You are not broken and you don’t need to be fixed*

Hello excellent meditators! Welcome to your practice. Before today’s 10-minute sit, I share with you a fascinating quote from Albert Einstein: “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”

Notice he didn’t say “belief”. He used the potent word “decision,” the most important one of all. Why did he say that? And what does this have to do with meditation practice?

In my Shambhala Buddhist tradition, we talk about basic goodness, the notion that who we are is already completely whole and completely worthy. Still, we live in doubt about this. Am I really good enough? Am I really deserving of love? When will people find out I’m an imposter?

When we go out into the world with this doubt, everything seems potentially threatening or diminishing. When we enter the world without it, we live with ease.

When we feel threatened, we are ready to fight. When we feel at ease, we are ready to be kind. Thus the importance of the decision: it changes a world of potential aggression to a world of potential joy.

In our meditation practice, on one hand we are just sitting there breathing. But on the other, we are allowing ourselves to be just as we are, setting aside self-criticism and self-aggrandizement to just be. We see that our basic being is spacious and balanced. With each breath we remember who we really are: decent, kind, sane, and utterly open hearted.

But don’t take my word for this!! Practice and see for yourself.

Thoughts? Love to hear them.

Love, Susan

*Said my awesome friend Patti Digh.

Audio-only version can be downloaded here

PS If you’re interested, please check out the latest Open Heart Project podcast on iTunes: “An Overview of the Buddhist Path”

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24 Comments

  1. Martha { 12.12.13 at 8:27 am }

    Susan, this meditation moved me deeply. Our “indestructible worthiness” – what a great phrase, coupled with the image of a baby coming into the world expecting to be held. That image spoke so powerfully to me, remembering my children when they were born. And my cats too – who wait at their food dish every single morning, expecting to be fed – no doubt, no worries about being good enough to be fed – just waiting patiently (well, not so patiently!) for me to feed them.. great images for tapping into this innate goodness and clearing away the confusion of unworthiness… I will be referring back to this meditation, as I take on a daily practice of “deciding” in the friendliness of the universe. Thank you so much for this teaching, which is offering a fresh way of working with my meditation practice.

    • susan { 12.16.13 at 3:10 pm }

      You are so welcome. And, yes, “indestructible worthiness” is such a good thing to remember–

  2. Janet Pal { 12.12.13 at 12:12 pm }

    Thank you for this Susan! Perfect timing for me as I struggle with career issues and feeling drawn to something which speaks to my heart and really doesn’t feel like work – but doesn’t pay very well, versus utilizing a skill set for which I get paid significantly more, but feel totally stressed out doing; there is so much pressure from all around me (family members, society in general) to go for the $$ that I wonder sometimes if there is something wrong me for not having that drive.

    • Carol { 12.13.13 at 6:09 pm }

      You’ll never look back and regret ‘working’ at something you love.
      I speak from experience, being a musician who ‘works’ in a spiritual setting. The job satisfaction and joy and appreciation I receive far outweigh the dollars that would most certainly be bigger in a commercial music job!
      I wouldn’t trade my work for those bucks… for sure!

    • susan { 12.16.13 at 3:11 pm }

      You are so welcome, Janet. This sounds like a truly difficult decision and I hope that whatever you decide feels just right. xo S

  3. Tracey { 12.12.13 at 2:35 pm }

    Thank you Susan.

  4. Jennifer Brilliant { 12.12.13 at 3:56 pm }

    Thank you Susan.
    On my calendar it says that you’d be teaching an enneagram webinar tonight. Well I guess you aren’t. Just wanted you to know that I had jotted it down in my book.

    • susan { 12.16.13 at 3:11 pm }

      Sorry for any confusion!

  5. Vicky { 12.13.13 at 8:57 am }

    I have a slightly different take on this: my sense of the idea of the hostile universe is not so much about the good or evil or sense of self worth of humanity, but rather the simple fact that we get ill, and we have accidents, and we lose our lived ones, and we die. In light of that, the tremulousness that we feel is not a choice of how we view this undeniable reality, but a purely instinctual and “intelligent” response to that reality.

    • susan { 12.16.13 at 3:11 pm }

      Makes sense.

  6. Yael { 12.14.13 at 4:19 am }

    Dear Susan
    Thank you so much for this. I love the way that you present these issues that so many of us struggle with – with gentleness, kindness, and transparency. No wonder you have so many followers – it is just so accessible and real.
    I have heard this quote from Einstein in a slightly different version, from Byron Katie actually, that “the universe is friendly”. Either way, as you said – it is up to us to ponder it and decide for ourselves, is it true for us or not. My question is: Can we really change the way we perceive or experience it? You mentioned babies and the way they come out into the world. From my understanding we do come into the world with an Expectation to be held, caressed, cared for, it’s in our DNA. And the way we are responded to determines our ideas about the world. We don’t come in thinking about it. So where does it go wrong? Maybe because we weren’t held to the extent we needed?
    Just questions I have been exploring for the last..who knows how many years…
    In any case, I am hopeful that with this practice, I can come to a place of basic worthiness, as you put it, and self acceptance, and yes – to really BELIEVE and trust that the universe IS friendly.
    With thanks and love, Yael

    • susan { 12.16.13 at 3:13 pm }

      I don’t know if we can change the way we perceive it but I think the important thing is to examine the question carefully and then hold our conclusion lightly…

      The question “where does it go wrong?” is impossible to answer on one hand. On the other, you could say that it goes wrong when we doubt our basic goodness, no matter the cause.

      Love, S

  7. Gerry { 12.15.13 at 5:27 pm }

    Thank you I enjoyed your thoughts about me being Born good
    Peace Gerry

  8. Annie { 12.16.13 at 7:35 am }

    Hi Susan,
    We are nearly 2014 and then we wish everybody good luck!
    We are all seeking for happiness and you just gave the ingredients.

    1) the most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.
    It is very hopefull to remember that WE always can DECIDE to live in a FRIENDLY world.When we see it that way then we are responsible for our own happiness and our happiness depends not on the circumstances.
    But why do I always forget I made that decission?
    Why do we turn always back to old habits ?
    We can know and experience that a certain decission is good when you take it with your head and heart and even then after a while fall back in old habits.
    2)BASIC GOODNESS the notion that who we are is already completely whole and whorthy.
    Just remember my yoga teacher repeating a few things:
    -We were like oignons .We have to peel the different layers and when we do that we find at the heart “our basic goodness”.
    -there is much we should unlearn…. If we do not create more layers it will be easyer to find back our true self
    -their is also a spiritual dimention.you can not understand everything with your head.
    I found it difficult 15 years ago to understand all those teachings but know it makes more sence and I think that basic goodness or true self is the same thing.

    3)MEDITATION as a path to reach that basic goodness.I’ll hope to keep the discipline to meditate.

    Those 3 ingredients will be good to enter 2014 …happy!

    Thank you Susan for your lessons and to teach important things in an easy way!

  9. susan { 12.16.13 at 3:17 pm }

    You are so welcome, Annie and Gerry!

  10. mary pilch { 03.26.14 at 11:18 am }

    Susan, I signed up for Meditations on Love, then got blasted with the appalling ads for ART of Love. Please remove my name from that list ASAP. PLEASE!!!

    • Susan Piver { 03.26.14 at 11:53 am }

      Aaah! I don’t know how you got on a list for such ads. Sorry!!

  11. Araceli Esparza { 03.31.14 at 8:39 am }

    Susan, i wanted to drop you a line and say thank you for the open heart project! For years I’ve gotten your emails and recently I wrote a picture book about an ant with an open heart and a heart map no less!:) i know! I think its funny how we write behind our backs ! This month of April I am recommiting myself to mediate- regularily and on
    purpose. Thank you, your program is part of my journey!

    • Susan Piver { 03.31.14 at 9:45 am }

      Lovely!!!!

  12. fran { 03.31.14 at 3:30 pm }

    Susan, thanks for your work. I find the meditations helpful.

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