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Working with Painful Emotions: Sadness

September 12, 2022   |   28 Comments

Audio-only version is here.
Meditation practice begins at 22:38

Dear Open Heart Project,

In July, we began the series: “Working with Painful Emotions.” I thought last week’s video, on despair, was the last in the series–until a member of the community asked why I hadn’t included sadness. That really made me think! In this video, I offer some thoughts on why sadness is in a different category than the other painful emotions.

In case you want to review, In this series, we started with anger, moved on to attachment (or grasping), then shame, followed by jealousy, anxiety, distrust, hatred, and, last week, despair. All the greatest hits!

On another note—I’m excited to let you know that my new book, The Buddhist Enneagram, is now available for pre-order. It presents a view of the enneagram, a system that describes nine types of people, through the lens of the Buddhadharma. If you want to learn more, preorder the book and then click here to let us know and to reserve your spot in a free, live, webinar on Oct 1 from 12p ET-2p ET.

I always love to hear from you, so please let me hear your thoughts.

With love, Susan

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  • Posted by:  Jane Deakin

    Thank you this was very heartful and very helpful 🙏😌👩‍🎨

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver


    • Posted by:  Patty

      Thank you Susan, for the message and giving us support as warriors. Your presentation is also pleasant, your words and speaking ability.

      • Posted by:  Susan Piver

        Thank you, Patty. <3

  • Posted by:  William


    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      see shame?

  • Posted by:  Karen

    such a timely addition for me, Susan… as it seems I am in something of a graduate course in sadness of late! I thank you for your gentle eloquence, and for the reminder of that beautiful quote, which I’ve heard from you before – describing the difference between depression and sadness. It hits the mark. much love, Karen

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Karen, so good to hear from you. Wishing you all the blessings of sadness…and relief from sadness. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Sandy Betz

    This touched me so much, Susan. I have been sad lately and I very much appreciated this take on it. I feel better , especially knowing that my heart is opening. Thank you.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Sandy, many thanks for leaving this comment and I thank you for your courage. Sadness is the warrior’s path! With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Catherine Lethbridge

    Thank you so much for these videos. This last one was especially powerful and resonated with me, and all the places heartbreak still can linger.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      You are so welcome, Catherine. I’m so happy we can practice together. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Jan

    Great post!!!!🤠

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Thank you, Jan!!! Love and kitty cats, Susan

  • Posted by:  Laurie

    This was very helpful about sadness. I feel in-between & you explained this very well (Gloria’s) with the difference of sadness & depression. Thank you for that.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      I’m so glad this resonated, Laurie. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Sandra Stefan

    Found your comment on heartbreak to be very profound. I lost my husband of 36 years just over 4 years ago and believe me the sadness of that heartbreak was undeniable and very real. There was no way to “turn it off “. Only thing to do is “ride the wave” of emotions. Oddly much wisdom has come along with this experience, the first of which was discovering the open heart community
    So thank you for sharing your wisdom with us

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Sandra, I’m so sorry for your loss–and so appreciative of you for taking it on as you are. It takes so much courage. And, it seems, the more courage, the more sadness, the more courage, the more sadness, etc, etc. I appreciate you. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Liv

    This is such a beautiful reframe of sadness. To avoid the world is to avoid being sad but also you will never know joy. I feel inspired to open myself more! Especially socially and creatively. My poetry was rejected recently which made me sad. But I know it’s good so I will risk more sadness to get it out there! Thank you!!!!

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      I’m so sorry to hear about your poetry, Liv. This kind of thing can be so deeply painful. I appreciate that you are staying with yourself, with your voice. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Lynne

    Thank you for this very helpful teaching.
    Looking at my depth of sadness in this way helps
    me realize how to embrace my warrior self.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      So perfectly said, Lynne. Truly. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Barbara

    Thank you Susan, for adding sadness, as a bonus superpower or softening agent rather than a difficult emotion – is my interpretation and experience.

    I was able to preorder your new book in NL. Excited to know more about the buddhist view on strong emotions and how you link them to the enneagram. Such an interesting approach.
    Good luck with the launch today!!! XO love, B

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Thank you so much, my sister-friend! Your comments and responses are always inspiring. I truly hope the book will bring benefit to you. With love, Susan

  • Posted by:  Anett

    This touched something deep inside.
    Blessings and much gratitude .
    Thank you all !
    love Anett

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver


  • Posted by:  Melanie

    Thank you for this, Susan. The quote from Gloria Steinem really resonated with me.

    • Posted by:  Susan Piver

      Me too!! <3

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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