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 and follow the guidance there. 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 Friends FAQ

Groups 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 conference

Monday or Thursday triweekly

If you have never attended a Spiritual Friends group meeting please sign up to attend orientation so that you can be connected to an SF group. Please use the "Interested? Apply here" link above and mention the date you are interested in attending in the questionnaire and a telephone conference number will be emailed to you from uberconference.

Thursday, August 2, 2018, 8:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.

Monday, August 20, 2018, 6 p.m.–7 p.m. 

Thursday, September 13, 2018, 8:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.

Monday, October 1, 2018, 6 p.m.–7 p.m. 

Thursday, October 25, 2018, 8:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.

Thursday, November 15, 2018, 8:30 p.m.–9:30 p.m.

Monday, December 3, 2018, 6 p.m.–7 p.m. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019, 8:30 p.m.–9:30 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
SF Facilitators Group

TBD

If you facilitate a Spiritual Friends group meeting and would like to meet with other facilitators, please use the "Interestred? Apply here" link above and mention the date you are interested in attending in the questionnaire and a telephone conference number will be emailed to you from uberconference.

During the call we will go over the SF guidelines, listening and sharing tips 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
Adams Morgan

Tuesdays, 7:30-9:30 p.m., semi-monthly

We use the IMCW KM format, i.e., a 30-minute silent sit, check-in, dialogue about the reading, our practices, lives, etc. in relation to the topic in the reading, address any administrative matters, and a final short sit.  We generally focus on a chapter of a book about Buddhism but readings are optional, and members who don't choose to do the reading are welcome to participate.

Apply
Cleveland Park

Sundays, 5 p.m., monthly

This group is not yet meeting, has a facilitator but needs participants.

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
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

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

Apply
DC/MD Women Writing

Thursdays, 5-7 p.m., semi-monthly

This group is not yet meeting, needs a facilitator and participants.

We’re a group of women writers supporting each other to mindfully unleash our wild side in our writing and tap into our gold. Writing can be such a solitary endeavor – this group is meant as an oasis for women to safely share their writing and enjoy the power of meditation to enliven our spirit. 

While you don’t have to be a published writer, our group invites women who are actively working towards finished pieces of writing. There’s no teaching, just lots of loving support to get our words out into the world and stay balanced in the process. The meetings include meditation, reading our work if desired, occasionally reading inspiring books on writing influenced by meditators (like Nathalie Goldberg) and mindful listening, reflection and sharing.

Apply
Annapolis A

Not currently meeting

This group needs a facilitator and needs participants.

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

Apply
Annapolis B

Not currently meeting

This group needs a facilitator and needs participants.

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

Apply
Baltimore

One evening during the week, monthly

This group is currently meeting. 

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

Not currently meeting

This is a newly forming group in the Bethesda area for mothers who are interested in parenting and how that relates to spiritual practice. 

We have several interested people but still need a facilitator to get started.

Apply
Charles Village

Sunday, 6:30-8:30 pm, 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
Eastern Shore

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
MAAD - Mood, Attachment, and Anxiety Disorders

Sunday, 1:30-3:30 pm, 1st & 3rd week

We are looking for new members who have a year or more of meditation experience and a regular practice.

Our focus is supporting those who have, at some point in their lives, experienced, and can identify with, mood, attachment, or anxiety disorders, and who want to use their meditation practice to strive for peace and joy within life's journey.  

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

We currently meet in Gaithersburg, but there is a potential to rotate among members' homes in DC/MD/VA area.
Apply
Mental Health Professionals

Thursday & Sunday evening, semi-monthly

This is a group for mental health professionals in the Bethesda, Chevy Chase area.

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.

Apply
Rockville / Derwood

Thursdays, 7-8:30 p.m., semi-monthly

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

Apply
Takoma Park Tuesday

Tuesday, 7-9 p.m., 1st & 3rd week

We start with a 45-minute meditation followed by check-in and discussion about how to bring meditation into our daily lives. Our goal is to provide a space for each member of the group to learn about themselves and develop more freedom in their daily lives.

Apply
Waldorf

This group is not currently meeting

This group is not currently meeting. We have several interested people but still 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
Retiree

Fridays, 11 am-12:30 pm, 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
Writing

Not currently meeting

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 / Arlington

Tuesday 7-9 pm, 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
Mt. Vernon

Sunday, 6:00-7:30 p.m., monthly

Brief greeting/intro, brief silent mediation, mindful speaking on related topics and practice issues, a longer meditation, closing.

We include 15-20 minutes for socializing and share light snacks.

Apply
Reston

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
Vienna

Wednesday 7-9 pm, semi-monthly

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

Apply
Virtual SF Group B

Sunday, 7-8 pm Eastern Time, 1st & 3rd week

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

Apply
Virtual SF Group C

Not cureently meeting

This group is not yet meeting, needs a facilitator and needs participants.

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

Apply