I was raised as a Quaker near Atlantic City, New Jersey. We practiced sitting in silence, but there was little teaching about how do that difficult task. I squirmed. I discovered Buddhism and mediation in my 20's and practiced half-heartedly in the Shambala tradition. Through my 30's, living in Toronto, Canada, I continued to read Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, Chogyam Trungpa and the Dalai Lama, as I earned a social work degree and practiced in the field of child protection services. At 40, feeling a disconnect between my favorable life circumstances and pervasive anxiety, I began a daily mediation practice. At 41, I took my mediation practice to the Awakened Meditation Centre and found a great teacher in Ven. Hwasun Yangil Sunim, and the small, dedicated Sangha there. I learned to meditate all over again and found great comfort in practice, the Korean Zen tradition and in the wider Zen tradition. To share my enthusiasm for Zen, I began blogging short, simple messages about Zen, Buddhism, and mindfulness under the name Zen Mister. This remains my primary outlet for teaching. In 2013, I left Canada and child protection work to return to New Jersey and manage a family farm and wildlife preserve. Instead of connecting with a Zen community, I rejoined the Quaker community to see how the two contemplative practices complement each other. I have taught mindfulness, without much reference to Buddhism to primary, elementary, and middle school students at an area Friends (Quaker) School. As with my blog, which now focuses primarily on offering mindfulness advice, I try to teach the Dharma to beginners and non-Buddhists in a way that they can apply it to their lives, where they are, and as they need it. I have a wife and daughter. You can find my blog at www.zenmister.com.
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