I aim to create an intelligent conversation about spirituality and intimacy that helps people understand and approach concepts and practices in the most useful manner.
Accuracy - Developing understanding that is based on real information which can be traced to reliable sources.
Intimacy - Becoming willing to show up to what is occurring in ourselves, each other and the world.
Empathy - Learning to feel our own and others’ body-mind with a wide open heart.
Depth - Orienting towards knowing things as deeply as possible in the moment.
Embodiment - Increasing awareness of and sensitization to the body’s signals.
My primary avenue of interest is in the contemplative and mystical traditions. I have an extensive background in retreat-style meditation and the yogic arts. I began my formal study and practice of meditation at the age of 17. I initially learned meditation in the tradition of Vipassana, as taught by Jack Kornfield and others at Spirit Rock meditation center.
In my early twenties, I spent many months of each year immersed in classical tantric yoga and meditation at Agama Yoga in Thailand, where I did intensive personal practice and regular meditation retreats. In addition to my own thousands of hours of practice, I participated in over 1,000 hours of meditation teacher training with teachers at home and abroad. After I returned to the United States more permanently, I began studying with Michaela Boehm, a lineage holder in a Tantric Kashmir Shaivism tradition. I’ve completed a teacher training in her primary movement modality, and continue to train with her.
My concurrent study of body-based and sexual yogas, focused on sensitization, embodiment, and pleasure, alongside more traditional meditative practice, has informed me deeply about the nuances of practice and workings of intimacy with self and others. My practice in these traditions now spans over seventeen years, more than half of my lifetime, including several years of substantial, almost exclusive focus.
Additionally, I am passionate about understanding the brass tacks of psychology, sexuality, and spirituality. I believe strongly in having clear, frank methods of addressing both mystical and sexual experiences, combining the deeply emotional experiences that occur inside of the body in these realms with their practical consideration. I work with sex educator Kenneth Play on the creation of hands-on, evidence-based modes of sexual learning, as his head of Research and Development. Together, we distill academic and scientific information about sexuality into usable advice and techniques.
My academic study occurs at Columbia University, where I conduct research on neuroscience and meditation, focusing on the emerging field of neurophenomenology, attempting to combine the study of traditional buddhist texts and ideologies with the neuroscientific and experiential data gained from scientific meditation studies. I also focus on the intersection of neuroscience, human sexuality and attention.
My interest is in finding the neurobiological underpinnings and correlates of body-based and sexuality-related spiritual practices, as well as improving understanding of the neurological effects of meditation practices and how they can be applied to create more intimacy with self, others, and the nature of reality.
Among the questions I seek to answer through my experiential practice and intellectual study are the following:
What occurs in the body-mind during deep, blissful, meditative states?
How can my inquiry into these states from both experiential and academic vantage points help facilitate deeper knowledge for others?
Why and how do sexual yoga practices, designed to facilitate increased intimacy with self and others, work?
How can I make them more accessible and more effective by inquiring into their nature from multiple angles?
Most importantly, how can these pursuits help us hold on to the meaning of our lives in a world that increasingly de-emphasizes intimacy, depth, dedication, and focus?
These are the questions that continue to drive my life and that I hope to help answer.