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IMCW News

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

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....
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Grief and Gratitude

She asks me, “What are you grieving?” I stop for a moment and just stare at her. Taking a breath, I feel the heaviness in my chest and the tightness in my stomach. Was it that obvious? “It’s all of the loss,” I said and take another deep breath.  Every day we are faced with loss on many levels. Society tells us to go, do, distract, numb out and look the other way. Anything but be with the loss. We are conditioned away from loss and death. We are taught not to feel, as if death is a bad thing, when it is one experience that we all will have.  As we sat in stillness, I felt my breath deep in my belly. I was hurting. Slowing down created space to allow the grief to move, shift and open....

The Unreal Other

Getting stuck in traffic can be a setup for losing mindfulness. I used to get really reactive driving during Washington, DC’s notorious rush hour— especially when the person in front of me was going more slowly than I would like or the driver behind me was tailgating. So I began the practice of coming up alongside the car (if I could) and looking inside to see who was at the wheel. This was a kind of wake-up practice: when I could actually see the faces of the drivers, they’d become more real to me—fellow humans—and my annoyance would fade....

Every Day is Earth Day

As an annual observance, Earth Day has been, for me and perhaps for you, complicated. ​​​​​​​While I appreciate the intention to turn our collective attention to the health and even spiritual value of Earth, the allocation, one day out of three-hundred and sixty five, cries out with glaring insufficiency. In light of multiple looming ecological crises, the urgent need to reimagine and actively reprioritize humanity’s pursuits requires instead daily practice. Happily, in that imagining, we’re not starting from scratch. As we move forward in an enormously complex situation, there are wisdom traditions that support us in remembering to what and just how much we belong....
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The Magic Mustard Seed

There is a well-known Buddhist story about a woman called Kisa Gotami. She was married at a young age, and after many years of trying, gave birth to a precious son, who was her pride and joy. For a few years she was very happy. But then just as her son was reaching the age where he was able to run about and play, he suddenly fell ill and died. Overcome by shock and grief, Kisa was not able to accept that her child was dead and insisted that he was just sleeping. She lifted him on her hip and wandered from door to door, asking for medicine. People were horrified and didn’t know what to say to her. Eventually, a wise person directed her to the Buddha....