October 23, 2017 @7:30 pm – 8:45 pm. Hosted by Our Lady Queen of Peace,
Ministry Center Founders’ Room, 2700 19th Street South, Arlington, VA 22204
For IMI’s basic guide to meditating, please visit the middle of the IMI resources page, or see IMI sample meditations.
For regional and national meditation resources, please see IMI’s list of intra-faith meditation resources.
Interfaith Meditation Programs for the Public
Two to three ordained or lay religious leaders from different traditions, with substantial meditation experience, each lead, one after the other, an authentic meditation from their tradition in a church, synagogue, mosque, temple, university, community center, or institution. There are no barriers to participating: people of any religious affiliation and those unaffiliated are equally welcome. There is no fee to attend; a voluntary donation is requested, but no one is turned away.
Those programs co-led by two religious leaders generally run sixty to seventy-five minutes; programs co-led by three religious leaders typically last ninety minutes. Each meditation is approximately twenty to twenty-five minutes, including ten (or more) minutes of shared silence, so participants may internally explore the meditation for themselves. (When an interfaith meditation program takes place as part of a religious service, each meditation might be abbreviated to fifteen minutes.)
Some programs may have a chosen theme, of focus, for cultivating a trait valued by and inherent to the faiths, such as Living in the Present Moment, Intuition, Joy, and Well-being. Of course, the underlying aspiration is each person’s own deepest intention.
At the beginning of the program, the IMI facilitator offers a ten-minute introduction, speaking about common meditation hindrances (across the faiths) and strategies when sampling meditations from multiple traditions. (For example, if a meditation word or phrase evokes discomfort that does not pass, one might wish to substitute that word or phrase for another that is closer to home; there are no “musts” during these exploratory interfaith meditation programs.) A two-minute, guided stretch break can be beneficial between the meditations and often occurs.
Before concluding the program, there often is an opportunity for participants to give voice, in pairs as well as before the whole gathering, to their meditation experience during the program. Nearly the entire focus of the program is on the actual, first-hand experience of meditating. Light refreshments and fellowship often follow the program’s conclusion.
Interfaith Meditation Retreats for Religious Leaders
Four to five ordained or lay religious leaders with substantial meditation experience each lead, one after the other, an authentic meditation from their tradition in a retreat atmosphere. The programs run approximately five hours.
Each meditation is approximately twenty-five minutes, and an additional five minutes for Q&A follows each meditation. Lunch allows for informal, in-depth dialogue. As an introduction, the IMI facilitator lays a foundation for the retreat with input from the gathered leaders.
Before concluding the program, there is an extended period for participants to give voice to their meditation experience during the retreat, and strategies for implementing meditation practices within their congregations and communities.
The retreats require extensive preparation time and are less likely to be repeated in the future without sufficient funding. We also would like to offer a series of leadership retreats designed to showcase best practices in the methodology of teaching meditation (across faith traditions).
Interfaith Meditation Presentations for Conferences, Institutions, and Faith Organizations
We were invited to present our interfaith meditation model to the Episcopal Diocese of Washington’s day-long program, “Initiating and Sustaining Local Interfaith Relations,” co-sponsored by the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington. IMI welcomes sharing with others our interfaith meditation programming model — whether as a stand-alone presentation or workshop, or within a broader intra-faith or interfaith conference.
Interfaith Concerts: Participatory Experiences of Song & Chant to Quiet the Mind & Touch the Divine
Sacred song and chant are recognized as authentic practices for quieting the mind and reconnecting with one’s core. Twice, we have brought together Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Hindu leaders to co-lead us as we explore singing and chanting in each another’s ancient languages. These programs are expensive for us to run, and for this reason we offer them sparingly.
Intra-Meditation Workshops for Disadvantaged Children and Umbrella Faith Organizations
As with all IMI programs, workshops are individually tailored to the needs of the involved stakeholders. Here, IMI designed and facilitated a half-day workshop on Jewish meditation for twenty Washington, D.C. area Jewish clergy in partnership with the Washington Board of Rabbis, the Jewish Social Service Agency, the Jewish Mindfulness Community of Washington, and Adas Israel Congregation. IMI currently teaches secular meditation practices to disadvantaged children in Northeast D.C.
- Three-quarters of surveyed participants will report experiencing a research-based benefit of meditation. (See “Meditation” & “Benefits.”)
- Two-thirds will report a deeper understanding of another faith as a result of an IMI program.
- Eight in ten will recommend an IMI program to a friend, colleague, or family member.
- A majority will recommend the practice of meditation to a friend, colleague, or family member.
- One-half will express interest in beginning or expanding a personal meditation practice.
- The median number of participants will be over thirty per program.
- Three-fourths will report experiencing a research-based outcome of meditation.
- Three-fourths will report a deeper understanding of another faith as a result of an IMI program.
- Eight-in-ten of first time program co-leaders will repeat as a program co-leader, refer a colleague to IMI, and/or host an IMI program.
- Two-thirds of first time program hosts will invite a second interfaith meditation program and/or initiate or expand intra-faith meditation programming.