Spirituality and psychology are two subjects that captured my attention from an early age. To this day, I continue practicing, providing consultations, and teaching cross-cultural psycho-spiritual subjects that integrate ancient disciplines into our modern world.
While I explored meditation and yoga during the 1970s, my practical focus was on college and career. There was a moment during my undergraduate studies when I said to myself, "This is what I want to learn – I’m going to study psychology!" Once I made this decision, I thought it best to also gain experience in the field. While enrolled in a Masters’ degree program in psychology, I worked at a psychiatric hospital for two years. In 1975, I became a licensed psychotherapist. My interest in psychology continued, and I earned a Ph.D. in 1981. Early on, I worked in clinics and at colleges, and then maintained a counseling private practice.
During the 1980s, I became more involved in spiritual traditions and practices. Baba Hari Dass, the north Indian yogi who founded the Mt Madonna Center outside of Santa Cruz, California introduced me to ashtanga yoga, and initiated me in meditation. I met Ammachi, who is known as the “hugging saint”, in 1989. Beginning in 1990, I began spending time at Amritapuri, Amma’s south Indian ashram; and I moved there in late 2014.
Beginning in the 1990s, I have learned and practiced different healing modalities created or supported by Amma. I embarked upon a deeper integration of East-West body-mind, psycho-spiritual healing that has included methods of meditation, mantra, service, devotion, worship, and their applications to psychotherapy.
In 1994, I had a Vedic Astrology (Jyotisha) consultation. This experience triggered an ongoing exploration and practice of this discipline. In 2003, it was my good fortune to meet Hart deFouw, practitioner and teacher of Vedic Astrology and other Vedic disciplines. At that time, I began 8 years of education and training under his tutelage.
In 2009, I began training in MBSR, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. During 2010 and 2011, I participated in the MBSR trainings for professionals taught by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD, and his teaching colleagues at the Center for Mindfulness, University of Massachusetts.
Currently, I serve as Director of the Amrita Wellness Program, Panchakarma Program, Amrita Ayurveda Center at Amritapuri. The purpose of the Program is to help people integrate the rejuvenating changes activated by panchakarma on all levels of their being: physical, energetic, emotional, mental, intellectual, relational, and spiritual.
I feel most at home working with a holistic vision of body-heart-mind healing and wellness from three traditions: Vedic -- service (karma yoga), devotion (bhakti yoga), knowledge (jñana yoga) and worship (guru yoga) plus Buddhist compassionate-mindfulness along with Western psychology and contemplative neuroscience.