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

March 29, 2021   |   36 Comments

Audio-only version is here.
Meditation practice begins at 16:19.

Dear Open Heart Project,

I’m so happy to send you the sixth video in our eight video series on the noble eightfold path of Buddhism. We have already discussed Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood.

Right View and Right Intention comprise true wisdom. Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood describe how to live an ethical life. Now we turn to Right Effort which, together with Right Mindfulness (coming April 12) and Right Concentration (coming April 26) explain how to work with our minds. After all, no matter how elegant our conceptual understanding, without a way of working with our thoughts and emotions, we remain unable to bring that understanding into experience.

Right Effort is not about working harder. I’m sure you’re already working as hard as you can. Rather, it has more to do with diligence and never giving up on yourself. Please have a listen to this short talk (followed by a guided 10-minute meditation) and let me know what you think! I always love to hear from you.

Sending much 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.

categorized in: ,


  • Posted by:  Donna Denise Obermiller

    Wow. I think i will need to watch this many times. All the best to you! ❤

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      And to you! So glad we can practice together. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Inma

    Thank you Susan, these sessions are really helpful for me, today I learnt to look at my effort with compassion which ables me to release and be present with my feelings more consciously. Agree with Donna, I’ll watch this video some more times as a reminder. Do take care 💝

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Lovey to read these words of self-compassion, Inma. Sending love!

      • Posted by:  Inma


  • Posted by:  Jane Deakin

    Very wonderful session thank you so much.
    Don’t give up on yourself a profound teaching
    Had me in many tears 😌. Very useful method for coping with PTSD is feeding your Demons a very ancient Buddhist practice which is a deeply healing practice .
    If love is something I give my attention to then it explains why painting is so mindful and fills me with love even though it can be challenging. Blessed be J xxx

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      The Feeding Your Demons practice is so powerful– as is painting. So happy you have both practices. With much love and appreciation, Susan

  • Posted by:  Karen Swanson

    Such a fabulous talk and lovely instruction Susan! I’ve been missing the weekly MIT gatherings, due to my schedule and other involvements, and I find the longer I miss it, the more deeply I ‘feel’ your talks land in me – as you say, “it’s important” – practice, and also sangha…
    I’m tiptoeing my way into some new endeavors, so I especially appreciated the reminders about grasping, today!
    Thank you a million times, for all that you are and for all that you offer, Karen

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Oh, Karen! I thank you a million times right back. I so appreciate the caring way you tread the path. Sending so much love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Sam

    This was one of those days when it feels like it was tailor made for me. Thank you so much. I did the first 2 and then have been in the wilderness – and particularly the limbic system wilderness – now back and extremely grateful anyway for transient-as-it-May-be presence – and for this Monday’s teaching. Big hugs of gratitude xxxx

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Sam, big hugs right back. I appreciate you for the journey you are taking. With a lot of love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Kiesha Battles

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with PTSD and flipping fingers in Clubhouses. Hearing your instructions and practicing together was helpful.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver


      So glad this was helpful and very happy our paths have crossed, Kiesha. Thanks for the work you do in the world. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Bill

    Excellent session, I am so gratful to you!

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      And I’m grateful to you, too! With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Sky

    Thank you for mentioning the difficulty of sitting through PTSD!
    And for your self-disclosure. My experience has been that trying to sit through periods of high PTSD arousal is like rubbing salt in a wound. The more I try to focus on my breath the greater my difficulty with breathing, until I’m on the edge of a panic attack. Exercise, yoga, walking are my go to in these situations. Therapy and medication are essential for me. Sitting with you today and trying to drop the story line was challenging and I realized that I am constantly trying to justify my feelings (because of my past) to myself as well as to the rest of the, often non understanding, world. I was reminded today that I can put this justifying aside and give it a break during my practice as well as applying this awareness throughout the day. Thanks Susan 🙏♥️🙏

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      I share your experience, Sky. “Like rubbing salt in a wound” is a great description of what it can feel like to meditate in the midst of trauma. Exercise, yoga, and walking are so wise, as are therapy and medication when indicated. (Both have helped me, too.) Please keep me posted if I can be helpful. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Marsha

    Thank You! 🙏🏼

    I love your teachings … so practical, meaningful and concise.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      So glad we can practice together! With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Kevin J Waters

    Hello Susan, Thank You Aways For Taking the time for Reminders, &, Reviews ! Impermance has recently been a big issue in My Life… Right Effort, there was Once a Time Where If I gave Something / Someone, “Time, and Energy” … and it dident Pan Out, That Was It … Slowly by learning that What Mattered when I Faltered, The Most Was How I “Picked myself up, &, Tried Again, I Began to Realize that with Others when let Down was How I Extended myself Once Again ! I have Chronic Pain, (not so much PtSD ), but an Issue that Brought me to Theraputic Groups with the Same Affliction, Which with other Mentors Provided the insite Need For An Understanding Of “Right Effort” Beond my 1st. Introduction to the Noble Path !! Thanks Namaste !!

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Great to hear from you and sorry to hear you work with chronic pain. I have no doubt that you are bringing it all to the path. I really appreciate your devotion to the journey. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Anett

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for your honesty.
    Thank you for being there in this difficult time.
    Thank you for telling what I feel at the moment. Struggle with sitting – it has a reason.
    Thank you just was listening to your recording from creative Retreat.
    That helped me to get through Sunday.
    After some trigger on Saturday I felt helpless.
    But when my mind focus on listening to your voice and the buddha’s teaching it bring me relief and presence. That helps.
    I can’t be in old trauma and same time be present with you talking.
    ( Even I avoided a lot of listening and participation recently …felt always on and off)
    Watching bird’s helped me too.
    Working on my balcony too.
    Listening to sound healing music if my Medical Qi Gong teacher helps too.

    Just in the moment of panic or re- Trigger WE need strong reminders 💕❤️⭕🔴

    The good thing about forgetting a lot ,you also forget negative experiences.
    But mind training gets hard with a mind that does not memory times and appointments.

    Will listening again to your teaching and respond again.

    Thank you a million times, for all that you are and for all that you offer …this is true can’t find better words.
    Love and wishing you health

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Anette, I so appreciate you for bringing all of your experiences to the path. Truly, from the bottom of my heart, I offer you so much encouragement and respect. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  kat dipaolo

    “Don’t give up on yourself; don’t give up on your practice; don’t give up on your journey.” Thank you Susan for your very kind and compassionate words-I could hear in your voice that you were coming straight from the heart. May I extend these exact same sentiments to you and thank you for the energy you put into providing us with such meaningful teachings.
    Blessing to you,

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Thank you, Kat, thank you, thank you! I feel your good wishes from the heart as well. Sending love and appreciation, S

  • Posted by:  Chrystal Mills

    Susan, Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Every time I listen to you I think I wish she was my friend! You’re an amazing teacher.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      We ARE friends! We journey together. I’m happy our paths crossed. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Daniëla

    Wonderful talk, listened to it already several times. Will do again. Never get enough of these teachings. And I am with you with the digital middle fingers! Have a nice day Susan.
    With love,

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Haha!! So happy our minds have met in exactly this way. With much love, Susan

  • Posted by:  James H

    The right words, from the right teacher, at precisely the right time. It’s almost spooky how directly this landed with me. My dodgy wifi even inserted a long pause before and after a key phrase. 🙂
    Thank you.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      It is deeply wonderful when our minds meet. Special bonus gratitude for etheric tech support. Much love, S

  • Posted by:  Shiwa Chotso

    How lovely this is! Having sat with people who experience PTSD, helping them untangle their daunting mazes surrounding trauma, add me to the list of digital middle fingers to those who have a pat “solution” to their pain. I’m glad that I watched this video today – I had a great opportunity to flex my muscle of awareness. We had a roof leak and were discussing how to do both short and long term fixes, and the volume was escalating. I flashed on how my shoulders were tensing, and my listening was taking a back seat to my own heated words. I just stopped. Without a co-arguer, he stopped, too. I took a breath and deliberately sat back. Amazingly, he did, too. My awareness was taking me back to a place of listening, and the subconscious mirroring in our dyad allowed him to de-escalate as well. A veritable weight lift, we ended up stronger individually and together.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Shiwa Chotso, hello It is just so lovely to read your reflections on bringing the practice to each part of your life. It’s a privilege to watch your path unfold. Much love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Denise

    Merci mille fois. Je suis si heureuse d’avoir recommencé à méditer avec vous ! C’est une force en ces temps si difficiles. Thank you, thank you.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Je suis si heureux que nous puissions pratiquer ensemble! (That’s from google translate! Hope it says “I’m so glad we can practice together!”) With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Niven Anghar

    Thank you for these lessons, Susan. I read through the comments on this page and was not sure what type of message I was going to post here.

    To me, your first 6 lessons are clear, concise account of the NEP. It’s the prescription I need to uproot and eliminate my deep underlying ignorance. Susan, your practical and relaxed style of teaching offers a middle path, through the middle path… not too theoretical and not too whackadoo, instead your delivery of the NEP is just right.
    I am so looking forward to lesson number 7.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.