SUSAN’S
Blog

The necessity of emotion

January 6, 2014   |   10 Comments

To be a spiritual warrior, one must have a broken heart; without a broken heart and the sense of tenderness and vulnerability that is in one’s self and all others, your warriorship is untrustworthy. -Chögyam Trungpa Chogyam Trungpa, the Tibetan meditation master who introduced the Shambhala teachings in the West, famously coined the phrase “idiot compassion” which is an interesting... READ MORE

What I Wish For You

January 1, 2014   |   8 Comments

For you, I wish: In the name of your full blossoming, the removal of all self-doubt. In the name of liberation from suffering, the discovery of what is unmistakably worthy of veneration. In the name of stability, joyful residence in your one true home: your body. In the name of ease, willingness to ride the waves of breath which are... READ MORE

I am not a movie star and other journeys into esoterica.

December 20, 2013   |   21 Comments

Dziga Vertov Chelovek s kinoapparatom (Man with a Movie Camera) (still) 1929 When I was a little girl, I would walk around viewing myself from the outside. Even then, I wondered about the advisability of assuming this perspective. It just seemed odd that I viewed myself as though I was on a television show about my life wherein I was playing... READ MORE

My fellow teachers: Are you transmitting wisdom or are you explaining it?

December 9, 2013   |   19 Comments

{teaching mudra} The other day I was involved in a conversation with three other women who speak publicly. One of them brought up the notion of “transmission.” Rather than giving just another how-to talk, she said, she wanted to transmit something of value. Words are useful, she continued, but authentic presence is more instructive. I agree. But there is a... READ MORE

An Overview of the Buddhist Path: a podcast

December 3, 2013   |   2 Comments

In this podcast, Susan discusses some of the most basic points about the Buddhist path: the Four Noble Truths, the three yanas (or teaching cycles), the ceremony by which one becomes a Buddhist, the main types of meditation practiced in the West, and more.

On determining your worth

November 18, 2013   |   31 Comments

If you’ve ever wanted to get to the bottom of your deepest childhood wounds, stare unblinkingly at your creative terrors, or shine klieg lights on the dankest areas of your personal blind spot, I have a suggestion for you. Start your own business, preferably as a solopreneur. (Well, you could also write a book.) When you work alone to launch... READ MORE

The pain of pricing.

November 7, 2013   |   25 Comments

The other day I wrote a blog post called Self-Employed: Three Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me. The response told me that the growing solopreneur subclass shares many concerns and issues. For example, when we look at each other, it seems that everyone else has got it together while we do not. This is often untrue. (But not always.)... READ MORE

Self-Employment: Three Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me

November 4, 2013   |   62 Comments

                    The other day I received this text from a dear friend who had recently started her own business: “When you started your own thing, did you spend any time hiding under the covers?” Only the first three years, I replied. There are particular inner difficulties in working for yourself. No... READ MORE

Continuing the Open Heart Project

October 13, 2013   |   6 Comments

Dear excellent member of the Open Heart Project, I hope your meditation practice is going well. I really enjoy helping you to bring more mindfulness and awareness into your life. I hope that comes across! It is truly a pleasure for me to send you meditation instruction. Each week I create completely new meditation videos for you and, each time... READ MORE

Tears, Tails, Dickey and Duane

September 17, 2013   |   35 Comments

“I love being alive and I will be the best man I possibly can. I will take love wherever I find it and offer it to everyone who will take it…I will seek knowledge from those wiser and teach those who wish to learn from me.” Duane Allman Today has been a crying kind of day. Perhaps you’ve had such... READ MORE

September 12, 2001

September 11, 2013   |   42 Comments

Every year on 9/11 I feel moved to repost this. May it bring benefit and healing. There is a Buddhist meditation practice called Tonglen. In Tibetan, tong means “sending out” and len means “receiving.” So Tonglen is known as the practice of sending and taking, or of exchanging self for other. Instead of inhaling what makes us feel good and... READ MORE

The Dharma of Communication: a podcast

August 30, 2013   |   Leave a reply

How is it that two people can stand up in front of the same room and say the same thing–but only one person gets heard? What creates magnetizing speech? Join Buddhist teacher and author Susan Piver for this discussion of Right Speech.

#Inbound13 and the Culture of Caring

August 23, 2013   |   25 Comments

I have really got to get out of the house more often. I was honored to have had the chance to offer a “Bold Talk” this week at the 2013 Hubspot Inbound Conference. Hubspot is a company that provides marketing software to small businesses and this year there were over 5500 attendees at the event, about twice as many as... READ MORE

Introducing the Open Heart Project Podcast! First Topic: L O V E

July 31, 2013   |   5 Comments

Hello and welcome to the first Open Heart Project podcast! Personally, I’m very psyched. The first topic is: “The Dharma of Love.” To listen and subscribe on iTunes, click here. This podcast is about falling in love, being in a relationship, and breaking up—from a Buddhist point of view. As a student of Buddhism and someone who has fallen in love, lost love,... READ MORE

The Dharma of Love: a podcast

July 31, 2013   |   2 Comments

Hello and welcome to the first Open Heart Project podcast! Personally, I’m very psyched. The first topic is: “The Dharma of Love.” To listen and subscribe on iTunes, click here. This podcast is about falling in love, being in a relationship, and breaking up—from a Buddhist point of view. As a student of Buddhism and someone who has fallen in love, lost love,... READ MORE

Home Retreat: The Practice of Doing Exactly What You Want

July 4, 2013   |   23 Comments

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful time of year, whether it is summer or winter where you are. Here in Boston, the sun is shining on this Fourth of July and we are delighting in corn, tomatoes, and squash. And I am getting ready to do my annual summer meditation retreat. (I usually go on retreat two to four... READ MORE

A show of hands

May 2, 2013   |   13 Comments

A show of hands, please. What do you believe in? What are your values? What do you believe is at the heart of human nature? What kind of world do you want to live in? Here is what I say. There are more people who want to act out love than hate. There are more people who are neither Red... READ MORE

Prayers for Boston

April 17, 2013   |   Leave a reply

This lovely meditation from Sakyong Mipham has been so healing for me. I invite you to share in it.

Only Us: Creating an Enlightened World

April 2, 2013   |   Leave a reply

It was so much fun to co-teach with the excellent Ethan Nichtern, Buddhist teacher, author, activist, and pal at the New York Shambhala Center. Here is a podcast of the evening. PS I’m teaching there April 12-14. Shambhala Training: Level 1.

The best advice

March 26, 2013   |   5 Comments

From the beautiful “life is a collaboration with love,” to the very practical “watch out for idiots,”  the inscrutable “don’t forget your real job,” and the classic, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop,” a bouquet of the best advice my FB pals ever received. Whether from their mother, the Bhagavad Gita, or Katherine Hepburn, there are some real gems... READ MORE

Tea with Jesse Jacobs

March 20, 2013   |   3 Comments

Honored and delighted to sit down for a conversation with Jesse Jacobs, the founder of Samovar Tea Lounges in San Francisco. We discussed: how I flunked 8th grade, never went to college—and then published six books including a New York Times bestseller how I overcame her phobia of flying through the kindness of strangers how I went from Austin cocktail waitress... READ MORE

My Radio Enso Interview

March 5, 2013   |   2 Comments

Which I really enjoyed! In which we covered the following: During our soulful, in-depth conversation (listen here), we covered: Her work as a teacher, writer, and blogger interested in “extreme self knowledge” and“becoming a more truthful version of who I already am.” Reading psychology books at the library at 10 years old and feeling like she never fit in. Working as a... READ MORE

How vulnerability can save the world.

March 4, 2013   |   9 Comments

Last week, I blogged about vulnerability as a path. In other words, it’s not simply a choiceless state of being (we are vulnerable), it is a point of view. A stance. A way. In fact, it may be the only way to solve the problems our world faces. We could at least consider that. I mean nothing else has ever... READ MORE

Vulnerability is the path

February 25, 2013   |   4 Comments

“The only true elegance is vulnerability.” Chogyam Trungpa Thank goodness for Brené Brown and that Ted talk on vulnerability. That over 7m people have watched is pretty mind blowing and pretty fantastic. What, I have wondered, was in those 7m+ minds as they clicked “play” or “forward” or “replay”? Were they looking for some recognition for their inner experience? Did... READ MORE

My Annual Report for 2012

December 31, 2012   |   25 Comments

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... READ MORE

On Connecticut

December 15, 2012   |   Leave a reply

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... READ MORE

Only Us: Beyond Republican and Democrat

November 3, 2012   |   51 Comments

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... READ MORE

In which we listen to music and search for our hearts

September 10, 2012   |   8 Comments

Today our topic is feeling: What it means to feel, how we meet our feelings in helpful and unhelpful ways, and how it is just plain difficult for so many of us to even know what it is we are feeling. The question, “what do you feel right now,” presents problems for many of us. Some people will tell you... READ MORE

Eyes open in meditation? Really?

September 3, 2012   |   Leave a reply

One of the most common questions I hear about meditation is “why do we keep our eyes open in meditation practice?” This is a very good question and I thought I’d take this opportunity to revisit some of the reasons. There are eyes-closed and eyes-open meditation styles and while both are valuable, they can have slightly different flavors.

On Posture

August 29, 2012   |   5 Comments

When you practice, should you sit on a cushion? In a chair? What are the various ways a person could sit to avoid pain? These photos could be helpful in figuring it all out.    knees and pelvis create a supportive triangle: if you can sit in this way, it is ideal. for some, though, it is too stressful on... READ MORE

Container Principle

August 22, 2012   |   14 Comments

When it comes to meditation practice, no matter how ambitious or committed we may feel, it is not easy to keep our practice going. Things get in the way. We have too many emails to answer. The kids need to get to school. We have an important meeting at 8a and there is still much to do to prepare. And... READ MORE

5 steps to establish genuine confidence

August 20, 2012   |   15 Comments

Buddhist thought has many value-free suggestions for creating lasting confidence. In the video above, I share some of them. As you will see, they are very, very basic but also quite brilliant. The underlying theme is to simplify, slow down, pay attention to details, and have faith–not as an act of wishful thinking, but because as you take these steps... READ MORE

On boredom and the radical act of doing nothing

August 17, 2012   |   21 Comments

Eventually, almost all meditators run into the same problem: boredom. Boredom usually arises in one of two ways—as a constant sense of sleepiness or as a kind of free floating anxiety and agitation. Yes, agitation. I would like to tell you right now that you do not have ADD. If I had a dollar for everyone who said to me... READ MORE

September 12, 2001

July 21, 2012   |   4 Comments

My heart (and everyone’s heart) goes out to the citizens of Aurora and beyond. We all want to do something to help. I decided to repost this piece in case it’s useful. September 12, 2011 There is a Buddhist meditation practice called Tonglen. In Tibetan, tong means “sending out” and len means “receiving.” So Tonglen is known as the practice of sending and taking,... READ MORE

Strong Emotions & Meditation Practice

July 2, 2012   |   23 Comments

One of the very big misconceptions about meditation practice is that it will help you not to feel things too strongly—except for maybe peace, goodwill, and bliss (whatever that means). Eventually perhaps this will become true, but for most us, when strong feelings—especially strong negative feelings—are encountered, we view this as a failure of our practice. Like, if I was... READ MORE

Outer, Inner, and Secret

June 27, 2012   |   6 Comments

It could be said that meditation practice works on three levels simultaneously. To receive support for your practice, please join the Open Heart Project!

The Path of Hi

June 19, 2012   |   20 Comments

Hi! This morning, I went for a run at about 630a. The streets were mostly deserted but occasionally I would pass someone on the sidewalk. When I did, I said, “hi.” OK, I live in Boston. Boston is not a hi-saying town. I used to live in Austin, TX which is very much a hi-saying town–you say hi when you... READ MORE

What does it take to really, truly establish a meditation practice?

June 18, 2012   |   30 Comments

I’m sure you know, either from experience or research, that meditation practice is very, very good for you. It helps maintain physical health. It creates stability in your mind. It opens your heart. It’s actually kind of amazing. Nonetheless, most of us (myself included) struggle with maintaining the discipline of a regular practice. Whether you’ve been practicing for one year... READ MORE

New offering from the Open Heart Project: The Practitioner Newsletter

June 13, 2012   |   3 Comments

Thank you so much to those of you who have participated in the Open Heart Project, our wonderful, growing online meditation community. Some of you have been practicing for some months now, which is awesome. Please continue!! I’ve created a second newsletter (called “Practitioner”) for those who are ready to move beyond the brand new beginner phase and take the... READ MORE

Seth Godin, meditation, the enneagram, and what it means to pay attention

May 24, 2012   |   27 Comments

Seth Godin, the marketing genius, writer, teacher, and all-around awesome person is one of my idols. I receive his blog posts every day and, although our topics are different, in many ways I model my work on his for its clarity, usefulness, and soulfulness. His post today was about empathy as a most important component of strategic marketing. If we... READ MORE

Not too tight, not too loose

May 22, 2012   |   7 Comments

As you have learned (or will learn if this is your first time meditating), our practice requires us to be mindful of three things. First is mindfulness of body—we hold our posture in a certain way. Second is mindfulness of breath—we place attention on breath and, when it strays, bring it back. Third is mindfulness of mind. But what does... READ MORE

Eyes open meditation?

May 17, 2012   |   27 Comments

Often, when I teach our meditation technique to people for the first time, I hear this question, “why do we have to keep our eyes open?” Sometimes people say it’s easier to concentrate with eyes closed or there are just too many distractions or I keep seeing weird things, or simply become overly conscious of their vision. This is totally... READ MORE

Meditation: How do I know if I'm doing it right?

May 15, 2012   |   15 Comments

One of the questions that most of us will end up asking about our meditation practice is “how do I know if I’m doing it right?” We sit there minute after minute, day after day, month after month and it is totally natural to wonder, am I really doing anything? Is there a right way to meditate? How do I... READ MORE

Do.

May 9, 2012   |   17 Comments

In the last newsletter, I offered a review of some basic “don’ts.” Today is part 2: the “dos.” I know that some of you may have heard these things before, but, really, we can’t hear such things too many times. Without further ado, please do:

Don't

May 6, 2012   |   18 Comments

Some thoughts on some of the most basic misconceptions and nutty side trips we all make when it comes to meditation We can’t hear these things too many times. And now, without further ado, please do not:

Confidence

May 3, 2012   |   17 Comments

This past weekend, I was teaching at the Providence, RI Shambhala Center. We spent the entire time talking about fearlessness—what it was, how fear maintains its grip on us, how to loosen it, and how to manifest fearlessness in our lives. My final talk was on confidence and it was meant to be a culmination of the entire program. As... READ MORE

The 3 Qualities of the Awakened Mind: 3. Power

May 1, 2012   |   4 Comments

Last week, we discussed two of the three aspects of the awakened mind—compassion and wisdom. Today I’d like to offer a (very) few thoughts on the third quality—power. When we think about the quality of power, I’m sure many things come to mind. Some are positive—the certainty of a strong ruler or the beneficence of a saint. Some are not... READ MORE

The 3 Qualities of the Awakened Mind: 2. Wisdom

April 25, 2012   |   15 Comments

Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of wisdom (Detail from a thangka painting by Greg Smith) As mentioned in the last post, according to Buddhist thought, the awakened mind has three qualities. The first is compassion. The second quality, wisdom, is the topic of today’s post. When it comes to what it really means to be wise, it’s easy to posit all sorts... READ MORE

The 3 Qualities of the Awakened Mind: 1. Compassion

April 23, 2012   |   25 Comments

According to Buddhist thought, the awakened mind has three qualities. Although I’ve said many times that having goals for your practice is a bad idea, I’m now going to suggest that there actually are goals and they are to realize these three qualities. However, the path is not accomplished by conventional means. Interestingly, these qualities arise spontaneously when we let... READ MORE

You are good

April 18, 2012   |   20 Comments

I want to speak to you about the most controversial, incendiary notion in the entire world, the one that, if you are looking to cause a commotion, disturb the status quo, or get into a fight, is the thing you should say. Are you ready? Are you sure you’re ready? All beings are basically good. There, I said it.

Choosing a path: Taking Refuge

April 16, 2012   |   4 Comments

The Open Heart Project is designed to help you find your unique path with meditation as a support. Whether you are a Christian, Jew, Atheist, or none of the above, meditation provides a powerful foundation from which to explore your world. No one has to be (or pretend to be) a Buddhist to receive this support. However, sometimes members of... READ MORE

Meditation: Am I Doing it "Right?"

April 11, 2012   |   15 Comments

This past Monday, I went to hear a talk from the wonderful Tibetan Buddhist teacher, Tsoknyi Rinpoche who has a new book called Open Heart, Open Mind. I haven’t read it yet, but it sounds great. And I loved what he had to say about it. He started out by saying that when he first came to the West to teach,... READ MORE

What's with all the bowing?

April 9, 2012   |   12 Comments

At the end of meditation or yoga practice, it is common for the teacher to bow. Maybe you bow back, maybe you don’t, but it’s worth taking a look at the gesture in any case. Bowing has actually become a semi-normal part of pop culture. I’ve seen politicians bow after making a speech, actors on sitcoms bowing to indicate some... READ MORE

The Joy of Community

April 4, 2012   |   14 Comments

When it comes to meditation, it is great to practice at home alone but it is also valuable to practice with others. It seems to provide buoyancy for our practice. It is a joy. In fact, it is more than a joy—practicing within community is considered vital to the spiritual path, so much so that it is one of the... READ MORE

The Power of Lineage

March 20, 2012   |   72 Comments

Pivers, circa 1930s               Marpa Your life is telling a story. Do you know what it is? If you reflect, you could see that your life actually has a narrative arc. Themes keep repeating. On any ordinary day, story lines are continually rising, arcing, fading. Some are big and some are small. Although you... READ MORE

Mindfulness-Awareness, Mom and Dad

March 14, 2012   |   29 Comments

I am with my parents right now and in being here with them, I am reminded of how much they were my very first dharma teachers. There is a tradition in Tibetan Buddhism of using slogan practice to refine your mind and dissolve negative mental habits by contemplating such statements as “Regard all dharmas as dreams,” “Drive all blames into... READ MORE

The Power of Sorrow

March 12, 2012   |   61 Comments

I don’t know if you have noticed this about your meditation practice, but one thing that many people report is a kind of softening—to your own experience, perhaps, but also to the world around you. There is a sense of permeability, of walking down the street and receiving input in a more direct way than before. When you see a... READ MORE

Problem #1 when it comes to meditation? Laziness. Luckily, there are 4 antidotes

March 5, 2012   |   6 Comments

We all have difficulty with committing to the meditation cushion. I totally understand. When you sit on the cushion, you’re agreeing to sit down with the unknown. Sometimes this feels terrifying, sometimes exciting but, mostly, it’s just kind of ordinary–and it’s this ordinariness that might make us think “nothing is happening” or “I must be doing this wrong.” And then... READ MORE

Relaxation, Meditation & The Self Help Demon

February 27, 2012   |   30 Comments

Every now and then, I see ads for meditation that describe things like short cuts and fast tracks, which are often numbered and qualified, as in: “Meditation: 5 Steps to Easy-Peasy Peace” or “Meditation: Bliss in Just 3 Minutes a Day” and such. I’ve been meditating for about 15 years. I’ve spent countless hours on the cushion and a significant... READ MORE

On Equanimity (and happy new year!)

February 22, 2012   |   13 Comments

Happy new year! Today is Tibetan new year and as I am a student in a Tibetan Buddhist new year, I say to you: Happy New Year!! Today is the day a new cycle begins. (And it’s the one year anniversary of The OHP—so, yay!!) Today marks the beginning of the year of the dragon, which basically means this: fasten... READ MORE

On Working with Obstacles: 5 Suggestions

February 17, 2012   |   24 Comments

Next week is Buddhist New Year: Feb 22, to be exact. In the Shambhala Buddhist tradition, the week or so preceding the new year is called Dön season and is thought to be a time of obstacles, difficulties, and stuckness. I don’t know about you, but when I find myself feeling trapped and frustrated and “I need things to move!!!”... READ MORE

Establishing a meditation habit

February 8, 2012   |   15 Comments

Beginning a meditation practice is a wonderful thing. Beginning a meditation practice with crazy expectations–as in, “I’m going to meditate from now on, every day of my life”–is a nutty thing. Establishing new habits takes time and an unswerving focus on incremental steps. Here are some thoughts about how to slowly bring your practice to life in such a way... READ MORE

Do you have questions about meditation practice? I will try to answer them.

February 7, 2012   |   30 Comments

This is me*, awaiting your questions about meditation practice. Please post in comments and I will do my best to offer you a helpful answer. *I have been a student of Shambhala Buddhism since 1995. I teach meditation workshops all over the world. I graduated from a Buddhist Seminary in 2004 and was authorized as a meditation instructor in 2005. I... READ MORE

Can I practice Buddhist meditation and still be a Christian/Jew/Atheist/Etc?

February 6, 2012   |   32 Comments

I recently wrote about the benefit of choosing one meditation path and sticking with it. I received a lot of really interesting feedback from you, including this question from an Open Heart Project member: Will Buddhist meditation practice interfere with the commitment to my Christian faith? Meditation is making a very positive difference in my life and, to me, enhances... READ MORE

Choosing One Path

February 1, 2012   |   25 Comments

The other day, I received an email from a member of the OHP who was wondering about continuing to do shamatha meditation (the practice we do together) while also participating in a local Zen center’s introductory course. The Zen center had requested of its students to forego other practices during this training. But this student enjoys both practices. She loves... READ MORE

Question from a reader: Can I do more than one meditation practice?

January 31, 2012   |   13 Comments

I recently received this very excellent question from a member of The Open Heart Project: Q. This Shamatha meditation you are teaching is giving me good results (I become more compassionate to myself and to other people around me, and I become more objective with my feelings and thus not easily bruised). I have joined a Zen Meditation group (where... READ MORE

The Open Heart Project: A chance to meditate on life, love, and reality

January 26, 2012   |   2 Comments

What is it? Several years ago, I was wrapping up teaching a particularly moving week-long meditation and writing retreat. My small group (about 15 people) had committed to spending 7 days in the Rocky Mountains, learning to meditate and working on personal writing projects. There were no phones, no TVs, and no internet service. To cap off the sense of... READ MORE

Mindfulness-Awareness

January 25, 2012   |   13 Comments

mindfulness and awareness practice and study form and emptiness precision and letting go unconditionality and tenderness word and story voice and song concentration and intuition luminosity and emptiness What do these pairs of words have in common? As we practice shamatha meditation (sometimes translated as the practice of tranquility), we come to see that it is actually comprised of two... READ MORE

Finding a path. Or how I became a Buddhist.

January 18, 2012   |   31 Comments

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/35269526[/vimeo] Hello everyone. Yesterday a member of the Open Heart Project asked me how I became a Buddhist and I told her I would answer the question in a post. Each of us comes to our spiritual path in a unique way and, as the poet Rumi said, there are a million ways to kneel and kiss the ground. There... READ MORE

I have a dream. What is yours?

January 16, 2012   |   18 Comments

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/35166702[/vimeo] I have a dream. That one day, we will live in a world where we recognize all beings as one family. I have a dream that on that day, when any one of my brothers or sisters, be they known to me or unknown, seen or unseen, animal or human, finds themselves in sorrow for any reason, a dark... READ MORE

Meditation misconceptions revisited

January 11, 2012   |   14 Comments

Whether you’ve practiced meditation countless times or this is your very first time, it cannot hurt to review some of the biggest meditation misconceptions: 1. To meditate, you have to stop thinking. This is the big one. Somehow, people have the idea that to meditate, you must “clear the mind of thought.” What does that even mean? Please think about... READ MORE

How Meditation Makes You Fearless

January 4, 2012   |   10 Comments

In the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, we say that meditation trains us to be warriors in our lives—fearless, open hearted, and genuine. Today I want to talk about fearlessness and its connection to meditation practice and I’ll start out by relating a story I heard Pema Chodron tell in one of her books. It is about her teacher, the founder of Shambhala... READ MORE

Day Seven: On Being an Artist

January 4, 2012   |   Leave a reply

Art is a uniquely human endeavor, and act of genius. Art is what we do when we do something for the first time, do it uniquely, and do it to touch someone else. The generosity is built into the act. Painting might be art, pottery might be art, customer service might be art–but none of them are art if all... READ MORE

Day Six: What are your spiritual values?

December 31, 2011   |   2 Comments

Next week I will return to posting 2x per week. Today’s question, the 6th in our 7-question series is from moi-self. Tomorrow’s question, on being an artist, is from the beloved and be-respected Seth Godin. Question: Where, how, and with whom have my spiritual values manifested in 2011? Where, how, and with whom do I wish to express/manifest/share them in... READ MORE

Day Four: What does it mean to serve?

December 29, 2011   |   4 Comments

Next week I will return to posting 2x per week. Today’s question, the 4th in our 7-question series is from Jennifer Louden. Tomorrow’s question, on creativity, is from Jonathan Fields. Stay tuned! Question: How did I serve in 2011? Whom did I serve? What aspects of my service brought me alive? What aspects drained me? If I could serve in... READ MORE

Day Three: Becoming organized: a spiritual practice?

December 28, 2011   |   4 Comments

“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty, lies opportunity.” -Albert Einstein Each day between Dec 26 and Jan 1, fellow teacher, writer, and friend Patti Digh and I are hosting The Week of Inward Looking. Each day, a new question from a wonderful teacher. Today’s contemplation is from Andrew Mellen, aka “VIrgoman” and... READ MORE

Day Two: Where have you been hiding?

December 27, 2011   |   5 Comments

Each day between Dec 26, 2011 and Jan 1, 2012, one of seven wonderful teachers will offer us a question to contemplate as we head into a new year. Yesteday’s question was from the lovely Patti Digh and it lives here on my blog and here on Facebook. Chime in if you like! Today’s question is from the equally lovely... READ MORE

Day One: Reflecting together into 2012

December 26, 2011   |   9 Comments

As we move into a new year, I want to offer you a few personal reflections, some suggestions for your own process of reflecting, and opportunities to practice together into 2012. For me, this week provides the perfect circumstances for turning within and asking myself honestly, how did I do in 2011? What do I hope for in 2012? How... READ MORE

New Year's Resolutions: Part 2

December 21, 2011   |   4 Comments

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/33950623[/vimeo] In the last newsletter, I mentioned one idea for creating new year’s resolutions in such a way that they become part of your spiritual path rather than an exercise in psychological self-torture. It was to attune to the presence of what you seek in your environment and connect with its energy on the spot. In this way, we build... READ MORE

Special Seth Godin post

December 15, 2011   |   16 Comments

OK, you know from my book review of We Are All Weird that I love Seth. I even got to share the stage with him briefly last week when he invited me to say a few words at The Medicine Ball Session about meditation and getting to know how your mind works. (Which is very important when you’re trying to... READ MORE

What is the meaning of non-attachment?

December 14, 2011   |   8 Comments

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/33680129[/vimeo] I continue to receive excellent questions from members of The Open Heart Project. Q: Don’t most schools of Buddhism advise against attachment? Does attaching yourself to other humans make your awareness grow or be clouded, in your opinion? A: I used to work for a guy who would change direction on our projects without telling me. He kept moving... READ MORE

The essence of loving kindness.

December 13, 2011   |   3 Comments

I’m sure you have felt gentleness time and again for those you love or admire: your child, lover, a hero of music or politics, even your pet. You think of this creature and your heart melts. You feel how deeply you wish for their ease, and not because they “deserve” it. There actually is no reason at all for this... READ MORE

Meditation Question

December 10, 2011   |   3 Comments

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/28195531[/vimeo] Members of The Open Heart Project come up with the most excellent questions. Please join this growing community of meditators to receive meditation instruction 2x weekly via videos sent right to your inbox. It’s free. See the video above for more info. And then pose your own question(s)! Q: I often find that when I am getting ready to... READ MORE

Dorkiness and the path to mastery

December 6, 2011   |   3 Comments

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/33193893[/vimeo] Late last year, I flew out to Shambhala Mountain Center, a beautiful retreat center in the Colorado Rockies where I teach frequently, to be one of a bunch of meditation instructors staffing a month long meditation program. In my sangha, this program, called Dathun (which means month-long retreat in Tibetan, unsurprisingly), has been going on for over 30 years and has a... READ MORE

You are weird. You're welcome.

December 5, 2011   |   2 Comments

We Are All Weird The Myth of Mass and the End of Compliance By Seth Godin I must begin this rare book review (I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a book on my blog?) with a disclaimer: I love Seth Godin. I think he is one of the smartest, coolest, most generous people ever, EVER. Naturally I’m predisposed to like... READ MORE

Yoga teachers: enough with the invitations. TEACH! (A rant.)

December 4, 2011   |   28 Comments

I love yoga. I’ve been a half-assed student (which might be an asana, I’m not sure) for close to twenty years. I remember the moment I fell in love with the practice. It was at Kripalu. The teacher was Stephen (Kaviraj) Cope. The pose was trikonasana/triangle. Following Kavi’s precise verbal instruction and watching him model the pose with his beautiful... READ MORE

You are good.

December 1, 2011   |   14 Comments

If I had to identify the #1 issue that stands between most of us and the ability to be happy, it is disbelief in our own inherent goodness. Nearly every thought, action, and yearning is immediately followed by a critique, a view of ourselves through a reverse lens: How is this playing out? How does this make me look? What... READ MORE

Choose Love

November 28, 2011   |   5 Comments

This is a wonderful project featuring women helping women to love their bodies, heal their relationship with food, and sidestep the cultural urgings to find ourselves inadequate in the looks department. The important message of this project is that we can always choose to love ourselves. 30+ women writers (including me, Julie Daley, Marianne Elliot, Anna Guest-Jelley, Angela Kelsey, my... READ MORE

Thank you.

November 23, 2011   |   6 Comments

My thanks to all who participate in the Open Heart Project, study with me at workshops, visit this blog, or read my books. I am so grateful to you and on this Thanksgiving Eve, I offer you the following. [vimeo]http://vimeo.com/32587084[/vimeo]

Meditation, Anxiety, and Kindness

November 21, 2011   |   5 Comments

Recently, a member of the Open Heart Project wrote asking if I knew of any meditations for dealing with anxiety and this really started me thinking. I struggle with anxiety myself and it has been through attempting to apply the dharma to my own experiences that I have come to see its extraordinary applicability. As such, I have several suggestions... READ MORE

To really change, give up all attempts at self-improvement

October 17, 2011   |   5 Comments

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/30680348[/vimeo] It is quite natural to begin a meditation practice because you want to change or improve something about your life. Otherwise, why would you even try it? Of course you want to be less stressed, more patient, boost your confidence, feel less pain of all sorts. Your meditation practice will definitely help with these things–but only if you give... READ MORE

Healthy ways to keep your heart open when friends are too needy

October 12, 2011   |   6 Comments

Stop. Give. In addition to helping you relax and discover your own wisdom, meditation is a way of softening and opening your heart. But is it possible to open it too much? I’m sure you have had this experience, of trying to be good and kind and then finding yourself under the thumb of a very needy person. Sometimes it... READ MORE