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 The Wind in Our Sails
A message from Doreen
•  Intro to Meditation with Karen Summer 
•  What About Sanctuary?       ****   April 8 ****
•  Waking Up White
•  Micah Award Nominees Needed
•  Climate Change March -     April 29
•  Right Speech
•  Dharma Talk Link
•  In the Sitting Groups
•  Practice Schedule






Monday Evenings:
Sit and Dhamma Discussion

Hanover Friends Society
(next to Hanover High School)
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm

Meditation and discussion, open to all on a drop-in or continuing basis. We warmly welcome new and experienced meditators. VIMS guiding teacher Doreen Schweizer leads the group on the fourth Monday of the month; Associate Teacher Peg Meyer leads on the first and third Mondays, and Karen Summer leads the sit every second Monday of the month.
All are welcome; please join us at any time.
details here...

Tuesday Evenings:
Sit and Dhamma Discussion

Led by Peg Meyer
St. Barnabas Church
Main Street, Norwich

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Open to all on a drop-in or continuing basis. 
Details here ...


Thursday Mornings:
Sit and Dhamma
Study Group

14 Green Street,
Lebanon, NH
11 am – 12:30 pm

Sit and Dhamma Discussion
Led by Doreen Schweizer

This group is open to experienced meditators on a drop-in or continuing basis. The current format is guided meditations followed by discussion. This group is open to those with meditation experience and is not suitable for new beginners. Please contact Doreen using this form before attending for the first time. This sit is offered on donation basis.
details here...




Send your inquiries or questions to:


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Greetings to the Valley Insight Community!

The Wind in Our Sails :
Making appropriate effort

A Message from Doreen

Our collective world is churning, and many of us are finding ways to act on behalf of our highest aspirations and values. It seems like a good time to reflect on the role and qualities of our efforts in these endeavors. Shanti Deva, an eighth century Buddhist scholar and poet, uses the metaphor of wind to describe what is called “Right Effort” (virya). His sense was that “just as a ship cannot sail without wind, so the good life cannot occur without effort.” Effort, also known as energy in Dharma teaching, carries our intentions and aspirations into actions. Modern day physicists agree with Shanti Deva: their definition of energy is the movement between the possible and the actual.

Those of us in the VIMS community who have recently studied the Eightfold Path factor called Right Effort will remember that in Buddhist teachings Right or Wise Effort –– the effort that is leading to less distress and suffering in our lives and in the lives of those we share the world with –– has an ethical nuance. With the help of Right Mindfulness, it helps guide the sailing ship of our lives away from unwise reactive states of mind (and emotion) as they arise, and also discourages them from arising again. In addition, this kind of effort guides us to recognize and encourage the calmer, less reactive states of mind. These, which nourish clarity and safety, can help cultivate an inner and outer world of peace and friendliness.

Our newsletter this month is alerting us to a number of opportunities for actions we might take to support this strong and growing collective movement towards human flourishing. There are so many possibilities to actualize! As we make choices and get involved, it will be important to remember our aspirations for diminishing distress and to stabilize our intentions of nonharming, kindness, and letting go. It will also serve us well to check in with the quality of our effort now and again. Shanti Deva named four essential qualities of Right Effort that we might contemplate. He suggests we consider if the wind in our sails is

    Infused with the clarity of aspiration,
    Self-confident (not apologetic, but strong as a lion and whole-hearted).
    Joyous and enjoyable (not held as grim and burdensome duty),
    Restful (Practice as if your house is on fire and take it easy!).

Jack Kornfield advises us simply: “Do everything with a heart that lets go.”

Introduction to Insight Meditation

with Karen Summer
Valley Insight Teacher

April 20 to May 25
Thursdays, 6-week Session
5:30 – 7:30 pm
St. Barnabas Church
Norwich VT 


This class is open to beginning meditators and those who want to re-invigorate their practice.

Insight meditation combines mindful awareness with ethics and compassion toward self and others. Our intention is to develop a direct understanding of the nature of our heart and mind, and therefore feel more connected with others. When clarity and openness are fostered, the effects of stress can be reduced. This style of meditation is compatible with any spiritual path, whether structured as a religion or as a personal sense of relationship with our earth and the great questions of human existence.

The six sessions will include meditation instructions, discussions, and weekly assignments. We will use material from Gil Fronsdal’s Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation Course. Within a supportive group practice, participants learn how to establish and maintain a daily meditation practice, and cultivate more ease in their experiences of daily life.

Registration details are at the Valley Insight Classes Page.

Questions? Please contact Karen at (
• This Saturday • April 8 •   
Community Forum on Immigration: What About Santuary? 

10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Hanover Friends Meetinghouse
Hanover, NH

(Next to Hanover High School, across from Hanover Coop Grocery Store. Park behind high school or on the street.)

Open to the public. All are welcome.
10 a.m. – noon  • Immigrant Voices and Stories
Noon – 1:00 p.m.  • Light Lunch and Informal Discussions
1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. • Sanctuary Movement and Legal Perspectives

The morning will focus on the experiences of undocumented immigrants in New Hampshire and Vermont who are living with uncertainty or facing deportation and a lack of “pathway to citizenship,” or both. The afternoon session will concentrate on the sanctuary movement across the US and locally. What are individuals, faith communities, towns, states, and others doing to provide sanctuary for undocumented immigrants? What are the range of options open to help them? Immigration lawyers will explain some of the legal implications for groups or individuals involved in providing sanctuary.

Sponsored by the Hanover Friends Meeting: Peace & Social Concerns Committee,co-sponsored by United Valley Interfaith Project (UVIP) and Upper Valley Jewish Community. Click here for more info.


Waking Up White
Valley Insight Meditation Society offered its first class on racism and white supremacy this Spring: Waking Up White. It was a series of four classes, offering information on racism, “whiteness," and how it relates to our dharma practice.  Our teachers are committed to offering this class again in the future.

If you are interested in taking this class, please email


VIMS Nominees Wanted for Community Service Award

The United Valley Interfaith Project (UVIP) annually recognizes people within their member communities who have contributed meaningful service as volunteers or community leaders. In 2016, VIMS nominated the local chapter of Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) for the Micah Award, highlighting three people from our Dharma Community, the group’s co-founder Carol Rougvie, and active group members Peg Meyer and Diane Root. The year before, we honored Doreen. Last year’s program giving all the honorees is on our website.

Please help us identify people from our Valley Insight sangha for the 2017 Micah Award. These individuals will have made a difference in our broader community through volunteer work and service, or by providing a caring role model.

Deadline for submitting your ideas:
Monday, May 1. Your suggestions will be treated confidentially. Email
Gathering a Mindful Presence for the People’s Climate Mobilization Saturday, April 29

Buddhist and Mindfulness communities will come together on April 29 in Washington, D.C. and at sister marches around the world as part of the People’s Climate Mobilization.

One Earth Sangha and its partners are gathering the Buddhist presence at these events. Together, Buddhist and Mindfulness communities can bring the gifts of mindfulness and the Dharma and join with others in calling for the viability, dignity, and freedom of all beings, near and far, born and yet to be born. You can learn more about the Buddhist presence at these events and stay up to date on the One Earth Sangha event page. Locally in the general community, 350Vermont is organizing a bus from the Upper Valley to travel to Washington for the march. Sister marches are also being organized close to the Upper Valley, in Concord and Montpelier, and further away, in Boston and New York City, as well as other locations in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York.

For information about VIMS participation, email

• For the march in Concord, you can contact Allyson Samuell Navigate here for info on marches elsewhere, and click on the location on the map that shows all locations.

• As always, you can check the VIMS Engaged Buddhism page for info on 
similar actions.

Right Speech

[One] group of unskillful actions revolves around speech. It's quite amazing how often we overlook this powerful influence in our lives. So much suffering in the world comes from lack of attention to the words we use. The Buddha singled out right speech as one aspect of the path to awakening, the Eightfold Path; and of the ten unwholesome actions, four involve speech. This should be a wake-up call, a bell of mindfulness ringing before we speak. But do we really make speech part of our spiritual path … ?  When we pay attention, we see how much our words affect our relationships with other people, condition our own minds, and lead to karmic consequences in the future. The care it takes to avoid harmful speech creates a vast playing field of mindfulness in our daily lives.”                        
                – Joseph Goldstein, One Dharma 


In the Sitting Groups  

A Sangha-wide Study of the
Eightfold Path

This month, the Monday group continues its study of The Eightfold Path. More information as well as references for further reading can be found here. As always, it will not be necessary to be reading the text in order to participate in the study and discussion. The discussion ends at 6:45 to allow for informal visiting and discussion with friends. All are welcome. VIMS Guiding teacher Doreen Schweizer leads the fourth Monday of every month, Peg Meyer leads the first and third Mondays, and Karen Summer leads the second Monday of each month (from time to time, variations in this schedule occur due to unpredictable circumstances –  please check the VIMS website for updates).

NEW: On the third Monday of each month, you are welcome join others for 'Dinner and Dharma' after the sit.

The Tuesday Meditation and Sit, led by VIMS instructor Peg Meyer. The Tuesday group continues its look at the noble Eightfold Path. As with all the sitting groups, they will be studying the Eightfold Path using materials referenced on the website. Each month they will study one of the factors on the Path. The group is open all on a drop-in or continuing basis.

This month the Thursday group continues its study of The Eightfold Path. Optional reading material is available, including short readings, suggested reflections, and a recorded Dharma talk. All are available on the VIMS website. As always, it will not be necessary to be reading the materials in order to follow the teachings and to take part in the discussion. On the third Thursday of the month, you are welcome to join others for lunch after the sit.  Please contact info AT valley insight DOT org for more information or before attending for the first time. 

A Sunday Gathering of
Dharma Friends:
Dharma Talk Link Available

On April 2, Gina Sonne hosted a gathering on at her home to listen and discuss “Realizing and Resting in Refuge” by Ajahn Thanasanti. Although the gathering has past, should you want to hear the talk, you can access it here.
Detail, painting of the Buddha's first discourse, turning the Dharmacakra.  Nalanda, Bihar, India. Circa 700-1100 CE.
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