Building a Mindful New Year

It’s that time of year. Self-reflection is at an all time high and our minds are naturally drawn to what we want to keep, discard, or create as a new year dawns. It may also be a time of both greater activity (celebrations, shopping, visitors, travel) and greater space (our normal routines go a bit sideways). All of which goes to say: it is a great time to practice meditation.

Writers and Buddhist teachers Susan Piver and Lodro Rinzler have invited a collection of accomplished dharma teachers to guide you through the end of one year and into another with mindfulness and awareness, focused on the six priorities that will benefit you most as you lay the ground for what is to come.

Susan Piver and Lodro Rinzler Present:


6 Days / 6 Transcendent Themes / 3 Meditation Classes Per Day (drop into as many as you like)

Dec 26 – Dec 31

With Sokuzan Bob Brown, Acharya Fleet Maull, Diane Hamilton, Shozan Jack Hauber, Kate Johnson, Hokai Sobol and many others


In Buddhist thought, the path to a life of joy is built on taking six actions consistently: Generosity; Discipline; Patience; Exertion; Meditation; and Wisdom. Each day of this program will focus on one of those themes. Three different dharma teachers each day will guide three different meditations on that theme, beginning at 8:00 AM EST on December 26 and ending at 7:00 PM EST on December 31. All sessions will be live streamed and easy to access.

You are invited to drop into one or all sessions. Since they won’t be recorded, we’ve chose times we hope will make it possible for anyone, anywhere to access these valuable practices. From Zen to Vipassana to Tibetan and other Buddhist practices, a variety of lineages are represented.

All you have to do is fill out the form below to sign up. You will in turn receive a link to our online platform that will work for all sessions. You simply need an internet connection. Each 30-minute session will begin with an opening talk, followed by a guided meditation and a brief question and answer period. (You will be able to type your questions into a chat screen.)

Did we mention it was free?

Here is the schedule:


Thank you, thank you

The meditation begins at 4:09.

Hello to the Open Heart Project community.

As I sat down to make this video (the last I’ll be making this year), I was filled with gratitude for you, your practice, and this wonderful community. In today’s practice, we simply sit together, beginning by sending out a cumulative wish, 12000+ person strong, that your dreams for the new year will come true effortlessly. Please feel that during this practice a massive wave of good will and wish-fulfilling power comes to you, gathering strength from all points of the globe, and washes over you, filling you with strength and joy.

Audio-only version can be downloaded here.

With love, Susan

The Open Heart Project will be taking a holiday break and will return with a new video on January 5th.

A simple technique for finding peace

The meditation begins at 8:38.

Hello to the Open Heart Project community. How wonderful to be able to practice together! Today, before we sit, I offer you a very easy technique that you can build into your day, no matter how hectic it is. In fact, the busier and more rushed you are, the more helpful this is.

It was introduced to me by the wonderful meditation teacher Michael Carroll during a recent class we taught together onine, called “The Dharma of Devices” (about not getting trapped by our technology). He called the technique “boycotting.”

Before today’s sit, I explain exactly what it is and how to do it so that you can create more and more moments of spaciousness and ease in your day. However, feel free to skip right tot he meditation (which begins at 8:38) if you’re pressed for time!

Audio-only version can be downloaded here.

With love, Susan

PS If you’d like to explore what goes on in the Open Heart Project Sangha, please do!

The inseparability of vulnerability and fearlessness

The meditation begins at 4:26.

Hello to the Open Heart Project community. I am so happy to see you! And if you celebrated Thanksgiving, I hope you had a lovely holiday.

Before our sit today, I offer you a few words on the fascinating connection between softness and fierceness. It seems like these are opposites, but they are not and our meditation practices introduces us to these qualities.

Please enjoy your practice and if you are unable to practice, please enjoy that too.

Audio-only version can be downloaded here.

With love, Susan

PS If you’d like to explore what goes on in the Open Heart Project Sangha, please do!

Let’s just sit

The meditation begins at 2:09.

Hello to the Open Heart Project community.

Today we are just going to sit. For many of us, this week marks the beginning of the holiday season and it’s a time when we may become busier and more distracted. So today, no big message before the practice, just the practice…

It is always best to keep things very simple, especially during those times of year when life may become more complicated. So let’s sit together!

Audio-only version can be downloaded here.

With love, Susan

Start Here Now; Creating a Sustainable Meditation Practice: a podcast










“Start Here Now; Creating a Sustainable Meditation Practice” from Susan Piver’s talk at the New York  City Shambhala Center on November 11th, 2014.  Susan offers her tips for creating a meditation practice that is rewarding and realistic.

Susan Piver on relationships; from ‘Awake in the World': a podcast










Given at the Shambhala Mountain Center’s “Awake in the World” conference in October 2014, Susan Piver discusses relationships, buddhism and the dharma.

The Dharma of Depression: a podcast


In this podcast, drawn from a talk in the Spring of 2014 at the New York Shambhala Center, Susan discusses the intelligence of depression, how to differentiate depression from sadness, and how depression can become a part of your spiritual path.

Feelings, part two

“A lot of tragedies happen around the world because somebody’s feelings were hurt.”—Sakyong Mipham

I see part of our work together as returning a sense of grace and power to the realm of feeling. For far too long, feelings have been ghettoized as girly, weak, something for losers. Feelings are what you talk about when you’ve run out of ideas, jokes, and stories. When someone says, “I want to talk to you about my feelings,” we gird our loins for battle or try to run away. Anything but feelings! Conversely, however, some of us make a very big deal about feelings and treat them as precious, fragile, even magical. Some kind of middle way is best.

The last thing we want to do to someone we care about is hurt their feelings and we will go to great lengths to avoid having our feelings hurt. And for good reason. They can cause relationships to end, companies to collapse, and wars to start. I am not even exaggerating. (I don’t know too much about wars, but I do know something about work and I’ve never seen a great idea fail for lack of funding, positioning, or talent. Great ideas fail because someone’s feelings were hurt.)

Can you imagine what your life would be like if you weren’t afraid of getting your feelings hurt? I’m not saying there is a way to avoid hurt feelings, but there is a way to develop the capacity to meet them as a part of your spiritual practice. Seriously, ask yourself: who would I be and what would I create if I was not afraid of my feelings but saw them as my allies?

You could say that learning how to feel is the foundation of a good life and a good human society. As you develop a relationship with your feelings you create the pathways (Sakyong Mipham’s word) to feel how others feel.

In meditation practice, the pathways create themselves with each moment you spend simply being human. The wider you open the door to joy, sorrow, and confusion, the more wisdom you invite. With each molecule of feeling you allow, you create a molecule of compassion.

In other news, what do you think of this logo for us?

Do you have questions about meditation practice?

Photo on 7-23-14 at 12.08 PM #4









This is me, awaiting your questions.

Please post in comments and I will do my best to offer you a helpful answer.