Welcome to the website for my two books. Both of them are inspired by the Buddha’s keen understanding of the human condition. He was a practical guy and these are practical books. They include dozens of exercises and practices, all of which are illustrated with stories from my experience as a Buddhist practitioner for over 20 years. My heartfelt wish is that you find the peace and well-being we all hope for.

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  How To Be Well  

How to Wake Up  sets forth the Buddha's path to peace and well-being in the midst of life's ups and downs. This is a path that all of us can follow regardless of our backgrounds or circumstances.

"...Bernhard excels at demonstrating from personal knowledge that the Buddha's promises to ease suffering aren't just empty words." —Publisher's Weekly

  How To Be Sick  

How to Be Sick is a uniquely practical guide for learning how to treat yourself with compassion and how to live with grace and purpose despite chronic pain or illness.

Winner of the Nautilus Gold Medal in Self-Help/Psychology and named one of the Best Books of 2010 by Spirituality and Practice.

How To Wake Up
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“Toni Bernhard bears the mark of a true teacher: someone who uses simple, heart-penetrating words to say profound things."

—Rick Hanson, Ph.D., author of Buddha's Brain and
Just One Thing

How To Be Sick
Ordering Options Include
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Praise for How To Wake Up:
Praise for How To Be Sick:

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

"This wonderful book is an easy-to-follow guide that will help you learn the skills that ultimately lead to true happiness." —Kristin Neff, Ph.D, author of Self-Compassion

"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 really what literature is for. It's something to cherish and practice." —Kim Stanley Robinson, author of the award-winning Mars trilogy

“Before I was even half-finished with this book, I wanted to give it to everyone I know.” —Lynn Royster, Founder of the Chronic Illness Initiative at De Paul University

"This remarkable, warm, encouraging, and crystal-clear book expresses the ancient wisdom of the Buddha in universal, 21st century terms. It is one of the best Buddhist books I've read in a long time.” —Rick Hanson, Ph.D., author of Buddha's Brain and Just One Thing

"In How to Wake Up, Toni Bernhard explains, in clear prose, complex Buddhist concepts that have given birth to some of modern psychology's most useful principles. Toni demonstrates just what it means to be an expert at living. We should all seek to emulate the way she lives her life. The first step: read this book." —Alex Lickerman, M.D., author of The Undefeated Mind 

"A beautiful, touching, and valuable book. 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: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps

“This book is a gift from the deep practice of a western woman as she has faced the ennobling truth of suffering. It is an invitation to all who read it to awaken, and provides a rich path for doing just that.” —Joan Halifax, Founding Abbot, Upaya Zen Center

"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, Ph.D., co-author, A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook.

“What a gift Toni Bernhard has given us in this quietly and deeply optimistic book about finding freedom within the ups and downs of human life. She takes ancient wisdom and translates it into everyday language, making profound teachings available to anyone.  —Vidyamala Burch, Director of Breathworks and author of Living Well with Pain and Illness



"Beautiful, heartfelt, and immensely courageous. Truly worth reading." —Sharon Salzberg, author of Real Happiness
"A major contribution and an immensely wise book." —Larry Dossey, MD, author of Healing Words
"This book can bring you more fully alive by healing your spirit." —Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance 
"A must-read for anyone who is ill or caring for someone ill. Her gifts will transform you." —Lewis Richmond, author of Aging as Spiritual Practice
"An intimate, gripping, profound, and eminently useful book." —Rick Hanson, Ph.D. author of Buddha's Brain

“Everyone should read this book—and I plan to buy a copy for everyone I love.” —Lizabeth Roemer, co-author of The Mindful Way Through Anxiety

"If you want to better understand how to deal with a chronic illness, or you are the caregiver for someone who is chronically ill, read How to be Sick." The Caregiver's Voice

"People who yearn to live with purpose rather than simply succumb to the pain and uncertainty of chronic illness will find a shining example in Toni Bernhard's life and words. Readers need not be Buddhist or meditators to benefit from Toni’s wisdom." —Cheri Register, author of The Chronic Illness Experience

"You cannot help but come away with a new perspective and a new awareness of life’s beauty despite chronic bodily pain. The choice of inner peace and compassion is available to all of us. There is a lot to embrace in this lovely work of art." Chronicle: The Journal of the American Chronic Pain Association

“Toni Bernhard caringly points us to the possibility of finding happiness even in the midst of difficult conditions. That is a true gift.” —Frank Ostaseki, Founder of the Metta Institute

"Told with relentless honestly and clarity, this courageous meditation on how to live with long-term sickness is a fine example of how to put into practice the Buddha's encouragement to embrace dukkha (suffering) in order to let go of the craving for life to be other than it is." —Stephen Batchelor, author of Buddhism Without Beliefs

"I am immensely grateful for Toni's book. We are fortunate that the courage and wisdom with which she faced her illness made it possible for her to write a deeply personal and practical guide for living with sickness." —Gil Fronsdal, author of The Issue at Hand