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How to stop suffering: Step #8

July 24, 2017   |   1 Comment

The 15 minute meditation begins at 7:41 Audio only version is here. Hello! As you may know, for the last 8 weeks we have been looking at each of the steps along the noble eightfold path. (But if you’re just joining us, no worries. There is nothing you need to catch up on. Just jump in right here.) This week,... READ MORE

What can help when you have lost a pet and are overwhelmed with grief?

July 24, 2017   |   1 Comment

   Welcome to the Ask Susan podcast. This is episode #22.  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. Like many of you, Taryn in Austin, TX could not have loved her dog more. Then she died.... READ MORE

Could meditation be giving me insomnia?

July 18, 2017   |   Leave a reply

   Welcome to the Ask Susan podcast. This is episode #21.  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 truly fascinating. Our questioner has discovered that since beginning a meditation practice, his mind... READ MORE

How to stop suffering: Step #7

July 17, 2017   |   Leave a reply

The meditation begins at 6:35 Audio only version is here. Hello! I hope you are enjoying a wonderful season, wherever you are. Here in the Northeastern US, we are seeing some lovely sunshine and warmth. Recently, we have been looking at each of the eight steps of the Noble Eightfold Path. These are the steps we could take to attain liberation... READ MORE

How to stop suffering: Step #6

July 10, 2017   |   Leave a reply

The meditation begins at 7:12 Audio only version is here. Hello, excellent Open Heart Project meditator. I am so happy we can practice together. In the last few weeks, we have been examining the steps outlined by the Buddha that lead away from suffering, aka the Noble Eightfold Path. Today, we look at the 6th step, “Right Effort.” Before we sit,... READ MORE

How can meditation help me with heartbreak?

July 10, 2017   |   Leave a reply

   Welcome to the Ask Susan podcast. This is episode #20.  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 excellent question is about equanimity. Our lovely questioner wants to know how she can remain equanimous... READ MORE

What is the best way to prepare for a meditation retreat?

July 3, 2017   |   2 Comments

   Welcome to the Ask Susan podcast. This is episode #19.  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. Ashley is planning to come on one of my retreats. YAY! This is her first-ever meditation retreat and... READ MORE

How to stop suffering: Step #5

July 3, 2017   |   Leave a reply

The meditation begins at 10:08 Audio only version is here. Hello, Open Heart Project meditator. It is wonderful to see you! As you may know, I’m walking us through a very broad overview of the Eightfold Path in recent Monday videos. Today we discuss step #5, Right Livelihood. Enjoy! With love, Susan GET FREE WEEKLY MEDITATION VIDEOS The only way to... READ MORE

Meditation is very boring. What am I doing wrong?

June 26, 2017   |   1 Comment

   Welcome to the Ask Susan podcast. This is episode #18.  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. I love, love, love this question from Paula. Thank you, Paula! She has been meditating for several years... READ MORE

How to stop suffering: Step #4

June 26, 2017   |   Leave a reply

The meditation begins at 6:00 Audio only version is here. Hello, wonderful Open Heart Project meditator. I am so glad you are here. I’m glad I’m here, too! In the last few weeks, I’ve been walking us through a very broad overview of the Noble Eightfold Path which lays out the eight steps along the path to enlightenment, aka liberation... READ MORE

I find meditation to be irritating! My eyes feel dry and uncomfortable. Can I still get the benefits of wakefulness if I meditate with my eyes closed?

June 19, 2017   |   Leave a reply

   Welcome to the Ask Susan podcast. This is episode #17.  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. Hillary is accustomed to an eyes-open practice (as I teach it). But she finds it very uncomfortable and... READ MORE

How to stop suffering: Step #3

June 19, 2017   |   1 Comment

The meditation begins at 12:46 Audio only version is here. Hello, Open Heart Project meditator. Happy Monday! Or Tuesday or whatever day it may be for you right now. Before today’s meditation, I take us through an overview of the third step along the Buddhist eight-fold path, Right Speech. (In the last two weeks, we looked at step one: Right... READ MORE

How to Stop Suffering: Step #2

June 12, 2017   |   2 Comments

The meditation begins at 8:45 Audio only version is here. Hello, Open Heart Project meditator. If you had a chance to see last week’s video, you know that I am taking us through each of the steps on the 8-fold path. The first step is Right View. To recap simply: Right View means not overlaying our projections onto reality, rather, we see... READ MORE

How and why would anyone become a Buddhist?

June 12, 2017   |   Leave a reply

   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

How do I know if this practice is “the one”?

June 5, 2017   |   Leave a reply

   Welcome to the Ask Susan podcast. This is episode #15.  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. Victoria from England is really interested in two different but equally meaningful spiritual practice. How important is it... READ MORE

How to stop suffering: Step #1

June 5, 2017   |   Leave a reply

The meditation begins at 7:48 Audio only version is here. Hello, Open Heart Project meditator! It is great that we can practice together. From a recent survey, I learned that many of you were interested in learning more about Buddhism, which is awesome. I am happy to share some of what I’ve learned over the years as a 20+ year... READ MORE

How do you find a spiritual teacher? Are you, Susan, my teacher?

May 22, 2017   |   1 Comment

   Welcome to the Ask Susan podcast. This is episode #13.  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 comes from Edith in Scotland. She is curious about the teacher-student relationship in Buddhism. How... READ MORE

Can you practice meditation while you are experiencing physical discomfort?

May 8, 2017   |   1 Comment

   Welcome to the Ask Susan podcast. This is episode #11.  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. Claudia’s meditation practice was going really well…until she developed tinnitus. Is it possible to meditate on your breath... READ MORE

Is it important to commit to a particular meditation technique?

April 24, 2017   |   1 Comment

   Welcome to the Ask Susan podcast. This is episode #9.  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 deciding on a particular technique. Is it necessary? What if I derive benefit... READ MORE

Ask Susan podcast episode #7:Meditation is Not About Becoming Perfect, It’s About Becoming Genuine

April 10, 2017   |   Leave a reply

  Welcome to the Ask Susan podcast. 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. In this week’s episode, our caller reports that her meditation practice brings her face-to-face with difficult emotions, which she was taught to... READ MORE

Ask Susan podcast episode #6:What Should I Do if My Foot Falls Asleep?

April 3, 2017   |   Leave a reply

  Welcome to the Ask Susan podcast. 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 Ask Susan question is a very practical one! When Marsha sits down to practice, her “feet go dead.” For all... READ MORE

Ask Susan podcast episode #4: Compassion and boundaries

March 20, 2017   |   Leave a reply

  Welcome to the Ask Susan podcast. 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 the question is about showing compassion for others and also protecting our own boundaries, which is an excellent point to... READ MORE

Ask Susan podcast episode #3: Basic goodness

March 13, 2017   |   Leave a reply

  Welcome to the Ask Susan podcast. 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 comes from a listener in Amsterdam. The question is What is meant by basic goodness?” Basic Goodness is the... READ MORE

Ask Susan podcast episode #2: Patience and kindness

March 6, 2017   |   Leave a reply

  Welcome to the Ask Susan podcast. 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 one many of us share. It is about discovering deeper wells of patience and kindness through our practice... READ MORE

Ask Susan podcast episode #1: Staying focused

February 27, 2017   |   Leave a reply

  Welcome to the Ask Susan podcast! 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. Our first episode answers a question from Lisa, How do I stay focused during my meditation? How can my mind be more... READ MORE

Renunciation and the Church of Magical Eating

February 21, 2017   |   1 Comment

When you think of spirituality, you might call to mind a framework or set of rules that show you the way to inner peace, to end your suffering (and possibly even avoid death), is to be good. On the darker end of the spectrum, however, behavior is often driven by a fear of consequences (of not following the rules), an... READ MORE

Just You and Me

January 21, 2017   |   Leave a reply

Since the presidential election, I have felt called to do more. To get involved with organizations that stand for the values I hold dear, to call my elected officials to give them a piece of my mind (or at least read one of the suggested scripts from Facebook), to march and rail and educate myself about my own ignorance and... READ MORE

Everything’s Better When Mommy Meditates – Part 2

December 20, 2016   |   Leave a reply

In Part 1 I talked about the top five benefits of meditating when you’re a mom. In Part 2, I discuss the major obstacles and how to overcome them. There are plenty of barriers to creating and sustaining a meditation practice for any of us, but when your life centers on caring for small humans, that ups the ante. In... READ MORE

Everything’s Better When Mommy Meditates – Part 1

December 19, 2016   |   Leave a reply

When my son was 10 months old, he already had 8 front teeth and an appetite to match. Without molars, however, he could literally bite off more than he could chew. Nevertheless, anything that neared our mouths was exactly what he wanted. One afternoon, at a bistro with my mom, that anything was a hunk of baguette. Just two weeks... READ MORE

Don’t bite the hook.

November 14, 2016   |   3 Comments

Hello, dear, brave warriors. I want to share with you a piece I wrote for Lion’s Roar on November 9, called “Don’t Bite the Hook: Five Things to Remember Post-Election.” As a community of practitioners, now is the time to put our practice to work as the foundation for bravely standing up for what is right without losing a sense... READ MORE

I want a viable third party and I want it today.

November 11, 2016   |   9 Comments

I woke up at 3:30 this morning and made one up out of a longing to live in a world that makes sense to me. Before I even got out of bed, I decided that I want a third party that will take us in the direction we need to go to save our Democracy and our planet and I... READ MORE

Love in the Time of Crankiness. Part Two.

November 4, 2016   |   10 Comments

In a recent post, I wrote about my choice to respond to hateful comments even though the general consensus is to delete. Go back and read it if you like, but you don’t have to. Here are some additional thoughts on how one might go about doing this without creating more insanity. What usually happens is this: You yell at me,... READ MORE

Love in the Time of Crankiness. Part One.

November 3, 2016   |   15 Comments

As a writer, blogger, Buddhist teacher, and self-employed person who depends on her web presence for all sorts of reasons, I have often heard this admonition: Ignore flamers. Don’t respond to anyone who wants to fight with you or challenge your position unless they are polite and measured. Do not react to aggression, ridicule, shaming, insults, projections, and taunts. Delete,... READ MORE

November 9: Time to Move Forward

November 2, 2016   |   Leave a reply

It has been a crazy, painful election season here in the United States and we know that people all over the world have been feeling it too. No matter what “side” you are on, there has been so much chaos, vitriol, and aggression.   On November 9th, it will be time to move forward.   Can we find a way... READ MORE

Five Mindfulness Lessons Every Coach and Therapist Can Use

October 27, 2016   |   1 Comment

Within the first few nutrition therapy sessions with a new client, I inevitably ask her (or him) to do something that seems impossible: to stay in the icky, fearsome, claustrophobic space between having a painful emotion and automatically reacting to it by overeating. This might not sound like much, but to someone struggling with emotional overeating, learning to stay with... READ MORE

Dear Susan, How Do I Deal With Emotional Abuse?

May 11, 2016   |   2 Comments

A meditation teacher and award-winning author provides guidance on readers’ real-life problems. Here is her advice on domestic distress. Dear Susan, My boyfriend of 10 years now is so rude to me. He barks orders and isn’t sexually interested anymore and complains about all that I do. I feel worthless. What should I do? Dear Friend, Well, this is a... READ MORE

Dear Susan, I Am Rethinking My Marriage and Don’t Know What to Do

April 27, 2016   |   2 Comments

A meditation teacher and award-winning author provides guidance on readers’ real-life problems. Here is her advice on what to do when you’re spiritually disconnected from your spouse. Dear Susan, Four years ago something changed in me. I woke up feeling electrical. Full of energy. I saw things different, knowledge of things I don’t know came from where. Now my husband... READ MORE

Dear Susan, How Do I Deal with Anger?

April 21, 2016   |   1 Comment

A meditation teacher and award-winning author provides guidance on readers’ real-life problems. Here is her advice on understanding and resolving anger. Dear Susan, How does one let go of anger—not deep-rooted anger but anger over everyday trivial things? How can I learn to really let go of things that don’t matter in my life? Too much time is wasted on... READ MORE

Dear Susan, How Do I Deal With Loss?

April 18, 2016   |   1 Comment

  A meditation teacher and award-winning author provides guidance on readers’ real-life problems. Here is her advice on dealing with loss. Dear Susan, It has been 11 years since my late husband’s tragic death, I have since remarried, but I am missing my late husband greatly. I still miss him very much. How can I fully move on with my... 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

RESPONDER A LA VIOLENCIA Y A LA LOCURA (UNA PERSPECTIVA BUDISTA)

July 16, 2015   |   Leave a reply

Tal vez has visto en las noticias hoy que hombres armados abrieron fuego en las oficinas de la “revista satírica” Charlie Hebdo, una publicación en París, Francia, que en el pasado ha encolerizado a los extremistas Islámicos. Unas 12 personas, incluyendo famosos caricaturistas franceses, fueron asesinadas. Pensé que era una broma. No lo es. Nada puede hacer que esto esté bien.... READ MORE

BUDISMO Y RELACIONES: 3 ETAPAS PARA SANAR UN CORAZON ROTO

July 9, 2015   |   15 Comments

(útil para trabajar con emociones fuertes en general) Nada se siente peor que un corazón roto, del tipo que tienes cuando alguien a quien amas termina la relación. Sentimientos de vergüenza, remordimiento, dolor, rabia y terror pueden abrumar incluso al ser humano más estable. El sufrimiento tiene el poder de hacer ver una vida factible como un desastre. Sorprendentemente, el... READ MORE

EL PODER DE LA TRISTEZA

July 8, 2015   |   1 Comment

No sé si han notado esto acerca de su práctica de meditación, pero algo que mucha gente advierte es una especie de delicadeza-a su propia experiencia, tal vez, pero también al mundo que te rodea. Hay un sentido de permeabilidad, de caminar por la calle y recibir información de una manera más directa que antes. Cuando ves un narciso amarillo... READ MORE

¿CÓMO FUE PARA USTED? INFORMES SOBRE LA EXPERIENCIA DE SER UN MAESTRO.

June 19, 2015   |   Leave a reply

Acabo de terminar de enseñar en dos retiros en el Centro de Retiros Dechen Choling en Francia, El “Retiro Corazón Abierto” seguido por “Creatividad sin miedo: Un Retiro de Meditación y Escritura”. En el último día del último programa, un estudiante amablemente preguntó qué sentía yo cuando terminaba un retiro. Nuestro grupo estaba sentado a la mesa del desayuno en... 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

The Open Heart Project Annual Report

January 12, 2015   |   30 Comments

In creating the Open Heart Project, we are building something astonishing: the world’s first completely virtual, thoroughly robust, dharmically honest meditation center. My thoughts on how it went in 2014, where we are going in 2015, and the fascinating challenges encountered.     [social_share/]

Mourning Robin Williams

August 14, 2014   |   6 Comments

So many of us are sad at the death of the actor and comedian Robin Williams. To watch him perform was to witness an extreme display of life force. It seemed inexhaustible. It is shocking that someone that funny and that gifted would want to die. But there is something that exists at the root of humor and creativity that... 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.

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.

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

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

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!

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

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