The Alembic

About Us

The Founding Team

Michael Taft, Board President

is a meditation teacher, author, and podcaster. Michael is the author of several books, including the bestselling The Mindful Geek, and Nondualism, as well as the editor of such books as Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson and The Science of Enlightenment by Shinzen Young. He is also founding editor of the iconoclastic mindfulness meditation blog and podcast Deconstructing Yourself.

He has taught meditation at Google and Apple, and has contributed to curriculum and content for the Simple Habit and Wise@Work meditation apps. For many years he was the Editorial Director at Sounds True. 

From Zen temples in Japan to yogi caves in India, Michael has been meditating for over forty years and has extensive experience in both Buddhist and Hindu practice. Michael is a senior facilitator in Shinzen Young’s Unified Mindfulness system, and is a teacher of individuals, retreats, and meditation groups around the world.

Kathryn Devaney, Board VP & Executive Director

is a neuroscientist and dedicated meditation practitioner, with over 20 years of meditation experience. Since 2002 Kati has sat retreats across the US, Europe, and India and she has collected behavioral and imaging data from meditators across several retreats, events, and laboratories. 

Previously, Kati designed and taught her course ‘Meditation and the Brain’ at Stanford, taught Cognitive Psychology at Boston University, and has given invited lectures at MIT, Harvard Medical School, IIT Delhi, and elsewhere. Supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program, she earned her PhD in 2018, using fMRI to examine attention and default mode network function in experienced Vipassana meditators. 

Erik Davis, Board Secretary

is an author, award-winning journalist, sometimes podcaster, and popular speaker based in San Francisco. He is the author of five books, including High Weirdness: Drugs, Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the 70s  (MIT Press/Strange Attractor Press); Nomad Codes: Adventures in Modern Esoterica (Yeti, 2010); The Visionary State: A Journey through California’s Spiritual Landscape (Chronicle, 2006; and the 33 1/3 volume Led Zeppelin IV (Continuum, 2005). His first and best-known book remains TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information (Crown, 1998), a cult classic of visionary media studies that’s still in print. Erik’s scholarly and popular essays on music, technoculture, drugs, and spirituality have appeared in scores of books, magazines, and journals, and his writing has been translated into over a dozen languages. Davis has spoken widely at universities, conferences, retreat centers, and festivals, and has been interviewed by CNN, the BBC, NPR, and the New York Times. He graduated from Yale University in 1988, and earned his PhD in religious studies at Rice University in 2015. He currently writes the Substack publication Burning Shore.