Why do we sit with our eyes opened?

Hello and welcome to your meditation practice!

Often people wonder why we sit with our eyes opened. Before today’s sit, I explain

Thoughts or comments? I love to hear what you’re thinking..

Love,
Susan

Audio-only version can be downloaded here.

Book Recommendations

Hello, wonderful meditators.

Some days it is hard to find a way into your practice. We are each so busy and have so many responsibilities that it is hard to settle in. One way to sort of ease your way into practice is to keep a book in your practice space and read a page (or even a paragraph) before you begin your practice. This simple act begins to turn your mind toward practice and away from everyday concerns.

The best book to have is the one that helps you make a greater connection to your practice by illuminating the underlying principles. Here are two of my all-time favorites:

Turning the Mind Into an Ally by Sakyong Mipham

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

What books have been meaningful to you? Please share as I know it will help everyone in our wonderful community.

Love, Susan

Audio version is here.

In which we listen to music to learn how to listen to ourselves

Hello, excellent meditators.

It is not uncommon for difficult emotions to arise during meditation practice. (It is also not uncommon for them not to arise.) The instruction for those times when they do is to feel the feelings and, most important drop the story line behind the feelings.

What does this even mean?! How on earth do you do that?

The way we listen to music illustrates this principle perfectly and that is exactly what we do in this video: listen to music together!

With love, Susan

Audio-only version can be downloaded here.

 

Not practicing “enough”? Guilt and shame are optional…Instead, try this:

Before today’s meditation session, I offer you a practice that you can do when you feel bad about yourself for not meditating. The truth is, we all experience this, including myself. While it is very good to have a consistent practice, it is NOT good to beat yourself up when you don’t. In fact, it is pointless, worthless, and steals your life force.

When I was young, I was a very bad student. I was often late with my homework (in part because I didn’t understand what was being asked of me–turns out I have a mild learning disability). The more I put off doing this work, the worse I felt. The worse I felt, the less I did. The less I did, the more I put off…and so on. I’m sure you have some familiarity with this syndrome.

When it comes to meditation (or anything that is important to you), it is extremely important to avoid this cycle. Guilt and shame are to be avoided at all costs because those are the states of mind that give rise to this cycle. In today’s video I teach you a very, very short practice you can do instead. Try it and let me know how it goes!

Today’s practice lives here and I always love to hear what you think.

Love,
Susan

Audio-only version can be downloaded here.

NOTE: This summer, I’m deep in the creative cave planning a new phase of the Open Heart Project which I’ll announce in September. I’m authoring lots of new material and recording meditations of varying lengths, with varying amounts of instruction. While I’m making all this new stuff I will continue to send you a NEW video on Mondays. Thursdays video will be drawn from the vast OHP archive. Enjoy and happy summer!

It’s okay to be negative

Hello and welcome to your meditation practice! It is very common to think that negative thoughts can harm you and you shouldn’t think them. I disagree. Before today’s meditation, I explain why! Hint: your mind is vast…

Today’s practice lives here.

Love,
Susan

Audio-only version can be downloaded here.

NOTE: This summer, I’m deep in the creative cave planning a new phase of the Open Heart Project which I’ll announce in September. I’m authoring lots of new material and recording meditations of varying lengths. While I’m making all this new stuff I am going to send you a NEW video on Mondays and Thursdays video will be drawn from the vast OHP archive. Enjoy and happy summer!

Indestructible Goodness

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There is such a thing as goodness. It is alive. It is intact. Nothing we do can destroy it.

By goodness, I don’t mean the opposite of badness, exactly. I certainly don’t mean anything sentimental, saccharine…soulless. Ew. Goodness is not goody-goody or cute.

The earth is good. There is goodness in love. Friends are good. Teachers are good and so are students. It can sometimes be good to have an enemy. Pets are good. Reconciliation is good, as are courage, kindness, devotion, dignity, and confusion. The capacity to care—even to notice goodness or non-goodness—is good. Laughing is good and so is crying. Wisdom, insight, and intuition are good. It is good to be fierce and it is good to be soft. Vulnerability is good. Sadness is very good. Anger can sometimes be good and so can doubt. It is good that you can get your feelings hurt because this means your goodness has been wounded and, well, that hurts. (Even though it feels bad, it is good.) Healing is good. There is goodness in art, extraordinary goodness, perhaps the very most.

These things are happening all the time. But none of them need be present in order to feel the goodness because it is always present—in you. Your tenderness reminds you of it and so do your longing, tears, and capacity for joy which are not so different from each other.

The thing that is not so good? Forgetting the goodness. Letting it slide. Hiding from it.

Denying goodness sometimes seems easier than affirming it, however to do so is actually dangerous. With this denial come cruelty, violence, abandonment, and the inability to recognize what is precious and real. We see “us and them” in all things. We perceive attacks where there are none. We are afraid all the time and from this fear come fundamentalism, intolerance, stupidity, and absurdly short-term thinking.

Affirming it reasserts the truth.There is nothing more radical that you can do. It will make some people mad, but do it anyway. Just one person can remind a multitude.

Practicing for and with each other

As our community grows and expands, I am planning the next phase of the Open Heart Project. (Don’t worry–if you don’t want any next phase, the OHP will also continue as is!) Before today’s sit, I explain a bit about what’s coming up and then, for our sit, we tune into the beauty and wonder of community…while you are practicing, thousands of others around the world practice with you and I invite us all to feel the network of support we have created.

What do you think? I always love to hear from  you.

With love, Susan

Audio-only version can be downloaded here.

Creative Mornings Boston: Changes in business hopeful for the world…

I really enjoyed giving this talk to the creative community here in Boston. I talked about how changes in the way we do business bode well for other changes we’d all like to see in the world…

Bringing formal back

We live in a world that prizes casualness above formality. When we feel comfortable around someone, we feel we can dress down, put our feet on the table, show up at a dinner party late and people should cut us some slack. Well, sure. But there is also value in retaining a sense of formality, even (or especially) around those we love and who love us. Before today’s sit, I offer some thoughts about all of this.

What do you think? I always love to hear from  you.

With love, Susan

Audio-only version can be downloaded here.

Is meditation a path to bliss? A way to lower blood pressure? Something else?

The primary gift of meditation may not be what you thought at first. Before today’s video, I offer a few thoughts on what it is.

What do you think? I always love to hear from  you.

With love, Susan

Audio-only version can be downloaded here.