Spiritual Friends

Let us walk the path together

What's a SF group?

The IMCW Spiritual Friends (Pali: “Kalyana Mitta”) program offers you an opportunity to meet with local, peer-led small groups who share an interest in meditation and the Buddhist path. SF groups consist of six to twelve meditation students who are committed to supporting one another as they explore the practice of the dharma in their daily lives. Because these groups are small and meet regularly over an extended period of time, they allow for intimacy and sharing, discussion of how to keep the practice alive in daily life, and an experience of the heart of the dharma.

To Join a Group

Applicants should have some basic insight meditation experience. For new practitioners, please visit our Beginning Practice page, find a class or Introduction to Meditation series, and develop a basic meditation practice before signing up for a group. If you have never participated in a Spiritual Friends group before please sign up below for "A Spiritual Friends Orientation".

SF groups primarily focus on listening, both giving full listening attention to a member who is sharing but also deeply listening to one’s internal response. It is important that members commit to attending regularly, to continue practice between meetings and to skillfully use mindful listening and speaking.

Information about current Spiritual Friends groups will be continually updated on this webpage. Please apply for groups listed as “open” (needs additional members) or “forming” (needs members in order to start). Groups listed as “closed” (not seeking new members) re-open only very rarely. Please read the description for the group you are applying to join.

To request to join a group or to express interest in forming a new Spiritual Friends/SF group, please complete the Spiritual Friends/KM questionnairePlease include the name of the group you are requesting in the comments box.

Your questionnaire will be reviewed and the SF Coordinator will contact you if there are any questions. Placement in a group will be determined, in part, by what groups are “open” and by whether someone volunteers to facilitate and host the group.

Depending on your request and group availability, placement can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months.

To Start a Spiritual Friends/KM Group

If you would like to facilitate and/or host a KM group of your own, please contact Glen Harrison, our SF coordinator.

Spiritual Friendship FAQ

Spiritual Friends groups are intended to deepen your insight meditation practice, so please attend a class or an "Intro to Meditation" session and develop a basic meditation practice prior to signing up for a SF group telephone orientation.

Groups are facilitated by your peers and generally meet for 1.5-2 hours. Most group meeting start with a 20-30 minute silent meditation.

The meditation is often followed by a personal check-in by each member. The check-in may be specific to a dharma topic selected by the group or it may relate the dharma to the individual's life, practice, or experience in the moment.

Mindful discussion follows the check-in. Depending on the focus and agreements of the group, this might be discussion of a topic, or on themes, questions, or responses arising from the check-ins.

After the discussion, groups may include a brief "process time" for members to express how the meeting was for them.

Finally, a short sitting or loving-kindness meditation brings a sense of closure to the meeting.

Some groups have a special emphasis such as parenting, chronic pain and illness, addiction/recovery, meditative writing, health professionals, etc. (please see individual group description for details).

These peer-led groups meet in homes or other community buildings throughout the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The virtual groups choose the technology they will use for meetings.
Groups can either emerge out of a facilitator’s intention to start a new group or a group may elect a peer facilitator or several co-facilitators and then agrees on hosting arrangements. Facilitators typically have a regular meditation practice, have attended at least six months of insight meditation classes and have attended at least one retreat.
  • SF guidelines for new groups and an orientation for each new group
  • Mentoring from an experienced SF facilitator
  • Opportunities to meet with other facilitators

Current Spiritual Friends Groups

Telephone Orientation | Mon. or Thurs. evenings

Monday or Thursday triweekly

If you have never attended a Spiritual Friendship group meeting please sign up to attend orientation so that you can be connected to an SF group. Please use the "Apply" link below and mention the date you are interested in attending in the questionnaire comments section and a telephone conference number will be emailed to you from uberconference. All times below are ET.

Monday, July 27, 2020, 8:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m. FULL

Thursday, August 20, 2020, 6 p.m.–7:00 p.m.

Monday, September 14, 2020, 8:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m. 

Thursday, October 8, 2020, 6 p.m.–7:00 p.m.

Monday, November 2, 2020, 8:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.

Thursday, December 3, 2020, 6 p.m.–7:00 p.m.

During the orientation we will go over the SF guidelines, listening instructions, sharing tips, Q&A and we will review the group you have requested to join. There will also be a short sit and share time at the end, so be sure to be able to participate fully.

Apply
Telephone Facilitator Meeting | Various

TBD

If you facilitate a Spiritual Friends group meeting and would like to meet with other facilitators, please use the "Apply" link below and mention a couple of dates you are interested in attending in the questionnaire and we can post the date to see if others are available as well.

During the call we will go over the SF guidelines, listening and sharing tips, other facilitator related content and Q&A. There will also be a short sit and sharing time at the end, so be sure to be able to participate fully.

Apply
Wesley Heights | Tuesdays daytime | Retiree

Tuesdays, 10:00 a.m.-12:15 p.m., twice per month

Meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.

Apply
Tenleytown | Sun. evenings | Mindfulness in Recovery

Sunday, 6:30-8 p.m., weekly

No need to apply, just show up!


Our group is open to those new to meditation and seasoned practitioners alike with a common interest in the intersection of Buddhist teachings and 12 Step recovery. All 12 Steppers are welcome and we ask that participants have continuous recovery, as defined by their 12 Step group, and that a working relationship with that group be established before attending your first meeting.​


Meetings are held at The Center For Mindful Living at: 
4708 Wisconsin Ave, NW, Suite 200 (2nd floor), Washington, DC 20016

Virtual connection: https://tockify.com/cmldc/detail/361/1594593000000 


This location is 3 blocks north (near Steak 'n Egg) of the Tenleytown-AU Red line Metro stop.

Apply
Petworth | Mon. evenings | General

Mondays, 7:30 p.m., monthly

Meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice. Focuses on Self Compassion in the service of advancing on the path of Insight (Vipassana) meditation.

Apply
Cleveland Park | Tues. evenings | Self Compassion

Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m., twice per month

Meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice. Focuses on Self Compassion in the service of advancing on the path of Insight (Vipassana) meditation. 


Apply
Dupont Circle | Wed. Evenings | General

Wednesdays, 7:00-8:30 pm, twice per month

Appropriate for members who have at least 2 years of practice and a commitment to maintain a daily practice (even if that doesn't actually occur every day - it's the aspiration and intention that is important to us).

We start with a short check-in or mindful discussion about a book we've selected (15 min.), followed by a silent meditation sit (25 min.) and then a longer check-in related to our practice and mindfulness in daily life.

Apply
Kalorama Triangle | Tues. evenings | General

Tuesday, 7-8:30 pm, twice per month

Meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.

Apply
Bethesda & Chevy Chase, MD & NW Washington | Thurs. evenings | Mental Health Professionals

Thursday evening, monthly

This is a group for currently licensed mental health professionals in the Bethesda, Chevy Chase and NW Washington areas.

IMCW Spiritual Friends format, i.e., a 30-minute silent sit, check-in, deeper sharing about our practices, lives, etc, then addressing any administrative matters and a final short sit.

We warmly welcome new participants. Meetings may be conducted online at this time.

Apply
Eastern Shore | Mon. evenings | General

Monday, 7-8 p.m., 1st & 3rd week

Initial sitting, checking in and sharing, final sit. On the 3rd Wednesday, there is a Dharma talk after the initial sit.

Apply
Gaithersburg, Kentlands | Tues. Evenings | General

Tuesday eve, 7-9 pm, twice per month

Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion. 

Apply
Germantown, MD and Riverdale Park, MD | Sun. afternoons | with a mood, attachment, and anxiety disorders (MAAD) affinity

Sunday, 1:30-3:30 p.m., 1st & 3rd week

This group is for and supports members with mood, attachment or anxiety disorders only in that we all have some experience with one or more of these concerns, allowing us to view any mention of them with recognition and acceptance. We don’t necessarily have mood, attachment, or anxiety issues as topics for our meetings, or read and share educational material about them. However we frequently discuss how our individual practice helps us with these and other challenges in our lives. Therefore, we are a normal Spiritual Friends group whose members have experienced, or are experiencing significant mood, attachment, or anxiety problems.

We use the IMCW SF meeting format: meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.


Apply
Rockville, Derwood | Thurs. evenings | General

Thursdays, 7-8:30 p.m., twice per month

Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion. 

Apply
Takoma Park | Sun. evenings | General

Sunday 7:00-8:30 p.m., twice per month

Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion.

Apply
Takoma Park / Silver Spring | Wed. evenings | LGBTQ

Wednesday 7:30-9:00 p.m., twice per month

We start with a 20-30 min sit, do check-ins, and then discuss a dharma topic. Members rotate facilitating and hosting. 

Apply
Bethesda | TBD | General

This group is not meeting. It needs a facilitator and needs participants.

Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion.

Apply
Annapolis | TBD | General

Not currently meeting

This group needs a facilitator and needs participants.

Silent meditation and check-in, followed by group discussion.

Apply
Charles Village | Sun. evenings | General

Sunday, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 2nd & 4th week

We follow the typical process of a two-hour meeting, opening with meditation, then a check-in, then a topic reading and discussion.

Apply
Bethesda | Tues. evenings | General

Tuesday evenings, twice per month

We typically sit for 20 minutes, then have a period of sharing about our experiences with our practice followed by Dharma study and a concluding short sit.

Apply
Alexandria | Fri. afternoons | Retiree

Fridays, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 2nd & 4th week

Retired/transitioning from the workforce: Retirement and transition can be a good time to connect with others. This change brings forth many new challenges for our ego and letting life flow as we adjust. We can share these challenges in a mindful way with support. Join us!

Apply
Reston | Mon. & Thurs. evenings | General

Monday and Thursday, 7 p.m. arrive, meet 7:30-9 p.m., 1st & 3rd week

This KM group meets in 2 different homes on a Monday and a Thursday each month to allow for a flexible meeting schedule. We have a brief greeting/intro, then a silent mediation, mindful speaking on related topics and practice issues, a shorter meditation, and a closing.

Apply
Clarendon | TBD | General

tbd

This is a newly forming group. We need new members and a facilitator to get started.

Meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.

Apply
East Falls Church | Tues. evenings | General

Tuesday 7-9 p.m., monthly

Group time includes 30 minutes of sitting meditation, check-in, and discussion of readings. Appropriate for YLM alumni and meditators with 3 or more years of experience.

Apply
SF 2020 | Wed. Evening | General

Alternating Wednesdays, 7:00-8:30 pm ET

Online meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.

Apply
Group A | Tues. evenings | General

1st & 3rd Tuesdays at 8 pm ET

Online meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.

Apply
Group B | Sun. evenings | General

Sunday, 7-8 p.m. ET, 1st & 3rd week

Online meditation and check-in, followed by mindful discussion, group process time and final short sit/metta practice.

Apply