Drew Jones began exploring meditation as a teenager struggling with many challenges. The Dharma offered him a foundation for a lifetime of swimming "against the stream,” becoming an early and passionate advocate in marginalized communities. Coming out as trans in 2002, Drew sought refuge in Buddhist sanghas in Texas only to be explicitly told that one could not be Buddhist and gay. He knew being accepted as trans in sangha was out of the question, instead Drew took refuge in Buddha’s assertion that you “be a lamp unto yourself.” He studied for years on his own, deeply hoping and believing that enlightenment was available to anyone who truly pursued it. The teachings from the Theravada Thai Forest lineage, Ajahn Chah, Anagarika Munindra, and Dipa Ma, and more, gave him faith that he, too, could experience liberation.
After deciding to start a family and carry his own children, he gave birth to his first child in 2009. Soon after, he met his Dharma teacher, Brian Arnell, whose embodied, compassionate wisdom was exactly what he needed to dive deeper into the teachings and experience the Dharma more fully in his life. After giving birth to his second child, he opened a mindfulness based child care home, engaging young children in yoga, meditation and nature exploration.
In 2012 Drew undertook a year long intensive study of the Satipatthana Sutta with Brian. Fueling his desperation for awakening, he took on Anagarika inspired renunciate vows and completely committed himself to the Dharma.
When a debilitating health crisis brought his life to a near death halt, finding himself unable to even speak or comprehend language, the Dharma was all that was left in his mind. Not only did the Dharma carry him through, but it thoroughly relieved him from a life of complete suffering. This potentially devastating experience became the ground of awakening from which he would emerge having received Brian’s blessing to teach in 2015.
Currently, Drew is raising his guru children, exploring the intersections of social justice and spirituality while cultivating ASL access to the Dharma. Having experienced how unacknowledged systemic oppression (white supremacy/racism, classism, trans and homophobia, audism and ableism) has influenced the foundations of our spiritual communities, he knows the Dharma has the power, when our communities are willing to put in the work and share it out into the world, to free us from these patterns of harm.
Finding purpose in supporting anyone in the process of claiming their birthright to inner freedom, Drew offers meditation, Dharma teachings and spiritual mentorship in English and ASL through in person meetings, Skype sessions, workshops and retreats. He continues facilitating young adult, LGBTQIA+, and ASL meditation practice sessions and daylong retreats in Dallas and Austin, TX, encouraging spiritual practitioners and communities to bring ever deeper awareness and compassion to our current interpersonal and social dynamics of suffering.
If you would like to get in touch with Drew about spiritual counsel, ASL Dharma classes or ways to be involved with the Signing the Dharma project, please visit the Contact page.