dharma Archives - Susan Piver : Susan Piver


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This contains proof of your brilliance.

January 29, 2018   |   Leave a reply

The meditation begins at 4:55 Audio only version is here. Hello, dear meditator. I am so happy  to see you and to offer you this week’s meditation. Before today’s sit, I talk about one very special aspect of our meditation practice together, the one that surprises me over and over. Although it is a very simple part of the meditation... READ MORE

The Teacher-Student Relationship: Liberating or a Trap?

July 27, 2017   |   29 Comments

I’m a 20+ year practitioner in the Shambhala Buddhist lineage, a Tibetan Vajrayana tradition. It is based on teachings brought to the West by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. There are things in these two seemingly straightforward sentences that might piss some people off. For example, in my community, there are arguments about whether it is okay to say “Shambhala” and “Buddhist”in... READ MORE

How and why would anyone become a Buddhist?

June 12, 2017   |   1 Comment

   Welcome to the Ask Susan podcast. This is episode #16.  I’m really excited to be able to offer this to you. Each week, I will answer a question about spirituality and meditation practice. Please click here to ask me your question. This week’s question is about becoming a Buddhist. The ceremony for doing so is called “taking refuge”. What... READ MORE

Loving the People You Hate/Donald Trump

March 7, 2016   |   85 Comments

During this election cycle in the US, I find tremendous cause for hate. Spoiler alert: I HATE Donald Trump—hate him with a passion I would otherwise reserve for terrorists, power-mongers, fundamentalists of any stripe, baby slappers, and puppy murderers. HATE. I fucking hate that guy. He is a liar. A charlatan. A cheat. Someone who degrades others. An egomaniac who... READ MORE


March 7, 2016   |   Leave a reply

Durante este ciclo electoral en Estados Unidos, encuentro tremendos motivos para el odio. Revelación: YO ODIO a Donald Trump-lo odio con una pasión que además reservo para los terroristas, traficantes de poder, fundamentalistas de cualquier índole, maltratadores de niños y asesino de cachorros. ODIO. Carajo que odio a ese tipo. Es un mentiroso. Un charlatan. Un tramposo. Alguien que humilla... READ MORE

The Open Heart Project: 2015 Annual Report

January 5, 2016   |   11 Comments

Hello, to all! I hope your year is beginning in a delightfully auspicious way. Mine is, because I finished this $(#) annual report which has somehow taken about a week to write. (I thought it would take a couple of hours.) I share it with you here as an account of the ups and downs of 2015 which, as it... READ MORE

What you are doing right now is the path.

December 8, 2015   |   18 Comments

In the Buddhist view, there are three ways to practice the dharma. (Determining the way that is right for you is a matter of karma and inspiration.) The first way is the path of monasticism. This is fairly straightforward in terms of understanding what is meant. You renounce this world and the things of this world—money, sex, buying a house,... READ MORE

Helping victims of violence

November 20, 2015   |   8 Comments

…which is basically all of us at this point. After the brutal attacks in Paris last week, like everyone, I felt enraged, grief-stricken, and, perhaps most of all, lost. What could I, one person, do in response to this horror, not to mention other horrors in Beirut, Nigeria, and in the skies above? If only there was some way to... READ MORE

Start Here Now comes out today

September 15, 2015   |   11 Comments

My new book is out today. I am honored to share it with you. Personally, I really, really like it. I’m so happy about it. I woke up this morning at 5:30 wondering how the day would go, how I would feel about it all, (it’s such a vulnerable situation), and if the world would embrace it in any way.... READ MORE

The magic of a morning routine

September 9, 2015   |   4 Comments

Yesterday was a wonderful day. I felt productive, connected, and easeful. I accomplished work I was proud of. I liked myself. I focused on what mattered to me and honored my energy ebbs and flows. When I went to bed, I felt good-tired. The day before yesterday sucked. I wandered around in a fog. I watched a lot of television.... READ MORE

The one where I asked the Dalai Lama a question

September 8, 2015   |   6 Comments

Some years ago, my friend Josh was organizing a press conference at MIT for the Dalai Lama and the prominent neuroscientist Richard Davidson. They were there to answer questions about the Dalai Lama’s decades-long dialogue with scientists exploring the relationship of science and Eastern thought. Josh asked me if I wanted to go and of course I did. There were... READ MORE

Is writing an egotistical act?

July 8, 2015   |   2 Comments

I recently saw this question: Does anyone of you write morning pages? With Sokuzan Brown‘s talk today (in the Daily Dharma Gathering) I thought about the observing of the I and I was wondering if it is an act of holding on to the ego to constantly make I-statements in the free-writing. Generally, I would be interested what others think of journaling in connection to meditation.... READ MORE

Rediscovering basic goodness

June 10, 2015   |   2 Comments

I just finished teaching an Open Heart retreat in beautiful Dechen Choling which is situated in rural south-central France, near Limoges. The beauty here reminds me of what the world felt like when I was a kid in summertime:  Verdant, lush, quiet, warm…all you want to do is be outside. These words are misleadingly prosaic… But when you arrive here... READ MORE

How do Buddhists respond to violence?

April 28, 2015   |   8 Comments

I was teaching a workshop in Baltimore this past weekend, just as the rioting and agitation of the protests was ramping up. We all felt frozen. One of the students brought up this question—what are we supposed to do? What, as non-violent people, do we do when faced with violence, including our own? She was enraged at everyone. Enraged at... READ MORE

Transforming Betrayal and Non-Closure

March 25, 2015   |   3 Comments

I wanted to use today’s email to respond to a post (on our Facebook page) from Barba Twin regarding anger and forgiveness. In it, she describes a situation that many of you may be familiar with: a relationship that has ended with no opportunity for closure. The person seeking it is then left on his or her own to find... READ MORE

En respuesta a la Violencia y a la Locura (Una perspectiva Budista)

January 11, 2015   |   2 Comments

Translation courtesy of Yolanda Andrade. Tal vez han visto las noticias donde hombres armados abrieron fuego en las oficinas de la “revista satírica” Charlie Hebdo, publicación francesa que en el pasado ha enfurecido a los extremistas islámicos. 12 personas, incluyendo el famoso caricaturista francés, fueron asesinadas. Pensé que era un chiste, No lo es. Nada puede mejorar lo sucedido. No hay explicación... READ MORE

Responding to Violence and Insanity (one Buddhist’s perspective)

January 7, 2015   |   85 Comments

              Perhaps you have seen the news today that gunmen opened fire on the offices of the “satirical magazine” Charlie Hebdo, a publication in Paris, France that has in the past angered Islamist extremists. Up to 12 people, including famous French cartoonists, were killed. I thought it was a joke. It is not. Nothing... READ MORE

The Dharma of Depression: a podcast

August 11, 2014   |   3 Comments

In this podcast, drawn from a talk in the Spring of 2014 at the New York Shambhala Center, Susan discusses the intelligence of depression, how to differentiate depression from sadness, and how depression can become a part of your spiritual path.

Indestructible Goodness

June 18, 2014   |   4 Comments

                          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.... READ MORE

Is it good or bad to have a big ego?

January 30, 2014   |   10 Comments

As a Buddhist teacher and someone with a lifelong interest in spirituality, I have attended my share of, well, interesting gatherings. From months-long meditation retreats where the vast and profound dharma is practiced, to sweaty evenings of devotional chanting, to workshops on using Sacred Geometry to attract love, to cocktail parties where sage is burned to prevent hangovers, to business... READ MORE

Can Success and Sex Sell Mindfulness?

January 22, 2014   |   6 Comments

This appeared in today’s Huffington Post… I’m a meditation teacher who speaks about mindfulness and teaches workshops around the world. I’m also founder of the Open Heart Project, an online meditation community with close to 12,000 members. And what a great time it is to be a meditation teacher! Mindfulness is becoming a movement and although I’m not always sure... READ MORE

The Secret to Happiness (as per the Dalai Lama, et al)

January 15, 2014   |   17 Comments

For some reason, I’ve taken it upon myself to declare new holidays. The last one was “International I Don’t Feel Bad About Anything Day” which was celebrated by not feeling guilty or judgmental about anything for one whole day. The new holiday is called “What About You? Day.” We celebrate by replacing the thought, “What About Me?” with “What About... READ MORE

The Hard Beauty of the Path

January 13, 2014   |   16 Comments

When it comes to the spiritual path, it seems there are two schools of thought. (Well, three. The first school says there is no such thing as a spiritual path.) The next school says that there is a particular path for you. Find it. Stay with it. Work it. The final school says there is something of value in all... READ MORE

The Fierce Power of Vulnerability: a podcast

January 7, 2014   |   3 Comments

In this podcast, drawn from a talk in late 2013 at the New York Shambhala Center, Susan discusses some of the sources of the biggest problems we face: speed and stress; fundamentalism; fear–and how reconnecting with our innate softness reverses them. She draws the connection between mindfulness meditation and the softening of our hearts.

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

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

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.

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

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

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


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:

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 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

Mindfulness doesn't mean peacefulness

September 28, 2011   |   4 Comments

From a participant in The Open Heart Project: Q: “How can I increase my mindfulness when all the stressors of my life come into play at once?” A: I really appreciate your question about becoming more mindful when you are experiencing moments of particular stress. This is totally doable. However–if by becoming more mindful, you mean ceasing to feel stress,... READ MORE

Do meditators get pissed off?

September 19, 2011   |   11 Comments

I wrote this in response to a friend who was feeling bad because one of her possessions was stolen–something that she had cared for, paid for in full, and would be expensive to replace. She wrote me feeling that her practice had failed her because she felt so violated and angry that she was questioning the goodness of her fellow... READ MORE

I Went Down to the Crossroads. Part One.

September 16, 2011   |   12 Comments

Me. Albert King. Another planet. About 25 years ago, I was driving cross country for the reasons you might expect of a 20-year old who was utterly lost. Where the hell was my life? It had to be somewhere. It was not in the big city suburb I grew up in. Not in the rows of desks at that sheep... READ MORE

Savor and Serve…my interview with Jen Louden

September 13, 2011   |   Leave a reply

I love me some Jen Louden. She is devoted, generous, smart, funny, and has a fantastic haircut. What’s not to love? Oh yes, she also wants to help everyone in the world become who they’re really meant to be and thereby save the planet. A mission I wholly admire. She interviewed me for her Savor & Serve project and you... READ MORE

Practicing on vacation.

September 6, 2011   |   6 Comments

Right now, I’m in Maine on our annual vacation. Duncan (my husband) and I come up here once a year. He has been doing so since he was a child and I’ve been coming here with him for the last 15 years. It’s the one time of the year where we leave everything–our stresses, concerns, chores, work responsibilities–at home. Or... READ MORE

When the Iron Bird Flies

August 15, 2011   |   Leave a reply

When the iron bird flies and horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the face of the earth. ~ Guru Padmasambhava (8th Century) I can’t wait for this film, described this way by the producers: When the Iron Bird Flies traces the astounding path of one of the world’s great spiritual traditions from the... READ MORE

Enlightened Reading

June 17, 2011   |   9 Comments

(Me, age 4, pretending to read. Some things never change.) These are the three most valuable and important books about meditation that I’ve ever read. You could spend your whole life reading and rereading them and would never get to the end of their depth and usefulness. In fact, if you or I were ever so lucky and diligent as... READ MORE

How to Open Your Heart

May 13, 2011   |   7 Comments

What is meant by a “contemplative view?” Rather than probing your thoughts and feelings for a storyline (i.e., what does this mean about me, my past, you, our relationship?), you simply see your thoughts and feelings. Observe them. Take them in. Allow them to be as they are without seeking to manipulate them at all. You’ll see some stuff you... READ MORE

On finding love.

May 11, 2011   |   16 Comments

I’ll try to keep myself open up to you. That’s a promise that I made to love. Joni Mitchell I read this quote today on someone’s Facebook page and a better instruction for love, I can’t find. The foremost allegiance is to love itself and this is a pledge you can actually honor, as opposed to the pledge to always... READ MORE

On Compassion and Enemies

May 4, 2011   |   120 Comments

On Monday, I wrote a little about my response to Osama bin Laden’s killing. Upon hearing of his death, most people expressed heartfelt and understandable relief that our hunt for one who wished to destroy us was over. Others participated in “celebrations” that seemed tinged with what could be described kindly as poor sportsmanship. The question I was trying to... READ MORE

Osama bin Laden is dead. One Buddhist’s response.

May 2, 2011   |   354 Comments

“In the Shambhala warrior tradition, we say you should only have to kill an enemy once every thousand years.” –Chogyam Trungpa So, Osama bin Laden is dead. We killed him. There really was no choice. We were clearly in an “us or them” situation and if we didn’t kill him, he was going to continue to do everything in his... READ MORE

Question from a reader: how to fit meditation into a mom's life with three kids under 5 and how not to fall asleep? Answer from Karen Maezen Miller!

April 18, 2011   |   7 Comments

A exciting first for susanpiver.com: a guest blog post! This one is from the talented and soulful Karen Maezen Miller, a Zen Priest and mother. Her book, Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life (New World Library, April 2010) is a memoir about spirituality in everyday life. I had received several questions from mothers about how to integrate... READ MORE

Where does real confidence come from?

April 11, 2011   |   14 Comments

Most people I know (including myself) suffer from lack of confidence, at least sometimes. Or all the time. The things I normally do to boost my confidence are chosen from among the following: Remind myself of sometime when someone said something nice to me. Call a friend and ask them if they think I’m talented/right/worthy. Downscale my original plan and... READ MORE

When the actor met the Monk.

April 7, 2011   |   24 Comments

A fantastic story from one of my very favorite radio shows ever, The Moth. I laughed. I cried. I fell further in love with the dharma, as if that were possible. Apparently, it is. Only about 7 minutes long–totally worth a listen. Even with the truly dreadful “Tibetan” accent.

Can meditation help with panic attacks? No. And yes.

April 5, 2011   |   12 Comments

I received this from a reader the other day: Q: “I was wondering if the meditation practice can help with panic attacks at all? Or if you know anyone who has suffered from panic attacks and been able to overcome them through meditation?” A: I know someone who has suffered from panic attacks. Me. I still suffer from them, although... READ MORE

From Ishita: #3

March 15, 2011   |   2 Comments

From Ishita: Last night I physically had to force myself to sit down to meditate. Despite the fact that I feel good about doing it and sometimes it brings me peace, the act of sitting down is one I have to force myself to do. I had to laugh because I moved from bed to chair (where i meditate) bed... READ MORE

From Ishita: Post #2

March 11, 2011   |   Leave a reply

From Ishita: morning time for me is sacred. I cherish the hours of 6-9a.m. and it is where I feel most connected to myself and the world. It’s a perfect time for me to practice meditation. So when susan said “somewhere it is always morning.” i just loved that. it was a visual that put me back into my heart.... READ MORE

Third (and final) meditation misconception

March 11, 2011   |   2 Comments

Meditation is not a form of self-improvement. [vimeo]http://vimeo.com/20919078[/vimeo] 2:38 Good morning, lovely people. In the last two posts, I talked about the first two meditation misconceptions. The 3rd and final misconception is actually the most difficult one to drop and it is that meditation is a form of self-improvement. In our meditation practice we take the view that no improvement... READ MORE

From Ishita: Becoming a meditator. Post #1

March 10, 2011   |   Leave a reply

My dear and wonderful (and accomplished and generous and brilliant) friend Ishita is establishing her meditation practice and will be reporting in from time to time (hopefully really, really often) about how it is going. I am SO EXCITED to have her as a regular part of the site, talking about what it’s like for her to explore the practice.... READ MORE

Misconception #2: Meditation will make me peaceful.

March 10, 2011   |   5 Comments

Good morning. Yesterday I mentioned I meditation misconception #1. Here is #2: It will make you more peaceful. I know, I know. Whenever we see pictures of meditators, they look pretty relaxed. When I first began to practice, I guess I imagined that it would evetually turn me into some kind of Yoda/Mother Teresa hybrid. Who knows, there is still hope. But in... READ MORE

Meditation Misconception #1: "It means I have to stop thinking."

March 9, 2011   |   4 Comments

Good morning! Often when I ask people if they’ve ever thought about a meditation practice, they look at me like are you crazy, there is way, way too much going on up here (pointing to head) and there is no way I can stop thinking. The #1 biggest misconception about meditation practice is that it involves clearing the mind of... READ MORE

Some suggestions for developing a meditation practice

March 8, 2011   |   19 Comments

Good morning! I am so happy to talk to you again about meditation practice as part of what I’m calling The Open Heart Project. It all began on March 5, 2011. This is the 3rd post and it contains some suggestions for establishing a daily practice. Be reasonable. Set a very doable goal. Don’t say, for example, “for the rest... READ MORE

Introduction to Meditation Practice

March 7, 2011   |   9 Comments

Good morning! It is my pleasure to introduce you to meditation practice or, if you already have a practice, to revisit the foundations with you. This link leads to a brief video introduction to Shamatha meditation, or the Practice of Tranquility. It is about 10 minutes long. The video is also at the bottom of this post. The Practice of... READ MORE

Thrilled to have been interviewed by Marianne Elliott

February 28, 2011   |   4 Comments

Marianne is a writer, a human rights advocate and a yoga teacher based in New Zealand. Her beautiful blog is about her experiences teaching yoga in Afghanistan, teaching other people to live authentically, and writing her very first book, Zen Under Fire: Learning to Sit Still in Afghanistan. (Not out yet.) We became friends on Twitter, had drinks in Brooklyn,... READ MORE

Interviewed by "Drinking to Distraction"

February 3, 2011   |   1 Comment

The beautiful Jenna My excellent pal Jenna interviewed me for her cool blog about quitting drinking and how her life changed when she did. She has become a meditation practitioner and we talked about stuff like fear, safety, distractions, why it is that we’re all so vulnerable, and whether or not spiritual practice will make you safe. An excerpt: JH:... READ MORE

The Open Heart Project

February 2, 2011   |   10 Comments

Buddhist new year is coming up March 5, which is a lovely time for a new year to begin. It is still winter, but (for those who don’t live in New England or Minnesota) the hope of spring begins to arise. Each Buddhist New Year is associated with a different animal and the year is said to be colored by... READ MORE

John Cleese's advice for nurturing creativity

January 21, 2011   |   2 Comments

Well worth watching. A wonderful explanation of, among other things, what we in Shambhala Buddhism call “Container Principle,” the view that the environment you find yourself in informs your experience just as much as the other way around.

Talking with Eric Schneider about The Wisdom of a Broken Heart

January 18, 2011   |   Leave a reply

Lovely speaking with Dr. Eric Schneider today on his online radio show, “About Relationships.” We talked about the following: What made you (me!) write this book? What IS the wisdom of a broken heart? It hurts so much and generates so much confusion… How can we re-envision the pain as wisdom? What does Buddhism have to say about heartbreak? What... READ MORE

Design & Meditation

January 10, 2011   |   Leave a reply

Love this post from Apartment Therapy (a blog about home design and dec0r) about how a meditation retreat changes the way you look at this world. And comments reveal the many (understandable) misconceptions and (not so understandable) judgments people have about what such a retreat is supposed to look like. The Best Fresh Start… Vipassana & Design

Fuel your New Year's resolutions with love

January 1, 2011   |   12 Comments

OK, it’s officially next year. One can’t help but become reflective, which is wonderful. It is so useful to step back from the speed and commitments that occupy most of the year and use this grace period between Christmas and New Year’s as a time-out-of-time to fly up and hover at 50K feet, looking down on your life and asking... READ MORE

Fantastic post from David Allen re new beginnings

December 10, 2010   |   1 Comment

Got this in my inbox the other day. I love David Allen’s work and really believe in its premise, that if you attend to your environment properly, confidence, creativity, opportunity, and joy will increase. Check this out. Great, great thoughts as we begin the new year. GOOD RIDDANCE It’s time to purge. The end of a year and start of... READ MORE

What is discipline?

December 7, 2010   |   17 Comments

I think about discipline a lot, because I am not good at it. Like, what creates discipline­? If it’s an act of will, it doesn’t work. If it’s an act of seduction (you’ll get goodies!), it doesn’t work. If you leave it to chance, it certainly doesn’t work. Here’s what I’ve gathered: Discipline is built of faith + exertion. Faith... READ MORE

Addicted to speed.

November 16, 2010   |   4 Comments

Is this you? 1. You check email obsessively throughout the day with a mix of hope and dread. 2. You panic when you’re stuck waiting and don’t have your phone, a book, music, something. 3. The idea of driving to work in silence makes you feel queasy. 4. When you awaken to 30 new emails rather than the requisite 50,... READ MORE

Odds of Marriage

November 4, 2010   |   15 Comments

Driving away from Shambhala Mountain Center yesterday, after a writers’ retreat. Thinking about love… 12 minutes, 22 seconds worth… ‘scuse the turn signal sounds… Not my most flattering angle, but nonetheless… driving from susan piver on Vimeo.

The power of joy.

November 1, 2010   |   1 Comment

An open heart conquers all. Please watch. Every day. For the rest of your life.

Open your heart to change the world.

October 16, 2010   |   12 Comments

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what I could do to change the world. I mean, what else could possibly be worth thinking about? The crazier the world gets, the more I feel ashamed of my personal concerns and also cling to them as particularly meaningful. Because the world is so incomprehensible, I take refuge in what I think I can... READ MORE

Talk on the Wisdom of a Broken Heart (long)

October 12, 2010   |   1 Comment

Here is a recording of a talk I gave this past February at the Victoria Shambhala Center. It’s about, well, the wisdom contained in heartbreak. It’s an altered state. Could even be considered an altered state of grace, depending on how you view it. The first 17 minutes are meditation instruction, so if you want to go right to the... READ MORE


October 5, 2010   |   2 Comments

fear.less is an awesome online magazine. I’m on the cover of the current issue! Check them out and get on their mailing list for really inspiring and completely down-to-earth stories on becoming fearless.

Fun podcast interview with Ethan Nichtern

September 29, 2010   |   Leave a reply

Ethan Nichtern, founder of the awesome Interdependence Project, interviewed me for his podcast. Topics: finding the path, relationships and the lack of Buddhist teachings on them, creativity, and more. I loved talking to Ethan. Check out his book. One City. Here is the interview. Enjoy!