Like the beloved Dodgers of my youth, I was born and raised in Brooklyn and now live in Los Angeles. In between, I made stops in Manhattan, New England, Pennsylvania, San Francisco and Iowa. As a college student in the 1960s, I shuttled uncertainly from one major to another, while carrying out more important work outside the classroom: expanding my mind in various ways, awakening to sex, relentlessly searching for higher truths and trying to save the world from racism and war. That pattern continued through three graduate schools in two years. In retrospect, what seemed like confusion was an idealistic young man scratching his way to the two passions that would mark his adult life: spirituality and writing. The two have intersected professionally at times, most happily in the past couple of years. After giving up on academia and taking my first job—creating a halfway house for mentally retarded youth in Massachusetts—I pursued answers to the Big Questions for which political theory and the social sciences had come up short. Despite having been raised by atheists who disdained religion—or maybe because of it—I was drawn to the pragmatic mysticism of the East, through Alan Watts and Aldous Huxley and the classic texts of Taoism, Buddhism and Vedanta. This led inexorably to Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation, both because of its Beatles-led notoriety and in spite of it. I spent a good portion of the 1970s teaching meditation and otherwise working for the TM organization. That affiliation got me started on what became an eclectic and independent spiritual path, and it also catalyzed my career as a professional writer. Throughout my academic life, the one consistent element was my writing skill. Sometimes, I would fantasize about living the writer’s life. Then, while lecturing on meditation, I was asked to write an article on the subject for Seventeen magazine. It was my first paid gig as a writer. Two years later, through a series of fortuitous events, I was offered a contract by Holt, Rinehart and Winston to write a book on TM. My spiritual pursuits and my writing career proceeded on separate tracks, coming together only on occasion. In my books I was able to indulge my interests in psychology, human potential and holistic health. Early on, to pay the bills, I accepted offers to collaborate with experts who had book ideas but neither the capacity nor inclination to write. I acquired a reputation as a good collaborator, which led to other offers. These projects became a kind of day job while I worked on my own material. It was an excellent education, and it paid the bills. Meanwhile, I published a novel (This is Next Year) and nonfiction books of my own, and got my foot far enough into the door of Hollywood to have scripts optioned and acquire a sobering dose of show biz frustration. In the meantime, I continued earnestly pursuing my lifelong quest for higher awareness and intimacy with the Divine. The adventure took many forms, but it always remained my highest priority. I would also teach meditation, run spiritual support groups, and counsel people on spiritual matters. Along the way, I helped to create the Forge Institute, a non-profit devoted to the promotion of transtraditional spirituality and global spiritual citizenship. I was also the founding director of the Forge Guild of Spiritual Leaders. I still sit on the Forge board of directors and serve as Director of Communication. Recently, with my wife, acupuncturist Lori Deutsch, I started Spiritual Wellness and Healing Associates (SWAHA). To my great satisfaction, spirit and writing came together in recent years, with the publication of Making Peace with God and Roadsigns on the Spiritual Path: Living at the Heart of Paradox—and, currently, the research and writing of American Veda, which covers the history and influence of India’s spiritual teachings in America.
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