The Technology of Joy: The 101 Best Apps, Gadgets, Tools and Supplements for Feeling More Delight in Your Life by Jonathan Robinson (Author)

Would you like to experience more Joy? How about euphoria, inner peace or ecstasy? Let psychotherapist and bestselling author Jonathan Robinson take you on a tour of all the best ways to feel fantastic.

In this book, you’ll discover 101 easy and little known ways to feel more joy. You’ll learn about methods ranging from a $1 gadget for feeling intense pleasure, to a free app that really leads to more depth and peace in your life.

Read about how:
• Some new gadgets can enhance pleasure, deepen relationships, and help you feel gratitude—all at the same time.
• Specific apps that have been shown to make people happier and create more loving relationships.
• Twelve little known supplements that can reliably induce euphoria, elation, and feelings of connection and peacefulness. You’ll learn what these tools can do for you, and how and where to get these happiness hacks.

In addition, you’ll discover how to know which of these tools are most likely to be the best ones for you. Get ready for a quest to experience more of the peace, pleasure, and joy hidden within you…

Jonathan Robinson is a psychotherapist, best-selling author of ten books, and a professional speaker from Northern California. He has reached over 100 million people around the world with his practical methods, and his work has been translated into 47 languages. Mr. Robinson has made numerous appearances on the Oprah show, as well as many other national TV talk shows, and articles about him have appeared in USA Today, Newsweek and The Los Angeles Times. In his public talks and seminars, Jonathan is known for providing people with immediately useful information in a fun and entertaining manner.


Finding Happiness Now!

Jonathan Robinson will share with you, for FREE, the secrets finding happiness life. Watch this video for your first free tip, then sign up (…) for 45 minutes of FREE Audio to learn how to find happiness now. These techniques take less than 2 minutes a day.

About Jonathan Robinson: Jonathan Robinson, M.A., M.F.T is a psychotherapist, best-selling author of nine books, and a professional speaker.

With Happiness, Don’t Go for Intensity

With Happiness, Don’t Go for Intensity

By James Baraz, co-founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center and co-author of Awakening Joy

In our competitive culture, we usually think “more is better”. Being Number One, winning at all costs, and “having the most” is deeply ingrained in our psyche as real success. This model of going for the max is often erroneously applied to our own understanding of happiness. People mistakenly think intense delight is a sign that their attempt at true well-being is really successful.

However, when we look for bells and whistles as indications of true happiness, we’re misunderstanding a very important principle: Setting a high bar of intense happiness works against true well-being. Although it’s fine to enjoy peak experiences when they arise, measuring that ideal against a moderate level of “okayness” can easily render this moment as “not good enough”.

One of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes cartoons starts off with a smiling Calvin saying, “Here I am happy and content.” In the next frame, he further reflects: “But not euphoric.” Third frame: “So I’m no longer content. My day is completely ruined.” Last frame: “I should have stopped thinking while I was ahead.”

When people do my online Awakening Joy course, they often come with ideas of what joy is supposed to look like. A complaint I sometimes hear is, “I’m trying really hard to be joyful and it’s not working.” That kind of efforting to be joyful only leads to frustration! Instead, I recommend that one simply begin noticing moments of feeling “okay”. If you tend to have a life filled with intense drama, I often suggest being aware of moments when you’re not miserable. That’s a good start.

We find what we look for. Neuroscience calls this phenomenon the brain’s “confirmation bias”. Your brain tends to see what it believes to be true and misses whatever doesn’t confirm its hypothesis. If you don’t think you experience much true happiness because you’re holding an image that it should be a peak experience of ecstasy, you probably will keep confirming that belief.

However, if you see moments of “okayness”–moments where you’re not suffering–as moments worthy of appreciation, you open the channel to true well-being. And the more you notice and take them in, the stronger that flow of true well-being naturally becomes–not through force but through wise attention. As neuroscience expert Rick Hanson says: “The brain is like Teflon for positive experiences and Velcro for negative ones.”

When you let go of looking for ecstatic states, you can find joy in the most commonplace moments. Edith, a student in Germany, had somehow equated joy with intense positive experiences. But when she stopped looking for those and just opened up to a simple feeling of well-being she started to experience things very differently. She put it this way:

“I noticed how much joy there already is and how I had somehow looked for a kind of super-mundane, “spiritual” joy, more profound and lasting than our ordinary joy, that I would only reach if I practiced hard and in the right way. By having this concept, and by looking for this other kind of joy, I had missed out on a lot of “ordinary joy” moments. As I focused on them, appreciated them and felt them more fully, I was so happy and sometimes almost overwhelmed at all the joy and blessings in my life.”

I remember many years ago hearing a wise teacher give instructions on the Buddhist heart practice called “loving-kindness” or metta meditation. He said that sometimes the word “loving-kindness” can seem so lofty and noble that we imagine it’s beyond our reach. He suggested connecting with the simple feeling of “kindness” or “friendliness” towards oneself or others. That’s so much more accessible and it will start the gentle flow of good-heartedness we’re looking for.

In the Buddhist model of happiness, refined states of well-being are ultimately more sustainable and more satisfying. As wonderful as it is, rapture is considered a coarser level of happiness that, after a while, becomes jarring jangling to the system. Gladness, then happiness, followed by contentment are considered states that are much more developed and fulfilling. Ultimately, deep peace is the most satisfying state of all, and is said to be the precursor to true enlightenment.

So, if you’re trying to cultivate genuine happiness within yourself, you might consider letting go of attempting to experience a geyser gusher of intensity. Awakening joy comes naturally from truly appreciating the simple moments of well-being in our lives.

James Baraz
is a co-founding teacher of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, co-author of Awakening Joy and has led his popular Awakening Joy online course since 2003. This year he will be offering a new 5-month Awakening Joy 2.0 curriculum starting in February focusing on loving-kindness and compassion with an outstanding line-up of guest speakers including IONS President and CEO Cassandra Vieten.

Awakening Joy: 10 Steps to Happiness by James Baraz (Author), Shoshana Alexander (Author), Ram Dass (Preface), Jack Kornfield (Foreword)

Awakening Joy is more than just another book about happiness. More than simply offering suggested strategies to change our behavior, it uses time-tested practices to train the mind to learn new ways of thinking. The principles of the course are universal, although much of the material includes Buddhist philosophy drawn from the author’s thirty years as a Buddhist meditation teacher and spiritual counselor.

In these times of economic uncertainty Awakening Joy shows we can get through hard times and use our experience to keep the our heart open while moving from discouragement to well-being, regardless of the external circumstances. Genuine well-being is not expensive. True happiness is not about acquiring anything, but rather about opening to the natural joy and aliveness right inside you.

In this practical down-to-earth guide, readers will learn how to

• make happiness a habit by inclining your mind toward states that lead to well-being
• find joy, even during difficult times, and avoid the pitfalls that prevent you from achieving the contentment you seek
• cultivate effective practices for sustaining joyfulness, such as reclaiming your natural sense of wonder and finding joy in the midst of everyday experiences.

Each chapter of Awakening Joy consists of one of the steps in Baraz’s ten-step program and includes engaging exercises and practical advice to make happiness your natural default setting. For everyone from the cynic who is despondent over life’s many sorrows, to the harried commuter raging at freeway traffic, this book offers up a simple yet powerful message of hope grounded in the realization that joy already exists inside every one of us. Like a precious child, it only needs to be recognized, embraced, and nurtured in order to grow to its full potential

James Baraz has been teaching meditation for more than thirty years and the Awakening Joy course, both on-site and online, since 2003. He is a co—founding teacher of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California, and is on the international advisory board of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. He lives with his wife, Jane, in the San Francisco Bay area.

Shoshana Tembeck Alexander has studied Buddhism since the early 1970s and is the author of In Praise of Single Parents and Women’s Ventures, Women’s Visions. She has guided the work of several prominent Buddhist authors, including Tara Brach, Sharon Salzberg, and Wes Nisker. She lives in Ashland, Oregon. –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Look Inside

Awakening Joy 2.0 Trailer

A 5-month course in loving-kindness and compassion for anyone who wants to experience a deeper connection to themselves and to life.

Awakening Joy: James Baraz and Anam Thupten in Conversation

You Were Not Born To Suffer: Love Yourself Back to Inner Peace, Health, Happiness & Fulfillment by Blake D. Bauer (Author)

Discover why all suffering, illness, and unhappiness are cries from your soul and subconscious mind asking you to fulfill your life’s purpose, realize your greatest potential, and ultimately, love, honor, and value yourself in every moment, situation, and relationship.

Born out of Blake D. Bauer’s personal healing and spiritual journey, as well as his professional counseling, coaching, and healing success with thousands of people internationally, You Were Not Born to Suffer offers a unique combination of deep insight and practical guidance that will empower you to transform your suffering in the present and move forward immediately in creating what you want and need most in your life right now.

Written in heart-centered, easy-to-read language, You Were Not Born to Suffer will guide you through the most challenging obstacles and lessons you’ll face in your quest for healing, purpose, success, and overall freedom. Above all else, this book will enable you to relate to yourself with unconditional love, kindness, and compassion so you can transform the core psychological, emotional, and physical blocks that are sabotaging your health, happiness, and overall wellbeing.

You Were Not Born to Suffer offers a refreshing integration of ancient and timeless wisdom, synthesized from various spiritual and medical traditions, that goes straight to the heart of our deepest wounds, needs, desires, and dreams as human beings. Once there, it inspires unconditional love, respect, acceptance, and forgiveness in the places that are universally the most difficult for us to embrace. At the same time, it also clarifies how to effectively direct your thoughts, words, and actions toward creating the “best” in every aspect of your personal and professional life.

If you are serious about healing yourself, fulfilling your life’s purpose, and awakening spiritually, then this book will support you to take your life, your power, and your destiny back into your own hands so you can live your life to the fullest—without regret.

Blake D. Bauer is an internationally recognized author, spiritual teacher, and alternative medicine practitioner. His pioneering work centers on loving yourself unconditionally as the key to healing yourself, fulfilling your life’s purpose, and realizing your full potential both personally and professionally. Based on his training with spiritual teachers, healers, and masters from all over the world, Blake practices and teaches various forms of meditation, qi gong, qi gong energy medicine, and dao yin (a health and longevity yoga). Blake’s formal education also includes traditional Chinese medicine, five-element Chinese medicine, nutritional medicine, herbal healing, psychology, past life regression therapy-hypnosis, and various other forms of traditional healing and alternative medicine. Bringing together the most effective spiritual practices and holistic approaches to health and wellbeing, Blake’s work and teachings have successfully guided thousands of people internationally toward greater psychological, emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual freedom.


Inner-Views with Dr Leslie and Blake Bauer Author of YOU WERE NOT BORN TO SUFFER
Diane Wilkins

Inner-Views with Dr Leslie and Blake Bauer Author of YOU WERE NOT BORN TO SUFFER

A Message of Hope and Optimism for Celebrating this Holiday Season ~ Richard Moss

Published on Dec 22, 2015

Richard sends a message of hope and optimism for celebrating this holiday season. Despite the emphasis on conflict and violence so prevalent in the media, there is a steady and inevitable self-transcending aspect to our consciousness that is steadily, albeit gradually, overcoming our old survival based psychology.

The Gift

For millennia humanity has struggled to understand
one simple truth. There is ONLY God.

The Creator and Its Creations are one and the same.
There is no line of separation. No beginning, no end.
The illusion of separation is the veil of which we speak.

As the very nature of Creation is infinite possibility,
everything seen and unseen is possible.

Belief in separation has allowed mankind to create
imagined opposition such as war, evil, judgment.
We create it all.

Perfection lies in ALL Creation, even that which we
do not understand and judge to be imperfect.
Destruction is part of the creative process.

There are no victims, there are no chosen ones.
Failure does not exist. There is only that which we
create to lead us back to who we really are.
It is all PERFECT.

We have given ourselves no greater gift than our
desire for the truth; to know who we are and
our purpose. In your desire to understand, you have
returned to the Source, that which is in YOU!

There are those who have tried to keep the Truth
from you, but even that was an illusion, for you
created it for the joy and delight of discovery.

Evolution is Creation in process. Your purpose
is to evolve to the Truth of who you really are;

There is nothing you need to do. Just be…
LOVE. Joy. Peace. Freedom. Prosperity.

Spread the Word. Set others free. Give The Gift.

That’s what love would do!

Source: WhatWouldLoveDoIntl

Real Steps to Enlightenment: Dynamic Tools to Create Change by Amy Elizabeth Garcia (Author)

Connecting with the divine is crucial for spiritual advancement, but choosing a spiritual path is anything but easy.

Amy Elizabeth Garcia simplifies the journey to enlightenment into thirty-three spiritual goals, such as finding your life purpose, developing trust in the universe, relinquishing the need to control, recognizing synchronicity, and fostering peace. Focusing on a specific spiritual lesson, each chapter begins with a divine message from the author’s spiritual master that includes stories from his human incarnations. Garcia goes a step further in bringing these concepts to life by sharing her own life experiences. Every chapter includes a prayer inspired by angels and exercises for spiritual growth-the perfect complement to this beginner’s guide to enlightenment.

Amy Elizabeth Garcia is a Reiki Master and Angel Therapy Practitioner who receives guidance from her spirit guides and angels. She teaches workshops and conducts intuitive counseling and healing sessions. Amy is the founder of the Spiritual Awareness Network, an organization that provides information about the Southern California metaphysical community. Her websites feature a practitioner directory, web links, an events calendar, weekly e-mail newsletters and more. Amy also works as a parent advocate, assisting families in crisis by providing them with parenting techniques, life skills and personal growth tools.
Visit her on the web at

Click here to browse

Interview with Amy Elizabeth Cutler-Garcia,
by Cindra Ranier for the Awaken program

Please tell us about your background.
I have always had a passion for spirituality and personal growth. I have spent many years in study and I love to find new ways to connect with Spirit and increase my empowerment. I became ordained as a minister of Spiritual Peacemaking. Creating peace is the main focus of my work. I take the ideas that I have learned on my spiritual path and utilize them in my work as a peace advocate.

How did you come to write your book, Real Steps To Enlightenment? Was it a “calling”?
I believe it was a calling because when I was writing it I felt elevated and connected to Spirit. I had been exploring spirituality for many years when my husband suggested that I write about my experiences. I really enjoyed the writing process and I believe that I grew spiritually as I implemented the book’s tools into my own life.

What does enlightenment mean to you? How would you describe it?
I think a person is enlightened when he or she realizes their divine connection to God. They have let go of attachments of the ego and the belief in separation.

What tools does your book offer?
My book contains 33 chapters that discuss qualities of Spirit that people aspire to create in their lives such as peace, joy, trust and prosperity. Each chapter contains a four-step format that helps the reader to align their thoughts, beliefs, emotions and behaviors. I call the four steps “Information” and “Inspiration” to help you set your “Intention” and take “Action.” The book encourages readers to tap into their own spiritual guidance and gifts to create the life they really want.

Who was your inspiration?
I think that the people we encounter in our daily lives can be our greatest teachers. In my book, I relate stories of simple lessons I learned from my children, relatives, colleagues and friends. We are all given many opportunities in these relationships to choose love instead of fear. This is a teaching from A Course In Miracles, a book that greatly transformed my life and worldview.

What does it mean to you to find your purpose?
I believe that an important reason we are here is to “know ourselves”. As we strengthen our connection to God, who we are as powerful spirits becomes more apparent. I think that each person who is born has a contribution to make to humanity. We can be of service in many ways. It could be a vocation, a career or a labor of love such as parenting a child. It might be as simple as offering those we meet a smile or a kind word. It could be as complex as finding a cure for disease or solutions to global challenges.

Where were you on 9/11? How did that impact your life?
I was at home. My husband called me on the phone and filled me in on what was happening that morning. Something clicked on inside of me and I received the strong message, “It’s time to get to work.” I went straight to the corner church and began praying. I knew that it was important for me to do my spiritual work with a new vigor because the world was in need of healing on so many levels. Now, every time I see 9:11 on a clock or sign, I receive reminders to move forward with my work.

Why do you think “Gratitude” is so important?
I think gratitude creates a cycle of positive energy. I believe that what we put out into the world is returned to us. Gratitude keeps the flow of abundance moving. So does sharing what we receive. It is easy to be grateful for the good things in our lives, but I think it is also important to be grateful for the challenges. They have lessons to teach us as we grow and evolve.

Amy, do you have any stories to share where having trust has proven true for you?
I wrote about many real life “miracle” stories in my book. They demonstrate how aligning with Spirit can help us move through anything – from loss of employment to healing from cancer. In my life, I was led to a lovely home. I think God put me in the right place at the right time. This really renewed my trust that I will always have my needs met by the Universe.

How about Healing? So many folks are going through a need for healing.
I think it is important to learn more about how healing energy works. Quantum physics shows us that everything is energy. At a subatomic level, energy will move in accordance to our expectations. As a healer, I teach my clients techniques to remove blocks and increase well-being by consciously directing energy.

How would you encourage people to deal with stress and anxiety.
Most stresses can be helped by behavioral or cognitive restructuring. In simple terms, that means acting to change the situation you are in or changing the way you think about it. Stress is ultimately eliminated when we awaken to our I Am presence. It is in this place that we experience “the peace that is beyond understanding.” If you become anxious, shift your focus to God’s love – this is the only true constant force in the Universe.

Any closing thoughts, Amy?
A scripture comes to mind. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself.” I think that the entire world will be healed when we embrace that teaching. When we do this, there will be peace on earth.

Awakening Joy: 10 Steps That Will Put You on the Road to Real Happiness – by James Baraz (Author), Shoshana Alexander (Author) [updated version]

Joy is not for just the lucky few–it’s a choice anyone can make. In this groundbreaking book, based on his popular course, James Baraz helps you discover a path to the happiness that’s right in front of you, offering a step-by-step program that will reorient your mind away from dissatisfaction and distraction and toward the contentment and delight that is abundantly available in our everyday lives.

You can decide to be happy. For years, James Baraz’s online Awakening Joy course has offered participants from around the world the benefits of this simple but profoundly radical proposition. Grounded in simple Buddhist principles but accessible to people of all faiths–or no faith at all–this concept provides the jumping-off point for a transformational journey toward a richer, more meaningful, more positive outlook on life. Now readers everywhere can follow the same ten steps Baraz teaches to his program participants. In this practical down-to-earth guide, you will learn how to

• make happiness a habit by inclining your mind toward states that lead to well-being
• find joy even during difficult times and avoid the pitfalls that prevent you from achieving the contentment you seek
• cultivate effective practices for sustaining joyfulness, such as reclaiming your natural sense of wonder and finding joy in the midst of everyday experiences

Each chapter of Awakening Joy consists of one step in Baraz’s ten-step program and includes engaging exercises and practical advice to make happiness your natural default setting. For everyone from the cynic despondent over life’s many sorrows to the harried commuter raging at freeway traffic, this book offers up a simple yet powerful message of hope grounded in the realization that joy already exists inside every one of us. Like a precious child, it only needs to be recognized, embraced, and nurtured in order to grow to its full potential.

James Baraz has been teaching meditation for more than thirty years and the Awakening Joy course, both on-site and online, since 2003. He is a co—founding teacher of the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Woodacre, California, and is on the international advisory board of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. He lives with his wife, Jane, in the San Francisco Bay area.

Shoshana Tembeck Alexander has studied Buddhism since the early 1970s and is the author of In Praise of Single Parents and Women’s Ventures, Women’s Visions. She has guided the work of several prominent Buddhist authors, including Tara Brach, Sharon Salzberg, and Wes Nisker. She lives in Ashland, Oregon.

Browse here to view the book
Awakening Joy Course and Book Video

Discover a path to the happiness that’s right in front of you. True well-being is a choice you can make.

Awakening Joy: The Book

Catherine Ingram interviews author and spiritual teacher, James Baraz, about his new book Awakening Joy. The book can be ordered via your local, independent bookstore or online from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. For more information about Awakening Joy, the book and the online course, as taught by James Baraz. please visit

The Twilight Garden: A guide to Enjoying Your Garden in the Evening Hours ~ Lia Leendertz

Some say that the twilight hours are the best time to enjoy a garden; a time when the spirit of the place really comes alive. It is also the time when many people pass front gardens on their return home, have a few spare minutes for garden maintenance, or want to enjoy the garden for entertaining. Full of easy maintenance advice, planting ideas for evening fragrance, colour, lighting, design, and attracting wildlife, this is a book for how people garden now. Front gardens, terraces, larger plots and containers will all be covered in an attempt to inspire everyone to transform their outdoor space into a twilight paradise.

Lia is a freelance garden writer who shares an allotment with several friends near her home in Bristol. A regular contributor to The Guardian and The Telegraph, she is a long-time advocate of organic and community growing, and has written many books on the subject. She has an award-winning blog, Midnight Brambling.


Plot 22 – Ep1 – Digging Back In Time

Published on Mar 21, 2014
Plot 22 is a ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ for allotments. Garden writer Lia Leendertz wants to find out who has dug and planted in, played and worked on the very piece of soil she has thought of as her own for the past ten years. We’re going to journey back in time to reveal the past life of much loved plot in Bristol.

There will be wars and land grabs, waves of migration and changes of fashion, with this humble plot of land and the people who worked it telling these stories.

Lia is an award-winning garden writer who writes for The Guardian, The Telegraph, Gardens Illustrated, The Garden and more, and her north Bristol plot is well used as inspiration and location for her features. She and her husband Michael do the work, while their two young children climb trees, eat cake and dig ‘photographer traps’.

Dancing With Life: Buddhist insights for finding meaning and joy in the face of suffering by Phillip Moffitt (Author), Venerable Ajahn Sumedho (Preface)

Why do we suffer? Is there a purpose to our pain? Noting that human beings have wrestled with such questions for thousands of years, Phillip Moffitt has found answers for his own life in Buddhist philosophy and meditation. Reflecting on his own journey from Esquire magazine editor-in-chief to Buddhist meditation teacher, Moffitt provides a fresh perspective on the Buddha’s ancient wisdom, showing how to move from suffering to new awareness and unanticipated joy.

In this deeply spiritual book that is sure to become a Buddhist classic, Moffitt explores the twelve insights that underlie the Buddha’s core teaching–the Four Noble Truths–and uses these often neglected ideas to guide readers to a more meaningful relationship to suffering. Moffitt write: “These twelve insights teach you to dance with both the joy and pain, finding peace in a balanced mind and calm spirit. As the most specific, practical life instructions I have ever encountered, they serve as an invaluable tool for anyone who seeks a life filled with meaning and well-being.” Practicing these twelve insights, as Moffitt suggests, will help readers experience life’s difficulties without being filled with stress and anguish, and they will enhance their moments of happiness.
With engaging writing and a strong message of self-empowerment, Dancing with Life offers a prescriptive path for finding joy and peace that will appeal to meditation students and readers of “Dharma Wisdom,” Moffitt’s column in Yoga Journal, as well as anyone searching for a more authentic life.

In 1987 Phillip Moffitt walked away from his highly successful post as chief executive and editor-in-chief of “Esquire” magazine to focus on his inner life. After leaving “Esquire,” Phillip spent most of his time studying Theravada Buddhism and practicing vipassana (insight meditation). He also became interested in the mind-body connection and studied yoga, Jungian psychology, aikido, and somatic healing techniques. After he had been practicing vipassana for seven years, Phillip was invited by Jack Kornfield, the founder of Spirit Rock Meditation Center, to participate in Spirit Rock’s three-year teacher training. In 1998 after completing his teacher training, Phillip established the Marin Sangha in San Rafael, Calif. In addition to teaching the Marin Sangha, Phillip travels throughout the U.S. and Canada leading silent meditation retreats and is co-guiding teacher at Spirit Rock. Phillip’s primary teachers are Ajahn Sumedho and Sri Swami Balyogi Premvarni.

Between 1999 and 2006, Phillip wrote a regular column for “Yoga Journal” called “Dharma Wisdom.” And in 2008 he published his first book about living the dharma in daily life, “Dancing with Life: Buddhist Insights for Finding Meaning and Joy in the Face of Suffering.”

In addition to devoting himself to teaching the dharma, Phillip also does what he calls “Life Balance” work, a process he developed for helping others find more meaning and a greater sense of well-being in their lives. In 1991 he founded the Life Balance Institute (

You can access Phillip’s teachings at

Click here to browse inside.

Working with Difficult Emotions by Phillip Moffitt / Spirit Rock Meditation Center

Uploaded on May 4, 2011

Phillip Moffitt, Co-Guiding Teacher at Spirit Rock and author of “Dancing with Life,” talks about how to use mindfulness practice to work with difficult or strong emotions such as anger. (Filmed on May 3, 2011 at Spirit Rock by Walt Opie, Communications Editor.)

How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow by Toni Bernhard

Intimately and without jargon, How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow describes the path to peace amid all of life’s ups and downs. Using step by step instructions, the author illustrates how to be fully present in the moment without clinging to joy or resisting sorrow. This opens the door to a kind of wellness that goes beyond circumstances. Actively engaging life as it is in this fashion holds the potential for awakening to a peace and well-being that are not dependent on whether a particular experience is joyful or sorrowful. This is a practical book, containing dozens of exercises and practices, all of which are illustrated with easy-to-relate to personal stories from the author’s experience.

I’ve been a practicing Buddhist for over 20 years. Until forced to retire due to illness, I was a professor at the University of California–Davis School of Law, serving six years as the dean of students. I’m the author of the award-winning “How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and Their Caregivers,” and the newly released “How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for Navigating Joy and Sorrow.” Both “How to Be Sick” and “How to Wake Up” are practical books. They are intended to help all of us find peace and well-being regardless of our particular circumstances. To this end, each of the books contains dozens of exercises and practices, all of which are illustrated with easy-to-relate-to personal stories. I live in Davis, California with my husband (also named Tony!) and our hound dog, Rusty. I hope you’ll visit my website at

Click here to browse inside.

How to Wake Up – Toni Bernhard – Interview View Here

Eckhart Tolle TV: How can I find work that will give me joy?

Published on Feb 13, 2014

In this Question and Answer preview, Eckhart advises to focus on your inner state—but not as a means to an end.

Reduced to Joy ~ Mark Nepo

Mark Nepo is emerging as one of the truly significant writers and thinkers of today. Nepo has a singular way of distilling great truths down to their essence. Moreover, during his cancer journey, Nepo relied on the power of expression and the writing process to keep him tethered to life. In Reduced to Joy, Mark Nepo explores the places where pain and joy are stitched to resilience, uncovering them with deep wisdom, poetic passages and personal revelations. Nepo reminds us all of the secret and sacred places within, forgotten in the noise and chatter of our busy distracted 21st Century lives. Reduced to Joy is a lesson in stillness, in standing in the mystery and, above all, in the work of love.


(for Saba)

When just a pup, I took her into winter.
While Paul photographed the heavy snow,
she, having never run free, circled wildly,
her little nose caked with white.

She slipped and broke the ice. I can still
see her puppy face underwater, looking
for a way out, her tiny paws swatting
at the thick clear deep.

With no thought, I was waist high and
wet, sweeping her into the air. She flew
a good twelve feet and landed with a thud.
She shook and started to shiver. We rubbed
her down for two hours, blowing her with
an old hair dryer. I held her in my shirt,
near my heart, the whole way home.

I’m fourteen years and seven states away
and she has died. My first dog. I close
my eyes and there she is, grown,
sniffing the air in an open field,
smelling things I couldn’t even sense.

How many times I’ve played that day
in the pond: her struggle underwater,
her drying on my chest.

How much that day has shaped my art:
always jumping in and sweeping what
has been baptized in the deep back
into the world, always holding it
near my heart. As if my life
depends on it.


As the wind makes a different song
through the same tree as its branches
break, God makes finer and finer music
through the wearing down of our will.


It’s as if what is unbreakable—
the very pulse of life—waits for
everything else to be torn away,
and then in the bareness that
only silence and suffering and
great love can expose, it dares
to speak through us and to us.

It seems to say, if you want to last,
hold on to nothing. If you want
to know love, let in everything.
If you want to feel the presence
of everything, stop counting the
things that break along the way.

Mark Nepo is a poet and philosopher who has taught in the fields of poetry, health, and spirituality for forty years. A New York Times #1 bestselling author, he has published fourteen books and recorded eight audio projects. Mark has appeared with Oprah Winfrey on her Super Soul Sunday program on OWN TV, and has also been interviewed by Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages. Mark keynotes regularly for conferences and corporations, works with healing and medical communities, including chaplains and therapists, speaks and offers workshops for colleges and universities, and leads spiritual retreats.

In 1987, Mark was diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma. The heart of that journey and its aftermath has greatly informed his work. Ever since, he has been a student of all paths and his work has explored the common center and unity of all spiritual traditions, focusing on how we can experience that unity when we can lean into life and hold nothing back. Ultimately, he explores with others how to live wholeheartedly, so we can inhabit the gifts we are born with and find the language of our own wisdom.

Click here to browse inside.


QUESTION: What inspired you to write this book?

MN: Poems come slowly. They break surface like dolphin after long stretches of going under. So writing a book of poems for me is different than writing my other books. I have to sit when I’m able and try to make heart-sense of what life has been doing to me and with me. Like wringing out a sponge, I squeeze what matters onto the page, let it dry, and see what’s there the next day. One by one, they gather into an instructive whole. All this to say, that by trying to make sense of my own experience, I’ve discovered a theme to the journey, that we are all reduced to joy, worn away of all excess. To survive this, we often need to hold each other up in order to discover and return to what matters. This book explores these essential relationships, which keep shaping me.

QUESTION: Can you speak about the nature of joy and what keeps us from it?
MN: For me, joy is different than happiness. While happiness is a fleeting mood, joy is larger and more lasting than any one feeling. If each feeling is a wave of emotion, then joy is the ocean that holds all feelings. As I get older, I’m coming to realize that joy is central to our knowing peace. It’s one deep way that we access Oneness. I’m also beginning to see that joy is the hum of Oneness. It’s the sensation of being connected to life itself. Another way to speak of joy is to say that it’s the reward for facing our experience. Often, what keeps us from joy is the menacing assumption that life is happening other than where we are. So we are always leaving, running from or running to. What keeps us from joy, then, is often not being where we are and not valuing what is before us.

QUESTION: These poems are gathered from the last thirteen years of your life. How would you describe your journey over these years and how you’ve changed or grown during this time?

MN: With each hardship and loss, friendships matter more and not just with people, but with nature and time and with life itself. This last decade has made me more vulnerable and stronger at the same time. I feel there is less between me and what I experience. I think I’ve been reduced more and more to what is essential, less able to pretend or look away. I still get tripped up by fear and worry and at times forget where I’ve been and who I am. But this is all part of the endless journey. I’ve become a student of things as they are and this has led me to the astonishing guidance that all things are true. I simply have to keep my heart open long enough to discover how.

QUESTION: You talk a lot about “working with what we’re given” as a way to discover a meaningful life. Can you talk more about this?

MN: Try as we do to resist what we’re given, this is only doorway to truth. Not all that we’re given is difficult. There are many blessings and gentle surprises along the way. But we all waste too much time and energy either denying where we find ourselves or fighting where we find ourselves. When what’s before us is always a shy teacher insisting on our attention. I love the great Czech poet Vaclav Havel’s definition of hope as “not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” Working with what we’re given is the mirror to uncovering our true nature.

QUESTION: The final section of the book is called “Falling in Love with the World.” What does this mean and how do we go about living this way?

MN: When we can find the courage and support to be where we are, completely, when we can find the wherewithal to meet what we’re given honestly, when we can see our feelings all the way through, then we open ourselves to an inner form of gravity that has us lean into life rather than pull away. This leaning into life with a fragile bareness awakens us to the tender irreplaceable side of life. It is here that we can’t help but fall in love with the world, in spite of its harshness and unpredictability.

QUESTION: In one of your poems, you refer to “the messy art of facing things” and how we sometimes hurt those closest to us. Why is facing things necessary and how can we go about doing it?

MN: The art of facing things is necessary because without it, we replay our struggles on everything around us. So if you want to lessen the amount of violence in the world, the first thing you can do is to commit to facing what is yours to face. When we don’t own what life brings us, we project our pain onto others. I’ve found over time that the first way for me to gather the courage to face my life is to renew my foundational belief that I will survive the discomfort of psychological and emotional pain. In fact, avoiding inner pain only intensifies it. Somehow I need to risk being reshaped by what I face. And the art of facing things isn’t just difficult and messy. It’s also beautiful and tender. Without facing things and each other, intimacy is not possible. No one knows the secret path to all this. Another reason we need each other.

QUESTION: In another poem, you look at what it means to know something by heart. Can you explain this and why it’s important?

MN:[Excerpt from poem]: To graduate into the world, we are
required to memorize practical and odd things: the number
of feet in a mile, the year Henry VIII beheaded Anne Boleyn,
the degree at which clouds will freeze their rain. But since
death is the mirror we eventually move through, let’s stop
carrying the things we repeat and start holding things
with our eyes.

I’ve been struck by how we’re trained away from direct, unscripted living. It’s interesting, as I mention in the poem, that “to know by heart” has been reduced to memorization. When the original sense of knowing something by heart is to be touched by what we meet so completely that our compassion is awakened. When we memorize things, we live in our heads and tend to track life rather than enter it. To truly know something or someone by heart means we will, no doubt, be changed for the experience. And ultimately, as prepared as we try to be, the goal of life is to be surprised into a greater depth of connection and being. Ironically, to be touched by life, we often have to put down what we know in order to be refreshed and re-vitalized by what we don’t know.

QUESTION: Finally, what do you hope readers will take with them from REDUCED TO JOY?

MN: My hope is that the poems in this book will serve as a threshold to an underlying connection to the greater life we are all a part of. I hope the book will be a resource for the reader when faced with the difficulties of living. I hope the poems will confirm that, no matter the struggle you find yourself in, you are not alone. May these poems be honest companions on the journey to joy.

An Evening with Mark Nepo

Published on Apr 22, 2013

Poetry readings by Mark Nepo at All Saints Church, Pasadena, at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 21, 2013. For more about All Saints Church visit htt;://

Awake Joy: The Essence of Enlightenment by Katie Davis

Encouraged by Eckhart Tolle, Awake Joy is a unique and comprehensive guide to awakening to the new state of consciousness that is currently emerging on our planet. It points to the discovery of the radiant joy that is beyond the thinking mind, the separate sense of self, its idea of separation and identification with form.

Katie Davis takes the mind-identified reader through their personal growth strategies to awakening. She then deepens to Self-discovery or what we might call the realization of the Heart. The book encourages full embodiment of this truth and then shifts to awake living by embracing humanity’s diversity, the earth, its environment and its creatures as none other than the Essence. Katie shares that when the human being is consciously fulfilled, we live the natural way of the Heart in a profoundly human manner.

It used to be that awakening was extremely rare, but today this is not so and people are opening to Self-discovery. It requires presence and not practices, although the book offers experiments and meditations to reveal ego’s delusion. There is nothing unique, or for that matter peculiar, about realizing who you already are beyond your given name and form. It is a normal maturing process of the human being and is available right now to everyone.

Awake Joy is meant to be your companion throughout your life’s journey to true and lasting fulfillment. It will be a trusted resource again and again throughout the years. This A-Z handbook stands free of concepts, philosophy and eastern jargon to point clearly and pragmatically for those who are ready to surrender suffering for themselves, their relationships, their families, the schools, the workplace, the world’s religions and the world.

KATIE DAVIS is a graduate of the University of Washington and spontaneously awakened over 20 years ago, without spiritual practices or teachers. A former secondary school educator, businesswoman and mother of two, she simply radically fell into the reality of who we really are. After years of integrating, she began teaching and now travels worldwide to share her message of freedom and joy with her husband, Sundance Burke, author of Free Spirit. Click here to view

Click here to browse inside.

Katie Davis 1 – ‘Awake Joy’ – Interview by Renate McNay

Katie Davis – ‘Awake Joy’ – Interview by Renate McNay

In 1986, Katie Davis, author of “Awake Joy”, had a spontaneous awakening that radically transformed her life. At the time, she had never heard of awakening and enlightenment. The integration took twelve years. Katie’s husband is Sundance Burke, author of “Free Spirit“, who awakened in 1982 with Satoshi (Osho/Nisargadatta influence) and Shunyata, named the Rare Born Mystic by his friend Ramana Maharshi.

In 1998, Sundance and Katie became close friends with Eckhart Tolle, who encouraged them to share the teachings and write their books. They travel worldwide to share the message of conscious freedom and causeless joy in the form of talks in spiritual gatherings, satsang, intensives, silent retreats and private appointments. In this interview she talks about her life and her work.

Katie Davis – Buddha at the Gas Pump Interview

Katie Davis is a spiritual teacher and author who offers satsang worldwide. She is a graduate of the University of Washington, a former secondary school educator, a former owner of aerobics studios in the Pacific Northwest and mother of two.

She is author of Awake Joy: The Essence of Enlightenment and since 1999, she has been traveling to share with people the radical possibility of Self-realization that is the end of all suffering, separation and the key to world transformation.

Katie Davis was a Keynote Presenter at the Vancouver BC Convention Centre in Canada. She offers spiritual talks at church services or spiritual gatherings, corporations, hospitals, professional communities and organizations, schools, television and radio shows, as well as for community organizers worldwide that are offering talks in the form of satsang in public meetings, intensives and silent retreats.

In 1986, Katie Davis radically and spontaneously awakened to the ultimate reality of who we really are without practices or teachers. She had never meditated or even heard of enlightenment, Advaita Vedanta, Non-duality or Self-realization. Katie had no intellectual reference whatsoever for what had occurred.

In 1988, Katie met her future husband, Sundance Burke, author of Free Spirit: A Guide to Enlightened Being, who had similarly awakened in 1982 with Satoshi (Osho) and Shunyata, named the Rare Born Mystic by his friend, Ramana Maharshi, one of the most cherished sages of modern day India.

Katie Davis is a world spiritual teacher and a current resident of Seattle, Washington, USA.

Katie’s website:

Katie’s book, Awake Joy: The Essence of Enlightenment

Interview recorded 4/29/2012

10 Secrets For Success and Inner Peace ~ Dr. Wayne Dyer

Is your life path lit by your inner candle flame, or are you stumbling along in the dark? In Dr. Wayne Dyer’s new book, he reminds us of what so many people easily forget in the day-to-day grind of life-that material success isn’t what we’re ultimately trying to achieve, and therefore it shouldn’t be our driving force. Within each of us lies success and inner peace, which can be found once we understand that a deeper, richer life experience is characterized by a burning desire, or as Dr. Dyer describes it, an ‘inner candle flame.’

In this thought-provoking book, Dr. Dyer offers simple ways to change your life-and your outlook on life. The ten principles presented here apply to people who are just beginning their journey of discovery, as well as those who have already embarked on life’s winding path. Dr. Dyer urges us to listen with an open heart, and to apply the secrets that resonate with them and discard the rest. By doing so, we’ll learn to feel the peace of God that truly defines success.

Click here to browse inside.

10 Secrets for Success and Inner Peace by Dr Wayne Dyer

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar New Year’s Message for 2013

Sri Sri gives a special message for 2013 and conducts a meditation to welcome the New Year

Sri Sri founded The Art of Living as an international, non-profit, educational and humanitarian organization in 1982. Its educational and self-development programs offer powerful tools to eliminate stress and foster a sense of well-being through powerful breathing techniques such as Sudarshan Kriya and Yoga. Appealing not only to a specific population, these practices have proven effective globally at all levels of society.

The Wonder of Aging: A New Approach to Embracing Life After Fifty ~ Michael Gurian

Bestselling author and counselor Michael Gurian offers a comprehensive look at the emotional, spiritual, and cognitive dimensions of aging—and how to celebrate life after fifty.

Called “the people’s philosopher” for his ability to apply scientific ideas to our ordinary lives, Michael Gurian, bestselling author of The Wonder of Boys, sees life after fifty as an enormously fruitful, exciting, and fulfilling time. Drawing on scientific research as well as anecdotes that respond to the needs of his many clients, he goes beyond the physical-centered view of aging and presents a new, holistic paradigm embracing opportunities that come with life after fifty.

The Wonder of Aging focuses on the physical, mental, relational, and spiritual aspects of aging, discussing topics such as sex, how men and women age differently, the effects of aging on the brain, and what to expect in the last chapter of life. The book divides life after fifty into three stages:

1. the Age of Transformation, from our late forties to sixty;

2. the Age of Distinction, from sixty to seventy-five; and

3. the Age of Completion, which involves completing one’s life journey.

In addition, this essential guide provides meditations and exercises to help you map out the aging process and is rich with case histories from Gurian’s research and experience as a therapist.

Written with Gurian’s contagiously optimistic outlook on life, The Wonder of Aging provides a full, constructive, and comforting roadmap to what to expect—and how to celebrate—the second half of your life.

Michael Gurian is a social philosopher, certified mental health counselor in private practice, and the New York Times bestselling author of twenty-five books. He co-founded the Gurian Institute in 1996 and frequently speaks at and consults with corporations, physicians, hospitals, schools, and other professionals. Michael has taught at Gonzaga University, Eastern Washington University, and Ankara University. He lives with his wife Gail in Spokane, Washington.
The Wonder of Aging will be released on June 18, 2013 in Hardcover, eBook

Interview with Michael Gurian
The Wonder of Children
Michael Gurian


Q: The writing of The Wonder of Children came about in an interesting way. Would you share some of your personal story with us?

A: The book begins with the story of my family’s visit to Great Grandma Laura, who is ninety-six and lives in a nursing home in Blair, Nebraska. Of the many visits there, this particular one inspired Gabrielle and Davita to ask me questions about the soul—what is it, where does it go after death, how do we know we have a soul? In trying to answer their questions, I had a realization, one that perhaps became possible because of my twenty years’ researching both neural science and world religions, but I think became real by mysterious epiphany. Quite literally, I had a vision. It was like seeing into the point where neural science and religion meet. If it wanted to be an abstract vision in the back of my mind, it was forced to be concrete by the very literal questions of children. The Wonder of Children is a six-chapter book that develops six sides of this vision. The vision is based, quite simply, in the realization that we now have the technology to prove the existence of the human soul.

Q: What is that proof?

A: In brief, the proof involves what we know about light—its composition, its form, and its substance. Our new neural technologies allow us to track light as it moves in the human brain and body. Religions have told us for millennia that there is a light that cannot burn out and each of us participates in it—each of our souls is this light. The neural sciences, depicted in The Wonder of Children, can now prove what religions (and our own intuitions) have always asserted. For the proof of the soul to make sense, I needed not only to show what all the world religions have asserted (and ALL of them say the same thing about soul and light), as well as show the confirmation in neural science, but also I had to specifically prove the existence of the soul in children, for it is in the child that the actual physio-spiritual growth of the soul is most clear, and is most demanding of our helpful attention. One amazing thing that happened as I developed the proof of the soul was that I stumbled on a proof for this idea, too: that the soul and body are not split, as we’ve been taught, but united.

Q: Why is it important to understand the unity of soul and body?

A: Especially in the lives of children it is crucial. We live in a time of increasingly visible cases of child abuse, child sexual abuse, child abandonment and neglect, lack of attachment to children, unsupervised children, child abductions and rapes, children at risk. The human community and individual people are more likely to hurt or under nourish children they think of as “bodies” to be used. Cultures and people are more likely to raise children to be mere economic interns rather than fully developed humans if they see children as “bodies” to be forced into certain economic and social molds. If the soul of the child is unrealized, the child is “just a kid.” If, however, there is no split of body and soul, then the child is soul, through and through. The child is the light of God (both in religion and in science), incontrovertibly the most important asset in the universe. When soul and body are split in our consciousness, we end up acting without full understanding of the real asset a child is.

Q: How do religion and science, which have historically been seen as oppositional to each other, actually teach us this same thing about the soul?

A: Just as we’ve lived for a few thousand years in a soul/body split kind of thinking, we’ve also lived for about five hundred years in a religion/science split. But religion and science, in The Wonder of Children, intersect completely. They both prove the same thing about soul—that soul is as much material as it is ethereal. When we see their point of intersection, we move to a new stage of human consciousness. For instance, we understand that the soul is not a kind of phantom light that gets shoved into the body at conception or birth and then shoots out of the body at death; we discover that the soul actually grows and changes during a lifetime. Both religion and science have hinted at this for centuries, but now, at their point of intersection, we can prove it.

Q: Does this idea of the soul growing and development during a lifetime follow current child development theory, or are you saying something else?

A: Much of child-development theory, championed from various sources such as Freud, Adler, Montessori, Piaget, and Kohlberg, fits very well with the idea of soul development. Yet the idea goes even farther, because it connects the development of the soul with the whole history of human religion, as well. So, for instance, where Kohlberg talks about six stages of moral development for children, The Wonder of Children adds the idea that there are stages of spiritual development. Where Freud talks about psychology growing from development stages in a child’s relationship with the mother and father, The Wonder of Children suggests that stages of development in a child’s relationship with God and Self are just as operational. God, known of course by many names, the infinite evolutionary energy of the universes, is the child; the child is God. As a child develops, God is developing. We are caring for not only the psychological development of children, but also the neurospiritual development of God.

Q: Your final chapter concerns the idea that God is child. What do you mean by that? And how would you respond to people who say, “But there is evil in some people, even some children; is God that, too?”

A: God is child. Soul and God are light, traceable now by technology and equipment that is changing our conception of the not only the universes but our own selves. MRI equipment can track the electromagnetic energy field of a child’s neural web, and show the workings of the 100 billion cells in the brain. Our telescopic equipment can now track the workings of the 100 billion stars in our galaxy. Science is increasingly showing us what God is, and the place to start noticing the proof is in the child. When we apply the sciences of genetics, neurobiology, neurochemistry and many others to our everyday lives, we discover no separation of soul and body, child and divinity, self and God. Yet, the same sciences that now take us to this place show us the neurophysiology of evil. Can evil, too, be God? The book answers this question in some detail, but one hint to give here is that God is not a transactional being: in other words, “If I pray to you, you will make my life safe and happy.” We have been laboring under a transactional attitude toward divinity. At the point where religion and science meet, there is a different God than we may have yet imagined.

Q: You mentioned the science of genetics, and you also link it in the book to the word “destiny.” What do you mean by this? Destiny is often seen negatively, not as a liberating concept but as a trap.

A: There is a great suspicion of saying that anyone, especially a child, is “the product of destiny,” or “formed by fate,” or “predestined for a certain life.” I am suspicious, too, of efforts to cage children or adults in preconceived ideas of who they are or should be. One of the great innovations of our age is that a child can have a chance, now, to grow up to be “whoever he or she wants to be.” In talking about destiny, then, I am not talking about the trap of pre-destiny. I am talking about the map of self or the divine map that each child is born with—his or her genetic coding. In The Wonder of Children we explore how the science of genetics, cross-applied to neural science, shows us on the child’s genome the divine map the child has been born with. Until very recently, we couldn’t see this map (adults presupposed and projected predestinies onto children). But now (and with increasing depth and range every month) we are mapping the genome, and learning the destiny of every child. It is formed and shaped by life, by nurturance, by experience, by environment; but the child is not a “blank slate.” The child’s divinity is provided at conception and birth by the genome. We can aid the child’s soul development even better when we understand the practical applications of the science of genetics in our own parenting, educating and policy-making.

Q: In the book, you talk not only about what happens while the soul is developing in concert with body, but you also talk about death. What happens to the soul when the body dies?

A: Every child, also, asks this question. It is one of the defining questions of childhood, then gets deferred during parts of adulthood, then reemerges during midlife, when we face growing mortality, then is encountered fully at death. So, one way we answer the question is to look at the wisdom available to us at each stage of life. There are two kinds of answers that the different stages of life tend to give us, answers echoed in both our religion and our science. The first is the idea that there is no death. The deeper we understand that soul, god, child, and person are one, the deeper we understand the truth of the idea that death is illusion. This is a more Eastern way of approaching the question. A more Western way is to say, “The soul leaves the body at death.” And while that is very true, it in no way mitigates the fact that soul and body were one physiologically during life. The soul is not “either body or soul,” it is body and soul. At death of body, the infinite energy, the light of soul is not destroyed, but continues, activating the memories and feelings of those who remain alive, still attached to the “dead soul,” and continuing into other dimensions our science has begun to penetrate, especially the sciences of after-death theory, and the physiological sciences that show us how even human hair keeps growing, minutely, beyond the time of cardiac and neural shutdown.

Q: For this book, you take wisdom and information from all the world’s religions as well as many sciences. Yet your book is also very practical. What is one practical thing you want people to do in order to better care for the soul of the child?

A: Soul development depends on attachment and bonding. Every brain and body is genetically wired to develop itself, but the full soul development of brain and body depends on each child receiving the care of between two and five completely bonded caregivers. Humans are group creatures. Our brains, our bodies, our souls need a lot of care. Our contemporary society is experimenting with the diminishing of caregivers for children. Some children are raised through crucial stages of life by only one person. This one person, who strives to give the best, may be overwhelmed, busy, trying to raise many children. And even in homes with two parents, many children are essentially alone. When we think of children as “kids,” or economic interns bred for material success, or bodies to be fed and clothed, we might not realize how many caregivers they yearn for. But when we understand our children as divine, we notice that they are teaching us to care better for our biological or adoptive families, our extended families and neighborhoods, and our institutions, such as schools. Each of us will be able to take care of nearly any problem our children develop—including disorders such as depression, anorexia, hyperactivity—through an increase in parenting, mentoring, community building, and institutional restructuring. Children who are abused or under nurtured do not become spiritually intelligent, though they will, to some extent, become adults. Lacking full spiritual intelligence, they often act destructively. If provided with not just a one- but a three-family system (this concept is fully explained in the book), they become happy and successful adults.

Q: Why is this book a natural follow-up to The Wonder of Boys and The Wonder of Girls, and why at this particular time are people so ready to receive your book’s message?

A: My books in child development have always included a great deal of both religion and science, so I think I have been inching in the direction of The Wonder of Children for much of my professional career. In a sense, it is a climactic moment for my nature-based child development theories, for I am now not only showing that human nature is a crucial (and mainly uncharted) part of contemporary child theory, education, and parenting but also that we cannot speak clearly of human nature without speaking clearly of the hidden divinity of each person.

We live in a wonderful time, one of great intellect, innovation, and free thought. My work keeps pushing the boundaries of thought and theory, and so I think it finds acceptance. One way it pushes is by being practical—by making science accessible to all of us who are, every day, working to raise children and live in service. It also pushes by putting dents in social and ideological theories that really aren’t logical, theories often based on thinly disguised personal opinions of experts, not actual science. And it pushes by asking people to care for children with all the tools available, including the spiritual tools.

We live in a time when some children are at great risk, others are very lonely, and others are being raised by incredibly busy people. All these children and their caregivers need inspiration, new ways of seeing, new practical strategies. The Wonder of Children was written to provide these things by a researcher who is first a parent and then a human being searching, like everyone, for answers to the great questions.

Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit Nourishing the Soul When Lifes Just Too Much by Karen Horneffer-Ginter

It seems that everyone is busy these days. The world is full of information, full of obligations, full of friends and family, full of everything-except fulfillment. Rushing has become a national epidemic. And even if you’re rushing between good things-if you have a happy family and a good job, if you have great friends and wonderful colleagues-you can feel drained and exhausted.

In Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit, psychologist Karen Horneffer-Ginter reaches out to readers who are feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of life. In this beautifully written book, she helps readers understand that it is this volume, this busyness, that creates a disconnect between their outer lives and inner selves. This separation causes our souls to wilt, and prevents us from experiencing joy and hearing our own wisdom about what needs to happen in our lives.

With an elegant narrative voice and the ability to inspire both laughter and compassion, Horneffer-Ginter takes readers on a journey to help them live more fully by exploring six shifts-learning to pause, turn within, fill up, come back to life, remember lightness, and embrace difficulty. Through a weave of personal stories, client experiences, and practical exercises, readers will learn to find balance in the swirl of daily life while reconnecting with what matters most.

Karen Horneffer-Ginter has been practicing psychology and teaching yoga and contemplative practices for over 16 years. She has also taught graduate students and health care professionals, along with directing a university-based holistic health care program, and co-founding the Center for Psychotherapy and Wellness in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The aim of Karen’s work is to reconnect people with the wisdom of their inner-life by reclaiming what gets lost amidst the busyness of day-to-day life: qualities such as stillness, self-care, creativity, joy, humor, gratitude, and compassion. Her intention is to support people in finding a sense of balance and sacredness in their lives.

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Behind the Scenes of Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit

Karen Horneffer-Ginter discusses her upcoming book

Author Karen Horneffer-Ginter discusses her book, “Full Cup, Thirsty Spirit

Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life By James Martin

In Between Heaven and Mirth, James Martin, SJ, assures us that God wants us to experience joy, to cultivate a sense of holy humor, and to laugh at life’s absurdities—not to mention our own humanity. Father Martin invites believers to rediscover the importance of humor and laughter in our daily lives and to embrace an essential truth: faith leads to joy.

Holy people are joyful people, says Father Martin, offering countless examples of healthy humor and purposeful levity in the stories of biblical heroes and heroines, and in the lives of the saints and the world’s great spiritual masters. He shows us how the parables are often the stuff of comedy, and how the gospels reveal Jesus to be a man with a palpable sense of joy and even playfulness. In fact, Father Martin argues compellingly, thinking about a Jesus without a sense of humor may be close to heretical.

Drawing on Scripture, sharing anecdotes from his experiences as a lifelong Catholic, a Jesuit for over twenty years, and a priest for more than ten, and including amusing and insightful sidebars, footnotes, and jokes, Father Martin illustrates how joy, humor, and laughter help us to live more spiritual lives, understand ourselves and others better, and more fully appreciate God’s presence among us. Practical how-to advice helps us use humor to show our faith, embrace our humanity, put things into perspective, open our minds, speak truth, demonstrate courage, challenge power, learn hospitality, foster effective human relations, deepen our relationship with God, and … enjoy ourselves. Inviting God to lighten our hearts, we can enjoy a little heaven on earth.

The Rev. James Martin, S.J., is a Jesuit priest, author, and culture editor of America, the national Catholic magazine.

Father Martin was born in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1982, where he received a bachelor’s degree in finance (B.S. Econ.). After working for six years in corporate finance with General Electric Co. in New York and Connecticut, he entered the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1988. During his novitiate, Martin worked in a hospital for the seriously ill in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a hospice for the sick and dying with the Missionaries of Charity in Kingston, Jamaica; a homeless shelter in Boston, and at the Nativity Mission School, a middle school for poor boys, in New York City. In August 1990, he pronounced his simple vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. From 1990 to 1992, he studied philosophy at Loyola University in Chicago, and also worked in an outreach program with street-gang members in the inner city and at a local community center helping unemployed men and women find jobs. For his “regency,” he worked for two years with the Jesuit..

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Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter are at the Heart of the spiritual life

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