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Heather Sundberg

Heather Sundberg has taught Insight Meditation since 1999 and has taught residential retreats regularly at Spirit Rock since 2001. She completed the Spirit Rock/IMS Teacher Training program under Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein.

Beginning her own meditation practice in her late teens, for the last three decades, Heather has studied with senior teachers in the Insight Meditation (Vipassana) and Tibetan (Vajrayana) traditions. She has completed 3.5 years of accumulated retreat time. Her retreat training includes Insight Meditation, Pure Awareness (MahaSati), Concentration (Jhana), the Heart Practices (Brahma Viharas), and Body-Based Energy Practices - upon which she bases the main themes of her teaching. To augment her retreat practice, she has spent time studying the suttas and Buddhist philosophy. Heather teaches retreats (mainly online) in all of the above topics both nationally and to communities in Canada & Europe.

Heather has a deep connection with the essence of the Thai forest lineage, through her early teacher Ajahn Jumnien, who trained her in MahaSati Pure Awareness practice for a number of years. Understanding that the essence of the MahaSati is accessing the wisdom of Pure Awareness in all aspects of life, she began offering in-depth ongoing training in MahaSati in 2016. Heather’s other connections in the Thai forest tradition include her long-term association with Abhayagiri Monastery in California through Ajahn Pasanno and Ajahn Amaro. Ajahn Amaro was a primary mentor during her Senior Teacher Training. She has sat retreats with Ajahn Sumedho and Ajahn Sucitto and has connections with many of the Bhikkhuni who originally trained in the Thai forest tradition.

To better facilitate students in daily life exploration, Heather completed two years of training in Somatic Experiencing. In addition, she completed Professional Hakomi training, which is in mindfulness-based somatic therapy. She offers meditation support sessions to students individually worldwide.

As a teacher, Heather’s style is warm and practical. She emphasizes embodiment and includes strong heartfulness in practice. She balances an interesting combination of supporting a ‘less is more’ easeful style of practice with a passionate ‘no holds barred’ attitude about awakening.

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Featured Audio Talk
December 22, 2021 - The World Is Burning: Transforming Reactivity into Presence

The great invitation of the teachings is that peace is possible. As we practice, we begin to experience a wider, wiser, more caring perspective around stress and its release. Whether through any of the senses, we see where there’s enchantment—making things more real, permanent, and about me than they really are—and start to find what’s called “disenchantment.” This is a kind of detachment, but not a detachment of not caring. Disenchantment allows intimacy with our experience, aliveness with our experience, because we’re not lost or captured in it. The liberation we seek is right there.

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