David was born in Peoria, IL in 1971.
He began his spiritual quest as a misfit high school student searching for answers to life’s great questions. Over the course of 26 years, his path has lead to a rich life of service and deep happiness.
I was a very angry kid. I was into punk rock and getting high and causing trouble wherever I went. I grew up in a toxic unconscious environment. My parents were alcoholics and I sort of raised myself. I guess I was doing whatever I knew to cope with life.
When I was 16, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and began the dying process. That’s when I sort of woke up. My own life was a mess, and I was there with her witnessing the painful end of her very unhappy life. Even though I was just a kid, I knew deep inside that I had to find another way to live.
My first teachers were really regular guys.
Another beloved teacher was a man known as Colonel Moore. He was an ‘old school’ recovering alcoholic. He worked as a junk man- clearing out old houses and selling the junk. In his spare time he worked with addicts helping them to stay clean. This was before rehab was so prevalent. In those days he would even have people detoxing in his home. He had this way of speaking straight to my heart and pulling no punches. Colonel Moore helped me get rid of my ‘inner junk’.
In these early years of training David studied with transpersonal psychology and meditation pioneer Gorakh Hayashi, therapeutic yoga master Gabriel Halpern, Kevin Gardener, Ram Dass, Ramanand Patel, Rodney Yee, John Friend, and Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity.
In 1992 David received Shaktipat Initiation from Siddha Yoga Master Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, accepted her as his guru, and trained and worked in her ashrams in the US, India, and Australia. It was during these years that he was given the Sanskrit name Harshada, meaning delighted, joyful, and ecstatic. Training under Gurumayi exposed David to a number of renowned scholars and lifelong meditation teachers such as Swami Umeshananda, Carlos Pomeda, Sally Kempton, Swami Shantananda, Mahadev Saphier, and Swami Madhavananda.
I can never express my tremendous gratitude for those years of training. I feel like the Indian tradition opened its deepest heart and welcomed me in the most wonderful way. To know a master like Gurumayi and have the privilege to serve her and learn from her is true grace. On one level there is the whole wisdom tradition: the teachings, the scriptures, the inner technology of yoga. On the other level there is the experience of Grace, the experience of being with the master, serving, and practicing in that enlivened energy field.
In 1999 David relocated to Auckland New Zealand where he taught therapeutic hatha yoga, offered meditation workshops, and hosted The Road Less Traveled, a public radio show which played sacred music from different traditions and featured interviews with spiritual teachers and humanitarians. In New Zealand David also founded Working With Soul, a training company offering self-care workshops for medical professionals and in-depth training for Hatha Yoga teachers.
In 2004 David founded Banyan Education in New York City. With Banyan, David sought to offer the benefits of meditation practice to people who were ‘off the beaten path’ of the mainstream yoga scene. With Banyan, David initiated a first-of-its-kind pilot program at Mount Sinai Children’s Hospital using meditation as a therapeutic modality for young patients and their parents.
After the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, David traveled to Eastern Sri Lanka to conduct humanitarian relief projects through Banyan.(photo left) David ran ‘happiness clinics’ during family medical clinics providing art and play therapy for kids in the tsunami camps. Banyan where David originally set up his system to help young combat veterans return to civilian life using meditation as means to recover from the intense stress of combat. In India, David founded Adhishthana Living a sister organization to Banyan.During the Banyan years, David worked with people from every walk of life: high school students, homeless teenagers, pregnant women, hospital patients, police officers, corporations, Indian street children, couples, combat veterans, filmmakers, and actors, just to name a few.
Banyan was great. I got to meditate and do this heart work with all kinds of people – not just “spiritual” people. Yogis and “spiritual types” are great, but I really love meditating with people who have never done any kind of inner work before. They are so open. Or meditating with people who are in tough situations. Like the street kids in India- they need education, they need rehabilitation, they need so many things. Their outer situation is dire. At the same time, they have Hearts. They have the same spirit inside them that any human has. Having a connection to their spirit is so important. It was such a privilege to offer this experience to people who wouldn’t otherwise have it.
As demand for his teachings grew, David founded Living Meditation in New York City and used it as the primary platform for his teaching for some time.
Eventually David started teaching at Kripalu and Omega Institutes, and became a teacher for YogaGlo.com. Most recently, David has started working with men. He wrote BACKBONE – the Modern Man’s Ultimate Guide to Purpose, Passion and Power, and is becoming known as a thought-leader on the topic of men’s spirituality.
Life is really good. These days I get to teach, and write, and spend time with my family. It’s all growing. Becoming a teacher was a deep thing for me, working with so many different people over the years and seeing them grow. Now I’m also a dad which is a massively deep thing. My kids give me so much incentive to stay awake, to make this world a better place. As far as the work goes, I couldn’t be happier. It keeps growing and evolving and reaching more people. I’ve been doing it for awhile now, so I’ve been able to see many of my students really go for it and wake up in a profound way. I am blessed to do this work.