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With wisdom, creativity, and artistry, Susan Piver brings a Buddhist lens to the spiritual map of the enneagram. The results are vibrant and nourishing; a banquet of insights that help us transmute our difficult emotions into pure expressions of our basic goodness.

–Tara Brach, Author of Radical Acceptance and Trusting the Gold

The Noble Eightfold Path: Part 1

March 28, 2022   |   7 Comments

Audio-only version is here.
Meditation practice begins at 19:04.

Dear Open Heart Project,

Hello! I am so glad we can practice together.

This video marks the first in an 8-video series called Basics of Buddhism: The Noble Eightfold Path. Today we will talk about the first step, Right View. Whether you are brand new to the Open Heart Project or not, this is a great place to begin (again). 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 in two weeks and there will be a new video every two weeks 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 sting 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. Thank you! “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, it 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.

In this video, we start at the beginning with a (very) brief overview of the four noble truths, those insights that 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 what (if anything) 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.

I have taught Fearless Creativity at residential retreat centers for over a decade. Past attendees have included memoirists, novelists, poets, bloggers, songwriters, screenwriters, and people with an important professional commitment to a writing project (like a textbook or a how-to manual). Participants have completed stories, figured out plot points, started new projects, surprised themselves with a new creative direction, and finally written about what is most important.

This program is for you if you long for the time and space to listen to your own voice and sink into a project with the support of a teacher, a preset schedule, a community, and lots (and lots) of tacos.

Find out more about this August 10-14 retreat at my house in Austin, TX here.

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  • Posted by:  Eileen

    Happy Anniversary! How many years have we been meeting in this field? How fortunate I feel to have typed “meditation practice” into my search field (yet another field!) that first week….It has been joyous, informative, reassuring, eye-opening…..You know the drill! THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO! Eileen XO

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Happy anniversary to you, to us, to our practice together! So much to celebrate. Love, S

  • Posted by:  Sue May

    As an eanneagram type 1, I can easily get hooked by anything described as “right.” There is a little anxious voice in my head twittering about discerning what is “right” – versus what I think is right at any one time. Looking at “truth” seems to bypass that trigger for me. Shining light for greater awareness is my go to then.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      mine too!

  • Posted by:  Jill

    The clearest explaination of the Four Noble Truths and the middle way that I have ever heard. Great presentation.
    I look forward to the rest of the path.

    Also a wonderful lead on the meditation.

    Thank you so much for this gift.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Thank you, Jill! So appreciate this and I also look forward to the continued conversation.

  • Posted by:  Joan

    Thank you! I do have a mindfulness practice but have never really understood the Eightfold Path before! It always seemed to belong to another time. Well it seems that it’s never too late to learn!

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“With wisdom, creativity and artistry, Susan Piver brings a Buddhist lens to the spiritual map of the Enneagram. The results are vibrant and nourishing; a banquet of insights that help us transmute our difficult emotions into pure expressions of our basic goodness.”

 – Tara Brach, author of Radical Acceptance