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PYP 071: John Bruna on the Myth of Happiness and the Little League Secret to a Good Life

john-brunaWhen John Bruna was 10 years old, he was already stealing from liquor stores. Born into an environment of poverty, violence, and substance abuse, John began to turn his life around at the age of 22.

Along the way to his current leadership of the Mindful Life Program and Way of Compassion Foundation, John served as a dishwasher, auto mechanic, school teacher, substance abuse counselor, corporate manager, graduate student, and spiritual practitioner.

From 2005 to 2011 John became a practicing Buddhist monk, robes and all. There's even a photo of him with the Dalai Lama!


His journey has included great highs and epic lows; that alone qualifies him as something of an expert on what sorts of things, situations, and experiences make us happy and which ones make us unhappy.

In our conversation, which instantly and permanently made me a little kinder and happier, we discussed:

  • the three elements of mindfulness
  • the “bumper sticker test” of whether we're living in reality or a fantasy world
  • the one thing everyone is addicted to
  • how to recover from OCDD (obsessive compulsive delusional disorder)
  • the two questions that can help us attain true and reliable happiness
  • the difference between real happiness and stimulus-driven pleasure
  • the two requirements for a happy life
  • “where did I put my keys” – a litmus test of free will
  • John's credo: “Today is a good day to die”
  • the single thought that is the cause of all suffering
  • John's prescription for three morning thoughts that can help up live according to our dearest values and desires
  • and much more…

Enjoy, please add your voice to the conversation via the comment box below, and please share (that's how we grow).


The Mindful Life Program

The Mindful Life Program Online Course – Tuesdays 8-10pm EST from November 18 through December 9 – $125 (scholarships available)

The Way of Compassion Foundation

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The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website,


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