about_16_4034400446About Deborah Eden Tull

How we treat ourselves and how we treat our world are one and the same.

Long ago I found myself asking the questions, “How can I cultivate peace and sustainability in my life and help others to do the same? How can I contribute to a more conscious, equitable world in an age of such disconnect?” These questions have taken me on a journey that continues to inspire and humble me to this day. I often feel as if I’ve lived many lives in the years I’ve been here. 

My journey has taken me from city to farm and back many times, to sustainable communities around the world, to the life of a Zen Buddhist monk, and to living and serving as a dharma and mindfulness teacher, writer, activist, and sustainability educator — committed to living and teaching the path of engaged interconnection.

Born and raised in the city of Los Angeles in a family of free thinkers, artists, and activists, I had some experiences at a young age that inspired me to courageously seek out alternatives to the over-consumptive and stressful life I witnessed in the city. My mother’s work to address systemic homelessness exposed me to the vast social injustices of our time and at the same time I became aware of the rapid loss of living systems on our planet. I lost my father to cancer at age 11 and this loss opened up a lifelong inquiry into love, consciousness, and what it means to live wholeheartedly in the time we are here.

I left LA in 1991 to attend Hampshire College and over the next decade I practiced meditation, worked as an organic farmer, studied sustainable design and green architecture, and spent a lot of time living “off the grid, “learning to work in partnership with nature in intentional communities. Even in the world of change makers, I learned that our greatest challenges to personal and collective well-being often lie in our deeply limited conditioned perceptions about the world and ourselves. The trance of separation seemed to keep even well-intentioned people caught in the duality of “I versus you” rather than “We.” It also tends to cause a grave disconnect in our relationship with the natural world and the biosphere we call home. The mind of separation perceives through the lens of disconnection, dissatisfaction, and competition. It believes in having power over, rather than power with. It compels us to live in survival mode sustaining feelings of fear, threat, and judgment in an effort to have control over life. 

The good news is that the mind of separation only has the power of the attention we give it. Meditation offers a path to freedom.

My experiences led me to turn within and, at the age of 26, I entered a silent Zen monastery to train as a monk for the next seven and a half years. One of the gifts of my training was to discover that the only way to truly cultivate transformation, and remember the unity that is our birthright is from the inside out.  

Interconnection is our natural state of being. As is inner connection.

How we treat ourselves is reflected in how we treat our world.  Through cultivating a practice of present moment, compassionate awareness, our relationship to ourselves and thus to all of life transforms. Our relationships with our self, one another, and our planet shift, and we come home to the authenticity and interconnection that is our birthright We remember who we really are…beyond the distraction of the mind of separation.

My primary teachers are the wisdom of the natural world and Zen awareness practice. I have also spent many years immersed in Shamanism, Animism, and Deep Ecology, practices which help us to move beyond the bubble of separate self and live in reciprocal relationship with all forms of life. Conscious Movement and Sustainable Design have also been important parts of my path. Each of these practices embrace the consciousness of “We” and non-separation. Some of my teachers and inspirations along the way have included Cheri Huber, Joanna Macy, Walter Makichen, Diana Winston, Pam Weiss, Vandana Shiva, and Simon Buxton. I have also been influenced by the teachings of Wendell Berry, Masanobu Fukuoka, and more.

In 2007, after years of living off the grid and close to the earth, I returned to Los Angeles and set out to incorporate the tools and skills I had learned into life in a metropolitan city and began teaching others to do the same. 


I teach retreats and courses on compassionate awareness, relational mindfulness, and how to allow daily life to be a laboratory for awakening. I also teach The Work That Reconnects, as created by eco-philosopher and Buddhist scholar Joanna Macy, and guide people through the process of transforming our pain for our world into compassionate action.

The backbone of awareness practice is the notion that “how you do anything is how you do everything” or “as above, so below,”  as Western mystics sometimes say. In every moment of our lives, we are either moving from compassionate presence or from the mind of separation. We are either focusing on the process of our lives (which positions us to see clearly and honor interconnection and long-term sustainability) or the content of our lives (which positions us as a separate self, standing outside the landscape of life looking in and assessing, judging, and seeing through a distorted lens).


Meditation is not just something you practice on a meditation cushion. It is a moment-by-moment engaged practice and a way of life. For many people, there is a sense of “duty” with becoming more conscious, but part of what I teach is also the most enlivening, creative, joyful, passionate, and life-affirming work we can do. Meditation is not about finding “peace” and stopping there. It is an invitation to ever expand our heart’s capacity and to continually release the lens of “other” in relation to ourselves, other people, and all forms of life.

My teaching style is experiential, engaged, and based in fierce compassion. As a female teacher it has been life-affirming for me to take a stand for the deep feminine in a male-dominated world, and my teaching arises from this place.

For me, this work is a tremendous and continual gift. I witness transformation in people’s lives every single day and experience the willingness, tenacity, compassion, and resilience of people all over the world committed to waking up.


There are many ways to participate in this practice. In addition to the retreats, workshops, online courses, and consultations listed on my website, I also offer a monthly remote Deepening Practice program. I also teach through UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center and Worldwide Insight (LINK). 

 Write to me if you would like me to lead a retreat, workshop, or give a talk in your area.

For information about workshops, click here.

For information about my non-profit, click here.

I offer my teaching in lovingkindness.
All are welcome to participate.

In Peace and Passion,


Deborah Eden Tull