Want to meditate consistently in 2019? Willpower alone is not sufficient. Two additional factors are needed. Also, Happy New Year!

January 7, 2019 | 12 Comments | FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites

The meditation begins at 8:32
Audio only version is here.

Dear, excellent meditator, hello. Welcome to a brand new year! It’s a time of great possibility, when we turn our minds to what could be…and when many people seek to commit or recommit to a meditation practice. Wonderful! Yay! You can totally do it.

In this week’s talk, I suggest that there are actually three components needed to make your practice sustainable. It turns out that saying to yourself, sit your butt down and don’t get up until you’ve completed your &*$#@ meditation practice is insufficient. Why? Because this is a spiritual practice, my beloved friends. It’s not religious. It’s not self-help. It’s not some woo-woo way of becoming blissed-out or any other thing we might have thought it could or should be. It is a transformative practice and, as such, unfolds in its own way. Sometimes it is hard to recognize just what is going on. It is especially difficult when the practice feels difficult or boring–both of which are very common. However, neither is a sign of a problem. (The latter, boredom, is actually thought to be a good sign because you have ceased trying to entertain yourself.)

In Buddhist thought, there are three necessary components that sustain your practice. One, you’re already doing. You may not have give much thought to the other two but have a listen to this week’s pre-meditation talk and see what you think. And do let me know! I always love to hear from you.

Love, Susan


  • Posted by:  Nanette Bulebosh

    All good reminders, and I can attest to the power of the sangha – community. I recent,y enjoyed several days at an end-of-the-year retreat not far from my home. It was so refreshing to spend my days sitting with others. I felt privileged to be able to do that.

    Sangha doesn’t even have to be the same kind of meditation. I can rarely get away to Milwaukee, the closest Shambhala Center to me. However, recently some acquaintances began mindfulness meditation sessions at a UCC church that is closer. These sessions are much different than what I’m used to, but I just roll with it. These are great people, all wanting the same wakefulness, wisdom and community that I do. Sitting with them is a powerful experience.

    And of course the Open Heart project is so very very helpful. I so look forward to Monday mornings when I can enjoy another great dharma talk from Susan. I so cherish getting to come back to this space whenever I need to. Thank you.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Hi Nanette! Always great to “hear” your voice. So glad you found a group to sit with that is closer to you and that you have enough confidence in your practice that you don’t need to insist on any particular type of setting. Love that we are sangha sisters. Xo S

    • Posted by:  Teresa Banning

      Thank you, Nanette. I used to sit with a Zen group and I miss it. The group dispersed and I live too far away from a center, also. You have given me a good idea. I will be open to others meditating in this area.


  • Posted by:  Kevin J Waters

    Susan You hit the nail right on the “Head” Self Discipline, & will Power were never sufficient for me to gain, Balance, Indeed I need to see a path, which didn’t require an Immediate Structure, I’m Sure many Have found that after that Frustration of why, how, how come, etc. After enduring that “Period of self Doubt” my Practice Settled in Reading, & listening brought me to the Three Jewels,I study the Dharma’ Truth’s Meditate with you, With What I hope is an open Mind, free of “Grasping” something I’ve been doing most of my life …. If I Could Only !!!! With some growing Clarity I can sit,&, sitting now comes much more naturally,Freely ! I’m Currently reading a book by “Steve Hagen,Roshi Called “Buddhism Plain And Simple” A striking insight to The Practice of Being Aware, in the here and Now … A gift from someone who doesn’t quite understand, but is Thrilled with the Path My Life Has Taken ! Peace !

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      And I’m thrilled for you, Kevin! I know I’ve said this before, but it is so beautiful to see how your path is unfolding. Love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Joanne Young Elliott

    Thank you for this as always. And Happy New Year to you, too!

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      You are so welcome, Joanne. Wishing you all the best! xo S

  • Posted by:  Teresa Banning


    I’ve known for some time that sangha was the missing link in my practice, however my view has been off. It was not until listening to you today that I have a clearer picture of my personal blockage. As an ex-preacher, I greatly understand the power of any fellowship, however it can also become an attempt to escape life. For me, that led to profound disappointment. Taking refuge in the three jewels by simply acknowledging the wakefulness, developing wisdom, and taking my seat feels so different than putting expectations on Buddha, Dharma, or Sangha to carry me on this spiritual trip, as if a helpless child. However, like a refugee it can be a bit scary in this “no-man’s-land”. I cannot expect the sangha to sit for me, neither can I place blame. At the same time, I hear what you are saying that somehow the collection of us all doing this solo walk together works.

    As I sat together with this video today I did feel the strength and connection. Thank You.


    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      I love this. Every word of it. xo S

  • Posted by:  Anita Lake

    Hmm, growing up Catholic, I don’t think I ever heard anyone around me having these kinds of challenges with praying. But it’s a similar sort of daily practice. So why the difference? I think the Church community is a big difference, compared to a lone meditator. The accountability to the higher power is another difference. As is the immersion in the Catholic theological framework. I think these are analogous elements to the Sanga, the Buddha, and the Darma. So maybe that’s just the way human beings work psychologically. We broadly need those structures filled regardless what path we choose. I’d be curious whether people who meditate within a larger Buddhist culture have the same problem, or people who practice meditation as part of their religious devotion?

    • Posted by:  Teresa Banning

      Hello Anita,

      I was raised Catholic, also. (Devote at that!) As an adult I studied for and went into the ministry as a Protestant Christian missionary. Next my path led me to Buddhism six years ago. I now consider myself non-theist and take refuge in Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.

      I see the similarities you mention, however I have heard many Christians with very much the same struggles in their pray life. I would often have people come to me saying something like “I haven’t spoken to God much lately, but I still very much believe.” I never considered it a moral issue, just a lack of understanding in the relationship. You know like the couple that rarely talk. I also found that meditation was consider dangerous in the community I was in. I’ve since met several contemplative Christians and happy to see many are understanding that the Scriptures speak of prayer and meditation.

      I once heard Ani Pema say that Buddhist are either meditating or feeling guilty about not meditating. LOL As an ex-minister I can so relate. So, yes I think the struggle is the same.

      I’m curious now as to what do consider your daily practice? Do you struggle with a consistent daily prayer life?


  • Posted by:  eric

    who is the picture of on the table behind you?

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