I am enormously grateful to my teacher, Toni Packer and to J. Krishnamurti, among others, for de-mystifying this work, making it readily available to the layman in everyday language. Toni's & Krishnamurti's work among others have helped shape some of the language we use in meetings and dialogue together. Although there are keywords and commonalities with Non-Dualism, Buddhism, Zen & Insight Meditation.
To reveal ourselves is courageous and a vital part of learning to be with things "as they are". There is no single secret to waking up, as each human experience is unique, yet there are time honored key words, inquiries and various means that appear throughout meditative traditions to help quench the thirst for truth and equanimity. There are as many paths to Freedom as there are people. We have found Dialogue useful in supporting each other over the years to share these and continue to explore what feels useful for integrating wisdom into daily life.
Practice & meetings: We offer meditation time in all our events w/o qualification other than silence and if help is needed, advice or coaching on ways of working with body/mind is readily available. We don't claim any particular system, don't believe there is a system to Awareness but have seen that it comes to those that are interested and fairly consistent. Inquiry is born of genuine interest & each human being ripens as they are ready. One on one meetings are a unique experience and I learn as much as anyone from them.
Group dialogue / inquiry is another way we can learn to listen and talk intelligently about our experience & most importantly, to question. Presence or conditioning?
Born in Rochester, N.Y. 1957
Started meditation after reading "The Three Pillars of Zen" at 18. Joined Rochester Zen Center a year later, in 1977. Became a formal student of Toni Packer in 1978 and started local practice, training & retreats with her at Rochester ZC.
Toni and her students split off from the Zen center in 1981.
Passed initial koan in 1983 at Canadaigua Lake, Camp Onanda (scout camp) winter retreat with Toni.
Springwater Retreat Center was built outside of Rochester, N.Y. and started holding retreats there in 1984.
I moved to New York City in 1985 & continued working with Toni during retreats several times a year.
Extended stays at Springwater Center, eventually joining the staff as cook from Jan. 2006 to Nov. 2011.
Toni became bed-bound during a long illness around 2009 & passed in 2013.
I met Amanda in 2008. We soon married and lived together on staff at Springwater through 2011.
We moved to California and founded the "Soquel Meditation Group" with Caroline & several others in 2012.
"We've found that serious inquiry, looking and questioning inwardly, brings forth a new way of seeing that confirms the experience of Spaciousness & Awareness … the challenge is that it can also show us the (painful) limitations of old ways / conditioning! It then becomes a matter of not giving up, but approaching each day as a fresh opportunity to get clear and un-stuck.
Meditation is what we call "being with everything" just as it is, when there's no manipulation, when observation takes it's place, there are suddenly no serious problems!"
More about 'who we are'.