This blog contains announcements, insights and articles from the Insight Meditation Community of Washington

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An Opening Invitation

For decades, a prayer has circulated in the background of my daily life. May I trust my own goodness. May I see the goodness in others. This longing emerged from a deep place of suffering I went through as a young adult. During that dark time, I felt anxious and depressed, separate from the world around me. I was continually judging myself...

Training the Squirrel-Chasing Mind

Sometimes training the mind in meditation is compared to training a dog to “stay.” While there’s some appeal to this image, I’m not sure that it holds up when examined closely. Yes, there is the quality of coming back to the breath that is similar to a dog coming back to its master. But does the mind really respond like a pet?

Fierce Compassion for All Beings

“All beings fear danger, life is dear to all. When a person considers this, he does not kill or cause to kill.” (Dhammapada, 129.)  The first precept in Buddhism and the heart of the Dharma path is the practice of non-violence (ahimsa). It is the vow to not destroy, cause to be destroyed, or sanction the destruction of any living being. Through accepting this precept, we recognize our relationship to all life and realize that harming, or causing harm, to any living creature harms oneself....

Getting Credit: Pain as the Portal to Presence

The kitchen is a hot mess. So I begin the task of scraping then rinsing dishes before putting them away in the dishwasher, hand-washing the bulkier pots and pans…you know the drill. I’m enjoying myself. My newborn grandchild is out with her parents, and I am alone for the first time in weeks. It’s satisfying to unhurriedly clean the kitchen, watching the space return to its early morning freshness, the counter tops beginning to gleam and reveal their open pristineness.  I am ready to make myself a cup of tea, when I notice this small cluster of plates and glasses that escaped my attention. Just as I’m about to put these away the thought crops up, “if you do that, then no one will notice the kitchen has been cleaned.” I chuckle, and go on to put away the errant dishes.  I know this “attention seeker” well; she’s hungry for attention and only the complimentary kind. She is a master planner with a single-minded strategy – pain avoidance....

The Burden of Awareness

When we face suffering, we have the choice to focus on the love we see as much as the pain. Last June, 60 percent of respondents in a USA TODAY poll characterized George Floyd’s death as murder. As of March 2, that number has since dropped to 36 percent. The poll also found that 4 percent of respondents in June were unable to describe his death; now, 17 percent are undecided. I did not expect this....