From Susan: Advice for Building a Powerful Practice

May 17, 2021   |   15 Comments

Audio-only version is here.
Meditation practice begins at 17:10.

Dear Open Heart Project,

Hello, it is lovely to see you.

If you recently completed my 8-week series on the Noble Eightfold Path, thank you! I really appreciate your attention, feedback, comments, and excellent questions. If you missed it, you can find the whole series here.

So much of what I heard from you indicated an interest in our practice as something more than self-help. You’re interested in what makes the practice so transformational. I share that interest! In this week’s video, I share a story about how I learned the three things we can do to maintain the sacred (not religious! not woo woo!) nature of the practice. I hope you find it useful. Do let me know.

Love, Susan

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  • Posted by:  Albert Cooper

    Story at end stopped for me. Please advise. Thanks.
    Albert Cooper

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Please reload and try again.

  • Posted by:  Shiwa Chotso

    While I normally do make an offering and request blessings, I notice that I often have a bit of a sense of unworthiness, as if my offering is somehow puny and I am being rude in requesting blessings of beings I will never know. I often offer a humble rock or shell (I have a little collection, each of which is connected to a special place or person), and ask for some sort of blessing from nature, although (of course) that is not a person. There is a line in an old hymn, “Just as I am, without one plea,” that comes to mind, and seems to express the thought that all I can offer is myself, that I know I am not all that, am naked and afraid inside, with no excuses. And yet, I am here, sitting, minding my body in all of its quirkiness, my breath as it interacts with this place in this time, and my mind in all of its wanderings, both foolish and inspired. My favorite dedication is from Shantideva:

    “To the Buddhas residing in all directions
    With my palms pressed together I make this request,
    Please continue to shine the lamp of Dharma
    For living beings lost and suffering in the darkness of ignorance.

    May I become an island for those seeking dry land,
    A lamp for those needing light,
    A place of rest for those who desire one,
    And a servant for those needing service.”

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      So beautiful. Thank you very much for sharing your own words and the words of Shantideva. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Mike Gray

    I think Dogen is in my lineage. I’ve often been “the cook” on retreats. As he wrote in his Tenzo Kyokun: “After cooking the vegetables for the morning meal and before preparing rice and soup for the noon meal bring together the rice pots and other utensils and make sure that everything is well-ordered and clean. Put whatever goes to a high place in a high place and whatever goes to a low place in a low place so that, high and low, everything settles in the place appropriate for it. Chopsticks for vegetables, ladles, and all other tools should be chosen with great care, cleaned thoroughly, and placed well.”

    Now, that, I like.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Love this! Everything about it. Many thanks for giving us a peek into your journey. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Jude Siegel

    thank you. this came at just the right time…in the midst of chewing on the bone of something that was up-setting my equilibrium and you reminded me of what can be done. Profound, so simple as well.
    I am grateful for your clear, direct, heart filled way of teaching.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      So very happy we can practice together, Jude. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Amy Oliff

    Thank you!! This was so important and helpful. I have been playing around with those 3 (offerings, blessings, merit) and your explanation really helped to clarify their purpose and meaning.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Very happy to hear it, Amy! Thanks for practicing it all with me. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Cheryl F

    Dear Susan,
    There are not sufficient words to express my gratitude and appreciation for you…and all that you so generously give. You are one if my primary teachers and examples (role model) in teaching, facilitating, sharing, offering and giving.. and so much more. Thank you for these videos and opportunity to meditate with you…and all who tune in. Your spirit and insight are appreciated. Thank you.

  • Posted by:  James White

    Susan, You go girl!! this spiritual transformation 3 steps is so useful and welcome for me. This mary be the best of your videos over recent months. Thank you thank you.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      So glad to hear this was useful!!

  • Posted by:  Fran Robinson

    Hi Susan. I sent an email I think, not a comment , a couple of weeks ago to say how helpful this talk was. Don’t know if you got it. What was interesting for me was the power of offering my practice to lineage teachers and receiving blessings to support practice. I have recently started study with Dzogchen teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche. Kagu/Nyngma lineage. Only now am I beginning to understand “refuge”and what you describe here strengthens my understanding – valuing my practice enough to offer it and feeling the lineage there for me to create a solid strong practice. It is so wonderful to have online teaching from around the world. Thank you for your videos and the things I learn each time. Even though I know the text/words, I get a richer understanding from your western female experience. 💕❤🙏

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      So glad this was helpful, Fran. And how wonderful that you are mixing your mind with the mind of Tsoknyi Rinpoche. You are so fortunate! And I feel fortunate that we can practice it all together. With love, Susan

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