Mindful Biology grew into my Life over decades. I’m crafting a memoir about its development, but that’s a long, complicated, and as yet incomplete story. Here, I summarize my educational, spiritual, and employment backgrounds.
My undergraduate coursework began in ecology, but my interests grew more technical over time. I enrolled in a graduate program and performed research on neural signal processing. Dissatisfied with laboratory work, I entered medical school and—eventually—pursued subspecialty surgical training. Here’s a list of the major educational programs:
- BA 1980, Department of Zoology, University of California, Berkeley
- MA 1983, Department of Biophysics, University of California, Berkeley
- MD 1987, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
- Internal Medicine Internship, 1987-1988, New York Medical College
- Ophthalmology Residency, 1988-1991, UCSF
- Ocular Oncology Fellowship, 1991-1992, UCSF
- Ocular Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Fellowship, 1992-1993, UCSF
Though raised an atheist, I’ve always felt mystical leanings. To escape family dysfunction and social anxiety, I focused more on my internal world than the world of home and school. In my twenties, addictions and mental health problems spurred a search for psycho-spiritual healing. I turned to counseling, 12-step programs, and silent worship in the Quaker tradition, the religion of my ancestors. In my early 40’s, I experienced a flood of powerful visions that told me—explicitly—to work toward reconciling science and spirituality. In the aftermath of the visions, I increased my meditation practice and began worshiping in Roman Catholic churches. In my early 50’s, I found my way to Raja Yoga and Theravada Buddhism. More recently, I’ve learned from non-dual teachers, especially John Prendergast, PhD.
I’ve pursued many body-mind-spirit trainings and retreats. The ones that contributed most to Mindful Biology are listed below:
Medical Acupuncture Training, 2010-2011, Helms Medical Institute, Berkeley CA
Dynamic Mindfulness / Yoga Teacher Training, 2012-2013, Niroga Institute, Oakland CA
Interfaith Spiritual Direction Training, 2015-2016, Chaplaincy Institute, Berkeley CA
My surgical career ended prematurely due to health issues. My initial plan was to work in biomedical computing, and I trained in that field for a couple of years. However, my health problems limited me and forced me to abandon that plan. As I grappled with my limits, I worked part-time in various capacities: teaching high school biology, educating physicians about childhood lead exposure, practicing acupuncture, and teaching human biology to yoga professionals. These jobs led directly to Mindful Biology, which is my Life’s work.