How to create a sane world: a Buddhist View

July 6, 2020   |   15 Comments

Audio-only version is here.
Meditation practice begins at 8:15

Dear Open Heart Project,

Hello, excellent meditators. I hope you are well.

It is getting more and more intense out there as the pandemic intensifies in some places and lets up in others. And as the demands for change and justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder go on unabated. And the US Presidential election gets closer and closer. And people are going to battle over wearing masks. And our leaders are at best suspect and at worst criminal. And we are all growing weary of the uncertainty and isolation… And, and, and…

This is an unprecedented time. No one can really tell you how it is going to turn out. That is very hard to bear. We want certainty. We want our routines back. We want to know that our government functions in our best interest. We want a just world. We want a damn coffee from our favorite coffee shop.

As human beings, our track record with uncertainty is. let’s just say: spotty. We don’t wear uncertainty well. It is very threatening and we want to pull into a safe port, whether it is our home, neighborhood, political beliefs, opinions, judgements, and on and on. We want to know who the “enemy” is and if it’s not glaringly obvious…we will make one up. That is very dangerous.

There is another way, my wonderful friends. It is possible to bear uncertainty with grace and spaciousness. I’m not saying it is easy to do, but as meditators you have have a massive head start. When you sit, you practice not settling into conclusions or tracking your every thought–but noticing it all and letting go.

Letting go is very powerful (not to mention brave). It is also the first step onto the spiritual path. When we let go of ideas and theories we have the chance to glimpse something fresh, something not churned out by the habitual thought kiln. Something new can come into being. Something sane, just, and decent.

How do you do this? In the Buddhist view, there are 8 steps on the journey. They are called the Noble Eightfold Path. Before today’s sit, I offer a few insights into the first step, “Right View.” In the coming email newsletters, I will go over all eight.

I hope you find this useful, inspiring, interesting or anything else that will serve you. Please let me know in comments! I always want to hear from you.

Love, Susan

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  • Posted by:  Barbara` Powell

    Dear Susan,

    This was a wonderful dharma talk and so timely!

    Are there any books/authors you would recommend related to the Noble Eight-fold Path?


  • Posted by:  Chris Ferrone

    A truly inspiring lesson! Thank you!!

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      You are so welcome.

  • Posted by:  Lorna squires

    Thank you Susan for this very thoughtful and inspirational chat.
    I struggle with ‘right view’, not that I disagree – but how do I know when my view is ‘right’ and not stuck in some limiting belief that I am blinded by??

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      The world usually lets you know! Wish I could be more specific… xo S

  • Posted by:  April

    Was this useful

    Was this useful? Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes!!! Thank you, as always, Susan.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver


  • Posted by:  Sintia Molina

    This is so important to know and practice. View the reality as it is and not as you think it is. We all should know this concept without intellectualizing it.
    Thanks for such great band inspirational session.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Thank you so much for listening!

  • Posted by:  Charles Stoy


    This is a more general question although I believe I know the answer. I am recovering from the ‘rona. One of its wonderful presents is my eyes will sometimes begin to burn and water. It stops when I close my eyes. This has happened while I meditate. For me to continue, I have to close my eyes otherwise the burning becomes so intense it completely fills the ‘space’; I open them as soon as I can but frequently have to close them again. I know there is the general prohibition around meditating with closed eyes…but in this instance, am I ok with closing my eyes?

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Charles, it is so great to hear from you. I hope you and your wife are well and you are recovering as best you can from the ‘rona. You had quite a journey (I saw a bit on Facebook).

      Please close your eyes as needed. Closing them is not prohibited, it is recommended–BUT ONLY IF IT DOESN’T HURT. So please do what enables you to meditate comfortably and keep me posted. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Lisa


    Again, thank you.

    I have been interested in dipping my toes into the ocean of Buddhist teachings, and you are presenting it to us in manageable and savory bites. I am loving it! I will get a copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s book you recommended above and dive in.

    I take walks nearly every morning and some days work on that pre-judgement/pre-labeling micro moment of noticing. It is difficult, and I hope it comes more naturally some days.

    Again, thank you for riding this beast with all of us and gently, fiercely, pointing to the moon that shines on our paths.

    Have a great day!

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      So glad you’re loving it! I am too.

      It will definitely come more naturally with time and effort and I don’t say that lightly.

      Glad we’re on the ride together. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  jane

    This continues to be a place of refuge and centering. Thank you Susan for being a wise and calm presence in a sometimes crazy and unstable time.

    With love

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