True Refuge Companions
When you need a supportive presence
True Refuge Companions are experienced meditators trained to meditate with, be a supportive presence for, and deeply listen to those aging, ill, dying, and caregiving, as well as their loved ones and those bereaved in the IMCW community. Our volunteers are trained in being sensitive to the turbulence these difficult times can cause, and will travel to your home or connect online to meditate with you.
We call the pair Meditator and Companion.
We hold space for the Meditator’s difficult and uncomfortable experiences, something loved ones often can’t do because of their urgent wish for recovery and fear of loss. This volunteer service, freely offered in the program, nurtures the Companions’ own awakening, especially their capacity for metta and clear seeing. So the experience is often deeply rewarding for both the Meditator and Companion. It’s about being in presence together.
If you are aging, ill, dying, or caregiving and would like a companion by your side, we’re here to support you.
The Companions practice under the guidance of IMCW teacher Mary Aubry and are supported by True Refuge Companion Program Director Jill Drew.
How do we meet?
You can meet with your True Refuge Companion in person, by phone, or via an online video conference platform such as Zoom.
How long are the sessions?
No more than one hour.
What are the sessions like?
Your meditation session begins with a short sit to help you and your Companion arrive in presence. This can be silent or guided, as you prefer.
You may explore what’s been going on in your meditation practice—an opportunity to examine the difficulties you’ve encountered as well as insights and other fruits of practice that have emerged.
You might then have a longer sit with your Companion, either silent or guided, and a chance to speak mindfully about what arose during the sit.
To end, you might discuss how to apply mindfulness practices to the challenges of your daily life.
Is this a one-time thing or an ongoing relationship?
What if we don’t click?
Sometimes you’ll find the perfect match. Sometimes it just isn’t there. If you find your relationship isn’t working you can end it at any time. If you have any questions, you can contact our program director who might help you find a better match.
Is my Companion like a hospice volunteer or counselor?
A True Refuge Companion provides caring support for your meditation practice. If you need help that goes beyond meditation support, your Companion could encourage you seek the professional, therapeutic or medical help you need.
How do I express gratitude to my Companion without paying money?
Companions freely volunteer their time and no compensation is expected or will be accepted. Gratitude is a natural response, however, and you might explore supporting IMCW through a donation.
How do I provide feedback about this program?
Please give any feedback to Program Director Jill Drew. Your feedback is most welcome.
I’m interested in becoming a Companion. What are the qualifications?
If you are interested in becoming a True Refuge Companion, you should:
- Value Buddhist Vipassana (Insight) meditation
- Have a regular sitting meditation practice for the past two years, minimum
- Have participated in two silent multi-day retreats, minimum
- Have completed a two-day True Refuge Companion training.