Hello, all. Inspired by Jonathan Fields, I wrote this annual report to try to make sense of 2012 and clarify my direction for 2013. Writing it was very instructive. I reviewed what worked, what failed, what influenced me, and where I plan to go creatively, spiritually, and professionally. Even though this report is about me, I hope you will find it beneficial to read.
Here’s to a year of brilliance and peace, Susan
If you feel moved to share it, here is the direct link.
It is almost impossible, no, it is impossible, to have any idea how to react to a tragedy as profound and senseless as the one that occurred today at an elementary school in Connecticut. It is impossible to grasp.
I’m sure that, like me, many of you have been crying all day.
An event this horrific causes us to see that all of our normal coping mechanisms are inadequate. We turn to each one—blame, hiding, medicating—and each one fails.
Nothing can make this okay. There is no explanation that helps. Blaming lack of gun control, insufficient guns, or inadequate mental health care may be entirely reasonable and valid, but it doesn’t matter. No matter how right you are (or aren’t), it doesn’t change the grief, rage, or numbness.
Using ideas to treat or metabolize feelings doesn’t work.
Then what? I’m afraid that there is not much we can do other than to be absolutely, irredeemably heartbroken. It turns out that this is helpful. Weep, sob, rage. Weep, sob, rage. Every time your mind tries to tell you, “this is because of poor gun control,” or “this world is rotten, terrible and I have to ignore it in order to survive,” and/or “if mental healthcare was better, we could help people before they explode into violence,” please ask it to wait. I’m not saying we shouldn’t act. WE SHOULD. But before we act, we should feel. Allow your heart to break. Let down your guard. There is strange redemption in heartbreak. Continue
Hello to the wonderful Open Heart Project community.
As we in the U.S. enter into our annual Thanksgiving, it is a great time to ponder the notion of gratitude. My friend, writer and teacher Patti Digh, has had ample opportunity in 2012 to contemplate gratitude and giving.
In the last year, her younger daughter was diagnosed with Aspergers and Patti realized she needed to shift her entire professional and creative world from one of teaching and traveling to one of teaching and staying home. She recreated her business as an online entity.
Some months ago, her husband was diagnosed with cancer and they came face to face with the fact that they had no health insurance–and all the anger, shame, and confusion that came along with admitting that. Friends started an Indiegogo campaign that promptly raised over a hundred thousand dollars and along with it, a cheering squad of thousands of loving folks. Continue
As you may know, I am a writer and blogger. I have written six books and send out a newsletter twice a week to my list of nearly 10000 subscribers. My topics include meditation, creativity, and relationships. I’m fortunate to have an active, caring audience and when I upload a post, it may get 10 to 100 comments, depending on the topic. Most of the comments, if I may say, are some expression of gratitude because the reader has found this work useful. Occasionally, of course, someone will really disagree with me. Comments such as, “I can’t believe you think something so strange, but to each his own,” or “This post is misleading, please be more responsible in the future” are not unheard of. Being called a “self-absorbed navel-gazer” (which is probably true) is considered a vicious insult on my site.
However, a post I wrote on May 2, 2011 went viral and garnered thousands of comments, many of which were filled with vitriol and ridicule. “You are destroying our country, you f**king idiot,” “If you spent one day in the real world, you would probably get killed—good riddance.” And my favorite: “If these baboons had gotten their hands on nuclear weapons—you wouldn’t be sitting at your pretty little Mac going on about how conflicted you are.” (I am a Mac user—how did they know?!) Continue
One of the questions I get most frequently is, “why do we keep our eyes open in meditation…and do we really have to?” Check the video for my answer.
Stay tuned for our return to the discussion of the 6 Paramitas in the next newsletter.
Sign up for The Open Heart Project for Susan’s meditation instruction sent right to your inbox twice a week. Free.
Please visit Jonathan’s site for more interviews and info on The Good Life.
Today, we are going to discuss the 2nd of the 6 paramitas (or “transcendent actions) which is called discipline.
As you may recall, in a previous newsletter, we discussed the first paramita, generosity. That talk is [here](http://susanpiver.com/?p=5915).
If you’re like me, you may think of discipline of something onerous, a punishment, an activity in which you force yourself to do stuff you’d really rather not. It feels heavy. Shameful. Punishing.
The Buddhist view of discipline is quite different, Continue
Meditation can a softening effect on our hearts. But having an open heart can feel kind of dangerous, unsettling. What to do? Instead of trying to scramble back into a more closed off situation, there are six actions that you could take instead.
Most of us begin a practice expecting to find some relief from stress or pain or to become more creative, successful and/or peaceful. These are all excellent expectations and they are entirely appropriate.
However, after teaching many students all over the world (basically), I’ve seen that there are additional things you can expect that you may not have thought of before. In the first video above, I talk a bit about them.
You can expect:
1. To find greater mental clarity
2. That your heart will soften
3. To be bored
4. To wonder if you really, truly need to follow all of the instructions
5. To discover fearlessness
6. That, if you stick with it, meditation will change your life
Hello, wonderful members of the OHP. Welcome to your meditation practice.
The lion’s roar, according to Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, is the fearless proclamation that whatever comes up in our state of mind, including powerful emotions, is workable.
Today, I want to continue our discussion about meeting strong emotions in meditation practice. As you may recall, our last newsletter reflected on what it means to simply feel what we feel as opposed to telling ourselves stories about what we feel. I hope the exercise of listening to music together was enjoyable for you.
I created that exercise in preparation for answering this question, received from an excellent OHP member: Continue