Nature & Spirit


One of the great things about my counseling work
is that I get to share the wild beauty of this locale.


I meet with clients at
Ventura Pier,
Harbor Estuary,
Botanical Gardens,
Lake Casitas,
Pine Mountain,
Rose Valley,
Matilija Creek,
Chumash Trail,
Lake Shrine,
Sacred Space,
the Mount…

Vta Eagle

I love not only the nature of the place,
but also the spirit of the time.


There are legends that the New Era starts here,
amongst valleys sacred for 10,000 years.


Profound wisdom and healing power
are hidden between mountains and ocean.


 Each of the World’s Faiths has a center in this region,
and every kind of human being now lives in this area.


Wondrous things are happening.
It is a blessing to be a part of it.

Vta Swan

I need to say a deeply loving thanks to
The Ventura Center for Spiritual Living
for letting me use office space as needed.

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Wisdom of Kindness

Vta Pond


“Kindness is the basic wisdom.”
(Fortune Cookie, circa 2000.)

A deep study of the World’s Great Faiths
will reveal a hidden secret.
There exists an ageless wisdom teaching,
a single core idea, arising
through every period and culture
of humanity upon this planet -

We are not merely our personality -
composed of body, feelings, thoughts.
We are a spiritual consciousness.
We are essentially divine beings.

There comes a point on the Path
where the light touches our mind -
we realize that we are beings,
and must not be treated as things.

There comes a point on the path
when the love touches our hearts -
we realize that others are beings,
and must not be treated as things.

If I am a being, then all these others are too,
and I must treat them as if they were the Self,
because that is what they truly are.

This is the Diamond Rule.

If I search deeply into myself,
and then search deeply into
family, friends, strangers, enemies,
I do not find separated entities,
I find One Soul of love and light.

All beings are of one kind.

This is the basic wisdom of our species.
And it is the reason for kindness.

We are living through the moment
this ancient hidden secret might
finally become common knowledge.

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Practice of Presence


I have made a lifelong study
of the world’s wealth of disciplines
for awakening consciousness,
trying to find the common basis
of the various approaches to
meditation and contemplation.

I have finally come to believe that
the basic human practice is presence.

In my own life I have learned that
fear, grief and pain tend to ease
as I bring my focus home
to the depths of my own being.

If I mind my heart,
then I am at peace.

In my work with clients
I notice that humans become
more serene and tranquil,
less worried and angry,
as we become skillful at
breathing our breath,
feeling our feelings,
thinking our thoughts.

It seems like things go better as
we become conscious of ourselves.

This is a basic human practice -
being present with ourselves.

The mystery of this practice is that
being present with our own being,
brings us into a greater presence
of loving kindness and loving wisdom.

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Broken & Perfect


Among the spiritual communities
in which I have the honor of serving
are two that might seem to be
based upon opposing worldviews.

The metaphysical communities of New Thought
espouse the concept that all of us are perfect.

The anonymous fellowships of Twelve Steps
espouse the concept that we can be broken.

I used to make my living treating PTSD,
and have become familiar with
the enduring impacts
of trauma upon human beings -
some of us tend to go sad and scared,
some of us tend to go tough and mean.

I have become convinced that
trauma is a global condition,
that it can be carried across
incarnations and generations
that it touches every life in this world.

So I have no trouble believing
the Anonymous paradigm
about human brokenness.

I now make my living consulting
with people about their emerging spirituality,
and I am blessed to witness everyday miracles
of learning, healing, growth and change.

I have also become utterly convinced
that every single human being
possesses astonishing capacities for
transformation, liberation,
redemption and awakening.

So I have no trouble believing
the Metaphysical paradigm
about human perfection.

“I am perfect, whole and complete…”
(Louise Hay)

“We admitted we were powerless…”
(Bill Wilson)

What if they are both right?

This is how the study of
Wisdom comes in handy -
there is an obscure teaching
that arose in the Himalayas
in the 4th and 5th Century
(Arya Asanga’s Uttaratantra).

This Wisdom Teaching suggests that
spiritual consciousness has a twofold aspect -

A perfection aspect -
because we are creatures
whose essence is infinite awareness,
an unfolding aspect -
because we are by nature
eternally developing and evolving.

It is the perfection aspect which gives us
our miraculous potentialities,
because the human spirit is grounded in,
and therefore one with, the Divine Spirit.

It is the unfoldment aspect which gives us
our persistent appearance of brokenness,
because our trajectory has, forever,
both a leading edge and a trailing edge.

The poignant grandeur of our species
lies hid in the differential between
our perfection and our brokenness -
we are simultaneously angel and animal.

This is our struggle and our glory.

For me the implication is
that we will do very well
to embrace and enjoy both
our perfection and our unfoldment.

I need to express appreciation
for two friends -
Speaker Rick Wilson
Reverend Bonnie Rose
who are serving
by bringing through
great treasures of
kindness and wisdom.

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Spiritual Friendship

HealerAbout three years ago I was driving home from
an evening meeting during a thunderstorm, and
I was surrounded by beautiful lightning strikes.
This stunning display gave me a glimpse of vision.
I sensed for a moment the many points of light
that we are, in the community of spirituality, and
I felt deeply the great need for us to build links for a network of loving friendship.

Lately every week I go to various spiritual events in the area near my Ojai home:
metaphysical centers, anonymous fellowships, esoteric communities, as well as
churches, temples, and service agencies.  I am seeing and hearing the signs of
a greater Wisdom Family drawn from this wealth of diverse groups -

Different people talking about the joy of a life given over
to loving service, helping others and sharing kindness. 

What does it matter if one of us studies the Dharma of the Buddha,
and the other one of us studies the Gospel of the Christ?

One day our grandchildren will ask us what we did during the global crisis,
and we will take no pride in petty disputes between points of view.

What does it matter if there are difficulties between our differing personalities?

One day we will all be attending each other’s memorial services.
In that moment we will be mourning only the barriers that kept us apart.


We are meant for spiritual friendships that
connect us together for the good of the whole.
We are called to help heal this wounded world
and to take part in building a City of Peace.
We are being gathered together from our
sects and tribes for an urgent common reason -

We need a planetary recovery – an awakening and redemption that unites us.
At this point the deepest basis for human relations is spiritual friendship.

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Emergency Meditation


I have taught many exotic techniques of meditation,
but if I am in real trouble, then I use this one -

Bring your mind
to your heart
find your breath.

I call it Emergency Meditation because
you can do it in the middle of an accident,
you can do it in the middle of an argument,
and you can do it just as you put your hand
onto the doorknob of the really hard room.

Bring your mind
to your heart
find your breath.

By this I mean focus into the center of your chest,
and let yourself breathe a little bit deeper.

It’s a bit like coming home.

As you deepen your breath,
the body tends to ease,
the heart gets a little calmer,
and the mind gets a little clearer.

Bring your mind
to your heart,
find your breath
feel your feelings.

Don’t fight your feelings, just feel them, as they are.
There is no need to go to war with your own heart.

If you have judgements about your feelings,
then embrace your own heart with loving kindness.

Just for one moment be at peace
with your own heart, as it is.

Bring your mind
to your heart,
find your breath
watch your thoughts.

Don’t fight your thoughts, just watch them, as they are.
There is no need to go to war with your own mind.

If you have judgements about your thinking,
then observe your own mind with loving wisdom.

Just for one moment be at peace
with your own mind, as it is.

Bring your mind
to your heart
find your breath.

Deepen your breathing.
Feel your feelings.
Watch your thoughts.

Whatever arises,
moment by moment,
as you breathe in, let it be,
as you breathe out, let it go.

Whatever is happening, no matter what -
As you breathe in, let it be, just as it is.

As you breathe out, let it go, just as it will.

As you breathe in, let it be.
As you breathe out, let it go.

If you can bring your mind and heart to peace,
heart calm, mind clear, even if only for a moment,
then your thinking, feeling, and actions
can become that much wiser and kinder.

With practice,
you can do this,
whatever is happening,
no matter what.

I do it wherever I am making a choice,
whenever I am getting upset,
and as I enter into a difficult situation.


By this simple way,
we can bring the peace.

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The State of Peace

Command of the MasterI just served as keynote speaker for
Camarillo Hospice 30th Annual Community Memorial Service.
It was such an honor and humbling
to be a part of this profound event.
As it usually does, the task of planning the talk brought me
my own fresh revelations.

I was asked to talk about Life, Death, Love and Loss.  I will try to convey the gist.
The message is intended to be useful for anyone who seeks peace in this world.

Close your eyes for a moment and let yourself see a departed beloved in your mind.
Are they not still a living light in your life?  I am going to say that a life is a light.
And that light is undying.

Perhaps the light of a life does not die, but bodies die, and with them sometimes
shared hopes and dreams also seem to die.  But I have had the experience of holding
a loved one in my arms as they breathed their last breath, and I have seen the light
of their life fill the room.  There is research now on this, and many are seeing it.  So
I am going to stand by my statement that a life is a light, and that light is deathless.

Close your eyes for a moment and let yourself feel a departed beloved in your heart.
Are they not still a living love in your heart?  I am going to say that love is a bond.
And that bond is undying.

No one wishes for sorrow.   But grief is a bond of love that links us across partings.
If we cross paths with another being and let ourselves trust them and care for them
then a bond is forged that links us together with the beloved forever.  Over time the pain mellows and sweetens and even losses deepen our heart and enrich our life.  So
I am going to stand by my statement that love is a bond, and that bond is deathless.

A few days ago I was driving down PCH to LA to meet with clients.  On the way I was listening to a CD of Napoleon Hill about the power of prayer and the sixth sense.
He used a phrase that rang bells for me – “the state of faith.”  I have pondered deeply
about what it means to keep faith, and this phrase helped it finally click in for me.

Hill is addressing the scientific, rather than religious aspect of faith, by studying it
as a condition of consciousness.  The moment I heard that phrase – “the state of faith,”
I was clear that faith is a yogic state of mind and heart that brings the sense of peace.

If I can keep my mind in the light of whatever greater power has been there for me,
and if I can hold my heart in the love of those who count on me to be there for them,
then my mind and my heart will know peace.  Peace is a sign of our own right path.

The brighter our minds the more able we are to fool ourselves and scare ourselves.
But there is no peace in our hearts while we are lying to or doubting in ourselves.
We only feel the state of peace while we are giving ourselves into the state of faith.

Just for the moment, rest your mind in the truest light you have ever known.
Just for the moment, rest your heart in the deepest love you have ever known.
This is the state of faith and the sure sign of it is the sense of peace.

I know that this is hard to believe considering all the bereavements, divorces and the kids moving away, but there is a way to prove the enduring reality of light and love -
Whatever is happening there is always a greater purpose to be served in the moment.
Whatever is happening there is never a lack of others who need the help we can give.

Greater purpose and helping others are a proven path for anyone to learn the power

of keeping faith and finding peace.

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Life Coaching

Song of ShambhalaThe art of Life Coaching for me, has several essential aspects:
People need a chance to get in touch with their own being,
need to feel and know their own truest longings, and need to be able to able to find the deeper meanings and purposes to be shared through love and work.

I view my job as keeping watch and listening deeply for signs of my client’s soul dreams.
There can be a certain sparkle in the eyes or ring to the voice that reveals these things.
I know the path of staying the course with real choices, and my mission is to help others to keep faith with their own quest to become what they are really meant to be.

I meet my clients in beautiful settings.  In the 805, between the mountains around Ojai Valley and the beaches of Ventura, and between Montecito and Malibu off the 101, there are so many options for walking and talking, and for sitting in meditative conversation.
Even in my little office I strive to create a tranquil moment with incense, a candle or a cup of tea.  Even during a telephone session, a moment of quiet, calm and clarity can be a profound gift to a client in the midst of a stressful crisis.  Just a moment of serenity serves to remind us of who we are and what we are doing in this world.  We need that.

The art of Life Coaching, for me, is a modern version of the ancient, ageless practice of
Spiritual Advisement or Spiritual Counseling, what I now call Spiritual Consulting.
It is the conscious discipline of spiritual friendship – to help the other find their way.


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New Life

images-2I have spent a life studying wisdom and healing
and using both to help others find their way.
This month marks three years since I began
my own journey of recovery from caregiving.         I seem to have made a good start for a new life, living and working once again in the beautiful Ojai area.  This past year I have been very busy teaching classes, leading groups and giving talks about meditation, peace, change and happiness,
as well as coaching clients about recovery, caregiving, relationships and direction.
This transition appears a bit miraculous to me, but it is based upon a set of proven ideas and skills, and these are what I strive to bring to my clients and my classes -

Mindfulness and serenity, wisdom and kindness can help us persevere beyond losses and create a new life of greater light, love, hope, joy, purpose, meaning and service.

The definite miracle is that I am presenting and facilitating meditation for agencies!
For much of my career as a psychologist I had to remain hidden and secret about
the spiritual consciousness that drives my work.  I doubt if I ever really fooled anybody,
but it is wondrous to be able to speak openly about the greater depths of human beings,
and amazing to be able to do so professionally for clinics, rehabs, hospices, etc.

Yesterday I served as the keynote speaker for Ventura County’s 5th Annual Conference on Brain Injury.  My message was that we are more than our brain and its traumas  -
we are beings, we are souls.  A diverse group of survivors, caregivers and professionals
made it very clear to me that they found this lesson inspiring.  The world is changing!
I believe this signals the potential emergence of a non-sectarian spiritual profession.

I need to say thanks to Nick Haner, Kathi Whalen, Devaki Berg and Anne Bowen
for helping me through the transition from bereavement, and also to Sue Tatangelo of Camarillo Healthcare District for believing that spirituality is just what is needed
to help all kinds of people find their way through the changes life takes us through.

The artwork for this blog is by the 20th Century Russian Painter Nicholas Roerich.
This Nicholas Roerich painting is entitled “The Star of the Hero.”  I take it to be
about the act of faithfully keeping watch for signs of ever greater things to come.


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