Sati Sangha is a non-profit organization with meditation communities in Santa Monica, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, CA. Our online community is international. We offer a variety of opportunities for learning an innovative approach to meditation which enables meditators to integrate the teachings of early Buddhism into their contemporary lives.
Additionally, we offer online events so that meditators can meet with us from all over the world. Meditators participate with diverse levels of involvement: some attend occasional events, others are members of a committed on-going meditation groups, and others are involved in mentorship. Our groups and retreats are open to anyone who is interested in meditation.
We rely upon participants’ financial generosity, creative thinking, and voluntary assistance with tasks. A Board of Directors (Sati Sangha Council) meets regularly to oversee larger decisions.
Meditation and Dharma Teacher, Director, and Council Member
I started seeking in my early twenties. Unsure what I was looking for, I experimented with many eastern practices and landed in traditional Chinese medicine studying and teaching Qi Gong, Tai Ji and Acupuncture for over fifteen years. Taoist philosophy led to Buddhist philosophy and psychology after a near death experience in 1998, and changed the course of my spiritual practice, teaching, and work with others. I trained and worked closely with the teachers in the Skillful Meditation Project for another fifteen years and called it home. Recollective Awareness Meditation, put together by Jason Siff, developed and evolved internally along with my desire to continue learning and teaching Buddhadharma. Eventually, I had to leave the SMP home, too. Thirty years of listening, observing, teaching and being taught by patients and students; traveling to China, Nepal, Iran, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada integrating aspects of their cultures. I now teach where invited, mostly online, and in California. Being drawn to work with individuals and groups that want to deepen their stillness practice and value their own experience in meditation, I am able to do so on a regular basis. Retreats throughout the year with others, the shared time and attention focused on the dharma, is a privilege. I try to hold this all lightly, yet I cannot deny the sense having ‘a calling’ rather than a job.
Nelly Kaufer, founder and lead teacher at Pine Street Sangha
Nelly Kaufer is the founder and lead teacher at Pine Street Sangha, a Meditation center in Portland, Oregon. Witnessing an intimate understanding of dharma along with a kind regard for the variety of meditative experiences, she teaches Reflective Meditation.
Nelly was introduced to Vipassana (Mindfulness) meditation in 1978 on retreats taught by Ruth Denison and began teaching women meditation soon there after, as there were no female teachers in her community at that time. She co-authored A Woman’s Guide to Spiritual Renewal (HarperOne,1994), a book for which she interviewed women about their spiritual experiences. In the 1990s she completed a 3-year mindfulness teacher training with Jacqueline Mandell. Nelly met Jason Siff at a Buddhism and Psychotherapy conference in 2004, entered the Skillful Meditation teacher training several months later and completed this in-depth training in 2008. Nelly is a psychotherapist in private practice, integrating Buddhist psychology into her clinical orientation and in continuing education workshops for mental health professionals.
Janet Keyes at Befriend Your Mind
Janet Keyes has been practicing meditation for over 30 years. To both deepen her own practice and to find ways to bring the Dharma into her community, Janet helped organize and put on the Mount Tam Women’s Retreat for over twenty years. She wrote two books about that experience, both of which are available on Amazon: Our Own Teachers, which describes the retreat, and Dharma Camp, Twenty Years on Mt. Tam, a step-by-step workbook for people wishing to organize meditation retreats in a natural setting. She has also served for several as a volunteer chaplain in hospital and community health care settings.
A deep longing to teach the Dharma drew her to a two-year teacher-training program with Skillful Meditation Project, which she completed in 2016. Janet is a householder, swimmer, singer, writer and occasional poet; her book of poems This Deliberate Life is no longer in print, but she hopes that eventually some of her poems and Dharma talks will find their way onto her website where a schedule of regular sittings, and retreats can also be found.
Bill Cooper at Bellevue Dharma
Wendy Liepman: (San Luis Obispo, CA) Wendy is a member of White Heron Sangha and hosts reflective meditation for the San Luis Obispo community on the third Saturday of the month, and with Linda on the first Saturday of the month. She also welcomes individual students for journal work.
Bill Wellhouse: (San Diego, CA) Bill leads an ongoing meditation group in San Diego, teaches retreats with Linda at Questhaven Retreat in San Marcos CA, and welcomes individual students for journaling.
Anna Delacroix: (Seattle, WA) Anna offers psychoanalysis and meditation guidance. She co-teaches ten-day retreats with Linda at Kairos House of Prayer, in Spokane, WA.
Over the past two years, the recollective awareness community has gone through some painful changes. While we have experienced firsthand the dukkha and heartache of separating from friends and mentors, we also gratefully recognize the sukkha and joy that we have experienced from bonding with like-minded meditators, all of whom are drawn toward a peaceful path.
In this transition from centralized leadership to more widespread, independent sanghas and individuals, the glow of having a ‘special’ approach to meditation has rubbed off, paving the way for new understandings of our practice as students, practitioners, and teachers.
Our orientation to meditation offers a developmental path, and while you cannot do it wrong, it does take time to trust the practice and participate in it wholeheartedly. We invite you to participate in ways that feel comfortable for you, encouraging your own voice, no matter how wobbly or distant; for it is in the process of expressing, being listened to, being seen, and being heard that the true strength of this practice is revealed.
Adapted from our eJournal
*We are currently calling our practice Reflective Meditation
**Recollective Awareness Meditation is an approach to early Buddhist meditation founded by Jason Siff. Since this practice has evolved over time by the people who are practicing it, we have chosen to title our eJournal, Reflective Meditation: A Creative Path for Mindful Practice.
The roots of this practice are found in early Buddhism, with focus on the teachings of Conditionality (Dependent Arising) and emphasis on learning and unlearning through experience and reflection. This orientation to meditation has evolved from our personal meditation practice, past training and teaching in Recollective Awareness Meditation, and current practice of Reflective Meditation. Recollective Awareness Meditation, as taught by Jason Siff, is evolving in a different way. Due to a serious ethical concern with him and how it was handled in the SMP community, we are no longer affiliated with either party.
Sati Sangha Council
Sophie Davis-Cohen has been involved with Recollective Awareness Meditation as a student since 2009, and as a teacher trainee since 2014. She received her Masters in Social Work from Smith College in 2015, and completed her thesis on how Recollective Awareness Meditation functions as a self-care process for meditating therapists. Sophie and fellow teacher trainee, Marietta Skeen, co-facilitated a RAM sitting group for students at Smith College in the Summer of 2015. Since 2015, Sophie has facilitated a RAM sitting group at her workplace, Psychological Care and Healing Treatment Center, working with clients experiencing severe mental illness, complex trauma, and other mental health issues.
Nina Asher is a clinical psychologist, child development specialist, and insight meditation practitioner. She has a psychotherapy private practice for over 30 years, using psychodynamic, relational theory in her work with adults, children, and parents. Her background as a pre-school teacher and coordinator of parent-infant/toddler groups led her to further her education, later becoming a psychologist. Although most of her patients are adults, she continues to love working with children and their parents.
Nina began a meditation practice a decade ago. She found that the dharma, and the gentle, acceptance of all states of being meshed beautifully with her work as a therapist. She integrates these teachings with natural ease with adults and children.
In recent years, Nina developed an ongoing interest into understanding how insight meditation and psychodynamic, relational psychotherapy inform one another. She has written personal essays, thought rolls, and poems as a way of expanding her awareness of meditation and psychotherapy.
Kim Henderson became a student of Recollective Awareness meditation in 2008 and has continued a practice ever since. Professionally, she is an author, writer, magazine editor and writing workshop leader. She wrote the award-winning environmental book 50 Simple Steps to Save the World’s Rainforests. Currently, she serves as executive editor of Beauty Store Business magazine. Formerly, she was the longtime editor of Healthy Living magazine, a national natural health publication. As a writing workshop leader, Kim helps writers discover a well of resources within by incorporating time in nature and informal meditation into the creative process. She has led a writing workshop/adventure in the Peruvian Amazon for the Amazon Center for Environmental Education and Research and hosts an ongoing writing group in the Los Angeles area. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Pouyan Afkary is an Emmy Award-winning Producer and USC graduate working with ICM Partners one of the world’s largest talent and literary agencies with offices in New York, Los Angeles, and London. Previously, he produced music videos, commercials, and non-fiction narrative content, as well as acting as the Finance Coordinator of Atlas Entertainment. He joins us at the Treasurer, and brings his financial skills along with a fresh view of meditation to our group.
Advisor to the Council
A longtime fundraiser and organizational effectiveness consultant in the nonprofit sector, Amanda Navar has raised over 15 million dollars for arts, healthcare, social service, and education organizations throughout the country. A graduate of Stanford University, Amanda has a talent for helping organizations kick-start new initiatives, develop strengths, and creatively leverage resources to establish a solid foundation for long-term sustainability. Having worked with numerous organizations throughout her career, she has had the unique opportunity to observe the strengths and pitfalls that are common among nonprofits and incorporates this knowledge into her work. Amanda is passionate about community building and philanthropy, and loves the challenge of working with many different types of organizations and helping them reach their fullest potential. She currently serves as Director of Fund Development for Boys & Girls Club of the Foothills, and consults with nonprofits in the Los Angeles area on fund development, board development, and strategic planning.
Mariani Shuilan May
Advisor to the Council
Mariani Shuilan May is currently the Chief Controlling Officer for Yo San University, a non-profit educational institution, located in Los Angeles CA. She has also volunteered at Sacred Fire Community as their Financial Officer. She has over 25 years of experience with all financial aspects of running a non-profit and will be on hand for any consultation the Board may need. Shuilan lives in Santa Monica where she has a garden of notorious mert, and shares her wisdom of plants and flowers with the community. She is currently enrolled in Los Angeles school of Homeopathy, studying Homeopathic Medicine and still finds time to meditate regularly. She has been very supportive of the Recollective Awareness approach to meditation and has participated in a variety of Recollective Awareness Meditation events.