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Home > Author > Toni Bernhard
Toni Bernhard

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Member Since: Mar, 2010

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  Toni Bernhard           

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I'm the author of the award-winning "How to Be Sick: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide for the Chronically Ill and their Caregivers." My new book is titled "How to Wake Up: A Buddhist-Inspired Guide to Navigating Joy and Sorrow." My popular blog, “Turning Straw Into Gold” is hosted on the website of Psychology Today. I can be found online at

Background Information

How to Be Sick was awarded the Gold Medal in Self-Help/Psychology and and was named a Best Book of 2010 by Spirituality and Practice. Here's some feedback on it:

"A immensely wise book. Health psychology has been poisoned by the view that the best way to approach illness is through a muscular, militant resistance. This books shows otherwise. Bernhard reveals how letting go, surrendering, and putting the ego aside yield insights and fulfillment even in the presence of illness. This is a major contribution."

 Larry Dossey, MD, author of Healing Words

 "Toni Bernhard has written a beautiful and heartfelt account of chronic illness and inner transformation. Her immense courage is present on every page. Truly worth reading."

   — Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness


My new book, How to Wake Up is due out in September, 2013. It's already garnered much praise. Here's some of the feedback I've received:

“Toni Bernhard has done it again—sharing wisdom teachings in a way that makes them mightily accessible and helpful without any sacrifice of depth. I love this book!”—Tara Brach, Ph.D., author of Radical Acceptance

“This remarkable, warm, encouraging, and crystal-clear book expresses the ancient wisdom of the Buddha in universal, twenty-first-century terms. I honestly think it is one of the best Buddhist books I've read in a long time.”—Rick Hanson, Ph.D., author of Buddha's Brain

“I'm often asked what book to read as a comprehensive introduction to Buddhist practice. Now I have one: How to Wake Up.”—Kevin Griffin, author of One Breath at a Time 

“A beautiful, wise, and practical book presenting the Buddha's teaching for our contemporary world.”—Gil Fronsdal, author of The Issue At Hand 

“The beauty of this book is how clear, wise, and helpful it is. Both while reading it and after, you can put it to use; this is what literature is for. It's something to cherish and practice.”—Kim Stanley Robinson, author of Shaman and 2312 

“This book is a gift, and an invitation to all who read it to awaken!”—Joan Halifax, founding abbot, Upaya Zen Center

“A fresh and articulate voice interpreting ancient wisdom for our modern times.”—Sylvia Boorstein, author of It's Easier Than You Think 

“Practical and insightful. In this book you'll find a path to living with greater ease and freedom, awakening to possibilities you may not have known existed before.”—Elisha Goldstein, PhD, author of The Now Effect

Birth Place
Los Angeles, CA U.S.A.
Additional Information

In 1982, I received a J.D. from the School of Law at the University of California, Davis, and immediately joined the faculty where I stayed until chronic illness forced me to retire. During my 22 years on the faculty, I served for six years as Dean of Students. In 1992, I began to study and practice Buddhism. Before becoming ill, I attended many meditation retreats and led a meditation group in Davis with my husband. I live in Davis with my husband, Tony, and our hound dog, Rusty.

Favorite Links

Toni Bernhard
My website contains information about my two books.

Blog at Psychology Today
Inspired by the Buddha, I explore the major themes of my books. From How to Be Sick, I look at how to live with grace, purpose, and joy in the midst of chronic pain and illness. From How to Wake Up, I look at how, each moment that we're fully present for our life as it is—without clinging to what's pleasant and without resisting what's unpleasant—we have the potential to awaken to a peace and well-being that aren't dependent on whether a particular experience is joyful or sorrowful.

Facebook Page: How To Be, Book Author
My Facebook page has become a wonderful community!

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