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IMCW News

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

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Warm Hand To Warm Hand: IMCW’s Mentor and True Refuge Companion Programs

IMCW is glad to announce that Mentor Program is restarting after a short hiatus.  At the heart of the program is the principle of sangha, or spiritual community -- the third jewel and refuge in Buddhism. Sangha was key to the 2,500-year tradition, by which practitioners passed the Dharma from “warm hand to warm hand”, as Suzuki Roshi put it. In this spirit, the Mentor Program pairs experienced practitioners with those seeking to deepen their practice. Thich Nhat Hanh explains that the sangha is crucial for those relatively new to the dharma: “[w]e are always running, and it is hard for us to stop and be here in the present moment, to encounter life. For those of us who have not learned to be present, we need to be supported in that kind of learning…With sangha you will be able to learn the art of stopping....
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Virtual Sangha: Gaining Insight, Sharing Experience

Right now, as you are reading this article you might appreciate you are participating in a form of a large virtual sangha (spiritual community). Your interest in receiving and reading these newsletters already places you in a macro-level sangha among like-minded people who aspire to be free from suffering,...

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....