Carol Cano, M.A. brings a unique combination of Basque, Native American and Buddhist influences into her teaching.
She is the founder of Braided Wisdom, a non-profit that empowers diverse communities by fostering transformational change through integrating indigenous wisdom teachings and cross-cultural mindfulness practices.
Carol co-founded Philippine Insight Meditation Community in the Philippines and the Deep Renewal Women's Gathering with Verlinda Montoya.
She is a teacher at Spirit Rock Meditation Center and a core teacher and a former board member of East Bay Meditation Center.
Her psychology background gives her a unique view into the human condition, which helps her hold community in a compassionate and confident manner. Carol reminds us to keep grounded in our hearts as we uphold spiritual ideals and encourages us to remain balanced within the demands of modern life.
Her late beloved elder Angeles Arrien Ph. D. mentored her for 15 years in cross-cultural approach to spirituality and indigenous wisdom. Angeles introduced the mystical ideology of Basque spiritualty and values. Her coined saying, “Walking the mystical path with practical feet” taught Carol about integration of the old and modern ways.
She was mentored by Jack Kornfield Ph.D. through the Dedicated Practitioner Program and Community Dharma Leadership program at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Jack has been an inspiration for cultivating the heart in the practice of the Dharma. Jack planted a seed for the birth of Philippine Insight and he has been a motivating factor for PIMC to bring the Dharma from a lay perspective to the Philippines. Carol served on the Diversity Council several years at SRMC during the time the Diversity initiative was established and the value of Diversity was a foundation created at SRMC.
Carol was blessed to have studied with a healer and Burmese nun Rina Sircar Ph.D. She met Rina at California Institute of Integral Studies where she obtained a Bachelor degree. Rina’s approach to the Dharma was of one of mindfulness, insight, healing, death and dying in Theravada Forest Tradition. Rina embodied the grandmother of heart and practice of the Dharma.
Carol started her journey in Thailand living a monastic life in 1987 at Wat Koh Tahm in Koh Phangnan, where she was guided by Mae Chee Ahmn Pun. It wasn’t until Steve and Rosemary in 1988 came in and taught the Dharma in English, the frustrated and angry twenty year old Carol started to understand Four Noble Truths and the Mindfulness of the Breath approach of Insight Meditation practice.
Later Carol traveled to Chiang Mai to study at the Old Chiang Mai Hospital in Traditional Thai Massage and the healing benefit of mindfulness through hands on healing. She met her teacher Chongkol (John) Setthakorn and, many years later, followed him to his own school International Training Massage. She has become one of the international teacher’s for Level 1 Certification. She currently conducts trainings in the Philippines for yoga teachers and other alternative medicine practitioners as an added addition to their healing practices.
Carol has over 5000 hours of medical charting in her work as an Eastern practitioner and medical massage therapist. She appreciates and value the healing of mindfulness and the healing arts such as bodywork. She moved back to the USA in 1991 and started working with HIV/AIDS patients and studied with Irene Smith and Gayle MacDonald working with frail patients. She obtained her full Credential as an HIV/AIDS peer counselor and health educator from City College of San Francisco and has full credentials as HIV/AIDS and health educator. She worked in several nonprofit organizations and clinics in the Bay Area and volunteered with hospice and worked with those with terminal illness. She has helped those who were facing death and dying.
Carol co-founded Inner Substance® cross-cultural intervention for substance abuse. She consults and facilitates training with co-occurring disorders and substance use. She counsels those struggling with spiritual crisis, mental health issues and addiction from a harm reduction approach.
Carol has trained with the Ojai Foundation in the way of council; a listening circle and Angeles Arrien on tracking the collective as a form of community healing and transforming conflict. The circle is the most ancient tool for transformation and deep healing.
Carol’s Dharma teachings have been heavily influenced to call in the ancestors and call on us to wake up to the current issues of today’s troubled world. The whispers of the ancestors are “maybe this one is the one whom may wake up to the calling of injustice and to those underrepresented and the oppressed, the struggles of the indigenous and those trying to hold traditions that are dying, our ill mother Earth helping all her creatures for they are vulnerable”. We must start with ourselves and have the courage to be still and look deeply of our own unconscious mind and closed hearts. May we have the strength to continue to work for the” good, true and beautiful”.