On spiritual practice
Waking up in the midst of loss
When life pulls the rug out from under us, we have a choice. We can either look backward at it as a disaster, or look forward through it as an opening toward something new. Sunada tells her own story of how she woke up in the midst of a personal crisis.
The truth of not suffering: The Buddha’s teachings on happiness
The Buddha’s teaching on suffering does not say that we have to accept all of our unhappy circumstances. For those living the lay life, his advice was to look after ourselves and seek abundant happiness.
Anxiety, depression, anger… Paths to purification?
Contrary to what you might think, negative emotions are not “bad” things we need to get rid of. Sunada sees them as gold mines — opportunities to learn more about ourselves and walk the path toward uncovering our innate purity.
Learning to receive
To think of generosity only in terms of giving can limit us. Sunada tells of her realization that being truly generous is as much about being open to receiving as it is about giving.
“Do not fear mistakes. There are none.”
Based on a quote from the great jazz trumpet player Miles Davis, Sunada reflects on the nature of fear and what fearless mindful living looks like.
“The most precious gift we can offer others is our presence.”
Based on a quote from the beloved Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, Sunada asks what is the meaning of “presence,” and how it is a gift to others.
Q&A on meditation practice
“A student asks: I want to learn how to control my anger, but it’s really hard.”
Sunada explains how emotions such as anger are habits — and how to work with them effectively in order to let them go.
“A student asks: My sit didn’t go well today. I was really distracted, and couldn’t get rid of my thoughts. What am I doing wrong?”
Meditation isn’t about getting rid of thoughts. It’s about not allowing ourselves to get taken for a ride when they inevitably come up. Sunada offers tips on how to work with them.
“A student asks: Sometimes when scanning my body during mindfulness practice, I come across some pain or discomfort…”
When we treat our pain and discomfort with aversion, we only make matters worse for ourselves. Mindfulness can help us to experience unpleasant sensations without piling on to our suffering.
“Awake at Work” by Michael Carroll
Rather than seeing work as a nuisance or a necessary evil, the central idea this author puts forth is that our jobs can be the very core of our spiritual lives — that treading the spiritual path means engaging fully with everything our lives present to us, especially our jobs.
“The Buddha’s Teachings on Prosperity: At Home, At Work, in the World” by Bhikkhu Basnagoda Rahula
It’s a widely held view that the Buddha taught his followers to disdain wealth and worldly success, or at best tolerate them as necessary evils. Sunada reviews a book that shatters these misconceptions and repositions the lay life as one of dignity and happiness, and full of opportunities for personal growth.