The Open Heart Project: Online meditation instruction and more

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Happy New Year!

Today is Tibetan Buddhist New Year and a great day to start fresh and celebrate the fact that you exist. Come to think of it, every day is worthy of such celebration–and nothing creates the quality of a fresh start more than meditation practice. With each breath, you begin again and all things are possible.

If you’ve been looking for a meditation instructor, I would like to volunteer. I’ve created a series of videos and resources to help you get started. You can find them on my blog in the coming days. I’ll also be sending a short daily email offering encouragement, support, and insight about how to bring the mind of meditation into all areas of your life. (If you’re signed up for my newsletter, you’ll get these emails. If this seems like too much, you can opt out, below. And if you know others who might enjoy this, they can sign up here.)

ABOUT MEDITATION

Meditation is an antidote to the speed, anxiety, and overwhelm that we contend with day after day, hour after hour. Also, perhaps surprisingly, it provides a counterbalance to another potent 21st century malady: self-doubt and the fear that lies behind it.

The reason I am so certain it works this way is because I’ve seen the impact on my own life (now for over 15 years) and since becoming a meditation instructor in 2005, on the lives of my students. Although there are many profound explanations, it is still a bit of a mystery to me how this incredibly simple (but not easy) practice leads to meaning, authenticity, joy, and goodness—but it seems to. In addition to imparting the quality of inner stability, meditation teaches you who you already are, and this–not some grand gesture of invincibility–neutralizes terror and hesitation. You can live your life, finally.

I often hear from people who want to learn to meditate, but don’t live near a meditation center and I volunteer to teach them myself via Skype. But I’ve sort of maxed out on the number I can work with directly, so I’ve created this way of teaching virtually, through meditation videos, daily (M-F) short emails, and connection with a community of fellow practitioners. I hope it will serve.

It is my sincere hope to help everyone on earth develop a meditation practice. (Why think small?) When terror and hesitation are neutralized, hatred and aggression are too. Our hearts open. The world becomes a manifestation of our goodness rather than our fear. Therefore I’m calling this The Open Heart Project.

Are you ready? Meditation will change your world. Then we can change the world. There is no question.

SOME DETAILS

This explains my view of meditation (3:47)

To begin: try this 10 minute guided meditation instruction. Am working on uploading 5-, 20-, 40-, and 60- minute sessions.

Questions?! Post in comments.

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38 Comments

  1. Tamara { 03.05.11 at 11:27 am }

    i am excited about this…thank you.

    • Susan { 03.05.11 at 12:38 pm }

      I am, too… You’re welcome!

  2. Crazy Eddie { 03.05.11 at 12:34 pm }

    I loved those videos. Thanks. And I had no idea today was Tibetan New Year’s Day. I’ll greet everyone for the rest of the day with “Happy New Year.” Can’t wait to see the response. I really liked what you said about meditation and I wish you luck in spreading the world. I’ve been meditating a long time and I know first-hand the powerful results. I feel that meditation has the potential for changing the world. Thanks again for your sharing. Namaste.

    Metaphysical News

  3. Susan { 03.05.11 at 12:52 pm }

    Thanks, Eddie! And here’s to a year of peace.

  4. Mindy { 03.05.11 at 1:57 pm }

    Thank you for sharing this! I enjoyed the videos – a great way to carve out a little meditation time. I think many people get overwhelmed when they think of crafting a meditation practice (myself included!) and are unsure of where to start. Your Open Heart Project will benefit so many!

    Namaste,

    Mindy

    • Susan { 03.05.11 at 2:13 pm }

      So glad you enjoyed, Mindy. I hope to help in exactly the ways you suggest! Please keep me posted about how I’m doing.

  5. Amy K { 03.05.11 at 10:29 pm }

    I followed a tweet here… call it serendipity if you will, but your words spoke directly to my heart, especially:
    “With each breath, you begin again and all things are possible.”
    I am taking a lot of measured breaths lately as I deal with some new and challenging circumstances. My heart is breaking, is broken.
    I was not looking for an instructor in meditation, but I think the world has brought me one.

  6. Susan D. { 03.06.11 at 11:00 am }

    Your meditation instruction was simple and perfect. I will try to begin my day with this, or any other pearls you send our way, to help me become whole again. Like Amy K, my heart has been broken wide open for far too long, and although that carries with it many positive possibilities you have noted, it sometimes just feels like too much lonely and bitter scar tissue. Your meditation instruction and my practice will, hopefully, be helpful toward finally healing.

  7. Guzmán { 03.07.11 at 8:03 am }

    Jiddu Krishnamurti telling a joke…

    “There are three monks, who had been sitting in deep meditation for many years amidst the Himalayan snow peaks, never speaking a word, in utter silence. One morning, one of the three suddenly speaks up and says, ‘What a lovely morning this is.’ And he falls silent again. Five years of silence pass, when all at once the second monk speaks up and says, ‘But we could do with some rain.’ There is silence among them for another five years, when suddenly the third monk says, ‘Why can’t you two stop chattering?”

    http://www.katinkahesselink.net/kr/jokes.html
    http://seaunaluzparaustedmismo.blogspot.com/

  8. cj { 03.21.11 at 5:17 pm }

    Thank you, Susan. I have meditated on my own for years but this was still very helpful and of course, as you know – meditation does not prevent broken hearts, which is how I found myself here. Thank you for your healing and supportive presence. And I have to say, I thought the cat tail in the first video was sweet and made it just like home.

  9. Susan { 03.27.11 at 10:07 am }

    cj, thanks for commenting on the cat tail! that was basically my favorite part of the video… sending love, s

  10. Carlo { 03.31.11 at 11:27 am }

    Hi Susan,

    Great video presentation for your introduction to meditation on mindfullness of body. I found your site by doing a search on “open your heart” and so wanted to see what your technique is. In the past i have done mindfulness meditation and other Buddhist meditations and had some success.

    I do a quite different kind of meditation technique now called “Open Heart Meditation” which is about following your hearts feelings without using any focusing, willpower or engaing your mind in any way. Its very simple where you just relax, smile to your spiritual heart and follow your feelings.. after a few mins your heart wakes up and the experience can be quite profound. People can feel a lot of energy and emotional releasing and then very peaceful and heart radiating love.

    Would be interested to hear about your experience doing that if you would like to try it. Our website has some simple instructions how to try it here: http://www.open-your-heart.org.uk

    With Love and Light
    Carlo

  11. Susan { 03.31.11 at 8:01 pm }

    Thanks, Carlo.

  12. Louisa { 04.20.11 at 1:49 am }

    OM-G. Thank you for doing this.

    • Susan { 04.20.11 at 6:17 am }

      It is totally my pleasure.

  13. Rich Martin { 04.21.11 at 2:08 pm }

    Hi Susan, I found you again and just practiced. I really needed it. I fealt the connection with you like I did that first time in AZ. I will make a point of practicing more often as I get so much from it and you. Please keep sending me video practices as you create them. Rich x

  14. Susan { 04.21.11 at 4:05 pm }

    Rich, I’m thrilled to hear this! So glad to reconnect. Wishing you all the blessings of practice– Susan

  15. Makisha { 04.27.11 at 3:50 pm }

    I am looking forward to learning how to peacefully abide.

  16. Chime Nangchen { 06.23.11 at 4:09 pm }

    Hi Susan, I am trying to add myself to the Open Heart Project, but I do not get an email authentication to finish my registration. Can you assist?

    Thanks, Chime

  17. eddie brown { 08.12.11 at 9:02 pm }

    please help me find the 100 questions … i will share with students and sell many books.

  18. Matt { 10.19.11 at 1:12 pm }

    Hi Susan,
    I’ve been trying to sign up for your email newsletter but have been having problems with the form fields. Can you sign me up from here?
    Thanks, Matt
    halvah@gmail.com

  19. cheryl { 10.31.11 at 6:10 am }

    Hi Susan…
    Thank you for giving so generously..
    I sometimes doze off, even though I’m not consciously sleepy. Any suggestions?

    • Susan { 10.31.11 at 8:29 am }

      You are welcome, Cheryl.

      Often when we sit, the things that we have been holding at bay arise first. Often, that thing is f a t i g u e. We are all just so tired. So even if you don’t feel sleepy when you begin to sit, as you relax. your fatigue arises.

      As your body acclimates to meditation, this will pass. And, although it may sound counterintuitive, it can be helpful to sit for slightly longer periods, as this helps you to settle into the practice. Also, hopefully you will find a way to get more sleep!

      I’m going to make a little video addressing this question, so stay tuned for a few more thoughts.

      Best! Susan

  20. karen { 11.10.11 at 11:44 pm }

    peaceful.
    thank you.
    i’m looking forward to learning more as i move through your website and begin a practice. i feel like i’ve stumbled upon such a special treasure. again, my thanks.

    • Susan { 11.15.11 at 6:25 pm }

      nice to know you, karen!

      • karen { 11.23.11 at 10:02 pm }

        nice to know you too, susan. thank you. your websites, and writing, and the way i feel reading and looking at your work online is soothing. i’m happy to have “landed” here. is the “open heart project” website the site i should navigate to in order to follow the mediation vimeos? it looks like you might have multiple websites, but i’m not certain if they contain the same information and/or are intended to be used differently. i mentioned you to a friend of mine and i’d like to send her information or hyperlinks but now i’m not sure which link or links to send her. help…? thanks.

  21. Katherine See Calacday { 12.27.11 at 12:10 pm }

    Susan? Nice to know that you’re doing this open heart project to teach meditation virtually. But my area here has a very narrow bandwidth and I have problems watching your vimeo videos. It gets choppy and 10 minute long videos can be watched for 30 minutes. I’ve been trying to get the internet provider to fix this. But with some technical limitations in our place, I don’t think they can do much. Could we download your videos or do you have any other solutions?

    • Susan { 12.27.11 at 2:01 pm }

      Nice to meet you, Katherine. I always include an audio-only version of each video for people with bandwidth limitations. Is this a possibility for you?

      • Katherine See Calacday { 12.31.11 at 1:40 am }

        Yes! Thank you very much.

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