Until forced to retire due to illness, I was a law professor for 22 years at the University of California — Davis, serving six years as the law school’s dean of students. I had a longstanding Buddhist practice and co-led a weekly meditation group with my husband.
Faced with learning to live a new life, I wrote How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and their Caregivers. The book is Buddhist-inspired but is non-parochial. The tools and practices in it are intended to help everyone. How to Be Sick has won two 2011 Nautilus Book Awards: A Gold Medal in Self-Help/Psychology and a Silver Medal in Memoir. It was also named one of the best books of 2010 by Spirituality and Practice.
My new book, How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow, offers my understanding of the Buddha’s path to peace—a peace and well-being that aren't dependent on whether a particular experience is pleasant or unpleasant, joyful or sorrowful. Like How to Be Sick, it's a practical book. It includes over 50 exercises and practices, all of which are illustrated with stories from my experience as a Buddhist practitioner for over 20 years.
I live in Davis, California with my husband, also named Tony, and our hound dog, Rusty. I can be found online at www.tonibernhard.com
Inspired by the Buddha, I expand on the themes of my books. From How to Be Sick, I explore how to live with grace, purpose, and joy in the midst of chronic pain and illness. From How to Wake Up, I explore our potential to awaken to a peace and well-being that aren't dependent on whether a particular experience is pleasant or unpleasant, joyful or sorrowful. Our struggles and difficulties can be the seeds of awakening. This is a path that all of us can follow, regardless of our backgrounds or circumstances.