Cara Lai spent most of her life trying to figure out how to be happy, or at least avoid total misery, so she sat still with her eyes closed for the majority of her adulthood. Throughout many consciousness adventures including a few mind-bendingly long meditation retreats, she has explored the wilderness of the mind, chronic illness, the importance of pleasure, and lots of other things that she might get in trouble for mentioning here. In the past, Cara has worked as an artist, wilderness guide, social worker and psychotherapist, but at this point she’s given up on being an adult in exchange for an all-out mindfulness rampage. Her teaching is relatable, authentic, funny and sometimes crass, and is accessible for many people. She teaches teens and adults at Inward Bound Mindfulness Education, Spirit Rock, Insight Meditation Society, and UCLA; ultimately hoping to bend spoons with her mind. And to help people be happier.
Carol Cano, M.A., began her practice over 30 years ago at Wat Kow Tahm in Thailand and has actively engaged in building communities and teaching Dharma internationally. She is a graduate of the 2017-2020 Spirit Rock Meditation Center's Teacher Training program and a teacher at Spirit Rock often. She is a core teacher and a former board member of East Bay Meditation Center. Carol co-founded Philippine Insight Meditation Community in Philippines. Her unique teachings are deeply grounded in Basque, Native American and Buddhist influences that braid the Dharma along indigenous wisdom and Earth-based practices. Her psychology background gives her a unique view into the human condition, which helps her hold community in a compassionate and confident manner. Carol reminds us to keep grounded in our hearts as we uphold spiritual ideals and encourages us to remain balanced within the demands of modern life.
What I most love in my teaching practice is seeing students become dedicated to their own liberation. As their spiritual practice matures, people light up from within when they begin to understand that personal freedom is possible. This commitment to freedom on the part of the student inspires me to find ways to express my deepest understanding and enthusiasm for liberation.
The mindfulness teachings of the Buddha are among the more direct, practical meditation techiques that we can cultivate. My focus is on sharing these practices in an accessable, down-to-earth way. How can we disengage from our habits of responding to the world through veils of confusion, greed, and hatred?
Mindfulness practice helps us recognize when we are responding to the world from the mental and emotional habits that obscure our true home, our radiant nature, which manifests as compassion and love. The Buddha's teachings show us that we are not isolated individuals who need to live defensive lives. Rather, we can learn to trust and live from our full potential as compassionate members of a connected planet.
Catherine began meditating as a teenager and traveled to India in her early twenties. Upon her return she became a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and co-founded The Lomi School, one of the first teaching collectives to create a holistic approach to eastern spirituality and western psychology and to develop mind-body therapies commonly practiced today. After discovering Buddhism in the 70's, Catherine began practicing Vipassana meditation and later taught at Lomi-Vipassana retreats in Yucca Valley, along with Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein and Robert Hall, when residential retreats began in the West coast. She enjoys being a guest teacher at Spirit Rock, conducting a weekly mindfulness-based meditation group in Mill Valley, California and sharing her love of the dharma - the blessing of a lifetime. Catherine loves working at the intersection of psychology, spirituality, somatics and the meditative arts.
In addition to her private practice in integrative psychology, she creates guided meditations for meditators and customized guided meditations for individuals and couples - personalized audio recordings designed to stabilize the mind, open and soften the heart, ground the body in the present moment and examine a problem or challenging transition through a psycho-spiritual lens. For more information please visit: http://www.catherineflaxman.com
Chas DiCapua is currently the Insight Meditation Society's Resident Teacher, and has offered meditation since 1998. He is interested in how each person can fully and uniquely manifest the dharma. He teaches regularly at sitting groups and centers close to IMS.