About Ken Russell - Ken's Biography
The writings on this site are the work of Ken Lloyd Russell. Ken was a caring
and gifted teacher who was uncompromising in guiding people to experience
deeper aspects of themselves. He had in-depth training and practice in a wide
variety of psychotherapeutic, spiritual and religious disciplines, in addition to
having lived a life exceptionally rich in experience and experimentation. Details
of his life are below.
Ken was born in 1943. He spent his childhood years in Brooklyn, his high school years on Long Island, and graduated from Cornell University, where he also did some graduate work. He began helping people professionally as a probation officer in 1966 in Ithaca, New York, continuing the same work in an experimental, elite unit when he moved to Berkeley, California, the following year. In California, his life took a radical departure as he began exploring alternate approaches to living. Ken spent a lot of time attending workshops and seminars at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur. He was attracted to and became proficient in GestaltTherapy, a highly experiential psychotherapy that moved well beyond the verbiage typical of traditional approaches. He studied with Fritz Perls, MD, the creator of Gestalt Therapy, and his two major disciples, James Simkin, PhD, and Claudio Naranjo, MD. During that time he also attended the professional training program at the San Francisco Gestalt Therapy Institute.
A near-fatal auto accident led Ken to begin questioning the direction of his life. He resigned his job and the Gestalt training program in 1969, and traveled to Europe and Asia. In the fall of 1970 he was invited by Bernard Aronson Ph.D, whom he had met at Esalen, to participate in a research program at the New Jersey Neuropsychiatric Institute in Princeton N.J. , studying non-drug-altered states of consciousness. As a result of his involvement in this research, he experienced a number of mystical openings. This eventually led him, in the fall of 1971, to Joshu Sasaki Roshi, a Rinzai Zen master, where he had a powerful awakening experience and thereafter dedicated his life to the spiritual path.
For the next five years, he devoted himself to studying with renowned masters in a variety of traditions. He was especially attracted to Buddhism and underwent rigorous training with Tarthang Tulku Rimpoche in the application of Tibetan practices to the contemporary world, subsequently becoming a teacher at the Tibetan Nyingma Institute in Berkeley. He also was trained and certified in what was then called the Fisher-Hoffman Process (now the Quadrinity Process), a very deep working through of childhood programming. He took people through this process in Berkeley and New York, and evolved his own way of integrating spiritual and mystical elements with the psychological. Ken also studied energy work and transmission with Brugh Joy, MD, incorporating elements of that in his ongoing work with people. During this period he also studied with a Sufi mystic, a Hasidic rabbi, a vipassana master, and a native Mexican teacher with whom he spent five months in Oaxaca.
In the fall of 1976, a compelling inner prompting directed him to India where he remained for almost five years. His experience in India was very intense, comparable to living fifty years in five. In 1983, after taking nearly a year and half to integrate his life-altering experiences, he began offering his teaching, the Way of Seeing, first in San Francisco, then in Manhattan, and finally settling near Seattle.
In 1997, following the death of his beloved canine companion, Max, he took a sabbatical from his teachings and assumed the role of student so that he could explore some very deep issues brought to the surface by that death. He traveled extensively in the United States and Europe, but it was a two-month stay in India that brought closure and fulfillment to the mystical openings of 1970-71. This two month stay actually had a greater effect on him than his previous five years there. After taking time to integrate his realization, Ken resumed teaching in 1999, returning to his home near Seattle.
Ken Russell passed away on April 30, 2013.