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


I Am Family to Myself: Finding Refuge in Yourself

About 30 years ago, when I was first introduced to the Buddhist teachings at Naropa University in Boulder, CO, the monastics and teachers there assured me that there was a path out of the suffering I was experiencing, and that this path was inside ME.  I just needed to learn how to take a good look inside, they said, which, after some diligence, would illuminate a light – one that I could then use to follow the map of the dharma that the Buddha laid out for us. In other words, they let me know that I could do it – I could light my own way.

No Self, No Problem: Exploring Anatta

The writer Emily McDowell isn't a Buddhist, but in today's language she has accurately described one of Buddhism's most difficult and misunderstood concepts - that of no-self, or anatta -- in this short statement: "Finding yourself is not really how it works. You aren't a 10-dollar bill in last winter's coat pocket. You are also not lost. Your true self is right here, buried under cultural conditioning, other people's opinions, and inaccurate conclusions you drew as a kid that became your beliefs about who you are...

What to Expect on a Retreat

Making the decision to enter an extended period of silence with others doing the same—whether it’s for one day, three, or longer—is a powerful commitment to yourself, your practice, and your life. In order to make the most of this precious time, it can be useful (especially if it’s your first time) to know what you might find once you’re there, and what to bring along with you—including attitudes and expectations.

What Is Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)?

The MBSR series itself is intended to help people establish their own unique mindfulness practice, teach them techniques that can help address physical and emotional symptoms made worse by stress, and increase their peace and quality of life. The classes are intimate, highly experiential, and focus on helping students understand the various mental causes of stress (i.e. suffering), how it affects the mind and body, and how to work with it through mindfulness to reduce its effects. And, while the more spiritually-based teachings that involve topics such as ethics, kindness, and compassion are taught, the modern science around the practice of mindfulness meditation tends to be strongly emphasized.