Heather Sundberg has taught insight meditation since 1999 and completed the Spirit Rock/IMS Teacher Training. Beginning her own meditation practice in her late teens, for the last 25 years, Heather has studied with senior teachers in the Insight Meditation (Vipassana) and Tibetan (Vajrayana) traditions and has sat 1-3 months of retreat a year for almost 20 years. She was the Spirit Rock Family & Teen Program Teacher & Manager for a decade. Between 2010- 2015 she spent a cumulative one-year in study, practice, and pilgrimage in Asia. Since 2011, she has been a Teacher at Mountain Stream Meditation Center and sister communities in the Sierra Foothills, and also teaches nationally, especially at Spirit Rock Meditation Center. Her teaching emphasizes embodiment, compassion and practical wisdom.
In this talk Heather discusses the wisdom aspects of compassion, such as the three characteristics of existence (change, stress, impersonality), explores obstacles to experiencing the compassionate heart, and presents daily
life practices of compassion in action. The evening concludes with shares from the sangha on their personal compassion practices.
Through personal stories, practical techniques and humor, the talk outlines five areas for working with judgments:
1. Mindfulness of Body
2. RAIN Practice
3. Heart Practices
4. Learning about patterns
5. Value of wise friends
Using images, stories and quotes from teachers and spiritual leaders, this talk explores the practice of equanimity, discussing the topics of dependent conditions, working with challenges to equanimity, and offering equanimity practice techniques.
After recently returning from six months of study and practice in Asia, Heather shares a few stories from her trip, weaving the themes of the outer journey and the inner journey of retreat. Teachings and practice tips focus primarily on working with strong emotions, the five hindrances and the process of letting go.
How do we find the place between indulgence and self-mortification, between pride and shame? This talk explores the relationship between humility and the Middle Way, through personal stories, poetry and practical techniques such as working with fear, the hindrances and the RAIN practice.
The talk explores the story of Prince Siddartha's encounters with the Four Heavenly Messengers - old age, sickness, death and those who have 'gone forth' in search of the highest happiness. Woven with personal stories and the examples of contemporary masters, the talk also offers practical advice on how to use the experience of the Four Messengers as our teachers and inspiration in practice.
After sharing a personal story, th talk explores working with some of the challenging states of mind and body, followed by a teaching on the essence of Prajnaparamita, emphasizing the qualities of vast space, bliss and compassion.
After sharing a personal story about suffering and the end of suffering, the talk outlines working with "the darkness" and cultivating the light in terms of working with hindrances, physical pain, strong emotions, & cultivating happiness & compassion; the talk concludes with an introduction of Prajnaparamita.