Inviting humor and lightness into all aspects of daily life for inner growth and outwards connection

It started when Bernie Glassman, pioneering Zen master, came to study clown with Moshe back in 1998, he was looking for tools of tricksterdom, humor-full ways to deal with some of his disciples who took themselves too seriously. Bernie challenged Moshe to develop teachings that apply clown to everyday life. Moshe quickly realized that people had little interest in becoming clowns yet totally embraced the pursuit of having fun in the field of the funny. Over the years, the trainings evolved inviting participants to embody their sense of humor and to develop skillful tools to express and share it. Quickly it became clear that being mindful- present in the moment-was an essential element for authentic connection to open up. It also became clear that lightness is an essential element, and often a more skillful tool than humor.

Unlike humor, lightness requires no interaction, it can simply be present. Neuroscience proves that lightness positively influences connections subconsciously, that lightness can be felt and generate goodwill.

So what does a Lightfulness Training look like?

“Taking humor seriously enables people to not take themselves too seriously”

Mindful movement practices: chi gong, feldenkreis, tenshingoso.

Practices inviting lightness and humor into nonverbal expression

Stress release and resiliency practices

External & interactive mindfulness practices

Levity Awareness

Enjoyment and Mudita practices

Lightful walking meditation

Personal lightfulness practices and rituals

“What sheer delight it was to study with you…inspiration tickling my daily experience this week…”

“To be here and now with the strength of the earth and the wings of a bird. Thanks”

“The bottom line for me with Moshe’s work is how it can contribute to a wider range or palette within which to move in life…. I’m finding access to a new degree of lightness and limberness through physical movement …and awareness as a powerful tool.”

“I loved the definition of ‘levity’ as a lightness and a letting-in of light. Humor is always a possibility, but not an imperative. So freeing.”

“Transformational Mindfulness”

“It was so liberating…”

“This is a workshop for everyone and anyone who wants to bring joyous mindfulness into their spiritual practice…

Trainings

For Current Offerings (please check calendar)

Levity Pause-Pandemic Relief.
An ongoing open weekly training.

Give your thinking mind a break and engage and embody humor and lightness. There is no goal other than to enjoy. Each session includes:

Centering, gentle physical and vocal warm-up based in mindful movement (20 mins).

Lightness and levity play inviting fun and humor-full expression into an everyday activity/situation (20 mins).

Walking meditation (butoh hoko) with lightness (10 mins).

Click here for invite

Clowning your Zen (Sacred Mischief)
the Art of Not Taking Oneself Too Seriously

“Humor is that thing that ushers a person’s mind from a place of constricted consciousness to a place of expanded consciousness.”

~Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760)

How do you expand your capacity to not take yourself too seriously? By journeying into the land of funny––your funny––exploring your capacities to express and share humor. An opportunity to let go of habitual rational mind, and hand over the conductor’s baton to creative/intuitive mind, and develop personal Tools of Tricksterdom. It is also an opportunity to release stress, to have fun, to develop communication skills and capacity for active listening.

If you imagine that Tools of Tricksterdom implies smart witty language, you will discover that more-likely tool is a well-timed glance, or a subtle gesture. We will be working in the nonverbal realm of positive humor, rather than with spoken words, and their sometimes destructive/making-fun-of humor. Sacred mischief explorations draw from physical theater practices, clown improvisations, elements from butoh dance, qi gong and feldenkreis movement.

Clown + Zen

Occasionally, Moshe has the opportunity to offer workshops alongside Zen Masters, most often in Zen Centers. Currently he is teaching with Anshi Zachary Smith at the San Francisco Zen Center and Cornelius Von Collande at St Virgil.

Moshe has taught with Roshi Bernie Glassman, Roshi Michel Engu Dobbs, Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao, Roshi Heinz-Jürgen Metzger, Ashi Zachary Smith, Roshi Cornelius Von Collande. He has also brought Lightfulness Trainings into numerous handfuls of Zen Centers.

A bit more about these trainings(from the description of “The Levity of Pause” at San Francisco Zen Center):

“….We’ll be exploring this question by juxtaposing Zen and Contrarian clown perspectives in the form of a series of exercises designed to bring lightness, humor, and a kind of agility to everyday activity, as well as engagement in zazen and a series of short talks. We will explore how, especially in this year, when the radically unexpected has become commonplace, we can live comfortably and skillfully with emotions and thoughts that arise.”

Some of the Places Moshe has taught:

Spiritual/Zen Centers

Zen Center Los Angeles, San Francisco Zen Center, St Virgil, Omega Institute, Le Forum (Paris FR), Tassajara, Village Zendo, ZLMC, Buddhistisches Zentrum Hamburg, Sivananda Yoga Retreat Bahamas…

Institutions:

Carlton College, World Philanthropy Forum, Alte Poste Kulturforum, Warsaw Academy of Drama, Cal Institute for the Arts, Walschule Flensburg, Children’s Day School SF, Nell-Breuning-Haus…

HealthCare Clown Groups:

CliniClowns Austria, Röten Nasen Deutschland, KlinikClowns München, ClownVisite EV, HaHaHa Akademie, Dream Doctors Conference, Emergency Smile, HCIM2018, KlinikClowns Nürnberg…

Clown/Circus Schools:

TUT schule, Ateneu No Barris, Ravensburg Clown Sommerakademie, SF Clown Conservatory, Wise Fool NM, Clown Encuentro.

Organizations:

Paypal, Dolby, Google Arts, Center for Council, Medecins du Monde, Procurador de los Derechos Humanos…

Moshe’s Teachers

40 years of performing

Clown : Richard Pochinko and Ctibor Turba

Movement Theater: Sigfrido Aguilar, Antwerpen Mime School, Daniel Stein Mime School

Physical Theater: Phillipe Gaulier, Monica Pagneux

Voice: Roy Hart Theater (Rossignol, Ahkmatova, Saul, Vincente)

Kyogen: Kaoru Matsumoto, Juro Zenchku

Butoh Dance: Kazuo Ohno, Hiroko Tamano, Yoshito Ohno

Zen: Roshi Bernie Glassman, Roshi Wendy Egyoku Nakao, Roshi Michel Engu Dobbs.

Calendar

Upcoming training and workshops

Currently
Teaching
Online

Google Arts

Google Arts

Offering ‘Levity Pause’ and ‘The Zen and Fun of Juggling’ Trainings for Google’s ‘Create At Home’ series through Google Arts. 

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Medical Clown Project

Medical Clown Project

Offering therapeutic medical clown visits as an integrated component of care for adult and pediatric patients and their families.

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Weekly Levity Pause

Weekly Levity Pause

Levity Pause for Pandemic Relief. An ongoing weekly training. For Everyone. Open drop-in (register beforehand) every Tuesday at 10:30am (PacificCoast GMT-7) ~50 minutes.

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Heiliger Bimbam +

Heiliger Bimbam +

Als der Zen-Meister Bernie Glassman 1998 als Pionier zu Moshe Cohen kam, um „Clown“ zu studieren, suchte er nach humorvoll-provokanten Möglichkeiten im Umgang mit denjenigen seiner Schüler*innen, die sich selbst zu ernst nahmen. Bernies Idee war, die Rolle des „heiligen Clowns“ einzunehmen, so wie sie in den Traditionen der Ureinwohner Amerikas und in anderen Nationen als Leitfigur zu finden ist….

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