I was born in New Zealand in 1949 and after graduating I travelled the world for a few years. When I returned to NZ I worked as a schoolteacher and a freelance writer, and lived a quiet life in the country. I had been meditating and doing yoga since 1970, and in the early '80s spent a total of eighteen months in solitary retreat. In 1987 I returned to Australia and opened the Perth Meditation Centre. My work rapidly increased and I was soon teaching over 1000 people a year through courses, workshops and retreats.
Though I trained in Buddhist meditation, I always had doubts about Buddhism itself. I decided to teach meditation solely as a method for relaxation and mental clarity, on the assumption that these are extremely valuable in their own right. I base my teaching on good science and psychology, so I avoid using religious or 'New Age' language that makes little sense to a rational Westerner like myself. I like my students to understand exactly what they are doing and how it all works. Meditation can be used for many purposes, but I believe people need a solid foundation in the basic skills to get good results.
In 1991, I wrote the first edition of my book 'Do You Want to Meditate?' I also produced 'Meditation and Health' for my many sick students to explain how meditation is helpful for specific ailments. In 2005, I wrote my book 'The 5-Minute Meditator' in the belief that integrating many short meditations into the day is just as valuable as doing occasional long ones. Between them, these books are now translated into ten languages, and have sold 150,000 copies in twelve countries. They've even been pirated into Hebrew and Chinese.
Meditation remains the core of my life. I can't imagine being without it. My ideal holiday is to go away and meditate. Meditation feels like the source of all beauty, intelligence and sanity in my life. I only wish I could persuade my students to do more of it . . .