In 1981, taking a much-needed break from medical school, I went to live in India and subsequently Sri Lanka. I stayed for about a year, living in a monastery. Having no previous knowledge of meditation and its inherent gifts, that journey is where I began my own path of meditation practice and study of Buddhist philosophy and psychology. I’ve continued my practice, traveling our world extensively, and maintain a practice as a psychologist/psychotherapist integrating Western and Buddhist psychology.
For many years now, Jack Kornfield has been my mentor. I have been enriched by my studies with him, as he is an immensely skillful teacher, but also he, as a psychologist, has an astute understanding of the predicament of human emotions, entrapments of the mind, and how to relieve psychological as well as spiritual suffering. From him, I have learned the importance of kindness, compassion for oneself and for others.
I also studied extensively with Alan Wallace. Alan is a Buddhist scholar and meditation teacher. Since the 1970’s, Alan has been a student of and translator for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and has been deeply involved in a number of projects with him. Although trained in the Tibetan tradition, Alan also draws from the Theravadan teachings and scholarly studies. As a renowned Dzogchen teacher he guides his students to access to the field of awareness or the natural innermost quality of the mind.
For the past 6 years, I have been traveling on a yearly basis to Dharamsala, India to learn from the teachings o His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama gives me a moral compass, affirming the values of radical compassion, which means to extend kindness and compassion for all beings. This kind of compassion is based on an understanding of all our interdependence.
In my teaching, I bring together the clarity and simplicity of mindfulness meditation, the emphasis on compassion and other heart practices, and the emphasis on accessing the natural field of awareness, which allows us to be with our experience of life from a place of stillness, knowing and love. I emphasize the importance of dedicating our practice to the wellbeing of all and transforming the fruits of our practice into service.