Luisa Montero-Diaz has been practicing meditation since 1987 and teaching meditation since 1993. She completed the first three-year Community Dharma Leadership program offered by the Spirit Rock Meditation Center.
Luisa has been affiliated with IMCW since its inception and was on the founding Board. Prior to her exploration of Buddhist meditation, she was involved in Gurdjieff's Fourth Way spiritual study.
Mary Aubry has been meditating and attending insight retreats for over 25 years. In 2009, she attended her first jhana retreat with Leigh Brasington, who authorized her to teach the jhanas in the tradition of the Venerable Ayya Khema. Other than Leigh, her primary teachers include Joseph Goldstein, Tara Brach, and Bhikkhu Analayo. She is a teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, D.C. and teaches retreats nationally on insight, the jhanas, and the brahma viharas.
Mushim (Patricia) Ikeda-Nash is a Buddhist teacher, writer, diversity consultant, and community activist. She is a core teacher and Leadership Sangha member at East Bay Meditation Center in Oakland, California (www.eastbaymeditation.org), and she appears in two documentary films, Acting on Faith: Women's New Religious Activism in America; and Between the Lines: Asian American Women's Poetry.
Pat Coffey, MEd, began his meditation practice over 30 years ago and has taught meditation since 1996. He studied with numerous Asian and Western teachers in the Theravada, Tibetan and Zen traditions. Pat is the founder of IMCC and the co-founder of the Blue Ridge Prison Project. Pat was selected and trained as a meditation teacher in the joint teacher training program of The Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts and Spirit Rock Meditation Center under the tutelage of Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein. Down-to-earth real world practical dharma is the hallmark of his teaching. The father of two children, owner of several businesses and the holder of several patents, he draws on his varied and rich life experience to articulate the dharma.
Ruth King is an author, mindfulness coach, and teacher in the Insight Meditation Tradition. Mentored by Jack Kornfield in the Theravada tradition, and influenced by the Tibetan traditions of Buddhism, Ruth teaches at insight meditation communities nationwide. She is a guiding teacher at Insight Meditation Community of Washington, a core teacher in Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Dedicated Practitioner Program, and the founder of Mindful Members Insight Meditation Community of Charlotte. Ruth is the author of The Emotional Wisdom Cards and Healing Rage – Women Making Inner Peace Possible, and her forthcoming book Mindful of Race: Understanding & Transforming Habits of Harm (Spring 2018, Sounds True).
Sebene Selassie is a meditation teacher and certified Integral Coach®. She has been studying Buddhism since majoring in Comparative Religious Studies as an undergrad at McGill University. For over 20 years she worked with children, youth, and families nationally and internationally for small and large not–for–profits. Her work has taken her everywhere from the Tenderloin in San Francisco to refugee camps in Guinea, West Africa. Sebene is a two–time breast cancer survivor.
Shell Fischer, founder and guiding teacher of Mindful Shenandoah (www.mindfulvalley.com) offers more than 25 years of mindfulness practice and study.
As a full teacher with IMCW, her main focus is on metta (loving-kindness) practice. Her hope is to guide her students in nurturing even more kindness and compassion for themselves -- and for all the situations they find themselves in throughout their lives -- through the practice of meditation and mindfulness.
Prior to teaching, Shell wrote about mindfulness and yoga for national magazines. She’s a 1993 graduate of Naropa University (a Shambhala Buddhist-based university in Boulder, CO), and trained in the two-year Meditation Teacher Training Institute of Washington, D.C. with Tara Brach, Jonathan Foust, Hugh Byrne and Pat Coffey. She’s also a graduate of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction teacher-training program led by Jon Kabat-Zinn (founder of MBSR and the Stress Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center), and an educational partner with both Valley Health (a regional 8-hospital system) and the Foundation of the State Arboretum of Virginia.
A pervasive but often invisible source of suffering in our culture is self-aversion. We are a busy culture, and we move through our life feeling anxious and dissatisfied, but not fully conscious of how we neglect or judge our inner experience. We suffer from a lack of belonging: to our own bodies, to each other and to the earth. When we practice Buddhist meditation, we learn how to listen deeply and hold our life tenderly.
The open space of compassion allows us to realize that our thoughts and emotions are not who we are; they are waves in our ocean. This gives us the freedom to live more wisely and love more fully.
For over thirty-five years, I've been exploring the awakening of awareness with yoga, meditation, a clinical psychology practice and relationships in spiritual community (sangha). Since the untying of emotional knots is an essential part of "waking up," it is natural for me to weave these elements into my Buddhist practice and teaching. With formal practice, and a genuine engagement in sangha, we can cultivate the qualities of heart and awareness that allow for deep emotional healing and spiritual freedom.
Buddhism guides us in slowing down, quieting and paying attention in an honest and caring way. Through our mindfulness and compassion practices, we establish a sense of intimacy and belonging to our life. We discover that there is no Buddha "out there." Rather, we realize that our true refuge is the wakefulness, openness and love of our own natural awareness.
Trudy mitchell-gilkey is currently a lay (but aspiring) monastic, a licensed clinical social worker, a meditation teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington, and a writer, drawing on nearly 20 years of private practice as a mindfulness based cognitive therapist and 15 years as a Vipassana (insight) meditation teacher. Trudy also holds a leadership position in the civil service, where she trains other clinicians to integrate mindfulness into their practice and remain faithful to evidence based practices in the treatment of mental health, substance related and co-occurring disorders.
In September of 2010, Trudy founded the MAAD Dharma Project: a 12-step adapted, deepening practice meditation program for persons suffering with mood, addiction, attachment and anxiety disorders from which her workshops are conducted and her spiritual booklet and memoir are emerging.
In 2012, Trudy completed the Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Community Dharma Leader Program - IV, a two-year training embedded in the ancient lineage of Theravada designed to encourage creative, intuitive and innovative responses that enable the Buddha’s timeless teachings to be applied to modern, contemporary life and reveal a path through the complex difficulties of our world in a spiritual, social, political, cultural, interpersonal, and personal contexts. Over the past 15 years, mitchell-gilkey has committed over 500 nights to silent, residential refuge, and aspires to fully ordain in the coming years.
Trudy received her Bachelor of Science in Business Management from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Social Work from the Catholic University of America.