Buddhist wisdom for quelling fear: Step #5

June 8, 2020   |   15 Comments

Audio-only version is here.
Meditation practice begins at 21:15

Hello Open Heart Project,

Here we sit together, in the midst of a revolution. That is how it looks today. Something healthy has burst its banks, mixed with something poisonous. It is up to each of us to filter, filter, filter, because the poison and the medicine look alike. Still, it is time to go beyond what we thought we knew and who we believed ourselves to be to insist on justice and deep systemic change.

If you are Black, I cannot imagine what this week has been like for you but I would truly like to hear.

If you are White, it is time to give up the ground of privilege by noticing how we benefit from the status quo (which is inherently racist) and be willing to relinquish ground. It is far more complex than that, of course but whether or not you think anything is your “fault” it is still your responsibility. My responsibility. Ours.

For myself, I am doing what I can to wake up from the trance of privilege and I’m deeply grateful to those Black voices (mostly women) who are wrathful and awake, pointing in the right direction.

When I began communicating with you weekly when the pandemic began in the US, I started with the six paramitas or transcendent actions. For some reason, I stopped at four. I have no idea why. This week I continue with the fifth transcendent action, meditative absorption. It turns out that the teachings on samten (meditative absorption) are absolutely relevant right now. (Real wisdom tends to function that way. It is always incisive and seemingly meant for this exact moment, whatever that moment may be.)

Please have a listen and let me know what you think. How you are. How I can help.

With love, Susan

PS I’m in Austin, Texas…in case you were wondering why the whole setup is different.


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  • Posted by:  Miriam

    Hi Susan, I’ve been receiving your lessons and wisdom for some time now. Today I needed to hear, see, sit, and go within in the midst of all that I have witnessed this week. I too am just beginning to truly awaken to be able to hear the fear and anger black Americans have needed to live with every day . Having to have daily conversations with their children about how to behave when confronted by a police officer who is supposed to be there to protect them or even how to simply go for a run or a walk in the park. I am full of so many emotions and hope that I can learn to known how I can generously and strongly stand up against racism in a manner and with the language that can be accepted and heard. I truly appreciate today’s lesson and meditation. Thank you.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      I am learning right along side you, Miriam. May it be of benefit. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Lisa

    Thank you Susan. I was so overwhelmed this week that I felt like I shut down, but realized I need to be in the present and remember that the stories are my head, not my heart. And how my head takes over. And to breathe.

    What a painful ride.

    So, thank you again for your reminders, guidance, and your honest introspection. I hope your message settles within the white sangha members so they can step outside their fears to see the reality of this racist society, and the embedded paradigm that comes so naturally. It’s all about comfort.

    Take care.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Yes, such a painful ride. I am glad we are on it together. Sending so much love.

  • Posted by:  Kevin J Waters

    Hello Susan, Started this comment Earlier,but took a Pause to Think, about how our world has been turned up-side down, by a Pandemic, &, Out, &, Out In Your Face Racist, Truths, &, Anger. I’m 68, &, haven’t seen this country in such Discord since 1967-68 ! I believe like you that, Wisdom, &, Truth, Rise to the for front when we are at Our Lowest Ebb ! I grew up in a small town where there was no “Privilege being the son of two TB. Patients out of a Mt. Sanatorium ! But some in the White Irish Queens, Neighborhood where I went to H. S. Years later in Recovery I became aware of all the different forms of Social, Economic, &, Other Disparities, But I’m Privileged to Awaken each day with the choice to See, Listen, &, Speak ! Hrs. of Meditation, Contemplation, Following the Dharma Path of Noble Truths, at times allow’s me Meditative Absorption, an Insight, Awareness, of the Complexity of my Being ! (unnerving at times), but the “Path of Truth for Me” Namaste !

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your heart. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Jim

    Thank you, Susan. I never seem to tire of fresh reminders of the basics of meditation. I have always struggled with the idea that I have to ‘do it right”. It helps to be reminded that meditation is forgiving and spacious; two qualities, coincidentally (!), that I need to work on.

    I look forward to our next session.

    Jim R

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      With you on all counts. Sending love.

  • Posted by:  Jill Wasserman

    thank you Susan! -Kyle

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      You are so welcome, Kyle!

  • Posted by:  jane

    Thank you Susan. This is very valuable work.
    Ahhh, I have fond memories of Austin (-:

    Warm wishes

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      It’s the best!

  • Posted by:  Patricia H. O'Brien

    Hi Susan … I was asked to read a poem at a March for Justice in our town of Old Saybrook, CT. Below is the intro I wrote to introduce the poem to the demonstrators and the poem which was so difficult for me to write and then to read. Still, it seemed important to share, especially at this time. Thanks for the chance to share it with you and your followers. Thanks …

    Thursday, June 11, 2020

    Thank you, Maryam, for the invitation to read a poem tonight. The poem I’m going to read terrifies me. It terrified me when I first heard the story at the heart of this poem. It terrified me when I wrote it and had to examine my place in it … my place as a white child. My place as an uninformed, detached white kid and adult. My place as a privileged white mother of privileged white boys.

    Thank you for being here. Thank you for listening to my poem with all its sadness, confusion, and unanswered questions. Thank you for being willing to be with me and with my poem.

    Thank you for asking your own questions and finding the best answers. Thank you for taking a stand against injustice, prejudice, and indifference. Thank you for demanding change. For being change.

    In Birmingham, Once Upon a Time, Circa 1940 …

    My mother didn’t have that long to live,
    as it turned out, when she told me the story
    over tea … or of an evening over something
    cold … in any case, coincidentally, of the day she
    pushed my stroller into the lobby of a hotel
    on the Birmingham street where down the block
    she spied a mob of white men building steam, breathless.

    Did she leave me there by the bellhop to step
    one step outside the lobby door to watch
    the deadly tragedy unfold from the block’s
    safe measure? To nudge closer to see
    that young man’s face? The noose? Oh,
    I don’t know how to know the mean confines
    of that day. The heat. The noise. The self-
    righteousness. Or whether she never knew more

    of that street’s shame, sheltered in the lobby’s
    upholstered get-away. Lullabying me. Sipping tea.
    Sashaying my stroller. I don’t know if we were
    guilty or innocent that deadly day. And, in either case,
    to what degree? But by the time I realized
    how little of that sorry tale I knew, my mother
    was gone. Lost, her story. Mine. Our story
    on that Birmingham street. The story
    of those men, start to end.

    Thank you for listening. Now, it’s your chance … our chance … to tell today’s story. To change the story. I know you can.

    Patricia Horn O’Brien, Old Saybrook Poet Laureate

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver


  • Posted by:  Evelyn Asher

    Susan, Thank you for your generosity in extending weekly meditations that center me. I love your new setting and website. I understand the challenges and dedication that takes and glad to be with you and support the transformation over the past three years at least. Continue to guard your heart. Thank you for modeling a clear stance in the national conversation. Thank you for you.

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