It has been more than thirty years since I attended my first silent-meditation retreat. The retreat was hosted by the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts and taught the Vipassana style of meditation. Vipassana focuses on being mindful of each moment. By following the moments as they arise and pass, one gradually begins to see the patterns of mind and heart that cause stress and unhappiness. Through regular meditation, eventually one can release those patterns.
Meditation has had a profound effect on my life. I have practiced regularly at home and on retreats since 2000. In 2011, I attended a three-month long silent meditation retreat at IMS. This retreat deepened my practice and drove home the many benefits of meditation.
My commitment to meditation led me to enroll in the Dedicated Practitioner's Program (DPP) offered by Spirit Rock Meditation Center. This two-year program offers advanced students the opportunity to delve deeply into the teachings of the Buddha and the foundations of meditation. Perhaps most importantly, it has introduced me to a community of experienced practitioners (called a "sangha" in the Buddhist nomenclature). Being part of the DPP sangha has taught me how important it is to have spiritual friends to support and nurture your practice. I would like to create such a community here in Portland.