Academic Background

  • Bachelor of Science in Physics in 1967 from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

  • Master of Science in Solid State Physics from Cornell University in 1969 in Ithaca, New York

  • Master of Science in Computer Science in 1974 from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Teacher Training

  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction in Mind-Body Medicine: 7 Day Professional Training in 2007 led by Jon Kabat-Zinn Ph.D. and Saki Santorelli Ed.D.

  • In May of 2019 he will have completed the two-year Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program led by Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach. The program is sponsored through the Awareness Training Institute at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center.

Teaching Philosophy

  • Set reasonable expectations of daily practice and progress.

  • Motivate the students by explaining the benefits of a meditation practice.

  • Providing a simple 4 week program that can help students slowly build up meditation and mindfulness skills

  • Teach micro practices that can quickly and easily be done throughout the day 

Studied With

  • Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche at Ligmincha Institute, Houston, Texas

  • Dawn Mountain Tibetan Temple, Community Center and Research Institute with Anne Klein, Harvey Aaronson and Khetsun Sanghpo Rinpoche.

  • Anam Thubten Rinpoche of the Dharmata Foundation. Mr Merrill completed the 3 year Dharma Apprenticeship program.

  • A 10 day silent retreat at Goenke’s Vipassana center in Kaufman Texas.

  • Jack Kornfield, Tara Brach, Cheri Huber, Micki Fine, Howie Cohn, Ginger Clarkson and Ronald D. Siegel.

Teaching Experience

  • Houston Jung Center – quarterly classes on coping with stress. 2007 – present

  • West University Seniors Center – 2009 – present – Twice monthly mindfulness discussion group

  • Houston Area Parkinson’s Society – 2009 to present

  • DeBakey Veteran’s Administration Hospital – Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center – 2011 – 2013

  • Chevron Corporation – 2013

  • MD Anderson Hospital – Sugarland –2015

  • University of Texas at Austin – Osher Lifelong Learning Institute – March 2016


  • Monthly attendance at Houston Dharmata Foundation meetings and yearly retreats.

  • Monthly attendance at Insight Meditation Houston.  Chairman of the Board of Directors, IMH, from 2013 to 2016

  • Various national and local retreats.

Professional Background

  • Served for two years in the Peace Corps teaching physics at a secondary technical school in Ghana, West Africa from 1969 – 1971.  

  • Taught mathematics at Western High School from 1971 – 1972

  • Worked at Frost Bank in San Antonio as a Systems Analyst from 1976 – 1979

  • Retired from IBM in 2002 after 23 years where he worked as a Systems Engineer, Database Specialist, Systems Engineer Manager and Application Development Consultant.  

Hobbies and interests

  • Tennis

  • Reading, films and meditation book clubs

  • Hiking

  • Traveling