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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35 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.

  13. Susan { 05.01.14 at 10:19 am }

    Susan,
    Just asking you to keep my daughter, Sarah,
    in your thoughts and meditations as she is working hard
    to heal from an eating disorder. We are both frightened
    yet hopeful. Thank you.

  14. Janet { 05.03.14 at 11:03 am }

    Susan,
    please if you can think of my partner, Garry, who has lost so much and so many. His heart is broken and he is covered in grief and anger and pain.
    Thank you as you are my meditation mentor and have helped me so much with my own broken heart

  15. Marie { 05.05.14 at 10:48 am }

    Susan, How to deal with anger with but still love what may be an ex-boyfriend. How to deal with impulsive anger at the end, which is somewhat regrettable; is this feeling shame? Thank you..

    • Susan Piver { 05.05.14 at 11:33 am }

      Anger is a tough one… It is almost always impulsive. This is a big question. Let me think about it and I will try to write a blog post about it.

  16. Marie { 05.05.14 at 10:50 am }

    Susan, I don’t know if you received my previous e-mail. But how to deal with impulsive verbal “not-so-nice” comments at a partner who may have deserved them, but I still feel some regret; is this shame what I’m feeling. Thank you..

    • Susan Piver { 05.05.14 at 11:32 am }

      Hi Marie. If you feel regret, it is almost always helpful to simply apologize. Apologies are extremely powerful. I hope this is helpful…

  17. Jessica { 05.26.14 at 8:03 pm }

    Hi Susan,
    Firstly I wanted to say that I’ve been meditating with you for about 2 months now and I’m really starting to notice the small changes it is making on how I view the world. Thank you for this. As a person who never knew how to sit still and stop, stopping has been sooo difficult and so rewarding.
    I’m writing today because I absolutely loved this post. You made it so clear using the example of the wedding album. Everything just clicked and made sense . Projecting, writing our life out based on the past and what could be versus simply living in the now.
    Thank you. Your wonderful!

  18. Lian { 06.08.14 at 5:26 pm }

    The universe is sending me what I need:

    Dear Susan,

    Although not new to the mediation world – I only recently started to become familiar with you and your work. My first visit and registration to your website were on June 1st.

    The first e-mail I got from you was your re-sending this meditation which is giving me the courage to try to return and touch my meditation practice I have left since my fathers death out of fear of the overwhelming emotion it might stir in me…

    My father who lived overseas past away on May 14th

    I was lucky to arrive from overseas in time to see my father one last time and be by his side as he took his last breaths – He died as he wished with me and my sisters by his side holding him and speaking our comforting words of love to him.
    The images weren’t pretty, and death showed it’s haunting ugly face – But I managed to fulfill my fathers wish and being there for him meant the world to me too.

    I made a wreath from all his garden plans, herbs and flowers he loved so much to keep him company in his last place of rest and put it on his grave…

    I grieving,
    I’m sad,
    I’m remembering,
    I’m crying,
    I’m smiling,
    I’m laughing,
    And then I cry some more.
    I’m remembering and honoring the life of a special man – to me he was Daddy

    I know in my heart that he taught me the most important ingredient for living life – LOVE !

    I will be, no, I am – okay….

    Thank you Susan for unknowingly giving me something special to help me in my journey of healing, dealing, and coming back to who I am…

    • Susan Piver { 06.30.14 at 4:30 pm }

      Beautiful…

  19. Nathalie { 06.28.14 at 6:15 am }

    Thank you Susan for this meditation short music but I love it , really move me deeply make me tears up
    But really powerful for me
    I love guided meditation
    Enjoy today

    • Susan Piver { 06.30.14 at 4:13 pm }

      So glad!

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