Heather Sundberg has taught insight meditation since 1999 and completed the Spirit Rock/IMS Teacher Training. Beginning her own meditation practice in her late teens, for the last 25 years, Heather has studied with senior teachers in the Insight Meditation (Vipassana) and Tibetan (Vajrayana) traditions and has sat 1-3 months of retreat a year for almost 20 years. She was the Spirit Rock Family & Teen Program Teacher & Manager for a decade. Between 2010- 2015 she spent a cumulative one-year in study, practice, and pilgrimage in Asia. Since 2011, she has been a Teacher at Mountain Stream Meditation Center and sister communities in the Sierra Foothills, and also teaches nationally, especially at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Her teaching emphasizes embodiment, compassion and practical wisdom.
Jacques Verduin, M. A. Somatic Psychology, is the Founder and Director of Insight-Out, a non-profit which aims to turn violence and suffering into opportunities for healing and learning for prisoners and challenged youth.
Jacques has been a leader and innovator in the field of rehabilitation for prisoners since 1997. He is an expert on violence prevention, emotional intelligence, restorative justice and mindfulness. Born from 18 years of listening to the traumas of thousands of offenders and victims, a deeply transformational program, Guiding Rage Into Power (G.R.I.P.), has emerged.
Verduin's presentations make interesting connections between the specific predicament of incarceration and the general suffering of the human condition. His perspective draws from working in-depth with victims and offenders, rival gangs and racial factions, and articulates a methodology that helps transcend the 'Us and Them' fallacy. Besides the US, presentations and trainings have been offered in Guatemala, El Salvador, Bosnia, Italy and the Netherlands.
Jalaja's great passion is peace. She is internationally known for her groundbreaking use of circle gatherings as a tool for empowering women, healing individuals and communities, and cultivating peace. For over 25 years, she has been leading circles, studying the dynamics of the circle, and developing a community of Circlework practitioners. Since 2005, she has traveled regularly to Israel and Palestine, where she empowers Jewish and Palestinian women to serve as agents of peace and healing in their communities. She's trained hundreds of Circlework leaders in America, Canada, and the Middle East, including ministers, teachers, social workers, psychotherapists, and corporate executives. Jalaya is the author of the soon to be released: Evolving Toward Peace: Awakening the Global Heart.
I try to convey that the wisdom and compassion we are looking for is already inside of us. I see practice as learning how to purify our mind and heart so we can hear the Buddha inside. In doing so, we naturally embody the dharma and help awaken that understanding and love in others we meet.
I try to use the formal teachings as a doorway for people to see the truth in themselves. I feel I'm doing my job when people look into themselves to come to their own deep understandings of the truth, access their own inner wisdom and trust in their "Buddha-knowing," as Ajahn Chah called it, which is different from their intellectual knowing.
The Buddha-knowing is a deeper place, underneath the concepts, which is in touch with the truth, with our seed of awakening. I want practitioners to have more and more confidence in, and familiarity with, that deeper place of knowing. It is accessing this dimension of our being that becomes the guide to cutting through the confusion caused by greed and fear. We have everything we need inside ourselves. We do not need to look to a teacher when we remember who we really are.
Teacher-trainee with Skillful Meditation Project, and long-time Vipassana meditator, conducts individual interviews and leads small groups in Recollective Awareness practice. Buddhist Chaplain and author of Our Own Teachers and Dharma Camp.