History and Tradition
Westchester Insight Meditation Community (WIMC) began in 1995 when Gina Sharpe started a Thursday evening community meditation group in Katonah, New York with her beloved husband, John Fowle, now deceased. Gina is our Founding and Guiding Teacher trained jointly by Spirit Rock Meditation Center and the Insight Meditation Society in the Theravāda Buddhist tradition. Over time, our community has grown to include a variety of teachings and offerings (see calendar) for beginning to experienced students and practitioners, including weekly sittings, bi-monthly sittings, kalyāṇa mitta (spiritual friend) groups, and daylong silent retreats. In 2016, we formed a Social Justice Group to deepen our contribution to the transformation of oppressive social systems through personal and collective growth, understanding, and illumined activity. Several members of our community have been trained by Spirit Rock Meditation Center as Community Dharma Leaders and offer the teachings on a regular basis.
Our offerings come from an “insight,” “mindfulness,” or “vipassana” perspective and are rooted in the practices of Buddhist meditation of Southeastern Asia. Also known as Theravāda Buddhism, the teachings of the Elders, this form of meditation focuses on insight that arises from a meditator’s actual experience as the true nature of reality is exposed. The practice also focuses on cultivating moral behavior, walking the middle path, and preserving the Buddha’s teachings.
Generosity - Dāna
All teachings are offered on a dāna basis: they are freely offered. The gift of the dharma is one of the greatest gifts of all. Generosity is the currency of life. If you are so moved, you are invited to make an offering for the teachings. The practice of giving is a chance to become aware of the feeling of generosity in your life and to recognize the joy that grows in you when you give.
Insight or Vipassana Meditation is a simple technique that has been practiced in Asia for over 2,500 years. Beginning with the focusing of attention on the breath and developing awareness of all phenomena, the practice concentrates and calms the mind. It allows one to see through the mind's conditioning and thereby to live more fully present in the moment. The teaching is non-sectarian, although the ethics and traditions of Buddhist psychology are included for guidance. There is no requirement that any beliefs or rituals be adopted, although an open mind is requested. The practice develops clarity of seeing which allows grasping, judgment and fear to fall away. One discovers and cultivates qualities such as peace, vitality, compassion, equanimity, wisdom, joy, and moral integrity. The ultimate aim of the practice is the ending of suffering in the discovery of an unconditioned and complete freedom. It is suitable for beginners and experienced meditators.
Everyone is welcome.
Thursday sessions are now held online
while we all shelter safely at home.
Thursdays 7:00-8:00 pm
20-30 minute Vipassana (insight) or mettā meditation. Instruction available.
Check in on what issues we are working with, asking questions and/or other mindfulness activity.
Check the calendar for teacher or topic if available.
9:00-10:00am or 10:00-11:00 am
On hiatus during COVID
Weather Cancellation Policy
Lee and the teachers try to make judicious calls on whether and when to cancel. If we need to cancel, we try to do it early—usually by 4 pm. Obviously, this is not always possible.
We trust that each and every week you will take your safety and that of others into account first, before venturing out during hurricanes, tornadoes, power outages, torrential rain, lightning, flooding, extreme heat, earthquakes and snow storms--regardless of whether there is a scheduled sitting or not.
We come from many directions and long distances--each with its own weather. So you may not even think there is a weather-related issue because it is sunny and clear where you are.
On days when the weather is iffy, please check for an email from us before heading out. When possible, we also post cancellations on Facebook (under Westchester Insight Meditation Community) and our Google Calendar above.
Please let us know if you have any other thoughts or concerns on this topic.
Thank you for your understanding and patience.