About Stephan

Stephan Bodian offers webinars, retreats, videos, books, and spiritual counseling that make profound spiritual teachings and practices accessible to a global audience.

His ground-breaking guidebook Meditation for Dummies, which has sold nearly a half million copies in a half dozen languages, helped bring mindfulness to the mainstream. More recently, his book Wake Up Now was one of the first to offer a detailed road map to the journey of spiritual awakening. Since 2007 he has led an annual, months-long intensive program in spiritual transformation known as the School for Awakening.

Stephan is a licensed psychotherapist as well as a spiritual teacher, and he has been a pioneer in the integration of Eastern wisdom and Western psychology and in the embodiment of awakened awareness in everyday life. His approach to teaching and counseling blends compassionate self-inquiry, nondual insight, and transformational techniques from the field of psychotherapy. Drawing on his decades of experience as a therapist and teacher, he specializes in offering guidance that’s custom tailored to the needs of the individual seeker.

Stephan studied intensively with great masters in the nondual wisdom traditions of Zen, Dzogchen-Mahamudra, and Advaita Vedanta. He began his practice with Shunryu Suzuki, author of Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, and received ordination as a monk in 1974. After leaving the monastic life in the early ‘80s, he spent a decade as a student of Advaita master Jean Klein, and in 2001 he received Dharma transmission (authorization to teach) from Adyashanti.

He has taught at major retreat centers in North American, including Omega, Hollyhock, Kripalu, The Crossings Austin, and Garrison Institute, and he has presented regularly at the annual Science and Nonduality Conference, in both the US and Italy.

Before becoming a therapist and teacher, Stephan spent 10 years as editor-in-chief of the magazine Yoga Journal, and his articles on meditation, spirituality, and health have appeared in the magazines Fitness, Cooking Light, Tricycle, Natural Solutions, and, of course, Yoga Journal. He has a degree in English literature from Columbia University in New York and did graduate work at Stanford.

Stephan's most recent book, Beyond Mindfulness, acknowledges the many benefits of mindfulness but cautions that this increasingly popular practice may actually take us away from our natural state of inherent wakefulness and peace. For those seeking to go “beyond mindfulness,” the book offers a more “direct approach” to self-realization that bypasses deliberate practices and points directly to our very own awakened awareness, which is always already present.

His other books include Timeless Visions, Healing Voices; Everyday Mindfulness; and Buddhism for Dummies (with Jon Landaw).


Praise for Stephan and his work

  • Stephan speaks from long experience to share the path that ends suffering and frees the heart for flight.
    — Stephen Levine, author of Healing into Life and Death and A Year to Live
  • Many books talk about spiritual awakening, but Wake Up Now breaks new ground by providing a detailed roadmap to the complete process. Profound yet accessible, precise yet jargon-free, this wise book leads you step by step on the direct path home to your radiant natural state, your innermost true self
    — Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within and Awakening to the Sacred
  • Stephan is a shining the light in the fields of yoga, meditation, and consciousness
    — Joan Borysenko, author of A Woman's Book of Life and Inner Peace for Busy people
  • Wake Up Now is one of the most concise guides to spiritual awakening I have read. Both profound and practical, it guides the reader through the intricacies of awakening as only someone who has walked the walk themselves can do. The clarity and compassion this book offers the sincere spiritual seeker is both rare and welcome
    — Adyashanti, author of The End of Your World and Falling into Grace
  • With his deep training in contemplative practice combined with a down-to-earth understanding of everyday life, Stephan Bodian helps us open to and rest in a natural presence and wakefulness that is our true home. His writing is so clear, warm, accessible, and helpful. A gem of a book!
    — Rick Hanson, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author of Buddha’s Brain and Hardwiring Happiness
  • Beyond Mindfulness is a beautifully written guide for both beginner and experienced meditators. Stephan Bodian takes us beyond stress relief and shows us how mindfulness can be a stepping stone to a more direct approach to awakening. This is a unique and important book for understanding and experiencing awakened awareness as a new potential foundation for living.
    — Loch Kelly, author of Shift into Freedom
  • Beyond Mindfulness is a provocative and profound book that shines a light on how practicing meditation can reify the doer—the self who is being mindful. With great lucidity and care,author Stephan Bodian introduces approaches drawn from non-dual wisdom traditions that allow us to relax back and realize the indivisible radiant awareness that is already and always here.
    — Tara Brach, Ph.D., author of Radical Acceptance and True Refuge
  • Beyond Mindfulness is an important addition to the literature on consciousness and spiritual practice. It skillfully extols the direct experience of non-dual reality, as distinct from mindfulness. I found it clear, poetic, and inspiring. Every page rings with authenticity.
    — Robert K. Hall, M.D., one of the founding teachers of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and cofounder of the Lomi School of Somatic Studies
  • In Beyond Mindfulness, Stephan Bodian expertly reveals the direct approach that frees us from the psychological traps and spiritual limitations of technical forms of meditation. Everyone who senses that their meditation is conditioning them should engage with Stephan's profound exposition of the wisdom beyond all effort.
    — Peter Fenner, Ph.D., founder of Timeless Wisdom, author of Radiant Mind and Natural Awakening