What we do: We are a community that offers instruction related to mindfulness meditation, including classes, day long workshops, extended courses (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) and occasional weekend retreats. Instructions are designed for both beginners and experienced practitioners.
Most classes and workshops are free for all participants. Although a donation amount is suggested, donations are not required for participation. The MBSR courses are not free, but some scholarship is available.
While the forms of meditation we practice are rooted in Buddhist teachings, the study and practice of mindfulness and insight meditation is applicable to anyone from any background or religion, and all are welcome.
We are affiliated with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW) and the teaching of Tara Brach, Jonathan Foust and Hugh Byrne.
Each class will include: guided meditation, instruction, opportunities to practice, and time for discussion, questions and answers.
When and where: Our ongoing drop-in class meets every Wednesday from 7:30-9:00 p.m. on days the school is open at Centennial High School, 4300 Centennial Lane, Ellicott City, MD, 21042, room 406. (See the individual event posting for summer locations) Please arrive early to settle into your seats - we start right at 7:30 p.m. If you arrive late, please enter as quietly as possible.
Other classes, workshops and courses are provided on an occasional basis. Typically we hold an 8-Week Introduction to Insight Meditation series starting in August, January and April, an 8-Week Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) course three or four times per year, and a daylong workshop every month or two. To access our schedule, please follow this link:
We practice Insight Meditation, a style of meditation that helps the mind attain deeper levels of calm concentration through sustained attention on the breath, then combines this with the crucial aspect of insight through contemplation of the mind and body and all of their changing and impermanent senses, emotions and thoughts. Insight Meditation trains us to live more fully in the present moment, enables us to experience life from a greater stillness, and aids us in relating to both ourselves and others with increased clarity, compassion, calmness and creativity, and less fear, anxiety and stress.
Along with these and a long list of other psychological benefits, meditation has also been shown to reduce stress hormones in the body, lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, alleviate depression and boost the immune system.
What we offer: Our ongoing drop-in Wednesday evening classes generally consist of a half hour semi-guided meditation, followed by a talk on Buddhist principles and their application to daily life, followed by discussion and/or practice.
We hold our 8-Week Introduction to Insight Meditation Series starting in August, January and May. These classes run from 6:30 to 7:20 p.m. on Wednesday evenings. Those who attend intro classes are encouraged to stay for at least the half-hour meditation that starts at 7:30 p.m.
We offer workshops (typically day long) to help deepen practice. Some of our workshop topics are: Deepening Insight, a Daylong Silent Workshop; Insight Out Loud (working with partners to deepen insight); A Day of Heart Practices; Deepening Presence; and a Relationship Workshop.
Our 8-Wek Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) courses help students initiate and develop an ongoing daily mindfulness meditation practice. These 8-week courses are designed to help students develop strategies to reduce stress and to relate to their day-to-day experiences in a more calm and creative manner.
We also sponsor Kalyani-Mitta (KM) groups. These are groups that meet outside the normal class hours to discuss Buddhist principles more in depth and to share about how these ideas apply to their personal lives. These groups also help foster deeper connection to other members of the community (sangha).
Stan Eisenstein, a former high school physics teacher who has been meditating for over 25 years and has been practicing Insight Meditation since 2004. Stan is an affiliate teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW) and is a graduate of the Meditation Teacher Training Institute, a two-year certification program with senior Insight teachers Tara Brach, Jonathan Foust, Hugh Byrne, and Pat Coffey. He also teaches Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).
Questions: Please feel free to contact Stan Eisenstein at IMCWColumbia @yahoo.com if you have any questions.
Address: Centennial High School, 4300 Centennial Lane, Ellicott City, MD, 21042, room 406 (note - we have a different location during the summer)
(see parking map below)
The easiest place to park is in the lot on the South side of Centennial High School (on the left side of the building if you are facing the building.
To get there, enter the bus loop (on the south side of the building) and make an immediate left onto a drive that passes through a gate. It looks as though this is an illegal turn, but it is not.
This parking lot is hidden from the road, so it may not be easy to find. If you have trouble parking, park in any lot, enter the building, and then follow the Columbia Insight Meditation Class signs to room 406.
1. There are plenty of chairs, but if you prefer to sit on the floor, which is not carpeted, please bring a hard pillow or zafu, since, when meditating, it is recommended that your hips be higher than your knees. If you have never tried sitting on the floor during meditation, it is highly recommended that you try the chair first, then practice sitting on the floor at home until you are comfortable.
2. If you have any back issues, please bring a pillow or cushion to place behind you.
3. Please remember to turn off your cell phones before entering the room.
4. Please try not to wear any perfume to the class, as it can be quite distracting to others. Also, with respect to those who may be allergic, we do not use incense.
5. The group is not recommended for those under age 13.
6. If you arrive late, please enter the room as quietly as possible.