After thirty-five years of experience around the dharma, with eight of these years in Asia, I am still deeply inspired, as a teacher, by students' progress with the practice. I see the questioning I do with myself reflected in others. The infinite loop of my practice and my teaching becomes a self-fulling prophecy. As I see others letting go of old baggage, it inspires me to continue questioning myself.
My teachings, for I am not a scholar, come from my experience on the pillow. In the first ten years of the practice, I worked on the pain of life, the confusion, how to gain clarity. In the next ten, I was finding balance in non-attachment; being in life, but not wanting to enter life. In the last ten, I've been learning how to engage with the stickiness of living and loving. I ask, how kind are people to each other? How can we find a place inside that is not afraid anymore?
We need to know what drives us and our minds, how to relieve the cultural anxiety all around us. We need to stop and slow down, to start feeling. But the dharma not just a stress reduction course; the teachings point directly toward the nature of human conditioning and our freedom.
Overall, my teachings are very much about self-acceptance, giving ourselves space to do the practice and find our own voice. My intention is to give people permission to listen to themselves, to become friends with themselves. Ultimately, this moment is enough, we're enough, and don't need to be anything other than we are.
Kara has been practicing meditation and studying Buddhism since 1993. She has been leading Vipassana meditation since 1996. Kara practices the fifth precept of full renunciation from intoxicants and has over twenty years sober. In 2013 she assisted in starting Buddhist recovery groups “Refuge Recovery” in Santa Cruz and has been a foundational member and mentor for the community. Kara attends multiple silent Vipassana retreats each year. She has attended Gil Fronsdal’s online Sutta Study course and has also been trained to facilitate Mindfulness and Buddhist meditation through the Against the Stream Meditation Society. Kara has been active as the Program Coordinator for Insight Santa Cruz for four years and has been a member of the Board for the last three years. She teaches weekly meditation groups at Insight Santa Cruz, such as “Fierce Hearts” on Sunday; where new and experienced practitioners meditate, discuss the dharma, and practice transforming greed, hatred, and delusion by way of the heart. Kara currently lives in downtown Santa Cruz and recently went back to school to study towards a master’s degree in Social Work.
To directly contact Kara, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Griffin is the author of the seminal 2004 book "One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps" and the recent "A Burning Desire: Dharma God and the Path of Recovery". He has been practicing Buddhist meditation for three decades and been in recovery since 1985. He’s been a meditation teacher for almost fifteen years. His teacher training was at Spirit Rock Meditation Center where he currently leads Dharma and Recovery classes.
Kim Allen has been practicing Insight meditation since 2003, and has trained intensively in the U.S. and Asia with Western teachers, Theravādan monastics, and masters of other Buddhist traditions. Trained by Gil Fronsdal at the Insight Meditation Center and Insight Retreat Center, she offers Dharma programs, sutta study, and retreats in the U.S., internationally, and online, weaving classical Dharma into a contemporary context. Her education was in science and sustainability, and she is now dedicated to a contemplative life of study and practice.
Margarita Loinaz, M.D. has been a Buddhist practitioner since 1977 in the Tibetan and Theravada traditions with an emphasis on Dzogchen practice for the past 10 years. She is a graduate of the first Community Dharma Leader's program at SRMC where she contributed to the initial stages of the diversity program and taught at the first POC retreat. She also trained in MBSR at the UMass Stress Reduction Clinic and is a student of the Diamond Approach. She is originally from Dominican Republic.