How We Teach
Our years of experience in psychotherapy, meditation practice and extensive retreat time has shaped our teaching and what we share with others.
The Heart of Our Teaching
Although we have studied both Western and Buddhist psychology, the heart of our teaching has evolved from two primary sources: our many years of personal psychotherapy and our combined 12 years of intensive meditation retreat practice, along with many years of working with others in both of these arenas.
From this body of personal and professional exploration, a comprehensive style of teaching has emerged. This style is malleable, in order to work effectively with another, the unique dispositions, natural inclinations, psychological strengths and less developed capacities of the individual must be identified and considered along the way.
Many Western practitioners struggle to establish a meaningful and regular meditation practice, necessary prerequisites to the deeper understandings and insights about ourselves and the nature of mind. Addressing acculturated issues of tension, striving, and a sense of unworthiness are essential if practice is to take root in one’s life.
We have found most meditation instructions do not spend sufficient time creating a wholehearted, embodied container for the unfolding of meditation practice. Western students in particular need guidance and attention in these areas to create an inner holding environment that supports the awakening of insight and compassion.
Once established, specific open awareness meditations and mindful inquiry exercises orient toward deeper understandings of impermanence, cause and effect, suffering, the nature of the self, and other core mental and physical processes.
We have found that to go deeper in meditation practice, generic meditation instructions are seldom sufficient. The interface between our psychological style and spiritual aims needs to be addressed and clarified in an ongoing way, and each person must discover their own uniquely inspired mode of practice.
As such, we subscribe to the “Hello Human Being” school of psychotherapy and meditation, which invites a more nuanced spiritual and personal meaning-making exploration. Our aim is to help others explore and create the conditions necessary to support this quality of investigation.
Our overarching intention is to help others deepen their appreciation for life, to stabilize a posture of practice that informs skillful action, and to feel a greater sense of connection to ever-widening streams of awareness and compassion.
We work with individuals, couples, and groups. Locations include our office, on the phone, on Skype/Zoom, and in residential retreat settings.
Since March 2020, at the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, we began the Daily Sit which is an online morning meditation program (Eastern Time) open to all.
The Inner Holding Environment
Please watch this beautiful video on the Holding Environment, presented to Bill and Susan from their first Teacher Training group.
For those who choose to work with us
There is only one request we make of those who choose to work with us, and that is to sustain a daily meditation practice of at least one-half hour a day. We have verified faith that mindfulness bears fruit when practiced regularly and appropriately in accord with each individual.
The quality of meditation is primary; we work with others to deepen interest and engagement with their practice. Meditation begins to flourish when it is both personally meaningful and restorative. We want you to look forward to meditation, rather than seeing it as another “should.”
We work in a collaborative fashion. The better we understand your spiritual history, deepest joys, personal hooks and setbacks, and aspirations, the more we will be guided to help deepen your practice.
We ask you to try things out in meditation and in daily life and to return with your insights and feedback.
May you reach your highest of aspirations.