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Eulogy and Celebration for Ed Shapiro

Dearest… Ed passed away last Sunday at 3pm. I am so happy he is free!

Ed Shapiro-awakenHe was in the hospital for a month during which they discovered a pinched spinal column in his neck. They did a major surgery to fix it. After the surgery he had to be on a respirator and then eventually got a feeding tube put in his stomach ast his throat was damaged, and he lost the ability to swallow.

Ed & Deb Shapiro help awaken usWe were faced with the difficult decision of a life on a feeding tube with a high risk of pneumonia or letting him enter Hospice. We decided to enter Hospice and wanted to see him free from the pain and suffering in the hospital. While arranging to bring him home he suddenly took a turn and passed away.

He was listening to Deb’s Loving Kindness Meditation and as soon as he heard her voice a great relaxation came over him and hopefully it helped him let go and leave his body.

He will be remembered for a huge loving heart and the funny charming jokes he used to make everyone around him laugh.

I have  been widowed by the death of Ed Shapiro, aka Swami Eddie, in hospital on June 21st. We were married for 37 years and wrote many books together on meditation, relaxaertion, the bodymind and social activism. I am disabled and Ed was paid to be my caregiver. This enabled us to pay helpers to get me up in the morning and put me to bed at night. With Ed gone, I have now  Iost all my income. I need $5000 per month. Your help is greatly appreciated.

Much love

Memories of Ed

As I lay down last night, I tried to remember Ed’s jokes… he would just slide them into our phone conversation, without me knowing it was a setup until he’d drop the punchline with that unmistakable Bronx accent. He was playful like that, almost childlike in his willingness to be silly with you the moment he met you. He made everyone feel like a best friend.

As I always do in interviews, I asked Ed and Deb to share their idea of what it means to awaken, to which they both responded… “Part of awakening is not taking ourselves too seriously.” And in recounting their experience with the Dalai Lama, Ed described him as “one big giggle.” Well, he was one big giggle, himself. He understood that it… life… wasn’t about the particular joke, or the particular question, or any particular wisdom teaching. It was about simply being here with each other and for each other. It’s about the love that flows back and forth between us when we’re present.

After the interview, I joked back, saying that what I really wanted was just to hang out in their kitchen with them, and we just could nosh on whatever was in the fridge and chat about nothing in particular. Only I wasn’t joking. And I’m sad that we never got to do that.

Donna Quesada 

Monday, May 22, 2023 Dalai-Lama-and-Ed-and-Deb-Shapiro-awaken
The world is dimmer today…

I am waiting on his 6 am phone call, the urgency in his voice instructing me what I “have to do, right this instant”…as if life itself depended on my calling someone in his mental Rolodex to speak about my book or promote my latest podcast. He drove me nuts, most mornings, before I’d even had my coffee, and I’d sigh and take a deep breath, reminding myself that one day he wouldn’t call, and that that day would be the most annoying of all. That this incredible vivacious and inappropriately bright light would someday burn out, just like we all do, and the world would be dimmer for it. None of us expected that day to arrive so soon.

He was my best friend, even with the 35 years that separated our births, because he lived ridiculously out loud and was outrageously unafraid to make waves. He remained open-hearted to every person he encountered, from politicians to paupers, he would offer them the shirt off his back (and a copy of his latest book). He started each day anew, with a gleam in his eye to make some mischief and a determination to piss some people off.  A month ago we were dancing in his living room, laughing and eating ice cream at 11 am, and now he is flying free in the ethers, dancing with the dakinis, and laughing at how hilarious it is that we take ourselves so seriously.
I will think of him every day with my morning coffee and try to embody a smidgen of his Chutzpah, a fraction of his gumption and trailblazing energy. What I wouldn’t give for just one more early phone call, scheming up the next good blog title, or making plans to disrupt someone else’s perfectly calm day!
His last words to me, as he lay dying in his hospital bed, “Love! Just love! That’s all there is. That’s all that matters.”
You’ve only been gone a day Eddie and I already miss you terribly,

Ed Shapiro-awakenEd Shapiro won the New York State Dance Championships when he was just a teenager. But you would already know that if you ever had the good fortune of meeting him. You see, Ed had the unique talent of capturing and bottling joy. He would open up a can of past joys, several times per day, and shower those around him with it.  Young and old, every time he told someone about his dance championship (or me for the hundredth time), his smile and excitement brought us back in time. For a brief moment, we could actually feel his joy from sixty years earlier as it sparked our hearts and elicited an internal cheer for the boy from the Bronx and his unexpected dancing glory. Sometimes it was talking about getting his first book contract, his first kiss, his first time seeing India. We would be in the middle of a boring day in Colorado, just running errands, when suddenly Ed would transport us back to an Indian Ashram in 1969, uncovering the roots of lasting happiness.

Everyone who came across Ed’s path got a little sprinkling of this joy, from the teller at the bank to the inspector at the DMV. And thus, everyone in town knew and loved him, even when they didn’t know his name. Now that he’s gone, I’ve inherited his car, which was full of one dollar bills for panhandlers that he would deliver with a Hindu prayer or a Buddhist koan. I will now use his car to drive all over Boulder, letting folks at the ice cream shop and car mechanics know that he has passed on. For all of those strangers will have an Ed Shapiro story. They’ll know about the time he interviewed Gorbachev or his intimate conversations with the Dalai Lama…and I’m guessing more than one of them will ask me if I knew he won the entire New York City Dance Championships when he was just a teenager; the spark of Ed’s joy still active in their hearts.
There was no one quite like Swami Eddie, and I don’t imagine there will be another like him, but all the fantastic memories and stories we shared—all the laughter and awe and blessings we experienced together—are not going anywhere. In fact, as Ed so generously taught, those joys can and should be re-lived, renewed and propagated, as often and widely as possible.
It’s not just that I will miss his daily musing or the cleaver ways he played with life, cracking cans of joy with reckless abandon…it’s that the whole world will miss it, even those he had yet to meet, and that life went back to boring and predictable without him shaking things up. In the week since he died, I have been thinking about how many of our joys and triumphs we just leave in the past, rarely bringing them to mind, rarely reliving the our biggest accomplishments. Ed Shapiro taught me the value of inviting joyous memories into the present, re-experiencing them over and over again and, most importantly, sharing them with others. It turns out that joy is a type of currency. It can either be hoarded or spent and, like everything else in life, you can’t take it with you when you go. So spend every last drop of it. In honor of the most giving and joyous Swami I had the pleasure to call a friend, I will use the rest of my time on earth popping bottles of joy daily and giving away all the happy moments I can recall, especially those sparks of luminosity gifted to me by Crazy Swami Eddie (Oct. 5, 1942—May 21, 2023).
Written by Kiri Westby, May 27th, 2023.

Dear Deb,

I am heartbroken! The first I heard of it was Kiri’s moving statement, had no idea Ed was on the edge.


Second thing, I am sure he is sailing along beautifully, will be back in a shake in some marvelous form, like  a Tulku—though also sure he is most worried about you, how you’re doing without his loving moment to moment presence! His love will continue to enfold you from any bardo or any heaven, without any tiny bit of doubt!

Please be in touch about any help you may need about anything.

Much love

Bob Thurman

It’s hard to put into words Ed Shapiro’s impact on my life.  I met Ed at a time in my life when I was lost and searching for meaning. I had just quit a job and started a yoga teacher training and began questioning my everyday reality. I’ll never forget standing in Whole Foods next to  Ed who was also looking for the same thing I was, epsom salt. We hit it off instantly and began laughing together like old friends.  He gave me his business card and the rest is history after a decade of a very special and rare friendship.  I remember visiting him and his wife Deb for the first time at their home, they opened their arms to me as if I’d known them forever. Over the many years of our friendship he shared his many revelations & pitfalls surrounding the spiritual path and his innermost experiences with many of his most formative teachers. He introduced me to my teacher Anam Thubten, after insisting I watch a video on youtube titled “From the temple to the gas station”.  I can never repay his kindness to me in this life for the many ways he influenced, pushed and encouraged me. He always reminded me to trust myself and be myself. We shared a love for Ramana Maharshi and as I wrote this I can hear Ed saying     “ BE AS YOU ARE”. He never took himself too seriously and he loved to crack jokes and make people laugh. He had friends all over the world and knew everyone by name at all the local stores he would shop at.  Shopping with him was a hilarious adventure.  He completely embodied the bodhisattva path, a life dedicated to helping others.  What I will miss the most is his contagious laughter, outrageous fearless attitude and limitless heart. He loved to dance and I know he’s dancing somewhere! Thank you Ed for blessing my life with your presence and the lives of so many others. I love you forever.Om Mani Padme Hum 

Megan Larson

deb sorry to hear of your loss. my wife died 5+ years ago but her spirit is ever present with me
and she leaves signs to let me know
look for meaningful numbers ineverything from finding coins to statements.

Swami Eddie is Gone

Ed Shapiro, aka Swami Eddie, aka Swami Brahmananda and many other names,  is gone.  He departed the Earth last Sunday after prolonged illness.  My family has known Eddie for over 30 years and he was always a force to be reckoned with—an extraordinary conundrum of being—an outrageous combination of totally enlightened and totally grounded personality.  I’d seen him turn into a ball of light during a meditation and a short time later found him cracking the most outrageous jokes.  He was anything and everything—a Hindu Swami, a ballroom dancer, an international author, a hairdresser, a fabulous skier, a hilarious humorist, and much more!  He was a great example of how one person can be so many different things at the same time in one body.

For me Ed Shapiro was both a friend and a teacher. For my wife Andi and son Joshua, I know that he was as well.  A few days ago.  I started writing a memoir about Eddie.  It was many pages long and contained just a few of the many stories and adventures we had together.  There are some people who create focal points in our life—somehow, in retrospect, their actions have been monumental in terms of helping guide our path.  I realized that Ed was one of those beings. Whether it was his editing my first book or holding a gathering for the Drepung Loseling Monks where I first befriended Lama Tashi, one of my dearest acquaintances, or numerous other events—as I looked over these different experiences, they were ultimately life changing and somehow connected to Ed.

For those who knew him, I’m sure you all have outrageous stories about him.  For those of you who didn’t, he was truly one of a kind. Ed Shapiro, one of the most extraordinary beings on the planet.  Reader’s Digest Magazine had a popular series titled “The Most Unforgettable Character I Ever Met”. And Ed Shapiro was definitely mine. Swami Eddie  has now left the Earth but his consciousness still resonates with us.  Give thanks.

Jonathan Goldman

Dear Deb,

I’m sending you so much love and comfort as I sit here in total shock that your beloved Ed has left the physical world.
We have all lost a brilliant light of a man.  Thank you for knowing it was time to set his body free and for having the courage to do that.
Heaven must be rejoicing to have this great soul back home to uplift, entertain, and most importantly share his immense love with them all.
Please send us your snail mail address when you can.
Love and blessings,
Arielle and Brian

David Welch



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