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Mary Stancavage has practiced meditation, yoga, and cultivated a spiritual practice for almost 30 years. This practice has coincided with her journey in recovery. She began her investigation into Buddhist teachings in the 1990's and studied with Noah Levine in the Thai Forest Tradition beginning in 2005. In 2009 she was empowered by Levine to teach Buddha-dharma. She taught meditation at recovery centers in Los Angeles and has worked intimately with the Refuge Recovery Program over the last several years. She was also a long-time board member of the Buddhist Recovery Network. Mary currently serves as Director of Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society where she has co-facilitated Year-to-Live groups since 2008, and has a weekly dharma class. She also is a member of the ATS Teachers' Council. She completed the Buddhist Chaplaincy Program at the Sati Center and served as volunteer chaplain at Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center. Mary sits on the board of the Buddhist Insight Network. In addition, she has a Masters from UCLA, and worked as an archaeologist in the Middle East.
As soon as we’re born we’re faced with what life throws at us and we develop ways of coping that may or may not be beneficial. We’re also bombarded with messages from family, friends, school and society at large about who we are and what we should or shouldn’t be. These habits and messages become embedded and we may not even be aware of them, but they influence us on a daily basis. This is what the Buddha means when he talks about our conditioning. This conditioning can harden into the unwise stories we believe; craving and addiction are a destructive way of handling these beliefs.
In order to move towards freedom we have to wake up to our conditioning and disentangle it. Slowing down the mind and taking a step back to see the impersonal nature of the mind and developing a deep intimacy with our experience is how we move toward letting go of the craving and addiction. This talk will offer ways to examine our stories and the baggage we carry with us and investigate how to let them go in order to live a more liberated life.