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About Dennis Lewis


Dennis Lewis, founder of The Center for Harmonious Awakening, was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He studied philosophy at the University of Wisconsin and received a degree in philosophy/religion from San Francisco State University in 1967. He has worked as an art gallery director, computer programmer/analyst, book editor, and public relations executive. He formed his own PR agency, called Hi-Tech Public Relations, with a partner in 1981. In addition to handling public relations for numerous start-up companies, Hi-Tech did work for many of the leaders in the computer and electronics industry, including Sun Microsystems, Oracle Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, and Xerox. They sold the agency to a large English firm in 1988, and Lewis left the agency two years later. The agency had grown to 45 people.

The Search for What Is Real

Lewis has been on the path of self-knowledge and self-transformation his entire adult life. In 1964, he came across books about the teachings of the great spiritual pathfinder G. I. Gurdjieff. In 1966, realizing he needed more than books to help him, he went in search of a Gurdjieff group and soon made contact with the Gurdjieff Foundation of California. After several years of study in groups under the direction of Lord John Pentland--who had been put in charge of the Work in America, was president of the Gurdjieff Foundation in New York, and directed the foundation in San Francisco--Lewis was given the responsibility by him of helping to lead a group in San Francisco. Lord Pentland also gave him permission to start his own Gurdjieff group in Phoenix, Arizona, a group which he continued for about six years.

Starting in the late 1980s, Lewis studied intensively for three years with the remarkable Advaita Vedanta master Jean Klein, whose work included an esoteric form of yoga and pranayama.

The Beginning of His Healing Work

In 1990, around the time that Lewis left his agency, he found himself with an abdominal pain that no one, including medical doctors, could diagnose. Searching for a "cure" for this problem, he met a practitioner of a Taoist form of healing called Chi Nei Tsang (CNT), which involves breathing work and internal organ "chi" massage. The problem went away within several weeks. Lewis decided to learn CNT and quickly became a practitioner, certified by Taoist Master Mantak Chia. Lewis started his own Chi Nei Tsang practice and also worked in a well-known acupuncture clinic in San Francisco (Shen’s Healing Center).

In 1991, Lewis started taking classes in Taoist meditation and chi kung from Mantak Chia and other instructors at Chia’s Healing Tao Center. After two years, Lewis himself became a Healing Tao instructor and began giving classes in breathing work, meditation, and chi kung in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Starting in late 1994, Lewis studied for two years with Dr. Wang Shan Long, a chi kung master from China, who gave him permission to teach Liangong in 18 Exercises, a series of postures and movements oriented toward fitness and health.

Since early 1997, Lewis has participated in a variety of intensive workshops and trainings with Taoist master Bruce Kumar Frantzis, who certified him to teach Level 1 of "The Opening the Energy Gates Chi Gung Program" and "Wu Style Tai Chi Short Form."

The Work of Self-Knowledge & Self-Transformation

Based on his many years of exploration in the Gurdjieff Work, Advaita Vedanta, Taoism, and chi kung (qigong), Lewis believes that the work of self-knowledge and self-transformation is a work that requires the participation of our whole being--body, emotions, mind, and, especially, consciousness. He believes that the foundation of this work must include a deep awareness of the body, that extraordinary alchemical factory that produces the energies we need not just for living and well-being, but also for spiritual growth. His emphasis today, therefore, is on "self-sensing," the exploration through presence, through awareness, of the miraculous energies of life itself, and how these energies are conditioned by our habits of mind, feeling, posture, breath, and movement. Lewis believes that without a serious work of self-sensing, a work which must include a deep exploration of our breath, a great deal of our so-called spiritual work resides mainly in our thought and imagination, with little impact on our lives.

Published Works

Lewis’s writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Yoga Journal, Gnosis, Parabola, Somatics, Library Journal, Manas, The Empty Vessel, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He is editor, with Jacob Needleman, of two books: Sacred Tradition & Present Need (Viking) and On the Way to Self Knowledge (Knopf). His book The Tao of Natural Breathing: For Health, Well-Being and Inner Growth was published in English in September, 1996, by Mountain Wind Publishing, and then reissued by Rodmell Press in 2006. The book has also been published in German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Czech, and Dutch. His two-cassette audio program, entitled Breathing as a Metaphor for Living, was released by Sounds True in September 1998 and then converted to a three CD set under the title Natural Breathing, in 2005. His book, Free Your Breath, Free Your Life: How Conscious Breathing Can Relieve Stress, Increase Vitality, and Help You Live More Fully, was published by Shambhala Publications in May 2004. His latest book Breathe Into Being: Awakening To Who You Really Are was published by Quest Books in May 2009.

Lewis is a contributor (a section on natural, whole-body breathing) to a book on qigong, entitled Chi Kung - Energy for Life, By James MacRitchie, Thorsons/Harper Collins, 2002. He is also included (two pages) in The Complete Idiot's Guide to Taoism, Alpha Books, 2002, by Brandon Toropov and Chad Hansen. He wrote the chapter entitled "Breath Therapy" (p 616-617) that appears in Alternative Cures: The Most Effective Natural Home Remedies, written by Bill Gottlieb and published by Rodale Press. He is quoted widely in a recent book (copyright 2008, pages 123-126) from Penguin by Gabriella Goddard, entitled "Gulp," on dealing with the challenges of your life. He is also quoted in Stress Relief & Relaxation Techniques by Judith Lazarus, and numerous other books.

Since the publication of The Tao of Natural Breathing, Lewis has been speaking and leading workshops throughout the United States, including famed Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California (where he teaches an annual five-day retreat), The Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, and The Franciscan Renewal Center (Scottsdale, AZ). He has also appeared on radio and television. He is the founder of The Center for Harmonious Awakening.

In addition to his workshops, classes, and retreats, Lewis works both with individuals interested in breathing and stress relief, and with corporations and businesses, both large and small, interested in offering safe, effective, stress-relief practices to their employees. You can contact him directly by phone at the number at the bottom of this page.

Lewis is listed in Who's Who in America and the on-line encyclopedia Wikipedia. His son, Benoit Denizet-Lewis, writes articles for numerous publications, including The New York Times Magazine, and has taught nonfiction writing at Emerson College and Tufts University. In January, 2005, Benoit signed a major contract with Simon & Schuster for a new book on addiction in America, entitled America Anonymous. The book was published in January 2009.

Be sure to get free breathing exercises, insights, and tips from breath and consciousness explorer and author Dennis Lewis. Click on the link and become a fan today!

Visit Dennis Lewis' The Center for Harmonious Awakening and his public blog.

Watch & Listen to Interviews with Dennis Lewis

Don't miss this instructive and meditative audio interview of Dennis by Tami Simon, founder of Sounds True. The interview (56 minutes) is entitled "Breathing Space into Space" and is part of her "Insights at the Edge" series, "interviews with leading spiritual teachers and writers about their latest challenges--the 'leading edge' of their work."

Listen to a 55 minute interview Dennis did with KMUD radio (Environment Show: Perceiving Anew, with John Christianson) on January 29th, 2008. Or, if you are having a problem with the Perceiving Anew link above or wish to download the MP 3 file (52.1 megabytes) from the Authentic Breathing website, just click here.

Click here to view on You Tube Dennis Lewis' one-hour appearance on the Bridging Heaven & Earth show # 45, which took place on July 11, 1997.

Listen to a 49-minute radio interview done by KUCI, 88.9 FM in Irvine, CA in April 2005; just visit The Enlightenment Project and page down to the player just below the Free Your Breath, Free Your Life book cover, and click on the play symbol to listen to the interview.

Listen to a 13-minute radio interview (11.6 megabyte MP 3 file) with Dennis Lewis, conducted by Len Saputo MD and Vickie Saputo RN for "The Fast Track Edition" of their show Prescriptions for Health in August 2004.

Music & Poetry: Listen to David Hykes & Dennis Lewis at Dennis' 65th Birthday Celebration

Become a Fan of Dennis Lewis' Facebook Author Page

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Last modified: February 14, 2014