Our Thursday evening group meditation practice begins with a 20 minute period of sitting meditation. The practice that we teach is called Insight Meditation, which is a method of looking with clarity and attention into the nature of a thing as it is in our present moment experience. This “thing” can be what we are thinking, how we are feeling, or our perceptions, as they relate to any life circumstance we may find ourselves in at the moment. It is a method of practice that helps us get past the stories we use to protect ourselves, to the root of what we are actually experiencing. The object of this practice is to free ourselves from the dissatisfaction that arises when we cling to our views, opinions, and beliefs as to how things should or should not be. It is a gradual practice that takes time and effort, but if followed, will lead us to greater peace, wellness, and happiness in our lives.
After sitting meditation, one of our teachers presents a talk related to our practice. Over the years our talks have displayed an eclectic array of themes: from the Buddha’s teachings on impermanence and dependent origination to the Gnostic Gospels on Jesus, from the teachings of a variety of modern dharma teachers to talks on redemption, anger, beauty, love, death, lust, sadness, happiness, acceptance, letting go, and present moment awareness. Our teachers have years of experience in the practice of meditation and daily mindfulness, as well as leading groups in the theory and practice of meditation and mindfulness.
Once the talk is finished, all participants of the session are encouraged to contribute from their own lives: how they grapple with their pleasant and unpleasant experiences, and what truth they have found in the memory of their personal experiences. Our guiding principle: as we learn together, so shall we grow together.
On the second (2nd) and fourth (4th) Thursday’s of the month we forgo a dharma talk and group participation for a session of silent sitting and walking meditation, which allows us more time to develop and deepen our practice. The session is divided into three parts: twenty minutes of sitting, ten minutes of walking, and another twenty minutes of sitting. The session ends with the meditation facilitator reading a passage from a dharma book selected for its ability to inspire us in our resolve to practice meditation and mindfulness daily.
IMCF offers a daylong meditation retreat four (4) times a year. We invite some of the best, highly experienced, innovative teachers from a variety of spiritual traditions to lead these retreats. Our purpose behind this is to give you the opportunity to sit in a day of silence so that you can simply be with yourself without judgment, simply as you are. You may even discover your inherent nature, the natural you. You will find that a day of silent meditation is one of difficulty and ease, one of grace and stress; and yet an opportunity to abide within yourself, letting go of the pressures of expectation. Not easy, but worthy of intention, reflection, meditation, and contemplation. The best place for you to discover who you are and what you can become—in reality, who you already are.
Though the focus of our practice relies on the teachings of Gotama Buddha, we are secular Buddhist and not aligned with any religious institution or organization. We travel the path of truth, regardless of tradition, east or west.