Undertaking mindfulness practices, develops practice based understanding, and the transformation of the mind.
In the early 1970s, like many young people, I felt that there must be something more to life beyond the difficulties that I had personally experienced and that I saw in others around me. I was fortuitously drawn to the possibility that meditation could reduce mental suffering, unlock the mind’s potential and lead to happiness. Following the tradition of many Australians, I set out across Asia to find what I was looking for. A path that eventually led to BodhGaya, India and my first insight meditation retreat in 1975. I practiced in India, often on my own but returning to BodhGaya to teachers in the lineage of Mahasi Sayadaw (Acharya Munindra, Ven Rastrapal and Krishna Barua) for guidance, until 1980. Burma then opened her doors to those who wished to practice meditation for longer periods than had previously been available. Following my first period of practice at the Mahasi Meditation Centre in 1980/81 I returned regularly to Burma and have had the great fortune to train under the guidance of many of the senior Burmese teachers in this lineage, principally Sayadaw U Pandita and from 1996 until his death in 2011, Sayadaw U Kundala.
On returning to Australia in the early 1980s I co-founded an organisation (the Buddha Dhamma Insight Meditation Society that became the Buddha Sasana Association) and invited the first Western teachers of the lineage to Australia, soon to be followed by senior ordained teachers from Burma. As a result and with the help of many, the Blue Mountains Insight Meditation Centre was established to provide ongoing opportunities for meditation practice.
During this time I studied psychology, completing my Honours degree in 1986 and graduating with a Masters Degree in clinical psychology in 1991. My first job in 1992 was at the Pain Clinic at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital where I introduced insight meditation to assist with the management of persistent pain and its consequences. I now work solely in private practice, in Sydney and in Wollongong, assisting clients with a range of presenting problems.