Spiritual Friends (Kalyana Mitta) groups offer a smaller and more intimate venue for exploration of practice in daily life and the Buddhist teachings, with an emphasis on mindful listening and speaking.

The IMCW Spiritual Friends (Pali: “Kalyana Mitta”) program offers you an opportunity to meet with local, peer-led small groups who share an interest in meditation and the Buddhist path. SF groups consist of six to twelve meditation students who are committed to supporting one another as they explore the practice of the dharma in their daily lives. Because these groups are small and meet regularly over an extended period of time, they allow for intimacy and sharing, discussion of how to keep the practice alive in daily life, and an experience of the heart of the dharma.

Applicants should have some basic insight meditation experience. For new practitioners please visit IMCW’s “Path of Practice”, select “New to Practice” and follow the guidance there.

Please click on the FAQ links below to learn more about SF groups.

To Join a Group

Applicants should have some basic insight meditation experience. For new practitioners please visit New to Meditation and follow the guidance there. If you have never participated in a Spiritual Friends group before please sign up below for "A Spiritual Friends Orientation".

SF groups primarily focus on listening, both giving full listening attention to a member who is sharing but also deeply listening to one’s internal response. It is important that members commit to attending regularly, to continue practice between meetings and to skillfully use mindful listening and speaking.

Information about current Spiritual Friends groups will be continually updated on this webpage. Please apply for groups listed as “open” (needs additional members) or “forming” (needs members in order to start). Groups listed as “closed” (not seeking new members) re-open only very rarely. Please read the description for the group you are applying to join.

To request to join a group or to express interest in forming a new Spiritual Friends/SF group, please first log in to our site, then complete the Spiritual Friends/KM questionnaire.

Your questionnaire will be reviewed and the SF Coordinator will contact you if there are any questions. Placement in a group will be determined, in part, by what groups are “open” and by whether someone volunteers to facilitate and host the group.

Depending on your request and group availability, placement can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months.

To Start a Spiritual Friends/KM Group

If you would like to facilitate and/or host a KM group of your own, please contact Glen Harrison, our SF coordinator.

Current Groups

Remember to continue to keep in touch with IMCW's SF coordinator. You'll want him to know when you need new members, or if your group has enough members for now, so he can keep your group status updated.

It will also be helpful to have a good description of your group on the website, so applicants can see what different Spiritual Friends/SF groups are doing.

PLEASE NOTE that groups are arranged by:

  • D.C. (District of Columbia)
  • MD (Maryland)
  • VA (Virginia)
  • Virtual (Google+, Skype, etc.)
  • A Spiritual Friends Orientation

    Location:
    Telephone conference
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    Varies, time are Eastern Time Zone
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    If you have never attended a Spiritual Friends group meeting please sign up to attend orientation so that you can be connected with a SF group. Please use the "Interestred? Apply here" link above and mention the date you are interested in attending in the questionnaire and a telephone conference number will be emailed to you from uberconference. 

    Thu Jun 22, 2017   6:00pm – 7:00pm

    Mon Jul 10, 2017   8:30pm – 9:30pm    

    Thu Sep 7, 2017   6:00pm – 7:00pm    
    Mon Sep 18, 2017   8:30pm – 9:30pm    

    Mon Oct 2, 2017   8:30pm – 9:30pm    
    Thu Oct 19, 2017   6:00pm – 7:00pm    

    Mon Nov 13, 2017   8:30pm – 9:30pm    
    Thu Nov 30, 2017   6:00pm – 7:00pm    

    Mon Dec 11, 2017   8:30pm – 9:30pm    

    During the orientation we will go over the SF guidelines, listening instructions, sharing tips and Q&A. There will also be a short sit and sharing time at the end, so be sure to be able to participate fully.

  • DC Mindfulness in Recovery

    Location:
    Tenleytown, Washington, DC
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    Every Sunday, 6:30 to 8:00pm
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    No need to apply, just show up!

    Our group is open to those new to meditation and seasoned practitioners alike with a common interest in the intersection of Buddhist teachings and 12 Step recovery. All 12 Steppers are welcome and we ask that participants have continuous recovery, as defined by their 12 Step group, and that a working relationship with that group be established before attending your first meeting.​

    Meetings are held at The Center For Mindful Living at: 
    4708 Wisconsin Ave, NW, Suite 200 (2nd floor), Washington, DC 20016

    This location is 3 blocks north (near Steak 'n Egg) of the Tenleytown-AU Red line Metro stop.

  • DC Refuge Recovery

    Location:
    Tenleytown, Washington, DC
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    Every Saturday 6:30-8:00 PM
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    No need to apply, just show up!

    Refuge Recovery is a mindfulness-based recovery program and community that utilizes Buddhist philosophy as the foundation of the recovery process. Based on the Four Noble Truths and Eight-fold Path, emphasis is placed on both knowledge and empathy as a means for overcoming addiction and its causes. 

    Meetings are held at The Center For Mindful Living at: 
    4708 Wisconsin Ave, NW, Suite 200 (2nd floor), Washington, DC 20016

    This location is 3 blocks north (near Steak 'n Egg) of the Tenleytown-AU Red line Metro stop.

  • DC/MD Women Writing

    Location:
    Woodley Park, DC / Chevy Chase, MD
    Status:
    Forming
    Meeting Day:
    Alternating Thursdays 5-7pm
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    We’re a group of women writers supporting each other to mindfully unleash our wild side in our writing and tap into our gold. Writing can be such a solitary endeavor – this group is meant as an oasis for women to safely share their writing and enjoy the power of meditation to enliven our spirit. 

    While you don’t have to be a published writer, our group invites women who are actively working towards finished pieces of writing. There’s no teaching, just lots of loving support to get our words out into the world and stay balanced in the process. The meetings include meditation, reading our work if desired, occasionally reading inspiring books on writing influenced by meditators (like Nathalie Goldberg) and mindful listening, reflection and sharing.


     

  • MD Annapolis A

    Location:
    Annapolis, MD
    Status:
    Forming
    Meeting Day:
    1st & 3rd Monday each month
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    This group is not currently meeting.

    Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion.

  • MD Annapolis B

    Location:
    Annapolis, MD
    Status:
    Forming
    Meeting Day:
    1st & 3rd Thursdays, 7pm
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion.

     

  • MD Baltimore

    Location:
    TBD
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    TBD
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    This is a newly forming group. We have 6-8 interested people but still need a facilitator to get started.

    Meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.
  • MD Bethesda Mothers

    Location:
    Bethesda, MD
    Status:
    Forming
    Meeting Day:
    Not currently meeting
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    This is a newly forming group in the Bethesda area for mothers who are interested in parenting and how that relates to spiritual practice. 

    We have several interested people but still need a facilitator to get started.

  • MD Charles Village

    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    2nd & 4th Sunday, 6:30-8:30 pm
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    We follow the typical process of a two-hour meeting, opening with meditation, then a check-in, then a topic reading and discussion.
  • MD Eastern Shore, Easton

    Location:
    Easton, MD
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    1rst & 3rd Monday each month, 7-8 p.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    Initial sitting, checking in and sharing, final sit. On the 3rd Wednesday, there is a Dharma talk after the initial sit.

  • MD Gaithersburg

    Location:
    Kentlands, Gaithersburg, MD
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    Alternating Tuesday evenings
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion.
  • MD Germantown

    Location:
    Germantown, MD
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    2nd & 4th Sat. 9:30 a.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    Socialize, silent 30-minute meditation, short reading, followed by mindful discussion.


  • MD LGBT

    Location:
    Takoma Park, MD and Takoma DC
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    Alternating Wednesdays
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion.
  • MD MAAD - Mood, Attachment, and Anxiety Disorders

    Location:
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    1st and 3rd Sunday, 1:30-3:30 pm
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    We are looking for new members who have a year or more of meditation experience and a regular practice.

    Our focus is supporting those who have, at some point in their lives, experienced, and can identify with, mood, attachment, or anxiety disorders, and who want to use their meditation practice to strive for peace and joy within life's journey.  

    We use the IMCW SF meeting format: meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.

    We currently meet in Gaithersburg, but there is a potential to rotate among members' homes in DC/MD/VA area.
  • MD Mental Health Professionals

    Location:
    TBD (Chevy Chase or Bethesda, MD)
    Status:
    Forming
    Meeting Day:
    TBD
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    This is a newly forming group in the Bethesda area for mental health professionals. 

    We have a facilitator and a few members but are seeking 6-8 more members in order to begin meeting.

    IMCW SF format, i.e., a 30-minute silent sit, check-in, deeper sharing about our practices, lives, etc, then addressing any administrative matters and a final short sit. 

     

     

  • MD North Bethesda

    Location:
    Alternates between Bethesda and South Rockville, MD
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    Alternating Tuesdays, 7-8:45 p.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    Our facilitated group provides a safe and supportive environment for exploring bringing Dharma practice into our day-to-day lives. Each gathering includes meditation, Buddhist prayers and Dharma wisdom, individual check-ins practicing deep listening/deep speaking, and discussion about practice in life. Group members bring kindness, compassion, and curiosity to each other to support understanding and awakening. 

  • MD Rockville / Derwood

    Location:
    Derwood, MD
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    Alternate Thursdays, 7-8:30 p.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion. 
  • MD Rockville / Grosvenor

    Location:
    Near Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    Alternating Tuesdays, 7-9 p.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    Informal meet and greet until 7:15 p.m. followed by 20-minute meditation, check-in, mindful discussion and group process time, and a final short sit/metta practice. We encourage members to share how they are applying mindfulness to their daily lives. 
  • MD Takoma Park Sunday

    Location:
    Takoma Park, MD
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    Alternate Sundays, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion.
  • MD Takoma Park Tuesday

    Location:
    Takoma Park, MD
    Status:
    Forming
    Meeting Day:
    1st and 3rd Tuesday, 7-9 p.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    We start with a 45 minute meditation followed by check-in and discussion about how to bring meditation into our daily lives. Our goal is provide a space for each member of the group to learn about themselves and develop more freedom in their daily lives.

  • MD Waldorf

    Location:
    Waldorf, MD
    Status:
    Forming
    Meeting Day:
    TBD
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    This is a newly forming group. We have several interested people but still need new members and a facilitator to get started.

    Meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.

  • SF Facilitators Group

    Location:
    Telephone conference
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    varies
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    If you facilitate a Spiritual Friends group meeting and would like to meet with other facilitators, please use the "Interestred? Apply here" link above and mention the date you are interested in attending in the questionnaire and a telephone conference number will be emailed to you from uberconference.

    2017 TBD

    During the call we will go over the SF guidelines, listening and sharing tips and Q&A. There will also be a short sit and sharing time at the end, so be sure to be able to participate fully.

  • VA Alexandria Retiree

    Location:
    Alexandria, VA
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    2nd & 4th Fridays, 11 am-12:30 pm
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    Retired/transitioning from the workforce: Retirement and transition can be a good time to connect with others. This change brings forth many new challenges for our ego and letting life flow as we adjust. We can share these challenges in a mindful way with support. Join us!
  • VA Arlington B

    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Status:
    Forming
    Meeting Day:
    TBD
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    This is a newly forming group. We have several interested people but still need new members and a facilitator to get started.

    Meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.

  • VA Arlington Writing

    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Status:
    Forming
    Meeting Day:
    TBD
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    This is a newly forming group. We need new members and a facilitator to get started.

    Meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.

  • VA Mt. Vernon

    Location:
    Mt. Vernon, VA (10 miles south of Old Town Alexandria)
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    One Sunday per Month, 6:00-7:30 p.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    Please apply using the link above.

    Brief greeting/intro, brief silent mediation, mindful speaking on related topics and practice issues, a longer meditation, closing.

    We include 15-20 minutes for socializing and share light snacks.

  • VA Reston

    Location:
    Reston, VA
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    1st Monday and 3rd Thursday, 7 p.m. arrive, meet 7:30-9 p.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    This KM group meets in 2 different homes on a Monday and a Thursday each month to allow for a flexible meeting schedule. We have a brief greeting/intro, then a silent mediation, mindful speaking on related topics and practice issues, a shorter meditation, and a closing.
  • VA Vienna

    Location:
    Vienna, VA (1 ½ miles from the Dunn Loring metro)
    Status:
    Open
    Meeting Day:
    Alternating Wednesdays 7-9 pm
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    Meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.
  • Virtual SF Group C

    Location:
    online
    Status:
    Forming
    Meeting Day:
    Alternating Mondays 7 pm Central Time
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    Online meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.

     

  • Virtual SF Group D

    Location:
    online
    Status:
    Forming
    Meeting Day:
    Alternating Sundays, 12 pm Eastern Time
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    Online meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.
  • X (CLOSED) Adult, Young (20-35)

    Location:
    Arlington, VA/Chevy Chase, MD/Washington, DC (alternating monthly)
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    1st and 3rd Sundays, 10:30 am-12:30 pm
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    Meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.
  • X (CLOSED) DC Adams Morgan

    Location:
    Adams Morgan, Washington, DC
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    Alternate Thursdays, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    We use the IMCW KM format, i.e., a 30-minute silent sit, check-in, dialogue about the reading, our practices, lives, etc. in relation to the topic in the reading, address any administrative matters, and a final short sit.  We generally focus on a chapter of a book about Buddhism but readings are optional, and members who don't choose to do the reading are welcome to participate.

  • X (CLOSED) DC Kalorama Triangle

    Location:
    Kalorama Triangle, Washington, DC
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    Alternating Tuesdays, 7-8:30 pm
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    Please apply using the link above.

    As of 12/1: room for 2 more meditators.

    Meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.
     

  • X (CLOSED) DC Q Street NW

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    Alternate Monday evenings
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion.
  • X (CLOSED) DC Wesley Heights Retiree

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    Alternating Tuesdays, 10:30 am-12:00 p.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    Retired/transitioning from the workforce: Retirement and transition can be a good time to connect with others. This change brings forth many new challenges for our ego and letting life flow as we adjust. We can share these challenges in a mindful way with support. 

    We meditate 25 minutes, check in, read and discuss a chapter or two from a meditation book, and do a short final meditation. We meet on alternate Tuesday mornings, we are in our 50’s-80’s, most fully retired and have been in existence almost two years.

  • X (CLOSED) MD Bethesda Mondays

    Location:
    Bethesda, MD
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    2nd/4th Mondays
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion.
  • X (CLOSED) MD Bethesda Psychologist/Therapists

    Location:
    Bethesda, MD
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    Friday afternoons, 4-6 p.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    We use the IMCW KM format, i.e., a 30-minute silent sit, check-in, dialogue about the reading, our practices, lives, etc. in relation to the topic in the reading, then addressing any administrative matters, and a final short sit. We generally focus on a reading from a book about Buddhism. 

  • X (CLOSED) MD Bethesda Thursdays

    Location:
    Bethesda, MD
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    Alternate Thursdays, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion.
  • X (CLOSED) MD Bethesda/Silver Spring Retiree Group

    Location:
    Bethesda/Silver Spring, MD
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    1st Thursday, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    Members are retired/transitioning from the workforce. Retirement and transition can be a path for awakening compassion and wisdom, and for enhancing spiritual practice. These changes bring forth new challenges and opportunities that can be enriched with support of like-minded others. This group has come together to share these experiences in a mindful and supportive way and to explore dharma practice in our daily lives.  The meetings include meditation, readings, and mindful listening, reflection and sharing.

    Please apply using the above link.
  • X (CLOSED) MD Cabin John

    Location:
    Cabin John, MD
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    Alternate Monday evenings, 2 hours
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion.
  • X (CLOSED) MD Catonsville & Ellicott City

    Location:
    Catonsville & Ellicott City, MD
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    2nd & 4th Thursdays, 7-9 pm
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    We follow the typical process of a two-hour meeting, opening with meditation, then a check-in, then a topic reading and discussion. We rotate between the two locations.
  • X (CLOSED) MD Takoma Park 12-Step

    Location:
    Takoma Park, MD
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    Alternating Sundays, 6-8 p.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion, sometimes about how 12-step program and Buddhism relate.

  • X (CLOSED) MD Wheaton

    Location:
    Wheaton, MD
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    Sunday evening
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:
    Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion. Closed while regrouping, may accept new members in the future.
  • X (CLOSED) VA Arlington A

    Location:
    Arlington, VA
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    Alternating Wednesdays, 7:30-9 pm
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    Please apply using the link above.

    Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion.

  • X (CLOSED) VA Falls Church / Arlington

    Location:
    Falls Church/Arlington, VA
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    Thursday evenings, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    We start with a 45-minute meditation followed by check-ins. Our group is mostly long-time meditators (13-30+ years) but we welcome people of all experience levels.

  • X (Closed) VA Falls Church / McLean

    Location:
    Falls Church/McLean
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    Thursdays, 7:30-9:30 p.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    We start with a 45-minute meditation followed by check-ins. Our group is mostly long-time meditators (13-30+ years) but we welcome people of all experience levels.

  • X (CLOSED) VA North Fairfax County

    Location:
    Fairfax, VA
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    3rd Sunday, 7-9 p.m.
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    An optional pot luck will be from 6–7 p.m. followed by silent seating and talk focused on the dharma and Buddhist practice. 

    The group was formed to meet the logistic needs of those living between the Reston/Herndon and Vienna/Oakton Area.

  • X (CLOSED) Virtual SF Group A

    Location:
    online
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    1st & 3rd Tuesdays at 8 pm Eastern Time
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    Online meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.

  • X (CLOSED) Virtual SF Group B

    Location:
    online
    Status:
    Closed
    Meeting Day:
    1st and 3rd Sundays, 7-8pm Eastern Time
    Contact:
    Interested? Apply here
    Description:

    Online meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.