IMCW > Programs > Path of Practice > Deepening Practice

Deepening Practice

The benefits of meditation practice are well documented—ranging from more ease and less stress to deep inner freedom. But even with regular meditation practice we can find ourselves struggling when our workplace is in turmoil; when we’re in conflict with a family member or friend; or just in facing the ups and downs of life.

Deepening your practice helps you bring the central teachings of the Buddha more fully into your family, relationships, work, and all areas of your life, so that you can live with greater kindness, awareness, and freedom. See the deepening practice classes and retreats on our Calendar page.

In addition to the suggestions in the New to Meditation and Establishing Practice sections:

  • Continue your daily meditation practice!  If you can, try to meditate for 30-45 minutes every day at a regular time. You can also explore a range of Buddhist meditation practices—such as loving kindness, forgiveness, and compassion—with the support of guided audio meditations from our Talks pages.
  • Join a SF group (Spiritual Friends/Kalyana Mitta). These small, neighborhood or thematic groups meet biweekly for meditation and discussion. They will help you keep up your commitment to a daily meditation practice and to explore how to bring the practice and teachings into your daily life.
  • Attend a residential retreat: Weekend or weeklong retreats offer an opportunity for silence, self-exploration and healing not usually found in the midst of our family and work lives. Dharma talks and teacher interviews will help deepen your understanding of meditation practice and the path of awakening. These retreats explore both inner transformation and the way spiritual wisdom expresses as compassion in action. 
  • Schedule a practice meeting with a teacher. More experienced students may wish to discuss with a teacher what practices and dharma activities might most support their spiritual development. (New text)
  • Apply to be a volunteer. IMCW volunteerss include a remarkable group of people who have guided and developed our rich array of programs and activities.
  • Explore other websites offering insight meditation audio dharma and articles, residential retreats and programs.

IMCW also offers other opportunities to broaden and deepen your engagement on the path. You will find three sections:

  • Sutta Study
  • Yearlong Intensives
  • Regional & National Training Programs


Sutta Study Groups


This group meets the second Tuesday evening of each month to explore the original discourses (suttas) of the Buddha. The Buddhist Canon, which is the collection of Buddhist scripture, contains a wealth of material on many different aspects of the spiritual path, from the practical to the profound, and can provide context, guidance and inspiration. Study group discussion is relaxed and informal, with an emphasis on finding the relevance of the ancient teachings for our own lives and spiritual practice.

Participants are expected to have an ongoing meditation practice to serve as a foundation for study. It's not necessary to have had any previous study of the suttas to join a group, just a healthy interest and willingness to learn.

The group functions more or less like a book club, with leadership rotating for each sutta. The basic text that we work from is "The Sutta Nipata", one of the oldest Buddhist texts in the Pali Canon. We are using various translations and printing our own copies of particular suttas as we move through the text.

Read, "Suttas: Digging for Treasure," by Catherine Brousseau, originally published in the ENews, June 2010.

Sutta Study

For more information, please see the Sutta Study Discussion Group event pages on the Community calendar.


Yearlong Intensive

Explore the Buddha's teachings and offers support in integrating the dharma and your personal practice into daily life with a Yearlong Intensive.

A Year of Living Mindfully

The YLM program, taught by Jonathan Foust, explores the Buddha's teachings and offers support in integrating the dharma and your personal practice into daily life. This 12-month inquiry includes daily practice, study, daylong and weekend retreats, service and small-group meetings in community to deepen and inspire your practice. For more information, see Jonathan's website, here.

Read "A Year of Living Mindfully...or How to Change Your Life, Transform Your Practice and Make New Friends," by YLM graduate Christa Gallapoullos. Originally published in the ENews, February 2011.

Feel free to email Jonathan with any questions.


Regional or national teacher and dharma leader training programs

Dedicated Practitioner Program: 2-year intensive study program for lay persons, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, CA

Community Dharma Leader Program: Intensive 2-year program for dharma leaders, Spirit Rock Meditation Center, CA (You must be recommended by a teacher for this program.)

The Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program: Free webinar with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield about becoming a certified teacher.

Mindfulness Yoga & Meditation Training Program: 18-month program through Spirit Rock Meditation Center, CA, exploring "the philosophical, historical, and practical intersection of the yoga and Buddhist traditions."