All posts tagged: Susan Piver

Susan PIver

How I Discovered the Four Noble Truths of Love

By Susan Piver // Some time ago, my husband, Duncan, and I were locked in a state of ongoing disagreement. This disagreement had no center, theme, object, or subject. It was more like a demonic presence. Whatever we discussed gave rise to conflict, whether it was about what time to leave for the movies, if the dishes in the dishwasher were clean or dirty, which bank to use, or if we belonged together as a couple. Once we even argued about what time it was. Even a question as simple as “Where do you want to eat dinner?” could provoke talk of divorce. (True story: When I posed this question one night, we were driving on a country road and, for some reason, we exploded at each other. I made him pull over and let me out of the car… in France. I had no idea where we were. I didn’t care—I just wanted out. I walked into a field until I got scared and went back to the car, arms folded.) When we were …

Susan Piver

Susan Piver on the Benefits of Meditation

By Susan Piver // A comprehensive list of all the benefits of meditation would be very long indeed. My friend and fellow meditation teacher Jonathan Foust has said that if it were a medication, meditation would be heralded as the miracle drug of the century! Some of the benefits that have been demonstrated recently through modern scientific inquiry include the following: It relieves stress (by lowering the stress hormone, cortisol). It improves focus and memory (by raising the level of gamma waves). It prevents relapse into depression by 50 percent (according to studies by Jon Kabat-Zinn, MD, and Zindel Segal, PhD). It boosts immunity (in one study, meditators demonstrated higher levels of antibodies than nonmeditators in reaction to a vaccination). It actually makes you demonstrably happier (by reducing activation in the amygdala and increasing it in the prefrontal cortex). The health benefits don’t stop there. In addition, it has been demonstrated that meditation can help with the following: lowering blood pressure decreasing symptoms in illnesses with a stress-related component (ulcers, for example) decreasing serum cholesterol …

Susan Piver on Meditation and Creativity

By Susan Piver // The other day, I read a tweet from someone looking for advice about taking up meditation for creative reasons. Could it help one become more creative, they wondered? I’ve had ample opportunity to study this question. I lead meditation and writing retreats that are about reconnecting with our own creativity and, beyond that, with the moment of inspiration. And after all, what is creativity, exactly, besides a continuous series of moments of inspiration? Which raises the questions: What is inspiration and where does it come from? Can my meditation practice help? When it comes to the latter question, the answer is “absolutely” and “maybe not.” Fascinatingly, Dictionary.com offers us this definition of “to inspire”: “To infuse into the mind; to communicate to the spirit; to convey, as by a divine or supernatural influence; to disclose preternaturally; to produce in, as by inspiration.” And this: “To draw in by the operation of breathing; to inhale.” At no point is the definition offered: “to be clever” or “to impress.” Rather, the definition points …

On Being a Teacher

By Susan Piver // I just finished teaching two retreats at Dechen Choling Retreat Center in France, “The Open Heart Retreat” followed by “Fearless Creativity: A Meditation and Writing Retreat.” On the last day of the last program, a student kindly asked what it felt like for me when a retreat was over. Our group was sitting at the breakfast table in the main building, a chateau dating back more than a hundred years. The land was in full June bloom and the only sounds were bird calls. We were so far away from our regular lives, whether in New York, London, Amsterdam, or right down the road in the village and I could feel the glow of retreat all around. There were expressions of appreciation for what we had experienced and also sadness at leaving this place and each other. “Retreat magic” refers to the feeling one gets after days and days of quieting the mind and turning inward. It is far from sleepy. It is not particularly “relaxing,” rather, it is enlivening, a …

WATCH: Susan Piver on Writing, Magic, and Meditation

You probably already know who Susan Piver is — because she is famous for helping people through her writing. She’s a New York Times Best-selling author of titles like How not to be Afraid of Your Own Life and The Wisdom of a Broken Heart. You probably already know that! But, what you may not know, what may come as a surprise, is that the main impetus for this writer — who has helped tens of thousands of people through her writing — is not to be helpful, necessarily. Rather, it is to discover something. If this makes you wonder about what it means to be a “helpful person” or an “artist” — good! In our recent interview, Susan spoke powerfully about the creative process and its healing potential, and how discovery is a phenomena that a writer can experience themselves, but cannot quite provide for readers. Rather, perhaps, they can set the stage. She quotes her teacher Saykong Mipham: “Don’t teach anyone anything. Help them discover something.” In a culture that seems full-up with opinion, …

Floral Notes and Bardo: “What’s Going On in Your Mind?”

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a regular feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. There is less than before, there’s a spot in the sky, the sound of footsteps is becoming more defined, the idea of destination is folding in on itself. Last night at dinner, sitting across the table from Annebelle — we’d spoken a bit, and now I was gazing over her shoulder.  She asked me “What’s going on when you do that?” “In my mind?” “Yes.” I did the best I could to describe it: space, clouds, jumbles of thought, relaxation.  I have nothing to communicate and there is a bit of a panic to find something to say, then that dissolves.  Eventually a sense of settledness, and at that point a new moment has begun. Something like that. That was a nice question for her to ask me.  A real dharma-sister thing to do.  A …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Here and There

By Travis Newbill Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. I was away for a week, and it’s a whole new world now.  I even have a new name (a good one!): Good Highland Prankster (pictured below with Good Equanimity Sword) Photo by Laurie Amodeo No one is the same, the land is not the same.  It’s summer time.  So green.  Green: Karma energy — All accomplishing.  In the winter I felt cozy, and now when I try to be cozy I feel restless.  Time to move.  Time to shake it.  Time to sing! My dear friends Laurie and Todd came here to visit. I say: I would not be here if it weren’t for Todd.  He’s had a lot to do with turning me onto the dharma, Shambhala, etc.  This blog that I write is really just a public version of letters that I’ve been sending …

Floral Notes and Bardo: Renunciation/Blossom

  Floral Notes and Bardo: The Creative Chronicles of a Shambhala Mountain Resident is a daily feature on the SMC blog in which a member of our staff/community shares his experience of existing as part of Shambhala Mountain Center. Wet behind the ear, mind-flower shedding petals and onto my shoulder, cool petals, living still, still connected to earth. Petals from the flower-song, becoming smaller. And not separate from fresh blossoms. Valentine’s Day–We handed out flowers from the previous night’s Ikebana class and the haikus that Heather, Tara and I made for all the members of the community. We invaded lunch-time with glittery wishes and cheer. People seemed to enjoy it. Just before lunch a group of staff gathered at the Stupa to film a Shambhala Day greeting from SMC. Nice weather, cheerfulness… A super-love day between and Heather and I and… and this is really key for me… it seemed like that situation was connected to a larger one. Like… romantic love and communal love feeding one another. That’s how we both experienced it. I hope …

Q&A: Susan Piver Discusses the Writer’s Groove and “Fearlessly Creative”

By Travis Newbill Susan Piver leads Fearlessly Creative: A Meditation and Writing Retreat, December 20-23 A couple of common obstacles that most writers–or would be writers–encounter: 1) No time to write! 2) The fear of putting the pen to the page (err, typing words into the computer). Meditation teacher and New York Times Bestselling Author Susan Piver has a remedy. It involves structuring daily life in a way that is conducive to creative work, and…practicing meditation. Does that sound simple? Impossible? Worth exploring? This weekend, Susan will be leading a retreat at SMC which is intended to provide a space for writers to find their groove and produce work, and also to model a routine which will allow them to live more fully as writers in their daily lives. Recently, Susan took some time to discuss the retreat. So, what is the intended purpose of this retreat? Susan Piver: If you have something that you want to work on—a book, a memoir, anything—this program is meant to provide a container for you to do so. …