Finding Freedom in Illness with Peter Fernando

Are you hard on yourself when remembering past mistakes and hurts?

Do you have a strong inner critic who judges and doubts your thoughts, choices, and self-worth?

Do you compare yourself to others and feel disappointed with who you are versus who you “should” be?

Do you feel stuck repeating old, unhealthy patterns?

Do you experience feelings of shame and unworthiness, as if there is something fundamentally wrong with you?

Do you sometimes feel like you don’t even know who you are?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then this course is for you.

Course Summary

This course was designed with your needs in mind and contains all of the following:

10 video lessons, each 20-50 minutes in length

Downloadable Transcripts and MP3s

Selected readings from The Zen of You and Me by Diane Musho Hamilton

Practice Assignments 


Bonus #1

Recordings of Two Q&A Sessions with Pema Chödrön

Recordings of two Question & Answer sessions with Pema Chödrön from the interactive version of this online course.

Bonus #2

Shamatha Meditation Instructional Video with Hope Martin

A video instruction on the basic practice of shamatha, or calm abiding meditation. The instructor, Hope Martin, is an experienced meditation practitioner in the Shambhala tradition as well as a teacher of the Alexander Technique—a methodology for helping find greater ease in our bodies. 

Bonus #4

This Moment Is the Perfect Teacher

Ten Buddhist Teachings on Cultivating Inner Strength and Compassion  (Regular Price: $22.95)

Lojong is a powerful Tibetan Buddhist practice created especially for training the mind to work with the challenges of everyday living. It teaches our hearts to soften, reframes our attitude toward difficulty, and allows us to discover a wellspring of inner strength. In this four-hour recorded retreat, Pema Chödrön introduces the lojong teachings and explains how we can apply them to any situation in our life—because, as Pema says, “every moment is an opportunity for awakening.” In addition, Pema also leads a guided tonglen meditation, a practice aimed at developing courage and cultivating compassion for ourselves and others.

Lesson 1: Mindful Awareness as a Tool for Freedom

Retail Price: $119

Special Discount Price: 


Join the Course

Sign up today and experience the profound effect of these teachings on your own life!

Get Started Now!


39 Video Lessons

 39 talks, ranging from 5–15 minutes in length (over 7 hours of content!)—with transcripts and audio-only versions available

Downloadable Transcripts and Selected Readings

Downloadable transcripts of all video sessions

Selected readings with downloadable PDFs from the book Finding Freedom in Illness by Peter Fernando

Guided Meditations

Nine guided meditations for cultivating various aspects of wisdom and presence in the face of illness

Downloadable Workbook

A PDF workbook outlining all the content in the course, with helpful notes and graphics for you to easily review the teachings

50% Discount on Books

50% discount on the following books by Michael: The Inner Tradition of Yoga, Awake in the World, and Yoga for a World Out of Balance

Unlimited Access

Unlimited access on your computer, mobile device, or tablet—go at your own pace wherever and whenever works best for you

“Truly, this course was an embarrassment of riches. . . . I have taken other courses but this has truly been life-altering. The only way I could be more satisfied is if I knew there would be another course!  Thank you . . . thank you . . . thank you.”

Join the Course

Sign up today and experience the profound effect of these teachings on your own life!

Get Started Now

REGULAR PRICE:               $119

DISCOUNT:                             -$56

Special Price:         $63


If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, please e-mail us within 30 days of registering for the course, and we will promptly refund your purchase price.

100% Satisfaction Guarantee

If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your purchase, please e-mail us within 30 days of registering for the course, and we will promptly refund your purchase price.

To cultivate embodied mindfulness is to become aware of the felt sense. While that might seem like the last thing we want to do when we’re physically uncomfortable, it actually opens the door to a more dynamic relationship with illness or pain. With mindful awareness, we can begin to understand how we’re relating to the condition of the body in this very moment and the here-and-now effects of our intentions and attitude toward the body. This practice gives us the choice to relax, soften, and feel for new possibilities.

Open Presence Instructional Video with Rebecca Eldridge

Bonus #3

A video instruction on open presence meditation, taught by Rebecca Eldridge. This practice helps you connect with reality as it is, without altering it. Rebecca is an experienced meditation practitioner in the Shambhala tradition.


with Peter Fernando


 “Peter Fernando knows what he's talking about. Having thoroughly explored the shape and implications of chronic illness, he is well situated to provide a compassionate, understanding, and authoritative voice on the matter. Peter clearly embodies the deep work needed to navigate realms of illness and find, even there, well-being.” 

“Peter Fernando inspires one to drop all pretences and to embrace fully the complexity of being human with an open heart and mind. The depth of unlayering, curiosity, and honesty that he shares encourages a sincere focus on kindness toward oneself.”

 [Peter’s] experience as a monk gives him a rich understanding of the principles he talks about, and the way he intertwines his own story makes those principles accessible to those of us living in the ‘real world.’”

Get Started Now


REGULAR PRICE:          $119

DISCOUNT:                        -$56

Special Price:      $63


Lesson 1: Unity Consciousness and Awareness of Diversity

Our true home is our spiritual nature, a place of safety and ultimate equality. From this original source, we have so much in common. At the same time, our capacity to acknowledge our differences, to be willing to explore them, and to include diversity of opinions and styles within our relationships and communities is a sign of health and vitality. In this lesson, we’ll explore our own embodied experiences of sameness and difference.

Lesson 2: Sameness and Difference

Studies in human development reveal that our focus on our similarities or differences changes throughout the course of our lives. In other words, we are caught in the tension between the comfort of the status quo and the exciting encounter with difference. In this lesson, we’ll explore this contrast, which is a constant on the path toward greater awareness and growth.

Lesson 3: Mindfulness Practice: Engaging Safety and Excitement

The practice of mindfulness improves our concentration and enables us to be more open and mentally flexible. We learn to stay present to difficult emotions and feeling states, and over time, having cultivated nonjudgmental awareness, we can simply observe our interior landscape without incessant self-criticism. In this lesson, we’ll explore ways in which we can begin to develop this ability to approach situations in our life with openness and clarity.

Lesson 4: How the Ego Divides Us

We are groomed by evolution to focus on protecting ourselves whenever we sense a threat to our well-being. In our modern context, we may not be physically threatened. But in our highly social and emotionally complex world, threats to our ego or self-concept can feel every bit as perilous. Our strategies for self-protection range from avoidance to fighting to sarcastic humor to drug addiction. In this lesson, we’ll explore how we can cultivate greater openness and flexibility in the face of intense feelings of threat.

Lesson 5: Listening as a Unity Skill

Listening is the powerful, soothing agent of all communication. Listening is the best tool there is to lower anxiety, diminish division, and open into sameness, into togetherness. Listening will help almost anyone who is triggered to calm down. In this lesson, we’ll learn how to improve our listening skills.

Lesson 6: Expressing Our Uniqueness

If listening opens up the wide territory of sameness, expressing difference catalyzes conversations. Self-expression stimulates and energizes. Our differences distinguish us from everything else, giving shape to our uniqueness and setting us apart. In this lesson, we’ll learn ways we can become more skilled at honest, open verbal expression and sharing our unique perspective.

Lesson 7: Feelings as a Form of Diversity

Every emotion is a state of consciousness, an experience composed of thought, mood, and bodily sensations. We refer to them as “states” because they come and go. They are not permanent, but rather pass through the body and awareness like a blustery storm in winter or a light breeze on a spring day. The problem with our emotions is that we often don’t relate to them as states. We hold onto them if they feel good, or we chase them away if they feel painful. In this lesson, we’ll learn some tools for both harnessing the intelligence of our emotions and releasing them when they no longer serve us.

Lesson 8: Becoming Wholehearted

Compassion is a natural outcome of waking up. As our awareness opens to include more, our heart naturally expands. We feel deeply for the challenges and suffering of others—those who are like us and those who are different than we are. In this lesson, we’ll learn how we can be present to the suffering of others without undue stress or anxiety coursing through our system.

Lesson 9: You and Me, Us and Them

Our desire to understand different perspectives, to listen, to question, and to doubt ourselves varies at different levels of adult development. As our ability to take perspectives changes, our view of the world changes, and so does our way of communicating about it. Using an adult developmental framework to look at differences can show us real possibilities, and also limits, in relationships. In this lesson, we’ll learn about this framework and consider how it affects the way we interact with others.

Lesson 10: Endless Practice

Meditation takes practice. Relationships take practice. Whenever we are consciously aware of whatever we are doing right now, we are practicing. When we lose here-and-now awareness, we are practicing getting lost and then regrouping. But as the old adages say, you cannot get off the path. In this final lesson, we’ll contemplate what our path of practice is as we conclude the course.


“We begin practicing yoga postures in an effort to relieve suffering and find a way to meet life with less effort and more flexibility. Yoga is a path out of suffering. But what we find after our initial foray or honeymoon period is a matrix of psychological and physical holding patterns that have captured our minds and bodies within tightly conditioned parameters.” 

Michael Stone


Peter Fernando is cofounder of Original Nature Meditation Centre in Wellington, New Zealand. He was a monk in the Thai Forest tradition at Abhayagiri Monastery in Ukiah, California, where he trained under Ajahn Passano and Ajahn Amaro. He’s currently a student of Sharda Rogell and Ajahn Sucitto. A longtime sufferer of chronic pain and various health problems himself, he’s been working with others in that situation since 2009 on an individual basis in Wellington and Auckland and in groups regularly at the Wellington Multiple Sclerosis Society.


Mindful Awareness as Our Refuge

Somatic Awareness for Opening the Heart

Recognizing Our Narratives in the Present Moment


Chapter 2: Embodying Mindfulness

Practice & Explore

Lesson One: Contemplations

Guided Meditations

Tips on Meditation Posture

Guided Mindful Awareness Meditation

Retail Price: $199

Special Discount Price: 


Join the Course

Sign up today and experience the profound effect of these teachings on your own life!

Get Started Now!

Navigate Emotions

Learn tools for navigating dark emotions like fear and anger

Feel Empowered 

Reorient yourself around where you find self-worth so you can live a full life

Discover Refuge

Discover how mindful awareness can be a refuge in times of illness

Receive Care

Develop a healthy mindset around receiving care and relate with openness and strength

Unravel Self-Blame

Unravel your sense of self-blame around illness

Access Relief

Discover how to access relief from unnecessary suffering through compassion and relaxation 

Find Comfort

Find comfort and connection in Peter’s personal stories that describe his own struggles 

Course Summary

This course was designed with your needs in mind and contains all of the following:

39 Video Teachings

Guided Meditations

Selected Readings


Downloadable Transcripts and MP3s


Bonus #1: Recordings of Two Q&A Sessions with Pema

Bonus #2: Shamatha Meditation Instructional Video with Hope Martin

Bonus #3: Open Presence Instructional Video with Rebecca Eldridge

Bonus #4: This Moment Is the Perfect Teacher Audio Program 

Peter Fernando has the rare ability to express the deep and the profound in a way that is easy to touch and feel. He obviously understands what he is talking about, and at a very refined level.”

Lesson 2: Perspectives that Free Us

A popular line of thinking these days suggests that if you’re ill, it’s because you are doing it to yourself—it’s your fault. While this idea often comes disguised as wisdom, it can inspire a sense of guilt that alienates us from our real potential for well-being. Self-blame intensifies emotional pain and very often the severity of the conditions of the body. Getting clear about how we blame ourselves for our illness is the essential foundation for freeing the heart and mind within the experience of being physically ill.


You’re Not Wrong for Being Ill

The Two Levels of Knowing

The Unconditional Value of Being


Chapter 1: You’re Not Wrong for Being Ill

Practice & Explore

Lesson Two: Contemplations

Guided Meditations

Our Stories around Pain

Lesson 3: Attitudes and Qualities of Heart

Attitudes that empower the heart—such as self-kindness, acceptance, and equanimity—are grounded in present-moment awareness. They put the brakes on our tendency to spin out into negative beliefs when we’re faced with hardship. This frees up our thinking and allows our creativity to shine forth. Resting in and trusting the inherent OK-ness of here-and-now awareness allows us to access deeper levels of intuition and wisdom related to our illness, our life, and our relationships. The benefits are vast.  






Chapter 3: From Self-Blame to Self Kindness

Chapter 4: Equanimity: The Strength Hidden in Openness

Practice & Explore

Lesson Three: Contemplations

Guided Meditations


Lesson 4: Relating to Pain

The aim of this journey isn’t to try to become somebody who likes pain or doesn’t feel aversion, dejection, fear, or desperation when it arises. Instead, the practice is to develop curiosity about those very reactions themselves, to investigate the nature of pain and our own emotional reactions to it and to shine the light of wisdom and self-compassion onto our present-moment experience of the phenomenon itself. Whenever we do this with sincerity, the existential suffering that usually accompanies the physical sensations begins to abate. We still may not like or want the experience of pain, but our heart doesn’t have to close down in its presence. This is where our real freedom lies.


The Nature of Pain

Relaxing Our Reactivity around Pain

Wisdom Brings Relief


Chapter 8: Relating to Pain

Practice & Explore

Lesson Four: Contemplations

Guided Meditations

Relating to Pain

Lesson 5: When Emotions Get Turbulent

The blessing and curse of chronic illness is that it reveals a whole other side to life—one that we may have suppressed or tried to wall off from our awareness in the past: the shadow side of the human mind, which may include fear, despair, anger, and grief. Difficult emotions are a natural response to physical pain, frustrated desire, and the loss of familiar ways of being and performing in the world. Being willing to meet these forces of mind and heart squarely and with a quality of creative self-compassion is a process of becoming fully human and allowing our capacity for presence to open, deepen, and unfold into an intimacy with who and how we are.


The Way of Presence




Chapter 5: Meeting the Dark Emotions

Practice & Explore

Lesson Five: Contemplations

Guided Meditations


Lesson 6: Freedom in Relationship

Culturally, we live in an age where individualism and self-reliance are highly valued. This apparent ability to fend for ourselves comes crashing down, however, when we get very sick. When we can’t do everything on our own, we may need others to hold us up—physically, emotionally, and perhaps even financially. This can be an immensely trying and humbling process. But when we open to the field of interrelatedness and connection that is the foundation of our shared humanity, we may discover that the love, care, and support of others is, in fact, a profoundly beautiful gift. 


The Wall in the Heart

Relating to Caregivers

The Healing Power of Gratitude

Wise Boundaries


Chapter 7: The Heart of Relationship

Practice & Explore

Lesson Six: Contemplations

Guided Meditations

Cultivating Gratitude

Lesson 7: The Healing Power of Deep Rest

When it comes to living with the ongoing experience of illness or pain, giving ourselves time and space to rest deeply is essential. It is well known how important sleep is for the rejuvenation of the cells of the body and our vital organs. Yet perhaps it is not as well known how important consciously resting the momentum of the seeking mind, the absorption in activity, and compulsive doing-ness is when it comes to healing. This kind of nourishment of presence, of heart, of being-ness, is a vital part of finding an authentic sense of inner freedom in the midst of painful, depleted, and uncomfortable physical conditions.


Allowing Ourselves to Rest

What Drives Us

Three Levels of Deep Rest


Chapter 6: Allowing Deep Rest

Practice & Explore

Lesson Seven: Contemplations

Guided Meditations

Resting Deeply

Lesson 8: Courageous Shifts

As a species we are addicted to differentiation, judgment, and hierarchies of value. Our human mind seems to be wired to become entranced in this illusion. However, when we look and feel underneath the apparent reality of these fragmented perceptions of ourselves and others, we are struck by a whole new possibility. We begin to sense for ourselves that our ultimate value is never found through being somebody, achieving something, or proving anything. It is always right here and now in the sacredness and simplicity of being. It is not “mine” or “yours.” It is the heart of experience itself.


Being Awareness

The Sword of Wisdom

The Shackles that Bind Us

Dancing with Impermanence


Chapter 9: Unconditional Value

Chapter 10: Letting Go

Practice & Explore

Lesson Eight: Contemplations

Guided Meditations

Bringing Presence to the Constructs of Self

Lesson 9: Advice for Caregivers

Being a caregiver is a complex and important role. As we care for someone who is ill, it’s essential that we allow ourselves time to experience the feelings and perceptions that arise in our hearts. When we give compassionate attention not only to the one we are caring for, but also to ourselves and the experience of being a caregiver, we become able to establish healthier boundaries, to speak more wisely, and to show up with greater transparency and compassion.


Working with Our Own Reactions

Wise Speech

Finding Space in the Heart

Practice & Explore

Lesson Nine: Contemplations

Guided Meditations

Offering Care


You’re Not Wrong for Being Ill

In this excerpt,  Peter Fernando  talks about the importance of cultivating perspectives that liberate our minds from narratives of self-blame and failure. 

REGULAR PRICE:            $199

DISCOUNT:                       -$102

Special Price:                       $97

YOU SAVE $102 (50%)

Learn about the Course

 Enjoyed the Excerpt?

The most unique aspect of this course is its flexible design—short, standalone talks and meditations are available on-demand as your time and energy allow while the overall structure supports a deeper exploration.

You Are More than Your Illness

Until we became ill, we may have gauged our own value by what we were able to accomplish. In this clip, Peter Fernando shares how, when met with sickness or pain, we can cultivate our inner resources to reorient our sense of worth and discover the unconditional value in our very being.   

REGULAR PRICE:            $199

DISCOUNT:                       -$102

Special Price:                       $97

YOU SAVE $102 (50%)

Learn about the Course

 Enjoyed the Excerpt?

Those of us who have faced chronic illness or pain know that it affects so many aspects of our being: our roles and responsibilities, our relationships, our sense of self-worth, and even our vision for how our life will look in the future. The physical trials of being sick can cause us to become impatient and deflated. 

Living in a culture of individualism, we may feel shame or guilt when we need to rely on others for care. We may even blame ourselves for our illness as we desperately search for ways to feel better. 

In this online course, Peter Fernando, a former monastic and longtime student of his own chronic pain and illness, offers us the tools we need to discover deep well-being in the midst of difficulty and dis-ease. He shows us how to use mindful awareness as the foundation for understanding our experience, so that we can compassionately face the turmoil brought about by illness without becoming overwhelmed by it.  

Where we may have thought that our illness was an obstacle to our growth, these teachings show us that we can deepen in our ability to be profoundly present, brave, open, and kind—regardless of our physical state. 

This course also includes a module for caregivers on how to make space for your own experience in the midst of caring for another, so that you can approach the practice of caregiving from a place of compassion and wholeness rather than burn-out.