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Biography for Kempton, Sally:

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Once a 70’s literary “It” Girl lauded for her intellectual brilliance and her feminist bite, Sally Kempton, a.k.a. Swami Durgananda, is among the most sought-after teachers of non-dual tantra, and author of the celebrated guide to spiritual practice, The Heart of Meditation: Pathways To a Deeper Experience. Born to socially-conscious parents (her father was a Pulitzer Prize-winning liberal news columnist), Sally went on to a brilliant career as a journalist and later a feminist activist. She participated in a sit-in against the Ladies Home Journal, debated Playboy’s Hugh Hefner on national television, and at age twenty-six published in Esquire the feminist confessional/manifesto Cutting Loose, wherein she juxtaposed issues of rage and dependency. Hailed as a literary luminary with work featured in The New York Times, The Village Voice, Esquire, New York, and other premier publications, Sally was experiencing a classic dissatisfaction with conventional success. Through her writing, she began to explore the contours of her own and other’s suffering, musing in retrospect, “I was looking for spiritual awakening, but since I was a left wing political-intellectual, I couldn’t go straight to God. The road was winding.” The labyrinth-walk of Sally’s search and self-examination, formally inaugurated by a spiritual awakening undergone while listening to the Grateful Dead’s Ripple, eventually led her to study meditation and spiritual philosophy, and eventually to kundalini experiences so intense that she began to feel the need for a spiritual guide. Confronted in 1974 with the first glimpse of her future guru Swami Mutkananda, and flooded with an “implosion” of love in his presence, Sally underwent a further, more radial awakening, describing her inner state as “accelerating from zero to sixty in fifteen minutes.” She became a close student of Muktananda’s, travelling with him, editing his books and eventually, before his death, being chosen by him to be initiated as an ordained swami, or teaching monk in the Vedic tradition. He gave her the name Swami Durgananda, meaning ‘the bliss of the divine mother.’ Sally spent the 1980’s and 90s teaching in India, the US, and Europe. As her spiritual life deepened, she realized that she also needed to address psychological issues, as the disowned facets of her personality ”the bohemian, rebellious, intellectual, ironic radical” began to assert themselves. Recognizing this experience as a “yogic cleansing,” and a call for further integration and evolution, she began experimenting with various psycho-spiritual techniques, exploring and mapping her consciousness, and embodying her commitment to “take responsibility for the inner drilling.” In 2002, having completed a powerful process of integration, she left her spiritual community to teach independently. From this transpersonally-informed passion and her thirty years of inner exploration came Sally’s book The Heart Of Meditation, an offering rich with personal anecdotes, gentle suggestions, a full-spectrum embrace of both Eastern and Western wisdom traditions. The book was a gift to aspiring meditation students and seasoned spiritual practitioners alike. Creating innovative workshops and spiritual trainings, teaching an approach to practical enlightenment based on classical tantric texts of Kashmir Shaivism, and writing extensively on all aspects of spiritual life, Sally currently contributes the popular “Wisdom” column for Yoga Journal. She teaches at Kripalu, Omega and other conference sites, and has been a featured guest at Boulder’s Naropa University. Says Kempton, “My work now is to make accessible the essence of the non-dual heart path I studied with my teachers, yet to do this in a post-traditional context. I teach on the tremulous edge where openness meets discipline, and where transformation happens from the inside.”]Link text[/link] According to her own website Sally Kempton is one of today’s most authentic spiritual teachers. She teaches devotional contemplative tantra—an approach to practice that creates a fusion of knowing and loving. Known for her ability to transmit inner experience through transformative practices and contemplation, Sally has been practicing and teaching for forty years. A disciple of the great Indian guru Swami Muktananda, she spent twenty years as a teaching swami (monk) in the Saraswati order of Indian monks. In her guru’s ashram, she received a traditional training in yoga philosophy and practice, and became a popular teacher, deeply versed in the teachings and practices of Vedanta and Kashmir Shaivism. In 2002, Sally began teaching independently. She now offers heart-to-heart transmission in meditation and life practice through her Awakened Heart Tantra workshops, teleclasses, retreats, and trainings in applied spiritual philosophy. Her workshops and teleconference courses integrate the wisdom of traditional yoga tantra with the insights of contemporary evolutionary spirituality and cutting-edge psychology. Sally is the author of Meditation for the Love of It, a groundbreaking book on meditation, which Spirituality & Health called “the meditation book your heart wants you to read.” She writes a regular column, Wisdom, for Yoga Journal. She offers monthly teleclasses in meditation, and an ongoing teleconference series called the Transformative Practice Journey, which unfolds different aspects of awakening practice. She is one of a select group of teachers in Ken Wilber’s Integral Spiritual Center, and teaches regularly at conferences, and at Kripalu and Esalen. A specialist in working with subtle energies, Sally is known for creating a joyful and supportive atmosphere that lets students feel safe in moving to deeper levels of mind and heart.

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