Ep 45: Susan Piver

August 21, 2015

Susan is a Buddhist practitioner and the New York Times bestselling author of eight books including ‘The Hard Questions’, ‘The Wisdom of a Broken Heart’, the award-winning ‘How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life’ and her latest book entitled ‘Start Here Now: An Open-Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation’. She has been interviewed by Oprah Winfrey, Katie Couric, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine and many others. In 2011, Susan launched ‘The Open Heart Project’, an online meditation community with nearly 12,000 members who practice together and explore ways to bring spiritual values such as kindness, genuineness, and fearlessness into everyday life.


In This Episode:

  • In 2004 Susan graduated from a Buddhist seminary. I ask her what that experience was like, what it involved and her main takeaway from it.
  • “Spontaneous innovation is only possible through repetition” Claudio Naranjo
  • “So many great ideas occur to the wonderful thinkers while they are in the shower or taking a walk or sleeping because your mind is in this state of relaxation, so something fresh can enter”
  • Susan has always been very honest and open about the fact that she’s struggled with depression for her entire life since she was a child. We discuss how it’s not about having to be happy 100% of the time but more about having the tools and learnings to be able to deal with life’s challenges.
  • “If you go hear a talk by the Dalai Lama he’s not telling you: this is how to be perfect, he’s telling you to be kind to other people”
  • Susan explains some advice she heard from a Tibetan meditation master that at first seemed offensive but was in fact extremely powerful.
  • She describes the concept of ‘basic goodness’
  • She explains 3 of the main qualities or attributes that we feel when we go through romantic heartbreak.
  • We learn that virtually none of the traditional advice that we’re given about how to deal with a broken heart is correct.
  • During heartbreak “you see how profound your capacity is for love, how much it burns, and you learn that there’s nothing more important than love and you don’t learn that until your heart is broken”
  • When we experience a broken heart nearly all of the advice from well wishing friends and family is focussed on helping us to get away and move away from the pain. However we find out the problem with this approach.
  • Susan explains the amazing wisdom that can be found in sorrow.
  • 99.9% of most self help books focus on ‘How can I get more love, how can I find love, how can I attract love. She describes why it’s more powerful to focus on ‘How do I give love?’, ’How do I become more loving?’
  • There is no relationship that will not end in heartbreak: people change, relationships crater, someone is going to die. Rather than this being morbid we discuss why it is in fact empowering to recognise this truth.
  • I ask Susan what are the main things she has learnt from running ‘The Open Heart Project’, an online meditation community of around 12,000 people.


People Mentioned:

Chögyam Trungpa

Claudio Naranjo


Links Mentioned:

Susan Piver’s Huffington Post article ‘Uncommon Advice To Heal a Broken Heart’


Books Mentioned:

The Wisdom of a Broken Heart: How to Turn the Pain of a Breakup into Healing, Insight, and New Love by Susan Piver

Start Here Now: An Open-Hearted Guide to the Path and Practice of Meditation by Susan Piver

Shumbala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior by Chogyam Trungpa


Connect with Susan:

Susan’s website


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