The Importance of Non-Aggression

Hello, dear meditators. The world is a crazy place and it is really easy to see enemies and threats wherever we look. While we must protect ourselves and stand up for justice, aggression only–ever, ever, ever–leads to more aggression. The entire scope of recorded human history is my witness. Then what? Before today’s sit, a few small thoughts on this gigantic topic.

With love and great hopes for peacefulness, Susan

Audio-only version can be downloaded here.

The Power of Ordinariness

We all live complicated lives and have worries, losses, and uncertainty. We work harder and harder to make these difficulties go away–and that can be fruitful sometimes. But at other times we are just beating ourselves up. What to do? Before today’s practice, I offer a suggestion.

With love and great hopes for your ease and peacefulness, Susan

Audio-only version can be downloaded here.

What does it mean to be “non-attached?”

A non-subtitled version is below.

Often, Buddhism is said to counsel non-attachment. Because all phenomena arise, abide, and dissolve, if we become too attached to, well, anything, our suffering will increase.

This is often associated with not caring or being super cool and removed. Actually, it means the opposite. Before we sit today, I explain.



Audio-only version can be downloaded here.

When the Tibetan Buddhist was mugged at Port Authority

Hello, dear meditators. Before we practice together today, I tell you a story that taught me something important about working with anger and loss.

Sending love,  Susan

Audio-only version can be downloaded here.

Will meditation make you more peaceful?

Yes! And no. Please check today’s pre-meditation talk for more thoughts on how both of these things can be true.

I always love to hear from you, so please feel free to share your reactions.


Audio-only version can be downloaded here.

The Most Important Question

What did Albert Einstein say was the most important decision we each must make? And what does that have to do with meditation? Before today’s sit, we consider these points.

Thoughts? Love to hear them.


Love, Susan


Audio-only version can be downloaded here.

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.

Reminding yourself who you are

I recite four lines before I practice and I find that they remind who I am, why I practice, and where it is all going. These four simple lines point to the whole path and before today’s practice I share them with you.



Audio-only version can be downloaded here.