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


Joy is a Choice: Cultivating Joy & Savoring the Good

Despite the divisive times we find ourselves in, I believe there is one thing nearly all of us can agree on. Our nervous systems are getting more than their fair share of wear and tear these days. With an apparent oversupply of unpleasantness, these times are an easy set-up for negative emotional feedback loops that lead to escalating levels of anxiety and stress. It is a natural human tendency to avoid or resist the unpleasant, to run away from our fears. We raid the cookie jar, or much worse, which just adds fuel to the fire. What we resist, persists. This isn't good for our mental or physical health and, as a nurse practitioner and meditation teacher, I have found that many of us--myself included--become easily drained. We can't drink from an empty cup. Yet as caregivers, we keep on giving....With all this, there is good news. Antidotes exist that help us break out of our negativity bias. In times like these, I am reminded of how deeply grateful I am for my meditation practice.

Harriet Tubman: A Lesson in Moving Through the Unbearable

She is running in the darkness, a young Black woman, breathing hard, stumbling, but moving, moving in exhaustion and fear, but moving. It is dark, but she has a sense of where she is going. This is where I meet Harriet Tubman. This is how I came into practice. So often, the attention placed on Black bodies is focused on what we do with them or what is done to them. Too often, our hearts, our vision, and our spiritual practices are ignored as the action of our bodies are either praised or vilified. Harriet Tubman has become the epitome of Black woman as action hero....

Is There a Self?

What did the Buddha say about the nature of the self? While his teachings were preserved in the oral tradition through recitation, nothing was written down until 450 years after his passing.   I can’t help but wonder how much editorial enhancement his teachings received as they were shared over the centuries following his death. There are some fantastical sayings attributed to the Buddha...

Incarcerated Students Struggle During Lockdown

I miss their shy smiles, their hugs, the way they loosen up and get a little goofy during mindful movement. Most of all, I miss the peace on their faces and the tangible sense of ease in their orange-clad bodies after a guided meditation. It is a visceral experience that anchors me to a unique sangha: the men and women incarcerated in the DC Department of Corrections....

Going Nowhere: Being at Home

For those of us who are privileged enough, to have a safe place to call home, and to not be an essential worker, these past 6 months have meant spending time at home. Even though the pandemic, which is the reason we are staying home, can heighten our sense of anxiety and uncertainty, we can use this time to bring our practice precisely to where we need to be, home. As Sharon Salzberg says “At a time of great suffering when there’s nothing else to rely on and nowhere to go, the return to the moment is an act of faith. Openness to possibility can arise...