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What I Do……..

“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.” Henry David Thoreau

What is The Truth?  

Is Truth relative?  Sure it is.

Is Truth Absolute?  Absolutely.

“The Paradox of the paradox is that the paradox is a paradox.” Krishnamurti

How do we reconcile the seeming paradoxical nature of TRUTH?

How do we find Dharma?

Michael is a Professional Trainer with over 30 years in both the corporate setting and the personal development arena.  He is a certified Yoga teacher; a Kabbalist, an Integral Practitioner, a 15 year student and orientation guide of the Vipassana Meditation technique. 

Born, raised and educated in Rochester, NY, Michael holds a Bachelor’s of Arts Degree from The University of Rochester and graduate study work in the area of human development/psychology from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

He obtained his Yoga Teaching Certificate from Kripalu Yoga Center in 2006   Attended and successfully completed the initial 10 day Vipassana Meditation Technique in 2007.  

My past career roles and responsibilities, my education accomplishments and endeavors and my life challenges and experience has, today, provided me the platform from which I can share and offer several services that will assist others with:

  1. Connecting with “right alignment” with  one’s authentic desire for growth, transformation and healing.  
  2. Guiding in the exploration/brainstorming stage of inquiry into the component parts of one’s unique, individual situation and circumstance.
  3. Sharing techniques in system design, strategy and planning.
  4. Assisting in the implementation and illumination stage of the process.
  5. Creating ways to track and manage results! 

What I have just described are the 5 “steps” of a Macro Template of Creation itself.  This template can be applied to anything one desires.

My philosophy is both simple and complex.  I have discovered that there are effectively three ‘areas” of training, teaching and coaching and these three areas correlate perfectly with The Buddha’s Three Levels of Wisdom:

  1. Imparting Knowledge:  One becomes aware from being told by another or reading a book or attending a lecture.  This is someone else’s wisdom and at this level one becomes aware.
  2. Skill Development:  Once one becomes aware of “the job at hand” then one must be introduced to the skills needed to “perform the task” and best practices required to hone them.
  3. Aptitude Enhancement:  There is an optimal cognitive perspective and approach to what one is engaged in creating.  This is one’s direct personal experience and a coach, teacher or trainer can, at best, be a good example.

The complexity of my approach is that I utilize multiple “maps of the territory.”  My intention is to create a holographic picture or view.  Some of the maps I use are:

  • Yoga
  • Kabbalah
  • Meditation (especially the Vipassana Technique)
  • Integral Theory
  • Spiral Dynamics
  • Chinese Medicine Principles
  • Logo Therapy Philosophy (Viktor Frankl)

Now, each individual, business or organization is unique with individual and different needs, wants and expectations.  My approach and my work is always tailored to meet these differences through assessment, agreement and integral engagement.  

You may already be aware of this 5 phase process.    You may know it as the growth process:

  1. Confusion -The Seed Level
  2. Exploration – Root Structure
  3. Incubation – Trunk
  4. Illumination – Branches and Leaves
  5. Celebration – Fruit

In the business “map” it is looks like this:

  1. Goal/Objective – What is our mission?
  2. Brainstorming – What do we need to account for?
  3. Systems and Procedures – What is our strategy?
  4. Implementation – How do we engage – ‘play’?
  5. Outcome Management – What is the result?

In yoga it can be represented through The Koshas. The Koshas are described as the 5 bodies or veils of the self:

  1. Physical – Body
  2. Mental/Emotional – Mind
  3. Energetic – Breath/Prana
  4. Higher Self – Soul
  5. Bliss – Spirit

In the Kabbalah Map it is called “The Four Phases”

  1. Keter – Crown – The tip of the “Yud” – Phase Zero
  2. Chochma – Wisdom – Yud – Phase One
  3. Binah – Intelligence – Hey – Phase Two
  4. Zeir Anpin – The Process – Vav – Phase Three
  5. Malchut – The Kingdom – Hey – Phase Four

There are a few other five phase processes that I have found that mirror what I am sharing here.  For those of us dealing with loss, failure or a chronic condition we know it as The Grief Process:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Depression
  4. Bargaining
  5. Acceptance

As someone who has had to deal with a chronic physical condition since the age of 14 I am intimately aware of the grief process and have applied the 5 phase macro template to how I have managed the challenge:

1.  Confront – What is the reality of what we are up against and how do I best line up with what I need to do?

2.  Understand – What do I need to know and learn and study?

3.  Integrate – What do I need to do and How do I best do it?

4.  Master – How do continue to implement and grow?

5.  Share – How do bestow my findings with others?

You can find the 5 phases everywhere once you become aware of it, do some inquiry and have a direct personal experience with it.  You can use it to overcome, build, create, transform, grow and heal.  It is a process and it becomes valuable over time through consistent, persistent and patient application.  I serve as a guide in introducing, orienting, exploring, testing, mastering and celebrating.


I have been practicing and teaching yoga for over 20 years now.  I got hooked on yoga when I had landed on my personal healing path and realized what a perfect metaphor it was for my daily task of managing my condition of Type One Diabetes(T1D).  When I told one of the Master Teachers at Kripalu that I had T1D she said, “Now That Is A Yoga Pose.”  For the past two years I have been leading a small group in weekly yoga sessions.  We meet three times a week.  I tailor the session to the participants’ level and current needs.  


I am a Vipassana Meditator.  I am not a Vipassana “teacher”.  However, I have guided many others in understanding the Vipassana technique which has been called The Buddha’s minimum training requirement for Enlightenment.  So, what I do is orient others to this technique.  The way I do it is by guiding others through a book and answering questions.  When I was at my 10 day retreat I reduced my insulin requirement  by 50%.  Just saying……If you do nothing else with me… this book. 

The principles and understandings contained within this book make up much of the core of my philosophy and training.

One on One Consultation

If you prefer one on one work I do this.  I especially find this valuable for those who are dealing with a chronic condition.   

Group Work

I have been doing zoom sessions for over two years now and it is actually very dynamic.  There are some advantages doing yoga via zoom and, of course, there are a few draw backs.

Business or Organization Consultation

Prior to 2006 I had a 20 year career as a corporate director of training, development and quality assurance.  I assessed and evaluated current operations, created new innovative systems and procedures, developed operations and training manuals, recruited and hired employees, facilitated initial training of new employees and conducted one on one and group development training programs.  

Applying this template to a business or organization could be a tipping point.  As someone who has run their own business with over 100 employees I am aware of both the value and the potential ineptitude of a business consultant, especially someone who has never run their own business.  As with individuals, each business is unique.  I believe that it makes no sense to pay to talk to anyone who won’t be able to help me improve, grow or increase efficiency.  And you never know until they come in and start talking.  Therefore, my approach with any business relationship will be an initial session where I am able to listen to what you need and want to accomplish.  I will then provide my response and assessment.   There is no charge for this initial assessment.  I need to know what you want and you need to know what I can do.  There is value in just doing that.  Then, if we agree there is value in moving forward, we will create a next step.  The motto for our business that I was a partner in came from Buckminster Fuller:

“Total Accountability and Total Feedback Constitute the Minimum and Only Perpetual Motion System”

Every business is looking to hone their systems and processes to resemble a perpetual motion system.  In the old days it was called TQM.  If I can help you identify what it is that needs accountability and assist you in creating faster and more dynamic feedback loops, I can be of value to you and your business.  I look forward to exploring the possibilities in this ever changing world.

Where Are We?

SO, I think we can all agree that the past year has yielded some kind of a “paradigm shift” in how we see the world around us and our “role” in it.

YOGA is one of the fundamental maps in our inquiry. We know our DESTINATION in yoga. The Eight Limb Path ‘marks’ THE PATH. The Eighth Limb is where we want to BE. Samadhi; Union with Source


You can say Phase Zero is Awakening,

Phase One is Exploration: Inquiry.

In Phase Two “it” becomes Understanding.

In Phase Three” it” shall be Mastery.

The fifth and final phase, Phase 4 is an individual’s, direct, personal experience of Samadhi, Bliss, Celebration, Accomplishment, Gift, Fruit, Union with Source, Oneness; HOME


What have we awakened to?

What knowledge and wisdom has occurred because of our inquiry?

I think it would be safe to say that each individual member of The Way Seekers Yoga group would answer that differently. Sure….some responses would be similar and some would be divergent.

Our mission now is to synthesize our awareness and the fruit of our inquiry into an enhanced understanding with a “blueprint” for the quest toward “The Final Correction.”

Here is what I propose.

  1. I wish to manifest a kind of Template that is creative and innovative and designed from all that we have done in the past year.
  2. Therefore, No new “maps”. We will take what have looked at and through a process like alchemy manifest this template.
  3. I need your help. I would like our Monday sessions for the next 5-6 weeks to be meditation plus a discussion on this template I envision. Our yoga sessions will evolve to mirror our process.
  4. Each week I will provide you with “pieces of the puzzle.” On Mondays I will have a 15-20 presentation for you. We will then immediately enter a 13 minute meditation sit followed by a wrap up discussion. You will have access to the work product in the form of videos (2 are already on the yoga page on choicetimes), manuals, live sessions, emails, etc…..
  5. We hit Phase 3 after Shavuot (May 17) and it is my intention to have completed the “blueprint; design plan, business plan.: Template” by this time. Then the next phase, Phase 3 is about securing all of the resources necessary to implement the plan.
  6. The template is universal in nature although it must, in the end, be practical in its application.
  7. I have brainstormed on designing a practical application for business training managers or owners of yoga studios or sales people. I have experience in training in the hotel and financial services industry. particularly in human development and sales. But, I have listened to many of you and I think, perhaps, the initial narrowly focused application could be targeted to people dealing with and living with diabetes (Both Type 1’s or Type 2’s). It could include health care workers, friends, family etc. Give me a few weeks to expand and explain my thinking to you.

As preparation for Monday night’s session please watch this 10 minute video on The Golden Ratio and The Fibonacci sequence. This is not a new map. I introduced it last summer and now is the time to review it. I want to use this to buttress my rationale for The Template.

Huntington Chorea charity Event

On Sunday November 1, 2020 at 1pm, I will be guiding a yoga session for a charity supporting Huntington Chorea.  

As it is an initial, one-time, class, I have designed the session to be an orientation type of approach.  Yoga is such a big and comprehensive “map of the territory” so an orientation can be done from many different perspectives.  Since, the charity is supporting a dis-ease with some similarity to the dis-ease I have been challenged with for over 44 years, I will probably emphasize the “wellness” aspect of yoga.  Since it is a first class, I will also stick to the basics of “Right Alignment” and “Discovering One’s Edge.” 

I completed my Yoga Teacher Training at Kripalu Yoga Center in October of 2006.  I engaged in this 200 hour – month long intensive training because I wanted to deepen my personal practice.  It was not my intention to become a “yoga teacher” or own a yoga studio.  I had been practicing Bikram Yoga since 1999 and was realizing tremendous benefits in managing my blood sugar levels and overall health as a Type 1 Diabetic since the age of 14.  Both conditions involve the immune system.

One of the most referred to “maps’ to understand what yoga is all about is the Eight Limb Path.  There is a beginning and there is an end.  There is an apparent starting point and there is a destination.  Yoga defined means “union.”  Ultimately it is the union with self and Source; Samadhi; The Eighth Limb.  Here is an image of the Eight Limbs:

In Kripalu Yoga there are 3 stages to the practice.  First, Right Alignment.  Second, Discovering and Exploring Your Personal Edge.  And third, Authentic Free Expression.  These three stages mirror the three levels of wisdom that The Buddha expressed.  Level One-Becoming aware of a thing or idea by being told about it or reading a book about it.  Level Two – Engaging in Intellectual Inquiry into the nature of the thing or idea.  Level Three – Direct Personal Experience of the thing or idea. 

There is a five step transformational process in Kripalu that we utilize to cultivate mindfulness and presence in the confronting of a “pose.”  The acronym is BRFWA.  I will introduce BRFWA and cycle through the process a few times. The 5 steps are: 

Breathe – Relax – Feel – Watch – Allow.

At the end of the session I have agreed to engage in a question and answer session.

Over the last six months, since the lockdown, I have been guiding a group of about 15 people in weekly yoga, meditation and map questing sessions.  We have been getting together four times a week and have journeyed through the 8 limbs.  We have also inquired into several other “maps of the territory” with the objective of obtaining a more holistic and holographic picture of The Reality of Things; Dharma.  The last 13 weeks of our work have been documented on this website under the Atwater Group Page.  Feel free to browse through this page as well as the many blogs I have written over the past 13 years. 

I look forward to guiding this session and connecting with the participants.  

The Growth process

A great Zen Master once said ….

“We are all traveling in a big circle.

Does not matter much where on the circle you are.  

What is important is that you keep moving.”

There are many ways to view movement.  One way is through the lens of growth and development…..


Stage 1 – CONFUSION:  What is the desired outcome?  What is the challenge? What game are we playing?  What is the objective?

If the cup is full there is no desire to grow.  This is the awareness stage.  What is not known is allowed to be included.  Every journey starts with the first step.  This is step one in the process.  There may be several objectives that are identified that are in need of attention.  It is best to start with one.  Stage one is the process of confronting confusion with conscious awareness and resolving to engage with a positive, solution oriented and responsible approach and attitude.

Stage 2 – EXPLORATION:  What are the components/functions involved?  What must be accounted for?  What are the ingredients?  This is the brainstorming stage.

 We have identified the game or ‘movie’ we have decided to play out. Now, we must equip ourselves with what is needed to play.  When in brainstorming mode, it is important to cultivate an open and non judgmental mind set.  Good practice is to list everything that is thought of and then go through and prioritize in order of importance.

Stage 3 – INCUBATION:   What is our strategy?  How are we going to play?  What systems and procedures do we need to put in place?  This is the creative step.  We take our list of ingredients, component parts and functions we identified in stage 2 and create innovative, design oriented processes to get done what needs to get done.  We create checks and balances and feedback loops.

It’s analogous to obtaining and mixing together all the ingredients needed to create a cake and putting it into the oven to bring it all together.

Stage 4: ILLUMINATION:   Time to Implement.  This is the Action step in the process.  In the game analogy, this is play.  This is the engagement stage.  We are working the systems, procedures and training that we identified and created.

The seed that was planted in stage 1 blossoms.

Stage 5 – CELEBRATION:  If there is growth then there is a result or outcome.  This stage in the process is about managing outcomes.  What do we do with them?

The fruit has manifested. Optimal outcome management celebrates this with enjoyment and appreciation.

The fruit contains the seed.

This is about giving back or sharing and going “back” to stage 1 to continue a new growth cycle.

I have created and discovered multiple perspectives of this five step process.

An important part of my philosophy involves the concept of restriction.

It is through the process of restriction that all things of value are birthed.

Think about the birth of  a human being or the outcome of the energy that an accomplished athlete puts into the countless hours of working out and practice.

Every business flow or system should have restrictions built into it.

Without restriction the flow will bleed out quickly, the system will short circuit or burn out.

Creation story?

  There is a Kabbalistic Concept that is encompassed in the quote…”The seed of Desire is Fulfillment.” God; The Creator is ‘Fulfillment’; The Emanator. Our souls are the vessels of “Desire’; The Emanated. Prior to the world we currently find ourselves in, our souls were united in oneness in The Endless World (The Or En Sof). There was a direct connection between the Emanated and The Emanator. Time, as we know it, did not exist in this world. Cause and Effect was immediate. Every Desire that the vessel had or could imagine was fulfilled immediately. However, there was a “problem.” The vessels of desire began feel an uncomfortable feeling. They began to awaken to the realization that they were receiving without doing anything for it. It was like having a magic golf club that shot a hole in one every time you teed off. The vessels started wanting to be a part of their own fulfillment and opportunity to share instead of only receive. In order to satisfy this Desire the Creator needed to change up the “System of Things” a little bit. HE/SHE needed to create a new world that included space and time so that the vessels had an opportunity to experience the sense of earning their own fulfillment and a world that they could share with others. BOOM! The “BIG BANG! Instead of a 2 ‘column system’ we now exist in a 3 ‘column’ or 3 dimensional system where there is not a direct connection with The Creator. 

Injecting a Big Picture (Spiritual) element to the question might be a path of inquiry that may lead to an answer. Desire; Want is the nature and essence of the human soul. Total Fulfillment is the essence of The Creator. In our world there is a 3rd ‘column’. Kind of like the way electricity works in a simple light bulb. There is a source of the power (The power station, the positive pole, the yang). There is a receiver (The light bulb, the negative pole, the yin). But deep within the light bulb there is an essential third element; The filament. The role of the filament is to push back; to resist; to restrict. When the filament plays its role then the result is “Lasting Light.” If the filament is not engaged then there is a big spark of light and a short circuit; burnout. Our souls’ biggest desire is to get back to The Endless (The Garden) but, this time, with the awareness of Receiving, not for ourselves alone but, Receiving for the sake of bestowing. This 3rd column is called “The Middle Path” in the Buddhist/Zen environment. Ir is called Restriction by the Kabbalists. It is “The Secret” to seeking True Fulfillment. Namaste. Michael.