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Unconditional Bliss
Finding Happiness in the Face of Hardship
Howard Raphael Cushnir
ISBN: 9780835607926
Book (Paperback)
Quest Books
5 1/2 x 7
204 pages
September 1, 2000


"A wonderful distillation of the classical spiritual approach to life. It is practical, refreshing, and fun to read." --Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness and A Heart as Wide as the World

"Both clear and practical, honest and wise. Cushnir can help us plumb life's mystery and joy." --Lama Surya Das, author of Awakening the Buddha Within

"Simple, direct, and deeply joyful. This indispensable handbook for spiritual well-being will satisfy even the harshest critics." --Mark Matousek, author of Sex Death Enlightenment and Dialogues with a Modern Mystic
We can be happy in spite of hardship, heartbreak, or a job we hate. Pie-in-the-sky? This down-to-earth guy shows us how. When personal tragedy struck, Howard Cushnir already knew the Zen practice of staying in the moment. But he wasn't prepared for the gift of grace he received. One day, all but lost, he was suddenly suffused with a complete sense of well-being---not a passing experience, but one available from then on. Paying close attention to the changes in his own inner states, Howard soon realized that feeling blissful is a choice we can always make, regardless of our circumstances.

Raphael Cushnir's road to bliss has been circuitous. He grew up in a San Fernando Velley suberb, where as a teenager he taught American literature to other teens in the short-staffed school district. After a decade of teaching and storytelling, Cushnir became an activist for the environment and human rights. He devised innovative media campaigns that included such celebrities as Madonna, Pearl Jam, Demi Moore and Michael J. Fox.

His passion for filmmaking led to an ongoing stint in Hollywood. He wrote, directed, and produced the Showtime movie, "Sexual Healing", staring Helen Hunt, Anthony Edwards, and Jason Alexander. The film was nominated for two Cable Ace awards and won Grand Prize at the Houston Film Festival. Designed by Cushnir as a not-for-profit venture, it raised over ,000 for the Minority AIDS Project.

Cushnir has also written scripts for the Geffen Company, Warner Brothers, and Columbia Pictures. In addition, his articles have appeared in Mother Jones and the LA Weekly, and his children's book, The Secret Spinner, was published in 1985. With the advent of multimedia, Cushnir codesigned the million techno-spiritual odyssey, Obsidian, which Gamezilla magazine called "the very best game in any genre."

The discovery that a state of bliss is always available came to Cushnir after a period of profound grief. He's not an "expert" in the traditional sense, nor does he claim the authority of any organized group or lineage. Instead, Cushnir's aim is simply to share the gift that was given to him. He's come to understand that bliss is possible for anyone, at any time, through the asking of two simple questions and a constant focus on direct experience. Cushnir is a student and practitioner of Vipassana and Taoist meditation.

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