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


Remind Me, Why Am I Doing This Again?

At the end of most of my meditation classes, there’s time for people to ask questions about the dharma talk, meditation in general, or their own practice. A few weeks ago a gentleman raised his hand and said something like, “I’ve been meditating for many years. I’ve been on lots of retreats and know lots of teachers. I mean, I know even their lives aren’t perfect. I sometimes ask myself, why am I doing this again? What’s the point?” There was a collective, knowing chuckle in the room and the man who asked the question broke into a smile...

Pure Experience

Is there something we can do with pain besides cope through distraction, denial, wishful thinking, or numbing anesthetics? Is there a universal strategy that can be applied to all pains, regardless of their type, intensity, or causes? Is there a psychologically healthy way of making pain meaningful, a simple, systematic way to harness its energy in the service of life?

The Wisdom of Buddhist Teachings and the Gift of Sangha

During this Covid pandemic period, I have found Pema Chodron’s book, Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change, comes to mind frequently. I used to misremember the title as being Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and FEAR, as I was well aware of my experience of uncertainty frequently being accompanied by fear. In the book, Pema shares what are known in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition as the three vows or commitments. These are three methods for embracing the chaotic, unstable, dynamic and challenging nature of our situation as human beings in wise ways that will benefit us and others...

Tending and Befriending: Cultivating Self-Kindness

One of the most pervasive causes of suffering is the way that we tend to be unkind to ourselves. We carry around within us messages of unworthiness. We think we need to be perfect in order to be loved.... Mindfulness and meditation help us to untangle from these negative core beliefs, to start removing the thorns from our psyches....

Daily Life as Practice: The Dharma of Shelling Beans

“This is as bad as meditation!” The irritable thought arose as I tried out every seat and countertop in my kitchen in hopes of finding some way of standing or sitting that would let me shell two pounds of fresh cranberry beans without experiencing pain somewhere in my crabby, aging body.  Then I remembered: daily life activities can be practice. Shelling these beans could be a meditation....