Sopris Sun – John Bruna’s Book, The Wisdom of a Meaningful Life

C’dale-based Mindfulness teacher publishes first book

By Barbara Dills

Sopris Sun Correspondent

Published in The Sopris Sun on July 21, 2016.

BEA 1aCarbondale resident and former Tibetan Buddhist monk, John Bruna, is about to head out on a national book tour for his first book, “The Wisdom of a Meaningful Life: The Essence of Mindfulness” (Central Recovery Press), but not before he celebrates the book’s Aug. 1 launch with a pre-release party on July 25 in the Calaway Room at the Third Street Center. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. with a talk by Bruna, followed by a book signing and chance to visit with the author. (Special arrangements were made with the publisher to have books available for purchase here in advance of the official publication date). Light refreshments will be served, and everyone is welcome.

“The Wisdom of a Meaningful Life: The Essence of Mindfulness” was written to offer readers an accessible, practical distillation of the spiritual teachings and life experiences that inspired and supported Bruna on his own path of recovery from drug addiction and homelessness, then to become a Buddhist monk, return to the life of a layperson, and subsequently co-found the Mindful Life Program, which has an international reach out of its home in Carbondale’s Third Street Center. Although mindfulness practice has its roots in Tibetan Buddhism, and Bruna is careful to honor those roots, the approach and practices found in the book and through the Mindful Life Program are designed for followers of all spiritual traditions or those who are not inclined toward any spiritual path, according to information on the book’s website ( In the book itself, Bruna writes, “My goal in writing this book is to share with you the wisdom of my teachers and present a method of living mindfully that includes its full potential in a way that is practical, accessible and universal.”


The first section of the book is a general discussion of happiness — how we tend to look for it in all the wrong places and suffer as a result, and how dedication to mindfulness practice can help anyone achieve what Bruna refers to as “genuine happiness.” Quoting from page 9 of the book: “If we are looking for happiness in our lives, it is important to understand the difference between stimulus-driven pleasure and true happiness. Confusion related to these two concepts is at the core of many of our mental and emotional problems.” Earlier, Bruna writes, “… our genuine happiness comes from doing things we feel good about, not from doing things that make us feel good.” The four key areas of mindfulness according to Bruna are attention, wisdom, values and an open heart. The book expands on what each of those areas encompasses and offers a variety of practical activities and exercises for incorporating them into daily life.

Bruna moved to Carbondale from Durango three years ago after meeting long-time Carbondale resident, Laura Bartels, whom many locals will know from her decades of work in the green building field. Bruna and Bartels were married in August of 2014. About the move, Bruna says, “I could not ask for a better place than Carbondale to call home myself and to establish the home base for the Mindful Life Program. I am deeply touched by the compassionate spirit of this amazing community and am honored to be a part of it.” Bartels, herself a certified Mindfulness teacher for the Mindful Life Program, serves as its Executive Director and has been instrumental in extending its reach online through a service known as the Mindful Life Community. She sees her current work as a natural evolution of her commitment to sustainable building practices. Says Bartels, “I’ve made a shift that I call a move from outer sustainability to inner sustainability, with the recognition that inner resiliency comes first and foremost to anything else we do. I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve others in a way that’s truly foundational to making the world a better place, starting with ourselves.”

Book tour

Other than the July 25 event in Carbondale, Bruna’s national book tour begins officially the first week of August with several appearances in the Bay Area, including at the offices of Google and Facebook, where he will focus on the theme of “Cultivating Genuine Happiness.” Bruna will also talk about “The Wisdom of a Meaningful Life: The Essence of Mindfulness” at Explore Booksellers in Aspen at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 23.

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