Insight Meditation Society 2020 Registration Now Open

Just letting you know that the Insight Meditation SOciety in Barre, Massachusetts, has just announced its 2020 retreat schedule and registration is now open. Based on previous years, most retreats tend to get fully booked within a few days, so if you're interested in practising at IMS, best to register as soon as you can …

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Retreat as rebellion

Resisting the tyranny of productivity Over the last few months, I've been having conversations with students - and with myself! - about what feels to be the increasingly relentless busyness of our lives. People often say to me that they don't have time to meditate every day, and they certainly don't have time to go …

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April 2018 full moon – Retreat and post-retreat practice

Before and after A couple of years ago, I wrote a post titled "Retreat and pre-retreat practice", which explored ways to navigate some of the anxiety and other challenges that often come up before we go on retreat. This month, I'm writing about another aspect of retreat practice that doesn't always get a lot of …

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January 2018 full moon – re-set

Sydney Insight Meditators 2018 New Year's retreat Making positive changes The New Year is traditionally a time to try to make positive changes for the year ahead.  And yet most of us have had the experience of starting out with a rush of good intentions, only to find ourselves collapsing back into old habits very …

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December 2017 super moon – impermanence, vastness, and intimacy

Impermanence This month's full moon post is a little late, because just this morning, I finished co-teaching the last six weeks of the three-month retreat at IMS in Barre, Massachusetts. The ending of any period of intensive meditation practice is poignant, but even more so when it's been a longer retreat.  As this retreat was …

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July 2017 full moon – Gratitude

Just last week, I finished a one-month retreat at the Insight Meditation Society's Forest Refuge in Barre, Massachusetts, led by Sayadaw U Vivekananda.  What a relief it was, to temporarily put down some of the burdens I didn't even know I was carrying, and to have such a powerful opportunity to "disentangle the tangle" (as …

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March 2016 full moon – Retreat and pre-retreat practice

Planning to go on retreat? I've had a few conversations recently with people who are planning to go on retreat soon, and at some stage in the discussion, there's often an embarrassed acknowledgement of feeling some anxiety about it.  Even for people who have been on retreat before and have some familiarity with the set-up, …

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February 2016 full moon – Motivation, Respect, Resolve

The rewards and challenges of technology Earlier this evening, I gave my first dharma talk via video-link, from the YHA in Sydney to Auckland Insight in New Zealand.  Nothing too remarkable about that these days; but still, it was a delight to be able to connect with the group in this way, and I felt …

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February 2016 new moon – sea anemone heart

Sea anemone by Virginia Draper http://www.virginiadraper.com/p822038089 Opening, closing, opening, closing ... Everything has its natural rhythm, including the human heart.  I'm not sure why it took me so long to understand this, but a childhood memory - of exploring rock-pools with my father while on holiday in Scotland - helped.  On family visits to chilly …

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December 2015 full moon – In praise of trees

This year, the full moon coincided with Christmas Day for the first time in 38 years. I'm in New Zealand visiting family for the holidays and even though it's the middle of summer, there are evergreen Christmas trees decorated with icicles and snowflakes everywhere. The symbols of Christmas have always been messed up - the …

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