EPISODE 16: MAKING FRIENDS WITH YOURSELF
In this virtual hangout, Susan Piver and David discuss making friends with yourself, overcoming unworthiness, the weaponization of egolessness, and expanding our definition of Sangha.
Susan Piver is a New York Times bestselling author of nine books, including The Hard Questions, the award-winning How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life, and The Four Noble Truths of Love: Buddhist Wisdom for Modern Relationships. Piver, who has been practicing Buddhism since 1995, is an internationally acclaimed meditation teacher known for her ability to translate ancient practices into modern life. Her work has been featured on the Oprah show, TODAY, CNN, and in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, MONEY, and others. In 2011, she launched the Open Heart Project, the largest virtual mindfulness community in the world. You can find more information at SusanPiver.com
Unworthiness: Wrestling Match of Self
Why can it be so difficult to practice meditation? You are simply being with yourself, so where does the wrestling match come from? Susan posits that, in the West, it has a lot to do with our sense of unworthiness, a difficulty around being with oneself in true honesty and appreciation because we don’t intrinsically believe we deserve that for ourselves. Einstein said the most important determination one can make is if you live in a friendly or an unfriendly universe. Susan feels this is another way of asking, “Am I Worthy?”
“If you’ve ever wished for a friend who would love you as you are, appreciate your genius and make space for your foibles, well I can introduce you to this person: You are the one you’ve been waiting for, as they say.” – Susan Piver
Weaponizing Egolessness (18:16)
In spirituality, there seems to be a fixation on egolessness, but Susan points out the question, “How can i get rid of my ego?” translates to “How can i stop being myself?” Through this lens, self-diminishment is required for spiritual advancement, so if we aren’t careful with our aim, words, and intention, we can use practice as an aggressive weapon of diminishment, rather than liberation. Susan invites us to trade “egolessness” for “relaxation,” which she feels better exemplifies the Buddhist notion of non-attachment.
“Non-attachment doesn’t mean pain doesn’t hurt and pleasure doesn’t feel good. Non-attachment means opening to all of it, in the full range, and not trying to grip or ward off, but going on the full ride. ” – Susan Piver
Sangha & Community in 2020 (38:42)
Illuminating the Three Jewels of Buddhism: Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, Susan and David relate these ancient teachings to practicing in our modern world. Susan shares that one of the main reasons an online Sangha like David’s work, is that all Three Jewels are present: Practice, contemplation of the path, and community. Sharing the intention behind her online mindfulness community, Open Heart Project, Susan invites us to expand our definition of Sangha from just our fellow practitioners, to the entirety of the world.
“It’s not just your fellow practitioners, although that’s the primary Sangha. There’s some sense of–and I don’t mean to sound too Kumbaya–but looking at the world as your sangha, and saying ‘I’m not going to hide who I am anymore. I’m going to take my seat in this Sangha; this one, the big one.’ ‘I’m going to show up,’ is what Sangha means to me.” – Susan Piver
Guided Meditation: The Moment Before We Begin (43:30)
David invites Susan to lead a guided meditation session for the group.
“I once went to talk where the teacher said, ‘The most important moment of my practice is the moment before I begin.’ That’s this moment.” – Susan Piver