Michael began his training with Bart Anderson, Spiritual Teacher, Zen Master, and Shaman in 1985. It would continue for the next 22 years. While Anderson opened the door, the following evolution of a natural way of being is a product of the work that unfolded between he and his students- several which he trained to be spiritual teachers in their own right.
The teaching started as a guided meditation class in Bart's home. The meditations allowed students to awaken and experience their natural state of being inside themselves. He would teach via a dharma talk and then guide his students on a journey inside themselves. Mythology and Jungian symbolism allowed interpretation of the meditations to provide guidance directly from each person's inner consciousness. While Bart's teaching was always based on his own spiritual awakening and truth that he experienced, Zen Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism and Jungian psychology provided a format and language to teach.
Bart had also studied for years with Grandfather Wallace, a Lakota Sioux Medicine Man, and several other Native American spiritual leaders. In 1986, he began to use Native American ceremony in his teaching. Ceremony allowed the internal dynamics to be brought out and worked with. Sharing circles replaced process groups to enhance experiencing students' truth and understanding for themselves. We also started the tradition to gather annually for a week of ceremony in the mountains during the Summer Solstice and a long weekend for the Spring Equinox. The ceremonies included Vision Quests, Sweat Lodge. Medicine Wheels and sharing circles.
When one of his students moved to Dallas, Texas, Bart stared doing weekend seminars there. The weekend seminars allowed participants to walk through a complete transition inside themselves. By 1987 the Dallas workshops expanded to Santa Barbara, Salt Lake City, and Las Vegas. He added a five-week intensive class series to follow the workshops to help people integrate the work into their lives. In the fall of 1987, Michael accompanied Bart to these locations for weekend seminars as an apprentice. This apprenticeship was the beginning of a formal training to be a spiritual teacher. The teaching was a direct transmission that centered around orchestrating spaces for the students to awakening a new aspect themselves and then showing the student how it worked.
The work continued to evolve through the nineties for the next in the form of seminars, classes, annual ceremonies, and phone sessions to students in the various locations. The teaching would have new theme every year with such topics as personal mythology, the way of the warrior, and opening new doors. The thing that distinguished this work was its purity, clarity, and direct transmission.
A new tradition began to unfold that was different than its eclectic roots of Buddhism, Hinduism, Jungian psychology, and Native American spirituality. A new vocabulary to clearly describe aspects the work began to evolve. This new tradition was based on the spiritual unfoldment process that occurring while living in the contemporary world. It calls for a social reform of transforming ourselves and our culture into a more collaborative, natural way of being.
In 2004, Bart, Michael, Steven Young and James Barfoot created a subsistence farm and teaching center outside Walla Walla. It had a huge garden, two cows, three pigs and numerous chickens. The intention for Bart to teach about the cycle of life and to pass his medicine in a more formal teacher-student relationship. The work here became the current basis of a natural way of being. This intensive and strict teaching would continue until Bart passed in the summer of 2007.
The work during this period centered around unfolding a new way to live. Anderson distinguished between karmic and dharmic ways of being. Karmic described the fear-based, predatory, and limited way that is prevalent in our culture, while dharmic introduced way of being based on accessing pure possibility and walking with your heart open. It taught a collaborative way of living and seeing yourself as one of the people. It also stressed the importance of making a difference by offering the pure expression of your heart or Buddha nature to the people.
In April of 2007 Bart announced that Michael completed his training of the form of work currently referred to as Natural Way of Being. He emphatically declared that Michael needed to teach people a new way to live rather than do counseling or therapy with them.
After Bart passed in 2007, Michael and several of Bart's students continued this work. Steven Young, Ann Coughlin, James Barfoot, Eve Costello, and Michael reunited to so Summer Solstice ceremonies in 2008. They have continued to gather to do ceremony into 2015. The focus has been on how to clearly teach spirituality and a Natural Way of Being.
Michael continued the work in the form of writing, workshops, classes and individual sessions. He launched his personal transformation business and began publishing his blog in 2009. He did his first weekend workshop called Metamorphosis in 2010. In September of 2013, he completed his book, Your Natural Gift- Offering the Essence of Your Heart, to guide people through the unfoldment of their natural gift. The Offering Your Natural Gift workshops and classes guide participants to experience identifying, unlocking, awakening, and offering their natural gift.
Michael moved to Bend, Oregon in 2014 and reformatted his business to offer workshops, classes, personal coaching and counseling. He began writing his new book, A Natural Way of Being, in January of 2015. This approach to the work resonated so much while writing that he renamed his business Natural Way of Being Services in August of 2015.
Natural Way of Being Services presently offers experiential workshops, classes, coaching, counseling and personal ceremony for people to enjoy life and unfold their natural way of being. Michael and his associates use Native American ceremony, rites of passage, sharing circles, guided meditation, dream interpretation, and other experiential modalities for people to directly experience their essence and natural way of being.