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.

A life changing question

The meditation begins at 4:10.

Hello to the Open Heart Project community. I am so happy to see you. Before today’s practice, I suggest a question for each of us to ponder. For me, it has been a life-changing question. I hope it will be so for you, too.

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

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.

You are the sky.

When you trust your own happiness, you can allow the entire scope of experience to touch your heart. This is the mark of the spiritual warrior. She can hold sweetness, sorrow, rage, and delight equally and fully. She can watch as emotions rise and fall, notice how she reaches out so some and recoils from others, and know that somehow she’ll find a way to make whatever she experiences a part of the path. Whether her world is friendly or inhospitable, smooth or rocky, she can abide in it wholeheartedly. A joyful mind is as infinite as the sky and, like the sky, can contain sunshine and storms, snowflakes and hail. Conditions are continually shifting, but the sky is always the sky. It never gives up. From within it, the great sun rises in the east, the moon meets the tide, and the circle is always complete.

From “How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life”

Hello, dear Open Heart Sangha members. For some reason, I was thinking about this passage that I wrote for “How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life.” When I read it now, I don’t know where it came from. I didn’t even know when I wrote it, it just came out, and when it did I felt like someone had dictated it to me. It remains the favorite thing “I” ever wrote and I just wanted to share it with you.

We are all working with so much—so much sorrow, so much love, so much confusion, so much longing, so much divine light. The older I get, the more I feel that our work is not to accomplish anything but to make room for it all.

Sending love,



PS I sent you an email last night with the results of our first survey about how this program is going. If you missed it or would like to comment in any regard, I posted it here.

Elephant’s tears, suffering, and liberation.

I had an experience the other day that I’m sure you too have had–suddenly the whole world and all its suffering became too much. I started sobbing at the super market. (I seem to be doing a lot of crying lately.) The experience caused me to reflect and I share some of these reflections with you today before our 10-mintue practice.


Audio-only version can be downloaded here.

The Dharma of Depression


Having trouble viewing the closed caption version? An un-captioned version can be found here:

Before today’s 10-minute meditation session I offer a few thoughts about depression, sadness, and how meditation can help us work with difficult emotions.


Audio-only version can be downloaded here.