If you feel depleted (who doesn’t?!) this is what will replenish you

December 21, 2020   |   15 Comments

Audio-only version is here.
Meditation practice begins at 3:57

Dear Open Heart Project,

I hope you are well and feeling healthy and strong.

Once I had the privilege of interviewing Tara Brach, the respected Vipassana teacher, about compassion. I asked her, “what do you tell your students who come to you with compassion fatigue?” I’m sure you’ve experienced what I called “compassion fatigue.” It’s when you are just exhausted from trying to be a force for goodness and sanity in a world that may seem to be going in the exact opposite direction.

I half-expected her to give me a teaching from a sutra or some other ancient text but instead she answered with one word. “Sangha. I tell them sangha.” As you may know, sangha is the sanskrit word for community.

This was over 10 years ago, but I have not stopped contemplating her answer and checking it against my experience. I find it to be absolutely correct. When I’m at a low ebb, I actually can’t pick myself up. But, if I’m lucky or prescient enough when at my lowest to connect with others–you, family, friends, gatherings of like-minded people, I suddenly find that my energy has returned. The truth is, we are not self-sustaining machines. We rely on the web of interconnection to keep us energized, hopeful, and strong.

Don’t take my word for this! Before today’s sit, I offer a few additional thoughts. I’d love to hear yours. Please leave them in comments and I’ll be sure to respond.

Love, Susan


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  • Posted by:  Karen Swanson

    Hello Susan – thank you, as always, for a lovely talk and the words from Thich Nhat Hanh. Lately, it seems that the simpler the message, the more I am moved. I sensed a strong peacefulness in you, here, and was amused to notice that I experienced you stroking your kitty’s head and back both as if you were stroking mine, and also as if I were stroking my own kitty! Ahhhhhh – we are truly all connected in a deep and true way. love, Karen

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Lovely, lovely, lovely! xo S

  • Posted by:  Mary Quarles

    Thank you for this. As the larger world changed, many of us lost income. Having this weekly meditation arrive in my inbox is a light and an anchor that I so appreciate, as my means of paying for a deeper offering is not an option.
    Thank you Susan. 🙏🏼

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      So glad we can practice together. We will continue to do so in 2021! Love, S

  • Posted by:  Alodie

    Thank you Susan and OHP team for your work and leadership of this online community. I am getting so much from Susan’s weekly/daily meditations, the teachings from Michael and the Creative Raves from Crystal. So much goodness in a troubling year. I am so grateful for all of you!
    Happy Solstice, Alodie

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      And we are grateful for you! With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Virginia Mitchell

    Hello Susan and sangha friends,
    “When I’m at a low ebb, I actually can’t pick myself up.” For the past 5 years you, and the community, have many times been there to help me pick up my self. My gratitude to you is deep and endless. ❤️

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      We are in this together, Virginia. How fortunate! With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Farid

    Hello Susan,
    Thank you so much for the teaching, I know how much Sanga is important,but what if your sangha get caught in producing quarrel energy rather than peace especially after our gatherings have changed in to online form., what can one do in that condition?

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Excellent question, Farid. All sanghas hit obstacles. Sometimes that means it is best to sever the relationship, sometimes it means it is best to work on repair. No one can tell you what is right for you. I truly hope your sangha will find peace. Sending love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Gwen Hartland

    thank you for providing this beautiful community of practice. On this Winter Solstice, you bring light to us.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      And you to me, Gwen! <3 S

  • Posted by:  jane

    Ahhhh (-: just title made me feel part of a community and that here I would feel welcome and be replenished somewhat.
    Thank you Susan for all that you do.

    Happy New Year to you

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      <3 <3 <3

  • Posted by:  GOLEC4670

    Thank you!!1

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