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, contact Catherine Brousseau.


Yearlong Intensives

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

Awakening Through Embodiment and Relationship

During this 6-month online course, we share practices that cultivate moment-to-moment embodied awareness and connect us to our own inner wisdom. Through that embodied awareness, we can open to fully experience our connection with others, as well as the barriers within us to loving freely and abiding in connection. The aspiration is more accepting and authentic relationship with life partners, friends, family members, and colleagues.

Teachings will include how early attachments patterns are manifested in our adult relationships, how we can rework and release these patterns by working through embodied experience, the potential of the relational work to move us forward on our path to freedom, and skills for working with challenges in relationships. Contact Cynthia Wilcox for more information.

Bringing Mindfulness to Life

Bringing Mindfulness to Life: A Year of Deepening Wisdom, Practice and Community

When the meditation class we’ve taken ends, or our practice seems to hit a plateau, it’s easy to fall back into our unconscious habits of living life on autopilot. Imagine the possibilities if you could continue to deepen your experience of mindfulness in a supportive setting, with a group of like-minded people, for an entire year.

This course is dynamic and expands and deepens over the course of the year. It includes in-depth dharma study, structured journaling exercises that support meditation, and specific practices that help strengthen awareness of our many different aspects of mind, with an emphasis on compassion, acceptance and integration.

Bringing Mindfulness to Life description and schedule. For more information, contact Trisha Stotler.

Sacred Journey: Being Present with Aging, Illness and Dying 

During the Sacred Journey program, participants who are deeply curious about or have experience with issues related to aging, illness, or dying will come together to attend monthly retreats in the DC area. According to Tara Brach, “Sacred Journey is a rare opportunity to join with others in spiritual community, and dedicate yourself to exploring teachings and practices that can guide you to the loving presence that is your true home.” Tara will be a guest teacher during the program. It is the faith in our collective ability to discover the gifts of these messengers that is the backbone of the Sacred Journey program.A deepening-practice program for dedicated practitioners.

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 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.)

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."