Frequently Asked Questions
|I'm interested in beginning a program of mindfulness meditation, where do I start?|
|We offer a six-week "Basics of Mindfulness Meditation" class. A new class starts about every month -- for the next one, check the schedule page.|
We also offer a more intensive beginning program called "MBSR - Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction" and you can learn more about that here.
|Can I "audit" a class, before committing to a paid course of study?|
|Sure, try out one of our ongoing sitting groups to get a feel for the kind of meditation we teach. |
|Do I need a daily meditation practice to make progress?|
|Practicing meditation is a lot like training a muscle. If you train a little, you make little progress; if you train on a regular basis, you will see more progress. Try shorter, regular sittings (say 15 min) rather than one long sitting every once in a while.|
Where the analogy stops: Progress in meditation is non-linear!
|Some of your sitting groups are on Dana (donation) basis. I understand donations can vary from individual to individual, but is there a standard or suggested donation?|
|The practice of Dana, the Pali word for generosity (pronounced 'donna'), is a path to happiness. Giving is a way to cultivate compassion and self-awareness. We suggest you give as much as it takes for you to feel generous! This is uplifting for you and essential to InsightLA, so that we can continue to offer teachings.|
Since you are asking about a rule of thumb, it might help to know that similar groups suggest a $15-20 donation. All of our teachers have devoted years to their training and some also have years of teaching experience.
Any amount of Dana that you are able to offer is warmly received, with gratitude and appreciation.
|How do I register for a class, retreat, etc.|
|If the event you would like to register for is sponsored by InsightLA, you will see a big button on the top of the description page that says "Click Here to Register" Just click on that button and it will take you to a page where you can register.|
If the event is not sponsored by InsightLA, there will be link on the description page that will take you to the site where you can register.
|How do I change the email address you use to contact me?|
|Go here to update your email address.|
|How do I find a mindfulness meditation teacher?|
|Teaching Meditation has a lot to do with experience and training. You would want somebody who has an ongoing daily personal meditation practice under the guidance of an experienced teacher. Ideally, s/he would have received qualified training to teach meditation or the specific program.|
The personal aspect is also very important. Not every teacher is right for every student. Start practicing with a teacher about whom you've heard and read good things and see if you can make a connection. Also observe the teacher closely; is s/he living what s/he's teaching?
|Your teachings come from the Buddhist tradition. Can I still benefit from them regardless of my religious/spiritual background?|
|Of course! The teachings can be understood as a philosophy and specific techniques can be helpful for everybody. |
Sometimes students come to us because they are confused and have doubts about their religious upbringing, only to reconnect with their beliefs on a new level through the practice of mindfulness and loving kindness.
We also offer the specifically secular MBSR program. As one student said: "My parents hate me when I'm a Buddhist, but they love me when I'm a Buddha!"
|Can I still meditate if I take antidepressants or other prescription medication?|
|Absolutely. Prescription drugs and meditation can complement each other. We recommend that people with serious mental health issues consult their therapist/psychiatrist before starting a meditation program.|
|What's the difference between the MBSR class and the Mindfulness for Beginners class?|
|The Mindfulness for Beginners Class is a class that teaches Vipassana Meditation and basic concepts of Buddhism. It's 6 weeks long with a weekly class. Participants are asked to practice short stretches of meditation by themselves at home.|
The MBSR class is an 8-week program that is secular and includes different Mindfulness practices (as the Body Scan and Mindful Yoga) as well as the traditional sitting Meditation. It also has a strong didactic and interactive side to it as it is geared towards handling ones stressful life situations better. The emphasis is on very much on every day life. It requires a daily homework practice of 45-60 min.
|My health doesn't allow me to sit on the floor or do Yoga. Can I still come and benefit from the MBSR program?|
|Absolutely. This program was designed for people with serious health problems. Part of the class is helping you make the practice your own and learn the most effective and creative ways to work within your limitations. So-called "Sitting Meditation" does not need to be done in a sitting position on the floor (lying down, or sitting in a chair are among other options). We just had somebody in a wheelchair attend our class; he did the Yoga mentally and benefited from it.|
|Is reading Jon Kabat-Zinn's "Full Catastrophe Living" part of the MBSR class curriculum?|
|The MBSR class is modeled after this book. We assign corresponding chapters each week so that if people have the time, they can read them. We don't make reading it part of the homework though; we'd rather participants practice and experience the techniques, not just read about them! Since we normally live so much in our heads, 45-60 min. of practical homework is already a challenge for most people. |
|I can't come to your MBSR classes as I live too far away. Where can I find other qualified MBSR teachers?|
|Please go to the website of the University of Massachusetts. http://www.umassmed.edu/cfm/index.aspx. Go to "Other MBSR programs" and enter your zip-code.|