Kyoko Katayama, a psychotherapist for over 30 years, has made an intention and practice of integrating her spiritual life, her professional work, and personal experiences towards ease and integrity in all that she does. She has been a student of dharma, practicing at Common Ground since 1999. She has completed a two-year study and practice on Satipatthana (The Foundations of Mindfulness) with Matthew Flickstein.
Larry Yang, a longtime meditator, trained as a psychotherapist, has taught meditation since 1999 and is a core teacher at East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, CA. He has practiced in Southeast Asia and was a Buddhist monk in Thailand.
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.
Megan has been practicing Vipassana meditation and Yoga since 2011. She has completed courses in mindfulness and Yoga through the University of Minnesota's Center for Spirituality and Healing as well as a 400-hr Yoga teacher training course in Northern Thailand. Megan spent nearly two years living and working in Thailand before and during medical school where she had the opportunity to study the cultural and spiritual traditions of Southeast Asia. She has been a member of the Common Ground community since 2012 and has served as a volunteer teacher for the teen and pre-teen mindfulness programs as well as a practice leader at Prairie Farm Retreat Center. Megan is currently finishing up residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Minnesota and is planning to spend next year working in global health and medical education.
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.