I studied nuclear engineering and quantum physics at The University of Virginia and the cognitive science of perception and the philosophy of science at The University of Richmond.
After a couple of powerful spiritual experiences in college, being raised a Baptist, I entered seminary to become a minister. Finding my studies lacking in the internal depth of his own experiences, I embarked on a classic “spiritual search,” encountering the Eastern teachings of Advaita Vedanta. However, after studying with the Hindu Advaita teacher and Siddha, Muktananda, I was told by the teacher that my earlier experiences were “What I am doing with these people” (his students) and “Jesus already has you. Go back to Him.”
Immediately afterward, I became the student of a non-dual mystical Christian order that trained me for the mystical priesthood. However, disillusioned by formal religion by his time in seminary, I declined to join the order but continued to study with them. Later, they encouraged me to begin my own teaching and I started a class I called, The Meditation of the Self.
Shortly afterward, while consulting at the Duke University Parapsychology Lab, (Now called the Rhine Foundation) the first draft of A Course in Miracles was delivered to two friends of Helen Schucman working at the lab, and I quickly changed my class to the Course. I have now been teaching weekly classes in A Course in Miracles for four decades.
In my professional life, influenced by these early experiences, I have researched the cognitive science of human perception with a special focus on the interaction of media on the mind. I have written four books on this research that have been privately circulated in the cognitive field and with collaborators in the seven major public service and art projects I have done over the last 40 years. Always, my professional projects were an extension of my spiritual search and teaching.
In the 90’s, building on my research, and in an effort to demonstrate it, I received multiple US and International patents for the invention of The Magic Stage, a virtual reality theater technology and co-founded Mindspace Multimedia to market the technology.
As a result of demonstrations of the Magic Stage, I was introduced to the leaders of what is now called the NewSpace industry, which is building the technology for a new Space Age. I later co-founded The World Space Center, a not-for-profit working group that produced five national conferences in the space community on the Overview Effect, the cognitive shift in perspective and Worldview described by the astronauts for the last 50 years.
While the Worldview shift of the Overview Effect is not the same as the Shift in Perception taught in the Course, many of the cognitive aspects are similar, and I have used my Overview Effect research, as well as the underlying cognitive research to illuminate the Course’s concepts. I have also given two public talks on The Overview Effect and A Course In Miracles.
With Frank White, the author of The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution, the essential work in the field, I formed the Overview Group and co-founded the Overview Institute, now recognized as the authority on the space experience.
The first Harvard conference in December 2012 premiered the first professional documentary on the Overview Effect and Institute which has since been viewed online more than 7 million times. Harvard has since held two more Overview Effect conferences with the Institute, with a fourth in development. In November, 2013, the National Air and Space Museum sponsored an Institute conference on the Overview Effect with Frank White, myself and astronauts Sandy Magnus and Michael Lopez-Alegria as speakers.
I have conducted original research and lectured on the cognitive science of the perception of media images and its relationship to design, perception, art, film, virtual reality and other fields in seminars at six major graduate schools, including the Duke University Center for Cognitive Neuroscience.
Currently, as co-founder of the Overview Institute, I am working in the field of commercial space travel, focusing on the cognitive, media and social issues underlying the Worldview shifting impact of the Overview Effect of the space experience and the coming NewSpace Age.