Susan Piver is the author of several books including Quiet Mind: A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation and her latest, How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life. I had the good fortune to take a brief meditation instruction from Piver at a recent writer’s workshop. Although my jury’s still out on inner peace, I have to admit, five minutes of concentrated nothing certainly was the medicine I needed that day. It was enough to make me want to know more, so I asked Ms. Piver if she’d answer a few questions.
The name of your last book is intriguing – what do you mean by being ‘afraid of your own life’?
SP: Most people are too afraid to simply be who they are. Most of us have trouble even figuring out who we are — our unique personal presence — through all the advertising, parental admonitions, and cultural conventions. Instead of knowing ourselves, we try to stereotype ourselves in our own minds to fit neat categories. Meditation practice can help enormously. It teaches you to observe with who you really are, without judgment.
In terms of work life, or entrepreneurial pursuits, what are some situations where people might be afraid of their own lives?
SP: I don’t know about you, but i spend most of the day reassuring myself that my existence is basically nothing to apologize for. Forget about expressing myself creatively, which is what any entrepreneurial pursuit requires — it takes enormous courage just to stand in your own shoes. Again, meditation or other spiritual practice can help you relax.
Business and spirituality are not necessarily considered to be complimentary. How can a spiritual practice enhance business performance?
SP: I don’t really see much of a split. You can be a spiritual business person without cheating either occupation. If you look at spirituality as the act of being who you really are from moment to moment (which i do), then there is no problem, no split whatsoever.
Can you give us one practical application we can all use at our desks right now?
(or coffee shops or sofas or wherever you happen to be!)
SP: Pretend you’re someone who loves you a whole, whole lot. Ask them to tell you what you most need to hear today.
That’s sound advice we can all use, even if we can’t crunch into the lotus position (which, by the way, is totally unnecessary for mediation). Chill out, relax, and for goodness sake – unplug! If you want to know more about Susan Piver and her books, check out www.susanpiver.com.
Have a great weekend!