As a small child, I lived with my family in the high desert of Nevada. There, alone one evening, under the endless desert sky, I had an experience that set the tone for the rest of my life. As the evening wind slowly increased, I experienced my body as porous, unsolid. As the wind poured through me, I noticed that I was not located in my body, that my attention was seemingly everywhere at once. I was nowhere, nothing in particular, yet I was.
This experience was at once exhilarating and terrifying. I spent many years running from its implications. At the same time, the feeling of being empty, vast, unlocatable, remained with me, a touchstone that I somehow always recognized as home, even as my personality recoiled from it.
My solution to my dilemma was to become a seeker. This provided a clever way to both move toward essence and avoid it all at once. I was seeking what I already knew, but my personality could not tolerate the knowledge, so the seeking kept me in touch with that essential nature without risking actually having to give myself to it, to live all that my original insight implied. I studied Jung and other psychologies which roamed over humanity’s love of and fear of consciousness; I read the great mystic poets, and the novelists who spoke to the deepest reaches of being; I began to meditate, and studied the world’s religions, but was drawn only to the mystics, the ones who lived on the fringes, risking heresy to live and articulate the truths they discovered through their own direct experience of Spirit. I studied music and wrote songs and poems, mostly about dark, unrequited love. I was a seeker and a lover of life, but also consumed with my own suffering, and by the suffering in the world.
Eventually, I decided to unite my various interests in the uncharted realms of human experience by becoming a therapist. I earned an MA from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology in 1984, and became licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist in 1987. Over time, this led me to my other roles as a teacher of individual and group process, a consultant to organizations, and a facilitator of large groups in conflict.
In 1999, I went to see a spiritual teacher with whom I was unfamiliar. From the back of a large hall, I saw a woman sitting on the stage, quiet, composed, seemingly at peace. Suddenly and overwhelmingly, it struck me that it was possible for me to live the insight I had first encountered as a child on the Nevada desert: I am never who I think I am; I am nowhere and everywhere at once; I am the vital, conscious stillness that gives rise to all that exists. So are you. My personality still objects, but I no longer deny this essential truth.
What flowed from that day has been a radical restructuring of my life. All my practices changed dramatically. New poetry and music, born in essence, began to appear to me, and became a major focus of my attention. Paradoxically, since that day, I am more deeply content and vital in this body than ever before. The end of suffering is to recognize what we already are, and to give up anything that does not reflect that discovery. My life has become an endless unfolding, a deepening into essence. My life and my work arise from and point only toward this.