Doug Kraft had difficulty sitting still in meditation for more than 10 or 15 minutes. So in 1976 he signed up for a ten-day meditation retreat. It was difficult. When he left he thought, “That may have been the most wonderful thing I’ve ever done, but I’m glad I’ll never have to do it again.” Nevertheless, he found himself sitting an hour and a half a day. And he went back for another retreat the next year. And the next. And the next.
Over the years he trained with Theravadan Buddhists such as Larry Rosenberg, Corrado Pensa, Jack Kornfield, Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Christopher Titum, Joanna Macy, and Andy Olendski. He also trained with non-Theravadans including Korean Zen Master Sahn Seung, Tibetan Mingur Rinpoche, Siddha Yoga guru Muktananda, Ram Dass, Pir Vilat Khan, Salvador Rouchet, Emmanuel, and Jean Houston.
Shortly after moving to California in 2000, he became a student of John Travis and traveled to Thailand to study with the Thai Forest master Ajahn Tong. With Travis’s encouragement he trained with a jhāna master, Bhante Vimalaramsi. In his first few years with Bhante, his practice progressed more quickly than in the previous twenty-five years. This book is a product of those experiences and Bhante’s encouragement to teach.
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Kraft grew up in a family of five children. His father was an engineer. His mother was an artist and writer. Chronic depression pushed him to explore the depths of human nature while an interest in expanded human potential drew him to explore the heights. Over the years his career moved back and forth between depth psychology and spirituality.
He earned a degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin and a Masters of Divinity from Starr King School for the ministry in Berkeley, California. He trained intensively in Bioenergetics, a body-oriented psychotherapy.
As an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, Kraft served congregations on both the East and the West coasts. He also created and directed a counseling center for street kids. He now works as a private psychotherapist and meditation teacher.
He’s found that what we do and experience directly is far more important than what we profess.
Currently he shares a home in northern California with his wife of 43 years, one of his two sons, and two cats. For entertainment he bikes, hikes in the high Sierras, studies Dharma, and meditates. He still revels in delving into human nature and mirroring back what he discovers. Inside he doesn’t see psychology versus religion versus spirituality: just the ever-changing textures of human experience.
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