I grew up in a traditional south Indian family and was drawn to spiritual practice early in my life. The central oneness of nature and life itself was something that I felt deep inside me even from childhood. Early influences were Hindu religious practices, scriptures and sermons, especially the teachings of the ancient Philosopher and spiritual leader Sankara from the Advaita school of Hinduism. I was deeply influenced by the teachings of Vivekananda and Ramakrishna, also of the Advaita school, while studying at the Vivekananda College, Chennai.
After coming to the US I have continued the practices that I learned in India. I also found hiking and solitude in nature to be a spiritual practice in itself. I have also benefited from practicing meditation with several organizations. In the past twenty years or so I have found the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh, a vietnamese zen master, profoundly inspiring and life-changing. Thich Nhat Hanh almost died while trying to preach non-violence and peace during the Vietnam war. After being exiled from Vietnam, he started a monastery in France where many monks and lay practitioners continue to transmit his teachings. He was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr. What attracted me to his teachings in particular was that they were so well aligned with the teachings of the Advaita school.
The teachings of Advaita as well as Thich Nhat Hanh are closely related to the line "On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you" (John 14:20).