Born in Chicago of African and Native heritage, Louis Alemayehu developed his poetic skills and musical sensibilities as a part of the Black Arts Movement in the 1970s. His believes that poetry is a tool for healing; his performances, lyrical twinings of jazz, chant, poetry and song, are art-as-ritual, often performed ceremonially. He teaches classes in poetry and language arts at the Multicultural Indigenous Academy, and facilitates community workshops on racism, culture and community-building.
I find teaching to be a very deep and powerful "no self" practice. When I connect with others during Dharma talks--in the intimacy of small groups, and while holding meditation practice interviews--I am continually reminded to know, and be, in a place of clarity, spaciousness and immediate presence. Being able to offer students such a place of connection is my greatest pleasure and inspiration, as well as the most appreciated challenge in my teaching practice.
For me, the real fruit of the teaching is seeing the beauty of a gradual, and sometimes sudden, unfolding of a heartmind into its true self; seeing the variety of ways a person's essential, creative energy of being flows into the world.
On one end of the teaching, I am excited and inspired by students who are deeply committed to long-term, intensive practice. On the other end (and of course they're connected), I find that working closely with people at the grass roots level--in a co-creative process of developing and sustaining Dharma practice, study and community opportunitiies on a day-to-day basis--is equally exciting and inspiring.
From the immediacy of presence flows a wisdom that naturally connects us to the way of things. This amazing gift of mindfulness provides us with a spaciousness where we can make appropriate, healthy and creative life choices. Rather than being caught up in our old, conditioned habits, mindfulness provides us with the gift of engagement at its best. This is the Gift of the Dharma that we offer to all beings.
Mark Nunberg began his Buddhist practice in 1982 and has been teaching meditation since 1990. He co-founded Common Ground Meditation Center in Minneapolis, MN in 1993 and continues to serve as the center’s guiding teacher.
A Sister for Christian Community, Meadow is also vowed to the Theravadan Buddhist nun's precepts. Mary Jo has studied with Joseph Goldstein and Sayadaw U Pandita. She is a retired university professor in psychology of religion, and has been teaching vipassana since 1987. In addition to simple vipassana instruction, Mary Jo offers vipassana as a method for Christian meditators and those working 12-step recovery programs.
Merra Young is a psychotherapist, community dharma leader, and founder of Rivers’ Way Meditation Center. She’s also on faculty at the U of M , Center for Spirituality and Healing and at the University of St. Thomas /St-Catherine, Graduate School of Social Work . Merra has over 30 years of experience in the integration of meditation and psychotherapy, and is co-founder of the Midwest Meditation and Psychotherapy Institute.