The Heart of Who We Are: Realizing Freedom Together


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$20.99  $19.52
Sounds True
Publish Date
6.05 X 8.96 X 0.89 inches | 0.88 pounds

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About the Author

Caverly Morgan is a meditation teacher, author, and visionary. She is the founder of Peace in Schools, a nonprofit that created the nation's first for-credit mindfulness class in public high schools. Caverly is also the founder of Presence Collective, a community of cross-cultural contemplatives committed to personal and collective transformation. Caverly is also the author of A Kids Book About Mindfulness and leads online classes, workshops, and meditation retreats internationally. More at


"Collective liberation is first grounded in collective healing. Collective healing starts with the labor of individuals willing to begin healing for themselves. That will open into collective healing. Our future must be a future that centers the work of healing to get free. In The Heart of Who We Are, Caverly Morgan offers us a vision of how to do this imperative work through the profound lens of Buddhist dharma, which she has deeply embodied through her many years of practice and study. This book is a part of the canon of work we must rely on to bring about a more liberated future." --Lama Rod Owens, author of Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation Through Anger

"Awareness is contagious, and Caverly skillfully encourages readers to harness our awareness to find the peace and contentedness that already exist within. The energy that follows brings healing to our lives, as well as helps us work to improve the lives of others." --Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and Real Change

"Caverly Morgan's writing is immediately intimate, fresh, and friendly--and it goes straight to your heart. She combines spiritual depth with enormous practical wisdom. I loved reading her personal stories, mind-stopping enlightenment zaps, effective suggestions, brief psychological exercises, and gentle, humorous, encouraging guidance. She is a true friend to the reader, a deeply realized being who is utterly committed to your healing and awakening. A gem!" --Rick Hanson, PhD, author of Neurodharma: New Science, Ancient Wisdom, and Seven Practices of the Highest Happiness

"Transcendence and transformation. In The Heart of Who We Are, Caverly deftly holds two seemingly opposing truths--our shared being of oneness whose nature is peace, and our shared world of apparent separation and its suffering--and invites us to explore how our true nature might find its fullest expression in both ourselves and the collective. This beautiful and courageous book not only provides a way for us to explore who we are and how we are in the world but stands as a shining example of what it means to do both." --Rupert Spira, teacher of nonduality, author of The Nature of Consciousness and Being Aware of Being Aware

"This book is a masterpiece. It offers the reader a deep understanding of nonduality in an accessible and tangible way, illustrates how to apply this understanding to social justice and cultural change, and offers a path toward realizing freedom together through love, compassion, and awareness. One of the most personally impactful books I've read in a long time." --Kristin Neff, PhD, author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself and Fierce Self-Compassion: How Women Can Harness Kindness to Speak Up, Claim Their Power, and Thrive

"Drawing upon her decades of experience as a Zen monk and meditation teacher, Caverly Morgan generously shares the practices of deep inquiry and guided meditations that have transformed the lives of thousands of teenagers in the Peace in Schools program in Portland, Oregon. At a time when so many people are discouraged about the future of the world and its inhabitants, her creative teachings can help us see through the illusion of a separate and flawed self, offering the real possibility that individual awakening can become community, societal, and eventually, worldwide awakening." --Jan Chozen Bays, Roshi

"Inspiring and immersive, The Heart of Who We Are invites us to access a way of being whole that dissolves the illusion of the separate solo-self, so often taught in our modern culture, and instead come to release what rests beneath that veil--an open awareness from which love, experience, and consciousness arise. The practices and stories of this marvelous book are lessons guiding us in how to live more fully and freely, releasing the life force of love that is the essence and energy of the liberation within these transformative pages." --Daniel J. Siegel, MD, New York Times bestselling author of IntraConnected: MWe (Me + We) as the Integration of Self, Identity, and Belonging, executive director of the Mindsight Institute

"Caverly Morgan has created a practical guide that will change your life and help you see the world differently. This work moves you from despair to hope, from pain to possibility, all through deep practices, truth, and love. Read this book. You, and the world, will be better for it." --Justin Michael Williams, author of Stay Woke

"The Heart of Who We Are: Realizing Freedom Together is a game changer. It is a book for spiritual teachers and for students alike. In her practical approach that draws on her successful methodologies, Caverly shows us how to bridge the chasm between spiritual wisdom and social responsibilities. Caverly guides us to understand what we are not seeing as individuals and the impact of our blindness on the collective unconsciousness within our culture. She gives us hope by showing us not only what we can do but how to do it. The Heart of Who We Are: Realizing Freedom Together is a significant addition to spiritual wisdom teachings." --Jac O'Keeffe, teacher, author of How to Be a Spiritual Rebel and Born to Be Free

"In The Heart of Who We Are, Caverly Morgan has offered our troubled world a wish-fulfilling gem--crystal clear in its transparent honesty, luminous in shining the light of wise compassion on the shame that binds us all in different ways, incisive and unbreakable in its exposing and cutting through the knots of fear-based conditioning that lock us into lives of separation, othering, and harming. Given the urgency of this now--with our individual and collective lives, our spiritual practice, and communities crying for voices that help awaken us from the nightmares of spiritual bypassing and systemic racial and other oppression, her voice is a freedom bell that calls us to return again to our wholeness and to join as one in the act of co-creating the beloved community we all need to truly be together in shared presence, here and now." --Joe Loizzo, MD, PhD, founder of the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, assistant professor of psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College

"This is the book I've been waiting for! A deeply profound and practical path of liberation that fully integrates the collective with the individual." --Christopher Willard, PsyD, Harvard Medical School, author of How We Grow Through What We Go Through: Self-Compassion Practices for Post-Traumatic Growth

"The Heart of Who We Are: Realizing Freedom Together offers crystal clear perspective on the truth of Shared Being. In a voice as candid and transparent as it is poetic and unrelentingly compassionate, Caverly Morgan provides a bridge to collective awakening within the complexity of the world we are navigating today. The mindful inquiry and experiential practices in this book invite the reader into clear seeing, embodiment, and ultimately, radical togetherness." --Deborah Eden Tull, author of Luminous Darkness: An Engaged Buddhist Approach to Embracing the Unknown

"Caverly's embodiment of compassion and wisdom empowers us to walk the courageous path to deeply question and examine our individual and collective suffering and to recognize and dismantle the systems that perpetuate harm that has resulted in the chasm of separation in our world today. We humans have forgotten our inherent belonging that is our birthright and the interconnectedness of our existence. The Heart of Who We Are is the bridge of remembrance back to ourselves and each other that we so profoundly need right now if we are to survive as a species." --La Sarmiento, guiding teacher of the Insight Meditation Community of Washington's BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ sanghas

"Caverly's book is a beautiful invitation into an awake presence. She artfully invites us to traverse duality and nonduality amidst everyday life. Rich with insight and heart earned from deep spiritual practice, life in community, and exploring her own privilege, this inspired work is a wonderful companion for how to live with freedom, wisdom, and connection in a complex, challenging world." --Mark Coleman, author of From Suffering to Peace

"The Heart of Who We Are is meant to inspire practitioners to not only find the heart of our humanity in community but also to question how we have come to form and hold our individual and collective illusions. In a time when fear is causing our fellow human beings to reinforce their concretized personal realities, Caverly Morgan encourages us to practice experiencing the depth and benefit of cultivating a mindful and wise shared reality." --Justin F. Miles, MA, LCPC-S, LCAD-S

"Infused with wisdom, this brilliant book invites readers to go inward as the starting point for reimagining collective freedom. Weaving together lived experiences and practical teachings, The Heart of Who We Are serves to free us from the trance of social conditioning and connect with a deeper purpose. I held this profound and courageous book to my heart, reminded of the connection between personal inner peace and peace on earth." --Rev. Grace Sangjin Song, Won Buddhist dharma teacher at Won Institute of Graduate Studies

"The Heart of Who We Are is a luminous and multifaceted gem of a book, beautifully written and grounded in wisdom from Caverly Morgan's own lived experience as a dharma practitioner and teacher. This treasure store offers us one of the clearest, heartfelt, and most compelling conversations that I've come across on why it is essential for each of us to wholeheartedly endeavor toward mutual and collective liberation. With a voice that is equal measures warm and accessible, poetic and profound, Caverly skillfully guides us in applying Zen teachings and nondual practices to a number of karmically conditioned complexes that hinder our recognition of our fundamental awake nature and the intimacy of our shared being. The Heart of Who We Are serves as a wise, encouraging friend and a tremendous resource for anyone yearning to realize--and actualize--true freedom and happiness in the personal, interpersonal, and collective dimensions of their lives. I hope that many will have the opportunity to encounter this truly transformative gift!" --Tenzen David Zimmerman, abbot of Beginner's Mind Temple, San Francisco Zen Center

"We live in a world and times in which we are increasingly confronted by division, uncertainty, and a falling away of things we once took as unshakable. With The Heart of Who We Are, Caverly Morgan extends a hand of kindness that coaxes readers to embrace the necessary journey of rediscovering themselves, and the compassion of walking alongside them. She generously offers her hard-earned wisdom--as a monk, a teacher, and a willing student of life--as a practical manual to turn fear into curiosity, confusion into awareness, and separation into love. You will return to this book over and over again." --Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Roshi, coauthor of Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation

"In this touching and timely book, Caverly Morgan explores what happens when the loving awareness that emerges from seeing through the delusion of the separate self turns towards collective social delusions such as racial superiority and dominance. What happens when a diverse, polarized community feels safe and respected enough to explore their shared Being as so many of Caverly's Portland public high school students learned to do? This book brings the mindfulness conversation to both a deeper level and wider scope by pointing to an inherent wholeness beneath all of our psychological and social wounds. The Heart of Who We Are invites us into a vital transformative group or individual inquiry. An inspired, loving, authentic, and original work." --John J. Prendergast, PhD, author of The Deep Heart and In Touch, Retired Adjunct Professor of Psychology, CIIS

"Morgan is calling us back to our origin, which is to call us towards our innate freedom. She is calling us to our ancient ways of community, wholeness, belonging, discovery, and service. She does this first by dedicating her work to her mother, the one who gave her life, and then to her beloved who nurtures it. In The Heart of Who We Are, Morgan brings us back to what we know in our bones. If only we are willing to allow such wisdom to surface and spread between us." --Zenju Earthlyn Manuel, author of The Shamanic Bones of Zen and The Way of Tenderness

"I wish I'd had this book when I was starting a dharma community 16 years ago. It might have saved us a lot of heartache and confusion. Caverly has taken on issues that require courage and the ability to address painful and often avoided topics without turning away. Caverly comes from a caring, and badass, place of wanting us all to embrace the possibility of freedom through the lens of social issues that are often not addressed in spiritual communities, because bypassing is a popular spiritual forte. I hope that all existent and new communities use this as their wellspring for advice and woodshedding toward liberation. We all need help. This is the help we have been waiting for." --JoAnna Hardy, coauthor of Teaching Mindfulness to Empower Adolescents

"The Heart of Who Are is an epic journey of returning to our true essence. We are guided to uncover who we are not and dismantle our illusory thoughts and projections. Caverly Morgan jolts the reader into questioning their identifications and skillfully lures you into negating everything we have ever known--leaving us with the possibility of becoming empty of self, liberated from our conditioning." --Vimalasara (Valerie) Mason-John, author of Detox Your Heart: Meditations for Healing Emotional Trauma

"This is an invitation into belonging, a radical belonging. You are taken on a journey of exploring what is really true, in both the relative sense of life and self, and in the absolute sense of pointing out the inherent liberation we all possess. Most importantly, this offering guides us into our awakened imaginations, where we can begin to give birth to new ways of living in the world that are free of unconscious expressions of injustice, but firmly rooted in the awareness of the inherent oneness of being." --Rashid Hughes, restorative justice specialist at RestorativeDC, cofounder of Heart Refuge Mindfulness Community, certified mindfulness and yoga teacher

"The Heart of Who We Are calls us to courageous action and commitment to the high art of a principled life. This is not a philosophical conversation over coffee. It is a challenge with tools to dismantle the inner and outer programs that permit us to justify our collapse in the face of what intimidates us, what we fear we cannot do anything about, and what we know is wrong. Caverly Morgan reminds us that we share an individual and collective desire for peace, belonging, and happiness. She lights the path of dedicated practice to overcome our fears and be, do, and have the truth of our creation as a living reality. With all seriousness and kindness, The Heart of Who We Are calls us from the comfort of learned helplessness to the reclamation of our Divine power. This is a radical spiritual call to be fully free and sovereign. Caverly is a part of a new wave of thinkers who understands the power of possibility and the consistent inner work it takes individually and collectively to create the world we want. She invites us to be, do, and have this together." --Jenée Johnson, program innovation leader, mindfulness, trauma, and racial healing for the Trauma Informed Systems Initiative, Office of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion/Mental Health Act, founder of The Right Within Experience