June 23, 2020

Grounding in Uncertain Times Winnie Nazarko & Brian Lesage

Grounding in Uncertain Times

Winnie Nazarko & Brian Lesage

Wednesday, July 15 – Sunday, July 19

Registration gives you access to the livestream event as well as unlimited access to each recorded session through our replay library.

Cost is sliding-scale: $400, $220, or $150, your choice. Paying at a higher rate helps IMS to offer ongoing support to teachers and staff during this period of closure. Scholarships are available. For more information, please email imsonline@dharma.org.


The teachings of the Buddha and the tools they offer are suited for this time. Like the days of the historical Buddha, our current reality is one of turmoil, insecurity and social discord.


As a collective, we need to navigate these days of pandemic and the challenges of meeting the truth of racism in our society. To do so, we need stable, wise heart/minds which can act with care and skill. In order to develop inner strength, and not get swept away, we need to learn how to ground and balance and calm ourselves.


The practice of meditation teaches us how to work with our heart/minds, recognizing and strengthening the goodness we already have. We can intentionally develop further goodwill, compassion and equanimity by directly cultivating these qualities.


This retreat will provide instruction in both mindfulness (vipassana) meditation, and in lovingkindness (metta) practices. There will also be talks which help frame the teachings which are the source of these meditations.


As a community, on-line, we will be supported by the presence of others who similarly value spiritual development.

Open to all, beginner and experienced meditators alike.

A note on dana (generosity)
Most IMS teachers—like insight teachers around the world—rely on the generosity of students for their livelihood, and receive no compensation from course fees. All IMS online teachers receive a modest dana advance from IMS to guarantee a minimum level of financial support. (Click here to learn more about the dana practice.) There will be an opportunity to offer a contribution to your teachers at the end of this course.


The schedule for this retreat is below. In addition to these guided sessions, if feasible in your circumstances, we encourage you to additional practice. We realize some folks won’t be able to do this, but if you can this would make extra good use of your retreat days.

You might add periods of sitting meditation, and two half – hour walking ( or alternative movement if walking is in any way problematic)  sessions to your day. For more experienced practitioners who have the time, you might want to add even more sessions than this.

Note: All times are listed in Eastern Daylight Time EDT. All sessions will be recorded so you can view later.

Wednesday, July 15
10:00 – 11:00 Orientation and Opening – Sitting Meditation: Instructions on Settling Into Meditation – Winnie
1:00 – 1:45 Sitting Meditation followed by Walking Meditation Instructions – Brian
4:00 – 5:30 Dharma Talk (context for practice discussion) and Further Instructions on Settling Into Meditation and Being Mindful in Daily Activities – Winnie
7:00- 7:45 – Sitting Meditation and Chanting – Brian

Thursday, July 16
10:00 – 11:00 Sitting Meditation: Instructions on Mindfulness of the Body and Physical Sensations – Brian
1:00 – 1:45 Sitting Meditation followed by Walking Meditation Instructions – Winnie
4:00 – 5:30 Dharma Talk (context for practice), Sitting Meditation, Q & A – Brian
7:00- 7:45 Sitting Meditation and Chanting – Winnie

Friday, July 17
10:00 – 11:00 Sitting Meditation: Instructions on Mindfulness of Thinking – Winnie
1:00 – 1:45 Guided Loving Kindness Meditation – Brian
4:00 – 5:30 Dharma Talk (context for practice), Sitting Meditation, Q & A – Winnie
7:00 – 7:45 Sitting Meditation and Chanting – Brian

Saturday, July 18
10:00 – 11:00 Sitting Meditation: Instructions on Mindfulness of Emotions – Brian
1:00 -1:45 Guided Loving Kindness Meditation – Winnie
4:00 – 5:30 Dharma Talk, Sitting Meditation followed by Q &A – Brian
7:00 – 7:45 Sitting Meditation and Chanting – Winnie

Sunday, July 19 Closing
10:00-11:00 Sitting Meditation and Instruction of Continuing Practice – Brian
1:00 – 2:30 Q & A and Closing – Winnie


Teacher Bios

Winnie Nazarko attended her first meditation retreat in 1981, after a co-worker convinced her that it would be interesting. And it was interesting, just not in the way she expected. After that long weekend with Stephen and Andrea Levine, she knew she had touched something deeply truthful, although she couldn’t quite describe it. It did, however, seem to do with transparency of being, equanimity, and lack of fear.

This was the beginning of a period of intensive dharma search and practice, bringing her into connection with many outstanding teachers. Among these have been Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Steve Armstrong, Kamala Masters, and Jack Kornfield. From their diversity of teaching styles, she came to appreciate the very individual ways the Dharma is expressed through the prism of specific personalities and life experiences. While the truth is universal, the expression of that truth is personal and uses the language of direct experience.

Winnie’s own orientation to practice is rooted in a background of human service work and the desire to relieve human suffering. After years of work with issues of violence, and hunger, it became apparent that the largest single impediment to collective human progress is the level of development of the average human mind.

In 1998, she was asked to teach the Dharma by Joseph Goldstein. She does so to help people open their full potential, in the interest of their own happiness and well-being and for the benefit of others who their lives affect.

Winnie’s teachings are rooted in the Eight Fold Path taught by the Buddha, with particular emphasis on aligning motivation with the student’s highest and wisest aspiration. Letting go (renunciation) and self-compassion are taught as essential, foundational attitudes supporting practice. Meditation instructions draw on a variety of approaches, and emphasize grounding, embodiment, and equanimity which can be carried into daily life. When appropriate, students are given customized instructions which work with the actual experiences they are having, rather than insisting one method of practice works in all cases. The emphasis is on “skillful means”, understanding that students come to meditation from many different circumstances and experiences.

Brian Lesage has practiced Buddhist meditation since 1988 and has taught meditation since 2000. He has studied in the Zen, Theravada and Tibetan schools of Buddhism and was ordained in the Rinzai Zen tradition in 1996. His training in vipassana meditation includes doing extended meditation retreats in Myanmar (Burma), Nepal, and India as well as numerous retreats in the U.S. He leads retreats and teaches meditation courses nationwide. Brian also has a private practice in Somatic Experiencing, which is a naturalistic approach to healing trauma. You can visit his website for Somatic Experiencing at liberatingawareness.com.