How to Stay Grounded in a Time of Transition (Step One)

October 24, 2022   |   6 Comments

Audio-only version is here.
Meditation practice begins at 19:03

Dear Open Heart Project,

Hello! I am so glad we can practice together.

This video marks the first in an 8-video series called How to Stay Grounded in a Time of Transition. As we head into a new year, it is natural to think about what we want to emphasize in our lives and what we want to let go of. In the Buddhist view, creating a life of ease and sanity is accomplished with eight steps, also called the Noble Eightfold Path.

This video contains a 20-minute talk to introduce the eightfold path and discuss the first step, “Right View.” It concludes with a 10-minute guided breath awareness meditation. The next video in the series, “Right Intention” will arrive on October 31 and there will be a new video every week until we have visited each of the eight steps. Please enjoy!

This is a bit about why I wanted to create this series (besides the fact that we need real insight, a deeper conversation, and connection to each other right now!):

We are so fortunate to live in a time when mindfulness and mindfulness meditation have lost any sense of wackadoo (for lack of a better word). When I started practicing in 1993, I had to explain so many things to family and friends: I am not in a cult. I am not a flake. This is not religious. I will not shave my head nor will I don flowing garments. (Not that there is anything wrong with those things.) It just had a cloud of new age-y otherness that raised a lot of questions.

No longer. Over the last few decades, meditation practice has been studied by doctors, scientists, and researchers of all kinds. Collectively, they arrived at a single conclusion: Meditation is awesome. “There’s real science behind this” is a line one hears quite frequently about meditation practice–and something about the scientific imprimatur has loosened our hesitations around this ancient practice.

Which is fantastic. However, there is no need to stop there or sacrifice meditation’s 2500-year history on the altar of self-improvement. BTW, yes to self-improvement! Yes to fixing problems! Yes to less stress! All of these things are truly fantastic and meditation has been demonstrated to support each of these aims.

But it is so much more than that. Meditation is also a spiritual practice.

Where self-improvement emphasizes repairing what is wrong with you, meditation begins with the premise that there is nothing wrong with you and any ideas to the contrary are indications of confusion. You are already 100% worthy and whole because that’s the way you were born.

Rather than solving your problems, our practice shows you how to make space for them whereupon they (eventually) dissolve on their own accord.

And it teaches you that stress can be alleviated, not only by withdrawing from it, but, when that is impossible (seems to be the case right now!), by turning toward it, making space for it, and relaxing with it.

How does all this happen? Well, that is the question we visit in today’s video: How is it even possible that by sitting there basically doing nothing, I discover important truths, soften my heart, and become more fearless and genuine? Those are the deeper fruits of the practice, my friends! There are literally thousands of years of anecdotal and experiential wisdom that offer insight on these questions. We don’t have to excise it all. There is nothing remotely religious going on here. It’s actually quite pragmatic and accessible as I hope today’s video will show.

Today, we start at the beginning with a (very) brief overview of the four noble truths, which create the framework for all of Buddhism. The fourth truth is called The Eightfold Path (lots of numbers, I know) and the very first step on the path is called “Right View,” which I hope to explain. Let me know if I succeeded! Comments are always welcomed.

With this series, I invite you to take a deeper dive into the principles behind this practice to see, not what they mean, but what they mean to you.

I am delighted and honored to be your guide right now.

Love, Susan

P.S. This article gives a great over view of the eightfold path. And this is excellent.

On another note!

Many of you joined the free webinar on The Buddhist Enneagram and I truly appreciate and benefit from our conversation. It was clear to me that the webinar couldn’t go into the kind of detail I feel the topic has to offer all of us as we navigate these challenging times in our world with other people. 
I created this new 3-week course [LINK] to offer you a compass when seeking both self-compassion and a mindful way to interact with the people around you. 
We’re going to cover:
– The nuances of finding your type (and yes, I believe you’ll walk away with the tools you need to discover your actual Enneagram type with better accuracy than tests online claiming to guess it in five questions)
– The details of each Enneagram type 
– How to apply what you learn to your real life
The course includes 3 live two-hour lessons with me on November 1, 8, and 15, 7p ET – 9p ET. If you cannot make it, all sessions will be recorded including the Q&A. 

I hope you will join me for this in-depth conversation about one of my favorite topics of all time, the enneagram. I am very excited to share it with you and also discuss some of the main points of my new book, The Buddhist Enneagram which will form the basis for our class discussions, so please make sure you have a copy. You may purchase it here.
I hope to see you in this course — we’re going to learn and laugh our way into deeper compassion and confidence with the Enneagram as our guide to discovery. 

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  • Posted by:  Amanda Bell

    Thanks for the teaching today Susan. It has come at a good moment as I am certainly in a time of transition and always glad to be reminded to look at the Third Way. I know already how much ‘truth’ and ‘rightness’ and ‘help’ seems to come from choosing that way but it is great. to have the regular prompts to look at that path from all that you provide for us in the Open Heart Project. Deep Gratitude! 🙏🏻

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      You are so welcome. Wishing you well in every aspect of your transition. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Phillip Randolph

    Wow. When I responded ti your email and first looked at this lecture, I thought “Oh, I already saw this a couple months ago.” It was my first enounter with Susan Piver. I watched it again anyway and made a HUGE (for me) discovery: the lecture had a much larger impact and led to a deeper understanding. The lecture eas the same, but I was not the same, and I think the largest difference is accounted for by the teaching. Whar a lesson! Thank you so much, Susan.


    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Thank you, Phillip! I have had this experience so many times myself–reading or hearing something I’ve already read/heard and discovered something totally new. My conclusion is that, when it comes to dharma teachings, you can only ever read/hear them for the first time. With love, Susan

    • Posted by:  Sandra Stefan

      Agreed 🙏🏻

  • Posted by:  Joanne

    Hi Susan and thank you. You teach the concepts in a very accessible way. I do need to contemplate the right view. I suppose my concern, and this may be addressed in the subsequent talks, is that when one thinks their view is ‘right’ they then think others views are ‘wrong’. And this way of thinking has gotten us into a whole lot of grief in the world. I’ll need to work on this ‘right’ way….

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