Basics of Buddhism: The Noble Eightfold Path (Step Seven)

April 12, 2021   |   28 Comments

Audio-only version is here.
Meditation practice begins at 22:17.

Dear Open Heart Project,

Hello, I hope you are well and finding some more space and calm in your life.

Today, I share some thoughts on the 7th step on the noble eightfold path, Right Concentration. I find this has much more to do with flow than anything else. Please have a listen and let me know what you think.

In this series, we have already discussed Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood and Right Effort. Next week, we come to step eight, Right Mindfulness. What will happen after that? I have some ideas! Please let me know in comments if there are any particular topics you’d like to see covered. I’ve so enjoyed connecting with you on these wonderful topics and look forward to continuing.

Love, Susan


Please join Buddhist teacher and author, Michael Carroll, for a five week program, starting on April 12th: Lending a Hand: Avalokitesvara and the Art of Mind Protection. This program is FREE/by donation. Sign up here.

Program description: The traditional Buddhist image of compassion is the many armed Bodhisattva, Avalokitesvara, whose nature is to “lend a hand” to those who suffer: to nourish, inspire, heal, and protect. But how does such compassion work? When life presents us with demanding challenges that can be disheartening, captivating and at times terrifying, is it possible to “protect” ourselves and others from such challenges or is such a prospect futile? During this 5-session program, we will explore the principle of “mind protection” and how the skillful means of Avalokitesvara can offer us insight into living a more compassionate and fulfilled life.

For the first time ever, I am teaching The Enneagram of Relationships: Connect from the Heart on April 17th from 11:00 am – 2 pm ET.

In your closest relationships, do you ever feel you’re speaking two different languages?

The reason for this is…because you probably are.

The enneagram describes nine different types of people.

Each type has their own communication style, attentional arc, avoidance, idealization and so on.

When you understand your own, you become more confident.

When you understand other’s, you can meet them where they are and communicate more authentically.

Please join me for this three hour workshop on how your heart works.

See all of the details here. The course is $54 or FREE for Open Heart Project Sangha members. Join the sangha here.

This month, we are launching an OHP Sangha Author Series. Each month, you’ll be invited to a gathering with an author whose work relates to our practice and study of living an awakened life. Our first guest author, Christine Kane, writes about approaching work from an authentic and soulful place. This program is Free for Open Heart Project Sangha members. Join the sangha here.

We have just (1) spot left for Fearless Creativity: The Austin Writing and Meditation Sessions at my home in Austin, TX on June 23 – 27.



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  • Posted by:  Alison Carter-Goulden

    Thank you Susan. This helped me to understand right concentration in a way I hadn’t before and in a way that’s deeply meaningful to me. It helps me to understand music and what it is to let something flow through you. That paradox of effort without efforting.
    I’m very pleased and grateful to receive videos on anything you feel pulled towards teaching. One thing I would like to explore with guidance is Tonglen but perhaps that’s more of a short course than a video?

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Thanks so much for the response, Alison–and for the suggestion to discuss Tonglen practice. That is a great idea. Let me think it through. Love always, S

      • Posted by:  Jane Deakin

        I am also very interested in Tonglen practice I camebacross it in a book 📚 k by Pema chodron Start where you are.
        Also you did a course on beginning your day. Being a night owl I am not so good at this. I understand that when I am Painting I am deeply focused and have wonderful spaciousness in and around it, it’s just finding the time and space to do it which can be a challenge.

        • Posted by:  Susan Piver

          I am also interested in tonglen practice. I will try to offer something on this at some point!

          Please don’t feel you need to become a morning person! It’s totally fine to tailor any and all practices to your own schedule. With love, S

  • Posted by:  Patty Weyhrich

    Thank you Susan, your talk and practice were very helpful and clear. Namaste

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      So happy to hear it, Patty! Thanks for practicing with me. <3 S

  • Posted by:  Victor

    Hi Susan,
    it is very interesting what you say, thank you!

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      You are so welcome.

  • Posted by:  Catherine Jennings

    Please keep doing these wonderful inspirational insightful and brilliant videos. Each one opens up another door for me. Right concentration never made so much sense. Thank you and much love,

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Hi Catherine. Many thanks for the encouraging words! So appreciated and as long as these are helpful, I will keep offering them. With love, S

  • Posted by:  Carol Mitchell

    Hi Susan,
    I was happy to learn more about the aspects of the Eightfold Noble Path from you in your videos. Please continue to do them for us. I’d like you to speak about any of the Buddha’s teachings.
    Thank you!

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Thanks, Carol! Stay tuned for more. Warmly, S

  • Posted by:  Delia

    Thank you Susan for your talks and teachings. I look forward to the next one and for whatever topic you will choose to share with us in the future. I enjoy listening to you and I like the way you make every concept clear and easy to understand. Namaste, Delia.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Thank you for the encouraging words, Delia! With love, S

  • Posted by:  Gwen Hartland

    Thank you so much. This gave me a deeper understanding on what the idea of concentration means.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      So glad to hear this, Gwen. And so glad we continue to practice together. That makes me very happy. With love, S

  • Posted by:  Jennifer White

    Hi Susan! Love the teaching on the 8-Fold Path. You asked what we would like to hear about going forward. I believe you taught a “course” that at the end the student would receive their “Buddhist name”. I am not sure what that course was/is and if you are having it again, but I would be interested in learning more about it.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Hi Jennifer. So glad this series has been useful.

      I think what you’re referring to is the refuge vow ceremony which is how one formally becomes a Buddhist. No one has to do this! But if you would like to discuss, I’m offering it on June 6. At the end, each “refugee” receives a Buddhist name. If you’d like to learn more or discuss, please email my assistant, Michele, to schedule a time.

      With love, S

  • Posted by:  Sue Lowry

    Thank you so much, Susan for this talk. I have been exploring the complementary nature of mindfulness and awareness for years and your description between minutes 15 and 20 of this video were so illuminating. THANK YOU. I concur with others that continuing these videos is wanted and desired (without too much attachment :)). A topic I would find of interest for future videos is the connection between energy centers of the body (chakras, chi, etc.) and how these traditions fit with Buddhist interpretation of energy in the body.
    Thanks for all your inspiring work and making it available to all as well as your offerings in the OHP.
    With love and gratitude,

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Hi Sue. So very glad this video was useful. And glad to hear of your interest in chakras and energy centers. If I can offer anything of use on this topic, I will! Right now, I don’t know too much about this, but you never know.

      So deeply grateful for your practice. With love, S

  • Posted by:  Rob Mutter

    Hello Susan.

    I can’t make out the word/phrase you use at 04:30ish in this video. “To become liberated from…” I think I’ve heard you use it in a previous talk too. It may be an American expression that my UK ears are not attuned to.

    PS. Thank you so much for this series of talks. They have helped me so much with maintaining perspective (right view!) in these surreal times.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Haha! I get why that word was hard to make out! “Meshugas” is yiddish for craziness or confusion. I guess i was channeling my dear old dad in this particular sentence. 🙂

      So glad you found these talks useful during this time, aptly described as surreal. Or full of meshugas if you like. 😉

      Warmly, S

  • Posted by:  Chrystal Mills

    Susan, I could listen to you explain forever! Your videos always make me feel better about this crazy time in the world. I’m ready for a retreat soon. Will you speaking or do you suggest places to go to reflect & learn more?

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Thank you so much for these encouraging words, Chrystal!

      I’m also ready for some in-person retreats and so on. Let me know what part of the world you’re in and I may be able to recommend some place. In the meantime, please think about joining the Open Heart Project Sangha. We have multiple online retreats, usually at least one per month. All are free for Sangha.

      Warmly, S

  • Posted by:  Charlene

    Hi Susan, thank you always for your guidance and wisdom. I enjoyed today’s 7th step of the 8th fold path. The correlation you spoke about between flow and concentration reminded me of the Zen approach to ‘become one with’ something. Do you think it’s similar?

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Hi Charlene. So glad you enjoyed this.

      I agree–the Zen approach of “become one with” certainly sounds in accord with this particular view of flow and concentration. What a great line of thought to pursue!

      Warmly, S

  • Posted by:  Sandy Betz

    Thank you, Susan, for this series…the noble eightfold path. I have really enjoyed them and I appreciate the videos that I can review again and again. I find that in reviewing them multiple times, more and more sinks in…sometimes by osmosis. Right concentration described as a flow is so helpful to me ~ it reminds me of the term “being in the zone” ~ it feels good and right and spacious.

    As far as future subjects, yes! I want them but know too little to know what I want. I know I love everything about the enneagram and more on that always appeals to me.

    Thank you again. Sandy

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      So happy to hear this was useful, Sandy. And so glad to hear of your continued interest in the enneagram! Stay tuned! With love, S

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