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.
The central theme of this talk is the Body is the Teacher. Based on the Satipatthana Sutta with First Foundation emphasis, the talk outlines Mindfulness of Breathing, of the four postures, and of full awareness in the continuity of all activities. Offers practical instructions, personal stories, and stories from the time of the Buddha.
Exploring on the levels of mind-heart-body, including teachings on patience, equanimity, compassion and forgiveness. The talk reflects on befriending the 'difficult' person in metta practice, with the underlying intention of reminding us that we are all in this together; that befriending difficult people can be both workable and transformational and that there are practical tools available to assist us on our journey.
Through stories and practical instruction,s the talk illuminates the direct experience of fear and other challenging emotions and describes the transformation of fear into love through the practices of naming, mindfulness of the body/nervous system, lovingkindness and letting go.
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.