May 23, 2016
Throughout his youth, Noah Levine was incarcerated several times. His first book, Dharma Punx, details his teenage years filled with drugs, violence, and multiple suicide attempts—choices fulled by disillusionment with American mainstream culture. His substance abuse started early in life—at age six he began smoking marijuana—and finally ended in a padded cell in juvenile prison 11 years later. It was in this cell where he hit “an emotional rock bottom” and began his meditation practice “out of a place of extreme drug addiction and suffering.” While incarcerated, he saw for the first time how the mediation practice his father taught him gave him the tools to relieve the fear and uncertainty that pervaded his life. Noah lectures and teaches meditation classes, workshops and retreats internationally as well as leading groups in juvenile halls and prisons. He has helped to found several groups and projects including the Mind Body Awareness Project, a non-profit organization that serves incarcerated youths, and Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society. Noah holds a masters degree in counseling psychology from CIIS and has studied with many prominent teachers in both the Theravadan and Mahayanan Buddhist traditions.
Learning to meet pain with compassion and not avoid it, is key to recovery. Pain is unavoidable, you can only drink it away for so long, at some point you have to deal with it. And the same goes with pleasure. That also is not permanent. If you are attached to impermanent feelings, how will you deal with that? This is where mindfulness and mediation comes in. It gives you the ability to deal with pleasure and pain in a healthy way.
Noah’s memoir: Dharma Punx
Best advice: Start from the inside and develop compassion to your own pain. If you want to see change in the world, be the change. -Ghandi
What do you absolutely believe to be true: All things are impermanent and nothing is worth clinging to.
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