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IMCW News

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

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No Self, No Problem: Exploring Anatta

The writer Emily McDowell isn't a Buddhist, but in today's language she has accurately described one of Buddhism's most difficult and misunderstood concepts - that of no-self, or anatta -- in this short statement: "Finding yourself is not really how it works. You aren't a 10-dollar bill in last winter's coat pocket. You are also not lost. Your true self is right here, buried under cultural conditioning, other people's opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are...

Shedding the Baggage of Negative Self-Talk

Self-talk—that inner monologue that combines your conscious thoughts with unconscious beliefs and biases—helps your brain assess and interpret your daily experiences. "What we tell ourselves on an ongoing basis reflects not only the way we think but how we feel and act. [O]ur thoughts influence how we create our reality," writes psychologist and author Fran Simone. All of us have times when our inner voice drags us down, rather than lifting us up. The baggage of negative self-talk can be particularly pronounced and distressing among peer-influenced tweens and teens....
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Reflections on Bodhicitta

“When you don’t have any solid self that you need to maintain and all your energy is used to fulfill others’ happiness -- that kind of attitude is called bodhicitta", notes teacher Tsonknyi Rinpoche. In cultivating bodhicitta, or “awakening heart/mind”, our task is simply to get out of our own way and let our natural state of wisdom and compassion express itself....
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The Characteristics of Mindfulness

So what is mindfulness, really? It’s more than just being aware of what the mind is doing. For starters, mindfulness is knowing what is happening in the mind, body and heart. Mindfulness is radically inclusive…nothing is left out. I remember when a teacher mentioned that my mindfulness practice did not extend to family relationships and thinking, “of course not, that’s the really hard stuff.” When we practice mindfulness as a hobby we tend to pick and chose the times to bring this kind of refined attention. At some point we practice not just to be free from our own suffering but for all beings to be free from suffering....

Suttas: Digging for Treasure

For the last 8 years, I have been on a quest, a kind of archeological dig. The site? The suttas (discourses) of the Buddha. The treasure? To hold in my mind and heart the wisdom of a fully enlightened being and it’s power to reshape my life. “I always ask myself: What did the Buddha say?” Alicia said. “I love to go to the original sources. Reading the suttas reveals that they are alive and rooted in reality, back then...and now.” Alicia is part of a group that gathers in Silver Spring one evening a month to study the suttas....