DaRa Williams is a trainer, meditation teacher and psychotherapist. DaRa has been a meditator for the past 25 years and is a practitioner of both Vipassana and Ascension meditation. She is a graduate of the Spirit Rock/Insight Meditation Society Teacher Training Program and is a Guiding Teacher at IMS. She is the Program Manager and a core teacher in the current IMS Teacher Training. DaRa has been a clinician and administrator in the field of Mental Health for over 25 years and currently maintains a private practice in Manhattan. She is a certified trainer and practitioner of Indigenous Focusing-Oriented Therapy and Complex Trauma. DaRa integrates these skills, understandings, wisdom traditions and worldviews in her intention for contributing to the ending of suffering for all beings.
"It is my belief that vipassana meditation and the dharma are ideal for transforming suffering, particularly the trauma of oppression and its many vicissitudes-where the chains around our minds and hearts can be broken and dissolved. Awareness and wisdom become the vehicle for freedom and transforming lives."
Deborah Ratner Helzer has practiced with Western and Asian teachers in the Theravada tradition since 1995, including a year as a nun in Burma. She has been teaching in the Washington, DC area and assisting with retreats around the country since 2001.
Debra Chamberlin-Taylor is a teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. She has been meditating since 1973 and has led retreats that combine spiritual and psychological growth since 1978. In addition to practicing Vipassana, she has been influenced by Dzogchen, Diamond Heart, and devotional practices. More recently she has become a certified teacher of Wisdom Healing Qigong, finding Qigong and mindfulness used together to be the most healing and transformative practice in her long spiritual journey. A psychotherapist, she also leads workshops on embodiment of awareness and love in relationships and in our diverse world.
Devin Berry is co-founder of Deeper Still, a teen meditation sangha at East Bay Meditation Center and serves as a founding board member of Mindful Peacebuilding. A meditation practitioner since 1999, he is a student of Thich Nhat Hanh as well as a Vipassana practitioner. Devin is a graduate of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher training practicum. He has worked with a wide variety of groups from children, teens and young adults and elders using culturally-informed approaches. For over a decade Devin has worked with many youth organizations including Stepping Stones, The Mosaic Project and Mindful Schools, designing and implementing curricula, teaching and facilitating groups of all ages based in mindfulness practices. Devin recently co-designed and lead a course for African-American elders, and has been co-facilitating trauma-informed, ancestral healing workshops. After completing the training in Strategies for Trauma Awareness and Resilience (STAR) in 2014, he co-founded the Transforming Historical Harms Project of the Bay Area. Devin can be described as an engaging, humorous storyteller who uses poignant anecdotes to convey powerful truths and a breadth of life experience.
Devon Hase has been practicing meditation in the vipassana and Karma Kagyu traditions since 1999. A co-founder of Sati Consulting, she loves long retreats as well as finding creative ways to bring depth practice into daily life.
My passions in the dharma are many, and only keep growing! Socially engaged Buddhism is a thread woven through many of my talks-- how can we end suffering both internally and externally? Having worked with teens and young adults for many years, some of the talks are geared to young people. My recent passion is how the dharma can be secularized and made accessible to all, regardless of background, this is my current work at the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. Finally as a new-ish mom, I'm deeply inspired by the transformative power of daily life and family practice.
1. Choose one meditation practice and stick with it. If you want to progress in meditation stay with one technique.
2. Meditate every day. Practice now. Don't think you will do more later.
3. Any situation is workable. Each of us has enormous power. It can be used to help ourselves and help others.
4. Practice patience. Patience is one of the most important virtues for developing mindfulness and concentration.
5. Free your mind. Your mind is all stories.
6. Cool the fire of emotions. Anger is a fire.
7. Have fun along the way. I am quite happy. If you come to meditate you will also be happy.
8. Simplify. Live simply. A very simple life is good for every thing. Too much luxury is a hindrance to practice.
9. Cultivate the spirit of blessing. If you bless those around you this will inspire you to be attentive in every moment.
10. It's a circular journey. Meditation integrates the whole person