YOU ARE YOUR (OWN) SPIRITUAL TEACHER.
EVERYONE ELSE IS AN AIDE.
EVERYTHING ELSE IS A TOOL.
Who I Am
First, who I am not. I am not an ordained priest, pastor, Rabbi, Roshi, Kyoshi, Lama, Rinpoche, or Swami. I am a person like yourself who has pursued a spiritual practice since 1978. Like many who come to meditation, I was at a crisis moment in my life—I needed serious spiritual help. I did not have a religious affiliation. The vast resources of the Internet or a class were unavailable. I did not know a live local mentor to seek out. I was not acquainted with anyone who meditated. The crisis was so severe, I could not have handled anything more complicated or intellectual than “do this, now!”
My first meditative practice came from a slim paperback volume on hatha yoga:
1. Light a candle.
2. Sit and gaze at the flame for as long as one can manage.
3. Close the eyes and retain the flame's image in mind between the eyebrows for as long as one can manage.
4. Rinse. Repeat, ad infinitum. That method stabilized me and served me well for quite a while.
Over an initial period of 5-6 years (ca. 1978-1984), I tried many different meditative techniques from various traditions. In this period, I first encountered much of the material that underlies this work of this website. By the early 1990s, I had gained some maturity, some depth to my meditative practice. I was in pretty firm control of my spiritual journey.
After 20 years of practice (ca. 1978-1999), I took a Master's Degree in Religion. I studied on two tracks—purely personal interests. One was a deep dive into mystical experiences through the expressions of historical personalities from different religious traditions and no religious traditions—fascinating stuff. On the other track, I focused my thesis on a question that interested me: How does spirituality inform human interaction with the natural world—birds, bees, bugs, and trees? Fascinating stuff as well, but maybe only to me.
I am a person who has interacted with a variety of spiritual groups—religious and non-religious. I've connected with Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Tibetan Buddhists. I've sat silently with Quakers and Cistercian and Dominican Catholics. I've chanted with Hare Krishnas and New Age groups. I've prayed and sung with Methodists and Mormons. For 28 years, I resided in a small city, wherein the spiritual community included all of these groups and more. The groups were vibrant and amazingly interactive. I learned from a handful of very experienced meditation teachers and preachers there and later elsewhere.
In the latter years, I helped form two spiritual practice groups. One merged with a larger, more established organization. The second disintegrated from internal strife kindled by an unethical, immoral spiritual teacher. The latter experience left me with a healthy wariness of spiritual power hierarchies.
After a few years, I left the city to become an over-the-road tour guide, which necessitated almost constant travel throughout a year's work. My meditation coaching became intermittent, mainly for close friends and acquaintances. My meditative practice continued to mature and deepen. With the great aid of the Internet and recent life changes, I now have time to offer my experience and assistance to others beginning or maturing in spiritual practice.