.  I highly recommend their work. “ —Robin Maynard-Dobbs, Silk painting artist,  owner of Silk Creations; Personal coach and founder of Aware Eating

“It has truly been a blessing to know Joel and Michelle Levey. These teachers walk in grace and offer wisdom with every pastedGraphic_8.pdfword. They offer their generous spirits to all who cross their path. We are grateful for the gift they bring to our Mother Earth, who is calling us all to love this big.”  —Alli Chagi-Starr, Arts Activist, Cultural Arts Director for the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights’ Reclaim the Future Program and & Ashel Eldridge, music and meditation facilitator with Art in Action – Youth Leadership Program in Oakland

Here’s what participants had to say about the Art Monk Retreat that Joel & Michelle Levey guided for the Art Monastery Project 2010 – 2011 – 2012 retreats:

~  Ever since I went on this new year’s retreat I can feel my path becoming so much more clear. Gaining the tools to steer me back on track when life throws curve balls, I have new found sustainable joy. The tools are so simple….just breathe! For me, this year is dedicated to healing the fractured parts of myself. I am recognizing and in doing so letting go of the influences that have been blocking my path and diverting my energy as a creative healer. I am finding deep peace and acceptance within and it feels good to point the laser my way for a change.  Also, in my search for definition of healthy community, I have new attributes to add; time spent together in noble silence. The space to really tune in to self and each other in relation to the space we share. The gift has been the key that I have been looking for, unlocking the doors to exalted human potential.  ~   – Nina von Feldmann, artist, community organizer

~  While I have only done one Art Monastery retreat, and it was a great success, I want to say that the word, the concept, Artmonk, has been a huge inspiration. I am moved by the idea that I can, with like-minded people, merge inner, spiritual pursuits with creative urges. While I love the Vipassana practice I sometimes come to odds with its earnestness. (For instance, I recall a teacher advising a poet who asked what to do with a beautiful line that sprang to mind to let it pass and continue meditating.) I believe a beautiful image or insight might evaporate, never to be seen, and should be savored – that perhaps its value might be as good as learning observation. While that point is open for discussion, I love the intention of the Art Monastery, which I interpret to be an invitation to find the spiritual through expression and sharing, as much as in meditation. And being aware, overly perhaps, of the mood and intention of my surroundings, I so relish being among like-intended people, finding a mood of warm safety and invitation that opens the creative heart.  The retreat at the Integratron was truly wonderful and I am eager to rejoin my new friends in new surroundings for new adventures. At long last I feel I know what is worthy and valuable in this, our wacky world, and I am happy to now be an Art Monk. I send my deep appreciation for those who conceived and made the Art Monastery live.

William Dailey, proprietor of Hacienda Hot Springs, rare books collector

~ The Art Monastery Project and the International Otherhood of Artmonks inspire me to make art a central part of my life.  They provide permission for me to consider myself an artist and offers a structure, a focal point for my creativity.  ~  Leah Hofkin, Gli Amici dell’Art Monastery Board member, Development Director

~  May I never awaken from this awakening.  ~  Raphael Barker, actor

When asked to say one word that arose when thinking of the retreat, participants offered these:

Reverence, Gratitude, Simplicity, Steadfast, Presence, Satisfied, Spacious, Sweetness, Amazing, Improvipassana, CoLuminating, Ahhhhh, BoYopoYay  (Venusian for FUN), Breath, Truth, Now, Radiate, Ding!, Prismatic, Burst,Savoring, PartOfSomethingGreater, Grateful, Home


Bio:  A Glimpse of the Life-Work of Michelle & Joel Levey

Joel & Michelle Levey have devoted their lives to exploring the disciplines that awaken extra-ordinary human potentials for wisdom, compassion, and creative intelligence.

Their pioneering lives’ work spans many disciplines including: integral mindbody medicine; noetic mind sciences; contemplative education and transformational learning; social neurobiology; collective wisdom; cyberphysiology, neurofeedback and clinical biofeedback training; mind-fitness, peak performance training and extra-ordinary human potential; transformational leadership development & change resilience; developing healthy high performing organizational teams and cultures; multidimensional medicine work; and r/evolutionary interactivational practices necessary for communities to resonantly align with their highest potentials amidst the creative complexity of our times.

The Dalai Lama, an advisor and supporter on a number of the Leveys’ projects, blessed them in their work-teachings saying: “You are presently engaged in work that has great prospects for bringing the Dharma (the inner sciences and technologies of human development and transformation) to a very wide section of people who may not under ordinary circumstances come into contact with these teachings.” His Holiness also wrote an inspiring foreword for their book Living in Balance ~ a book-of-the-month club main selection.

Michelle and Joel are dedicated to the study, practice, and teaching of many of the world’s great wisdom traditions. They have been fortunate to study intensively with many of the most revered contemplative teachers of our time, and have been blessed and encouraged to keep these wisdom traditions alive through teaching others. They are active in inter-spiritual community work with a diversity of other leaders from faith traditions and social justice movements in the NW US and in Hawaii. Their combined 60 years of intensive contemplative practice draws inspiration from many of the world’s great wisdom traditions. Their teachers include: His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Kalu Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche, Zazep Rinpoche, Chagdud Rinpoche, Gen Lamrimpa, Lama Tharchin, Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, Lama Thubten Yeshe, Dipama, Sakya Dagmola Kusho, Robert Thurman, Rina Sircar, Krishnamurti, Brother David Steindl-Rast, Reb Shlomo Carlbach, Reb Zalman Schacter Shalomi. Ram Dass, Sogyal Rinpoche, Thich Nhat Hahn, Faisal Muqaddam, Venerable Deshung Rinpoche, S.N. Goenka, Munindra-ji, Venerable Taungpulu Sayadaw, His Holiness the 16th Karmapa, David Chethlahe Paladin, Genki Roshi, Sasaki Roshi, Seung Sahn Soen-sa, Pir Vilayat Khan, Postneshin Jelaleddin Loras, Dhiravamsa, Jack Kornfield, Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, Stephen and Ondrea Levine, and Vimala Thakar.

During their 50 years of intensive meditation practice Joel and Michelle have been fortunate to devote a number of years of their lives to intensive silent contemplative retreat, including a one-year silent meditation retreat in the Tibetan tradition. They have also been intensively involved with psychophysiological research on meditation, consciousness, and extraordinary human performance, and were recognized by the Institute of Noetic Sciences–for whom they have participated in numerous research colloquiums and conferences–as leading contemporary “teachers of transformation.”

Michelle & Joel are founders of the International Institute for Meditation in MindBody Medicine, and the International Center for Contemplative Inquiry and Dialogue. They serve as faculty for Bastyr University’s new Center for Science, Spirituality, and Medicine, where they are directors of the new “Meditation and Medicine: Exploring the Vital Role of Contemplative Disciplines in Integral Medicine & the Healing Arts” program. Joel & Michelle are also on the clinical faculty for the Center for Spirituality and Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School, adjunct faculty at the Institute for Religion and Health at the University of Texas Medical Center, and graduate faculty in the Contemplative Education and Transformational Learning program at Mahidol University in Thailand. They have also served as faculty at Antioch University, the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Ahmedabad India, the International Center for Organization Design, and the World Business Academy. They are beloved elders in the Oracle Gathering Tribe and the Communiversity Creationship scene in the N.W., and have led meditations at CoSM with dear friends Alex and Allyson Grey.

Joel and Michelle are co-founders of:; InnerWork Technologies, Inc.; SportsMind, Inc.; and The International Center for Corporate Culture & Organizational Health. Their work in the world has lead them to work with leaders and teams in over 200 leading organizations around the globe including: NASA, M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center, HP, Intel, Intuit, Microsoft, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, MIT, and Stanford Research Institute International. They were honored to serve at the Clinton Global Initiative as facilitators of dialogue among world leaders seeking to find solutions to the great challenges of our times. They are adept at carrying the medicine of these profound teaching into very powerful and conservative organizations where transformation in the hearts, minds, and values of people is so essential.

Joel Levey, Ph.D., directed clinical programs in Biofeedback, Stress Management, Pain Management, Psychophysiological Therapy, and Hospice Training for Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound. Michelle Levey, M.A., directed similar programs at Children’s Medical Center in Seattle. Their pioneering work in Complementary & Alternative Medicine (CAM) education, Meditation and Medicine, Integral Medicine, Mind-Science & Medicine, and “Ethics, Psychophysiology, and the Sacred,” has inspired faculty and students at dozens of medical and nursing schools.

Michelle and Joel’s published works have been translated into 9 languages and include: Luminous Mind: Meditation and Mind Fitness; Living in Balance: A Dynamic Approach for Creating Harmony & Wholeness in a Chaotic World; A Moment to Relax; The Fine Arts of Relaxation, Concentration, and Meditation: Ancient Skills for Modern Minds; Simple Meditation & Relaxation, and Wisdom at Work. They have contributed chapters to many anthologies including: Voices on the Threshold of Tomorrow; Buddhism Through American Women’s Eyes; Be the Change; Intuition at Work; Community Building in Business; Rediscovering the Soul in Business; and The New Bottom Line.

Joel & Michelle Levey live in Seattle and steward The Kohala Sanctuary, an organic permaculture farm, learning center, and zone of peace on the northern tip of the Big Is. of Hawaii. (See )

To learn more about their lives-work, we invite you to explore:

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