Wednesdays with Tara

Wednesdays, 7:30-9 p.m.

River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 6301 River Road (Corner of Whittier Blvd. & River Road), Bethesda, MD

(See class webpage for more information and Mapit. Guest teachers and weather cancellations will be announced on the calendar page for that class.)

The Wednesday night meditation class in Bethesda began in 1998 as a small group gathered around Tara Brach in the Fireside Room of River Road Unitarian Church. Since then IMCW's flagship class has grown to a class of about 250-300 meeting weekly in the main sanctuary of the church. Tara Brach’s teachings blend Western psychology and Eastern spiritual practices, mindful attention to our inner life, and a full, compassionate engagement with our world. The result is a distinctive voice in Western Buddhism, one that offers a wise and caring approach to freeing ourselves and society from suffering.

This class includes 1/2 hour of Vipassana meditation instruction and guided meditation followed by an hour-long dharma talk. This is a large gathering of approximately 250-300 people. Beginners through advanced students are all welcome. There is no registration, but dana (donation) of about $10-15 is suggested to help us cover our expenses, and is gratefully received. Learn more about the Buddhist tradition of dana here. Find IMCW's weekly class calendar here.

This venue is accessible to those with mobility impairments.

Introduction to Meditation class: 1st Wednesday each month – 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Class orientation: 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Wednesdays of the month at 7 p.m before class.
Discussion Group: Every Wednesday after class: 9:10-9:45 p.m
American Sign Language interpreting: Once/month upon request (please check IMCW calendar class page to confirm.) Email IMCW with requests.
Mindful Movement – before class: 6:30-7:20 p.m on each Wednesday  

Book Table and Lending Library

In the Buddhist tradition of circulating dharma material, the IMCW lending library is now available at the Book Table every week. You are invited to donate Buddhist-related books, magazines, tapes and CD's to our growing Lending Library. Check out the table, see something of interest, fill in the sign-out sheet and take the material home to enjoy. Items can be returned or donated on any Wednesday night.

Lost and found

All found items will be kept for one month and then donated to charity. Please ask the Wednesday Night Coordinator at class for your item, or contact IMCW.

Frequently Asked Questions

Tara Brach will be teaching on Wednesday night unless guest teachers are listed on the calendar class page.

Please check the calendar for our Wednesday night Introduction to Meditation class, taught once each month by IMCW teachers at 6:30 p.m. before Tara's Bethesda class.

IMCW also offers Introduction to Meditation class series several times a year. However, since the meditation at Wednesday night is always guided, you are welcome to attend the class as a beginner.

Yes, an orientation is held every Wednesday of the month at 7-7:25 p.m. before class.

We also offer a Introduction to Meditation once each month from 6:30-7:15 p.m. before the regular class. Please see our calendar for details.

Download weekly dharma (teaching) talks and guided meditations from our audio dharma webpages.

The Buddhist principles of loving kindness (metta) and generosity (dana) call us to support a meditation experience beneficial for others as well as ourselves. Meditation gives us an opportunity to quiet our minds and focus our attention on what is happening to us right now. Silence and stillness are supportive of this quieting and deepening process. With this in mind, we strive to create a sacred space in which to meditate and study the dharma.

  • Make every effort to arrive by 7:30. If you arrive after 7:30 and the sanctuary is full, you may be directed to seats in the balcony or the lobby. You will be able to hear the teacher from the lobby and can enter the sanctuary or the balcony at the break.
  • The quieting process begins as soon as you enter the sanctuary or balcony. Please enter the room, set up blankets and settle in mindfully and quietly. Please leave the seats in the back of the room for those arriving after 7:30 or for those who need to leave early.
  • Practice mindful movement during the meditation. If you need to change your position, move slowly, making the movement part of your meditation. This way you will support the best quality of stillness and silence possible for yourself and others in the room.
  • Limit your comings and goings during class out of respect for the practice, the teachings and others. If you know you have to leave early, please take a seat near at the back near a door.

Chairs are available at all the classes and retreats but some find the chairs uncomfortable, so feel free to bring a blanket and a cushion to adapt. Meditation cushions are not required; however, if you would like to sit on the floor and have meditation gear (cushion, bench, etc.) that you would like to use, there is floor space available and you are welcome to bring them and use them.