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The Discipline of Appreciation

March 20, 2017 | 26 Comments | FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites

The meditation begins at 7:39 
Audio only version is here.

Hello wonderful meditator. Today is a special day in my personal life. In this video, I explain two reasons for this. One is really wonderful and one is really difficult. Both events have give me ample opportunity to practice the discipline of appreciation.

Here, appreciation does not only mean finding something to enjoy. Sometimes things happen that are impossible to “enjoy.” We can still appreciate them by bringing our attention to them fully. It requires discipline to do so and, as you may know, discipline is our theme this month.

Our meditation practice teaches us exactly how to do this by emphasizing attention on breath. As you sit today, try to appreciate each breath, not be finding something “good” about it, but by feeling it. Each inhale, each exhale… Then, in your life, you may find it easier to place attention on each person you encounter, the felt-sense of each room you enter, the weather, your work…your life. By our definition, attention is the foundation of appreciation. Our practice teaches us how to deepen our mastery of it.

What do you think? What is going on in your life right now that you could appreciate? By the way, appreciating what is truly positive is often more difficult than anything… I’d love to hear what is going on in your life.  Make comments, ask questions, share reflections in comments.

Love, Susan

PS Here’s some additional info on our meditation posture, should you wish to review it.


  • Posted by:  Janet

    Thank you for your appreciation of this day. March 20th is a special day in our lives, too. Twenty-six years ago on March 20th my husband and I were able to adopt our two foster children, taking another step in our journey as a family. Namaste.

    • Posted by:  Eileen Burns

      How sweet! XO

  • Posted by:  Eileen Burns

    Yesterday, March 19th, my husband and I celebrated the 40th anniversary of the day we met…We also marked the 1st anniversary of my beloved father’s funeral…And we spent part of the day with David’s 90 year-old mother at the home where she resides, due to Alzheimer’s, and we were able to calm and soothe her with tons of hugs and kisses…..We appreciated all of it….AND the sun was shining….BUT Dear Old Dad’s tombstone was covered in snow (we could only see the very tippy-top)….SO, in retrospect, we were able to appreciate that it was warm and sunny on the day of his funeral last year. As always, I deeply appreciate the fact that you survived your accident….and that I have been fortunate enough to mediate with you for all these years….LOVE YOU! Eileen XO

  • Posted by:  Kyle Wasserman

    Hi Susan! Thank you so much for this talk! I feel like this was exactly what I needed to hear! I feel like I tend to have a hard time with posture… in music class I always seem to find myself sitting up too straight or slouching.
    I start dress rehearsals for our school play Cinderella today! The first show is Friday! (I am in the orchestra pit)
    Thanks again!

    P.S I guess I’ll try to “appreciate” how tired this is going to make me too 😀

  • Posted by:  Shiamalee Tillekeratne

    Thank you for these wonderful meditations. I have started to incorporate meditation in my life and feel so thankful for this.

  • Posted by:  Anett

    Hello Susan, appreciation for today sitting and practicing together and with the OHP S! Somehow i can´t sit longer periods and starting with you today is a healthy beginning for the week. Thank you for sharing all your live experiences in connection with the practice it feels enriching and gives energy on a honest and earthy way! wishing you all well and thanks to all the teacher that inspire you , without them our world would be not the same planet , gratefull for their teachings and presence … with a sad and a happy eye … love Anett

  • Posted by:  Anyana Banerjee

    Susan, I am so happy you are alive too. What you have created is simply and utterly transformative, and in a time of great stress your videos are a nourishing start to the day. Thank you for getting my day off in the right foot with appreciation.

  • Posted by:  Mary Lou

    Hi Susan,
    I love starting my week with a new meditation. It’s a step into the new week. The Open Heart Project continues to send ripples through the world. I often share your posts when I feel a talk/topic will connect with a person. So many folks believe they can’t meditate, but most people will listen to a 5 minute talk. Words matter. Thoughts matter. Practicing appreciation matters!
    With much appreciation,

  • Posted by:  Marlis Egger

    Thank you, Susan, for these wonderful meditations. I appreciate you being in my life. Without your guiding I would probably not have been able to establish a meditation practice.

    Much, much love from Switzerland 🙂

  • Posted by:  Rhoda Lewis

    Thank you, Susan. I’m so happy to be a part of this community. Thank you for being so open with your emotions. It makes this practice real to me.

  • Posted by:  Lisa Martin

    Thank you Susan for sharing this story. I also woke up very aware of the significance of this day. It would have been my mother’s 90th birthday and it is the first day of spring, her favorite season. She died unexpectedly a little over a year ago and it has been a difficult year. Your words today remind me of the appreciation I have for her in my life and the teachings that her death has brought me, as hard as some have been. Your honesty, openness and heart are deeply appreciated as we share the path.

  • Posted by:  Melissa Valenzuela

    Hi Susan- thanks for the reminder that I am human. I, too, was in a horrible accident, nearly ending my life and the life of someone else. Each day, I’m reminded of the pain of that day. At the same time, I have been given the great gift of appreciation. I hope I show up well enough in my life that others know how much I appreciate them and these moments in our lives.

  • Posted by:  Emile

    Very inspirational, Susan. Thank you for your clear way of guiding the meditation.
    For me it provides more peace and calm in the mind and heart. To learn to cope with difficult times as they are quite a load for me at the moment. I appreciate you a lot.

  • Posted by:  Robyn

    You are dear to me–and I am thankful you survived the car accident to bring us your goodness, kindness and wisdom.

  • Posted by:  Tunde Nemeth

    I so appreciate the distinction you made between appreciation and “positivity.” Today I’m appreciating you, Susan, first of all.

    I’m appreciating also appreciating that my carpet just got cleaned! And that the birds are singing and the sun is shining today.

    I’m also appreciating how my elderly mother is a mirror for my practice, in that she suffers greatly, and on two levels: once from the actual physical misery that plagues her and again from resisting the reality of her situation. I appreciate how her sharing her suffering with me lets me see her fully. I appreciate being able to see the root of suffering, in action. I appreciate how conversations with her are beginning to open my heart, where they used to merely frustrate me, and that these conversations are giving me an opportunity to practice compassion and compassionate listening.

    So much to appreciate.

    Wonderful talk, as always. I bow. _/\_

  • Posted by:  Kathleen

    Thank you for this beautiful reminder of the importance of appreciation. I appreciate you Susan, and thank you for the wisdom and guidance you bring to this community. Namaste

  • Posted by:  donna

    Blessings, Susan. My appreciation is for you and your generosity in sharing both your practice, but also parts of who you are, your presence and care. Those support me in my practice.

  • Posted by:  Anne Walker

    Thank you for explaining exactly what appreciation means. It’s just paying attention to everything–the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful. All of it is worthy of our attention. I thank you for your videos for all of these years. They are the reason I’ve been meditating for so long.

  • Posted by:  Cindi

    Dear Susan,
    I can think of no better way to express my appreciation for your very honest, heartfelt talks and meditation practice than to simply say, I just love you! And I am so grateful that you are on this earth. Thank you for today, and for all of your teachings.

  • Posted by:  Fiona Redshaw

    Oh Susan! Thank you for always offering us your beautifully open heart. I know my practice would not be what it is if you didn’t offer what you do – you have provided an anchor for my practice and learning. I am so appreciative – of “finding” you in this big but small world of ours and for all that you have personally given me. Probably much more than you know! Much love, Fiona x

  • Posted by:  Judith

    Thank you Susan for your heartfelt appreciation of life and the marvellous capacity of the human body-psyche to heal – as you say your injuries were “supposed to be fatal”! I too am an accident survivor the July date of it is always deeply resonant for me and poignant – a source of such deep gratitude and as you say an acknowledgement too that not all of it was “great”! But like you recovery was the beginning of a new path – a path I continue to follow thankfully – being on it has meant many things including ‘meeting’ you and your work and I appreciate that so much. So often grateful and appreciative for the ‘zing” of integrity in all that you offer and do.

  • Posted by:  Kathy

    I appreciate you! Thank you, Susan. I appreciate the Monday morning time that I spend with you.

  • Posted by:  Marcel

    You reminded me, by showing it, that vulnerability is a strength and appreciation, by attention for all that is, a necessary step for trust in myself and others. So I can bring ‘all of me’ into this world.

  • Posted by:  Dee

    Thank you Susan, I appreciate your honesty. Also, I am most grateful for each day more and more so over the years. Thank you for the Open Heart project and Rimpoche.

  • Posted by:  Cynthia

    I appreciate you!

  • Posted by:  Betsy Loeb

    Dear Susan,
    What a profound teaching…the relationship between appreciation and feelings of all sensations. I work with depression and continue to learn ways to “befriend” this feeling. I look forward to adding the notion of appreciation into my perspective.
    And, most importantly I’d like to communicate to you how much I appreciate your teachings, your honesty (open-heartedness) in all the “weathers” that you experience and you. I’m so touched that you are alive after such an accident. Namaste.

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