Mark is an authorized Guiding Insight Meditation teacher who began his meditation practice more than 45 years ago with insight meditation teachers Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg and Jack Kornfield. His primary teacher has been Joseph Goldstein, and he has trained more recently with guiding senior insight teachers Rodney Smith and Narayan Liebenson. His teaching emphasis is the essentials for a skillful wise affectionate life and how Mindfulness/Awareness in all aspects of daily life can provide an opportunity for Awakening.

J. Krishnamurti also has had a lasting and profound influence on his teaching. He has studied with numerous other teachers primarily in the Theravada tradition, but also in the Tibetan and Zen traditions. Mark has attended 3 three-month silent retreats and dozens of other retreats mostly at the Insight Meditation Society, the Forest Refuge and the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies.

He is an organizer/facilitator at the Sandy Springs Insight Meditation Group, is the Guiding Insight Meditation teacher for the Half Day retreats and leads silent retreats in Georgia. Mark co-founded the Roswell Insight Meditation Community in 2016 with an emphasis on inclusivity, affection and Transformation of all aspects of one’s life. He is a retired doctoral level Psychologist and also an ordained Christian deacon. He has been married for over 40 years and has two adult children.


Mark has been on a transformative journey that spans several decades. In 1974, faced with the prospect of a conventional business path and struggling with inner turmoil, he embarked on a quest for meaning. This quest led him to Naropa Institute for a retreat with influential figures like Ram Dass and Joakim Trump.

Mark’s initial encounter with mindfulness left him bewildered, but a chance meeting with Joseph Goldstein introduced him to a pivotal question: “Can you be aware?” This question sparked a profound internal shift, giving him a glimmer of hope. Mark delved into mindfulness and embarked on a transformative retreat in 1975, enduring a dark night of the soul and emerging with a renewed sense of purpose.

His journey involved sickness, physical and emotional challenges, and a deep forgiveness experience towards his parents. Mark’s commitment to mindfulness and the teachings of Buddhism led to significant changes in his life, including a profound understanding of interconnectedness and the importance of being a safe and reliable presence for others.

Mark continued his spiritual journey, participating in multiple retreats and deepening his understanding of mindfulness. His story is one of resilience, growth, and a commitment to making the world a better place. As he faced challenges and uncertainties, Mark discovered the profound gifts that mindfulness and wisdom can offer when one embraces the path with an open heart.

Adapting to the West

In reflecting on his spiritual journey, Mark emphasizes the value of simplicity and authenticity in the pursuit of truth. Drawing inspiration from Krishnamurti’s rejection of external adornments and rituals, Mark underscores the universal and uncomplicated nature of truth. He expresses concern about the tendency to idolize teachers and the potential pitfalls of attaching to superficial aspects of spiritual traditions. Mark’s approach is rooted in a deep appreciation for the essence of teachings rather than the external trappings. He shares his experience of initiating a community, emphasizing the importance of unity and genuine connection within spiritual groups. Mark acknowledges the challenges of embracing diversity and loving those who may be difficult, highlighting the transformative power of a heart open to everyone. As he celebrates his gratitude for life’s gifts, Mark encourages a mindful and appreciative approach to the journey, recognizing the inherent difficulties while maintaining a smile in the face of life’s challenges.

Framing the dharma

In a contemplative monologue, Mark explores the various approaches to meditation, drawing on his experiences with Mahayana Zen and Suzuki Roshi’s teachings. He reflects on the balance required in mindfulness, comparing it to the three sides of a coin and emphasizing the importance of addressing both the good and bad aspects of life. Mark shares insights on the inevitability of aging, sickness, and death, drawing from Krishna’s wisdom. He recounts his experiences at different meditation retreats, touching on the challenges of silence and the diversity of approaches. Mark discusses the need for a balanced perspective in a society often focused on extremes, pointing out the value of appreciating both light and darkness in life. He reflects on the transience of experiences and the importance of adapting to the ever-changing present moment. Gratitude for the connection in the current moment and the offering of love and appreciation emerge as central themes in Mark’s reflections.

Impact on Profession

Mark spent a significant part of his career working with children, particularly those with special needs. In his role as a school psychologist, he focused on designing programs to assist children and educating parents, often dealing with diverse cases, including legal and immigration-related challenges. Mark’s approach involved using simple language to connect with individuals and address their concerns. He tackled crises such as suicides with equanimity, maintaining a grounded and centered presence. Mark’s commitment to his work extended to personal safety training for women, driven by a genuine desire to ensure the well-being of others. Throughout his career, he emphasized the importance of affection as a foundation for effective teamwork. Mark’s dedication to helping people navigate difficulties and promoting safety reflects his passion for making a positive impact.

Modern Students

Mark emphasizes the importance of remaining unattached to individuals who come to him as a teacher, acknowledging the transient nature of students, especially in the conservative Southern context. His silent goal is for everyone to leave better than they arrived, conveying teachings in simple language, steering clear of heavy Buddhist terminology. Mark shares the essence of Buddhist essentials, offering a skillful life perspective applicable across religious boundaries. Despite a surge in retreat attendance, Mark notes the relatively small proportion compared to the general population, highlighting the ongoing need for deep practices. Reflecting on his career as a psychologist and financial advisor, Mark sees the value of balancing both worlds and stresses the significance of giving back to keep the teachings alive. He underscores the importance of affection for everyone, rejecting biases and fostering a welcoming environment for all who seek guidance.

The expectations compared to reality, the very first day they walked in said
there’ll be no writing, no reading, no talking.
And I’m thinking, did I did I is this is not the movie I signed up for
and I so I said, So what are we going to do?
They said, Oh, we meditate all, all day.

Stages of Development

Mark, an experienced mindfulness teacher, emphasizes the importance of daily practice and staying committed to the journey of self-discovery. Reflecting on his own path, he acknowledges the challenges that come with distractions and the transient nature of life. Mark encourages a practical approach, speaking English and avoiding complex Buddhist terminology to connect with a diverse audience. His teaching style focuses on the essence of mindful living rather than rigid adherence to specific traditions. Having seamlessly integrated financial expertise with mindfulness, Mark shares his wisdom, earned through years of practice and dedication. He highlights the significance of finding a balance between material life and spiritual practice. Mark delves into the evolution of mindfulness, reminiscing about the early days and the changes in retreat practices over time. He emphasizes the need for an inclusive approach, welcoming everyone without judgment. Mark concludes by sharing insights on profound experiences, underlining the importance of mindfulness friends, a supportive community, and the continued commitment to daily practice for a transformative journey.


Mark reflects on the significance of precepts in mindfulness practice, emphasizing their role in shaping character and conduct. He discusses variations in precept adherence across different traditions and highlights doubt as a formidable hindrance. Drawing from personal experience, Mark delves into the nature of the mind, cautioning against fixating on elevated states and emphasizing the Buddha’s core teachings on suffering and its cessation. Throughout, he underscores the transformative journey of mindfulness, urging practitioners to persist amid doubts, viewing them as opportunities for growth and learning.

On the 3 vehicles

But ultimately there’s their old saying in the dharma world, lesser vehicle, greater, you know, diamond vehicle. They’re all they’re all eventually towed by owner expense. I can’t remember who said that. I didn’t. But it’s the truth.

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