“If you’re invested in security and certainty,
you are on the wrong planet.” 
– Pema Chödrön


Jewels From Our Dark Places – Laura Burges

Mar 3, 2024

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How can our practice inform encounters with dark times, when we feel loss or face a turning point with trepidation?

Laura Burges shares that we can find “fountains of joy” even in going to the places that scare us. Our practice is not separate from the dark places – we can turn towards the darkness and examine it clearly and experience the “soft heart of sadness” in being alive.

She draws a parallel with the Greek myth of Persephone whose time spent annually in Hades results in the joy reflected in the return of Spring each year. In fact, those times that challenge us most can be a garden for developing empathy and compassion for others in the world when they suffer.

Ryuko Laura Burges, a lay entrusted dharma teacher in the Soto Zen tradition, teaches classes, lectures, and leads retreats in Northern California. She received monastic training at Tassajara Zen Mountain Center.

Laura co-founded the Sangha in Recovery Program at the San Francisco Zen Center and is the abiding teacher at Lenox House Meditation Group in Oakland.

Shambhala Publications offers her Buddhist children’s books, Buddhist Stories for Kids and Zen for Kids. Her most recent book from Shambhala is The Zen Way of Recovery: An Illuminated Path Out of the Darkness of Addiction. Laura lives in San Francisco.