B.A., The Evergreen State College, 1979
Miles has studied communication skills for over thirty years, and been a professional mediator since 1989. He has taught Conscious Communication skills for over twenty years at the Community College of Vermont and other schools, and led numerous private trainings including working with the Omega Institute staff since 2005. He practiced divorce mediation for ten years in collaboration with the Vermont Family Court, and now works privately with couples who want to strengthen their relationship.
Miles began practicing meditation in a Buddhist monastery in Sri Lanka in 1976. He has sat intensively at IMS in the U.S., and in Thai Monasteries abroad, and has integrated mindfulness into a simple lifestyle based on daily contact with nature. His teaching style emphasizes what can be known in this present moment rather that formal doctrine or terminology. His practice and teaching are influenced by A Course in Miracles, Byron Katie, and Eckhart Tolle. He is the founder of Sky Meadow Retreat in Vermont where he lives and leads retreats in Conscious Communication and Buddhist Insight Meditation. (www.SkyMeadowRetreat.com)
Latest Publication Title
Why Consciously Communicate?
There are few things more important now than learning to communicate with each other in a way that supports our individuality while also recognizing our interdependence. Most of our familiar social rules are changing so rapidly that it is difficult to pinpoint what is essential in our relationships with other people. We are experiencing an unprecedented degree of personal independence, yet the price we are paying is an increased sense of isolation from each other. This leaves many of us feeling confused about where we belong, and with whom we feel genuinely connected.
The old formulas for relationships are failing because they do not allow for each of us to be our own person. And, our new emphasis on personal growth and individual freedom has left us without a good way to connect with each other.
We think we cannot be ourselves
and maintain close relationships with other people.
Yet this is not so;
we simply have not yet learned how.
The aim of Conscious Communication is to provide a clear way for us to invest in our relationships with other people, while also investing in ourselves.
The Dilemma of Relating to Other People
All of us are in relationships of some kind. We each have family, and most of us have neighbors, friends, and people with whom we work or socialize. Nations relate to other nations, and communities relate to other communities. In spite of being surrounded by people, however, many of us have a nagging sense of being alone.
No matter how close we are to others, it seems they frequently do not understand us. At
the same time, they often baffle us with their annoying complexities and contradictions. It is easy to become disillusioned with other people when they fail to provide the kind of support we want, or when we just don’t understand them. We may then find ourselves wishing that everyone would just go away.
But, when everyone does go away, we get scared. Few of us are comfortable in isolation, and while we may condemn the failings of our neighbors, friends, or family, we need them. It seems that we can’t live with other people, yet we also can’t live without them. We often cope with this dilemma by trying to keep a safe distance from others, only to end up hopelessly trapped in relationships that do not work.
Caught between our need for connection,
and our desire for freedom,
we are not able to fully realize either.
Beyond Perception - Finding Contentment in a Disillusioned World - A guide to meditation - http://www.skymeadowretreat.com/excerpts_from_beyond_perception_a_book_in_progress.html
This book is not going to offer some miracle cure, be cheerfully optimistic, or predict an apocalypse. It merely begins with the suggestion that behind each one of the unthinkable threats facing us today is one very simple cause. And if we truly understand that cause, a way out of our situation will open like clouds parting to reveal the clear blue sky.
An old proverb goes something like this:
It is not the mountain ahead that wears you down, but the grain of sand in your shoe.
If we are honest with ourselves right now, the mountains ahead of us do seem impossible to cross, and our chances of making it through this next period of human history make even the optimists among us hesitate. Yet the very problem may be that we are focusing on the mountains, instead of looking in our shoe.
The grain of sand in our shoe that is wearing us down is simply that we seem to lack the capacity for contentment. While our brains have a remarkable ability to process information, and this enables us to manipulate the world around us in astounding ways, few of us are really satisfied with life. Indeed, it seems that the more we have the more we want. We are caught in a perpetually repeating cycle, chasing one thing after another, only to find that this one does not solve our problem either.
How did Evergreen help you in your career?
My time at Evergreen in the late 1970's taught me a lot about group process and decision making as our year long programs involved many student/faculty meetings in which we worked together to shape the course content and direction. I felt supported by the open minded atmosphere of Evergreen in those days and enabled to follow my passions which included organic farming, meditation, and conflict resolution.