Misha Shungen Merrill is the primary teacher for Zen Heart Sangha in Menlo Park and Woodside, California, as well as the guiding teacher for the Twining Vines Sangha of New York. She has been practicing Zen since 1984 and received Dharma Transmission (permission to teach) in 1998 in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, the founder of SanFrancisco Zen Center. Misha also teaches at Peninsula School in Menlo Park where she is the librarian. She resides in Woodside with her husband and four-footed friends.
Misha Merrill gave the fourth talk in a speaker series titled "Preparing the Mind for Awakening: Cultivating the Seven Factors of Awakening." She explained that joy and happiness are not the same thing, because we can find joy even in the midst of difficulties. We can't put off practicing and experiencing joy until everything is just exactly the way we want it to be. In fact, to be able to experience joy at this moment, right here, right now, even when things are difficult, is the core of our practice. Misha then offered practices that can increase the possibility of joy in our lives.