March 1, 2014

Sangha News – March 2014

In This Issue

This issue includes news about our Forest Refuge Teacher-in-Residence and 2015 schedule, our latest wallpaper image, and two new recipes. It also spotlights new books from IMS teachers and an illustrated piece on retreat life by artist Maira Kalman. We encourage you to participate in our programming survey, and check out retreat spaces available and job openings.

Quiet moment at Gaston Pond
A quiet moment by Gaston Pond on a sunny winter’s day.

IMS News

Passing the Baton at the Forest Refuge

The Forest Refuge Teacher-in-Residence plays an essential part in the smooth running of the center. The person in this position not only guides retreatants in their practice for many months of each year, but also provides much-needed continuity as visiting teachers come and go.

Sky Dawson has ably filled this role since 2010. At the end of this year, she’ll finish her time here and return to her home in Australia. Her gracious and welcoming presence will be much missed.

“This period of my life at IMS has been special beyond words,” Sky reflected. “I cannot express how supportive it has been for me to be a part of this community. I’ve deeply valued the opportunity to get to know so many retreatants, teachers and staff, and these relationships have brought much happiness. This year I’ll continue to offer the teachings and strengthen connections with everyone who comes to the Forest Refuge. And I plan to continue my relationship with the broader IMS community when I return to live in Australia.”

We’re delighted to announce that Caroline Jones will officially step into this position in December 2015. Originally from the UK, she’s practiced meditation for 25 years and currently serves as a member of the Gaia House teacher council. We look forward to welcoming Caroline to IMS – although not yet in the new role, her first teaching month will be in April next year.

Cultivating Diversity at IMS

As many of you know, IMS is actively working to ensure that our centers offer an environment that is fully welcoming and safe for all who want to practice or serve here.

Key to accomplishing this is to increase the sensitivity and awareness of IMS teachers, Board members and staff around a range of diversity issues. Undoing racism trainings and acquiring greater cultural competence are vital aspects of this undertaking.

Cultivating diversity with training
Members of IMS’s Diversity Committee worked with undoing racism consultants at a training in mid-February.

Recipes from Our Kitchen

Check out these two popular recipes served at our centers – Muhammara, a roasted red pepper and nut spread, and Vegetable Mulligatawny Soup.


Dharma Updates

New Publications

IMS co-founder Sharon Salzberg’s newest book, Real Happiness at Work: Meditations for Accomplishment, Achievement, and Peace, takes a clear look at the challenges that are an inevitable part of our job life, and offers “an array of tools for cultivating greater stability, openness and fulfillment while working.”

The book is filled with people’s stories from their widely-varied job experiences. Sharon gives us meditations and exercises to help us develop what she calls the eight pillars of happiness in the workplace: balance, concentration, compassion, resilience, communication and connection, integrity, meaning, and open awareness.

Click here to read the chapter, “Communication and Connection.” IMS guiding teacher Rodney Smith, founder of Seattle Insight Meditation Society also has a new book out. Awakening: A Paradigm Shift of the Heart starts with the observation, “Many of us do not understand what spiritual transformation requires.” Rodney describes the book’s territory:

This book attempts to explain genuine spiritual realization. When we speak of enlightenment and awakening, what do we mean? What actually occurs when we slip beyond consensus or conventional reality, and why would we undertake such a journey? This book looks at the topography of the journey from beginning to end, the multiple ways we undermine the very growth we seek, the shift in consciousness that does occur, and the life that arises out of that shift.

An Artist’s View of Retreat Life

Last year, artist Maira Kalman sat her first silent retreat at IMS. She captured her experience in a delightful and whimsical illustrated piece that first appeared in Mindful Magazine.

Why Unplug on Retreat?

Kate Johnson, a teacher with the Interdependence Project, participated in IMS’s Three-Month Retreat last fall. In this interview with the Huffington Post, she describes how being unplugged from technology during the course deepened her awareness and benefited her practice.

Find a Sitting Group

For many years, the print journal Inquiring Mind listed local insight meditation sitting groups. But these days, it’s more effective for this information to be offered online. As a result, the Buddhist Insight Network (BIN) has initiated an online, interactive and searchable database for insight meditation communities and sitting groups around the world.

If you’re looking for a sitting group in your area, check this out. We also encourage existing sitting groups to contact BIN to add your details.

Sangha Survey

We’d love your feedback! Please take a moment or two to complete this survey about IMS’s retreat offerings. Your responses are confidential – we are not able to identify respondents’ names.

Sangha survey

Program Highlights

At the Forest Refuge

Rodney Smith and Teacher-in-Residence Sky Dawson are guiding retreatants at IMS’s Forest Refuge this month.

Rodney Smith and Sky Dawson

At the Retreat Center

Salzberg's annual metta retreat
Sharon Salzberg’s annual Metta Retreat took place in mid-February. Here she’s shown (C) with her team: (L-R) mindful yoga assistant Leslie Booker, teachers Winnie Nazarko and Larry Yang, and assistant Oren Sofer.
30th annual women's retreat
This year marked the 30th anniversary of IMS’s annual Women’s Retreat. The course took place this past week with teachers (L-R) Christina Feldman, Narayan Helen Liebenson and Madeline Klyne.

Retreat Space Available

At the Forest Refuge, some rooms are available for experienced meditators April 1 – May 14, during some parts of July, and from August 1 on.

There’s also a Work Retreat opening, November 1 – December 1. Find out more information here.

As mentioned above, the 2015 Forest Refuge schedule will be posted April 1, and we’ll begin accepting applications then for next year.

For more information, contact our office – please email or call us at 978-355-2063.

Visit our Audio page to download or stream recent Forest Refuge teacher talks.

At the Retreat Center, there are still some openings during the summer months.

Steve Armstrong, Deborah Ratner Helzer and Mark Nunberg will teach an insight meditation retreat, Awareness with Wisdom, August 1-10.

This will be followed by Your Life is Your Practice, August 15-22, offered by Narayan Helen Liebenson, Greg Scharf and Madeline Klyne.

We are also delighted to announce IMS’s first insight retreat for our LGBTIQ community, Freedom and Ease of Being. It will be led by Pascal Auclair, Anushka Fernandopulle and Madeline Klyne, September 2-7.

Serving at IMS

Job Openings – IMS currently has two job openings. One is for a Communications and Development Specialist, and the other is for a Facilities Worker to help with the care and landscaping of IMS’s 240-acre grounds.

If you are interested in working at IMS and have the necessary experience, please consider applying. Opportunities for meditation and deepening wisdom, as well as friendships and connecting with like-minded people, are all benefits.

Staff Retreat – Each January, volunteers arrive at IMS to step into staff shoes for a week. Because of this generous support, staff can be on retreat together, allowing for a precious time of renewal and reflection.

Final day of the 2014 staff retreat
Staff and volunteers on the closing day of the 2014 Staff Retreat.

Springtime Wishes

With the arrival of spring, we wish you, your families and your communities the blessings of peace,
happiness and insight.

Springtime wishes