Local Practice Groups
The benefit of practicing meditation with others in a community setting is enormous. The support we get in group meditation increases the sense of connection we feel with others in a way that solo meditation cannot provide. Here are some local sitting groups:
Bloomington Normal Meditation (thats us. you’re here!)
Bloomington/Normal Zen Group (Bloomington—Normal)
Peoria Insight Meditation (Peoria)
The Prairie Sangha of Urbana-Champaign (Urbana—Champaign)
Praire Zen Center (Urbana—Champaign)
Retreat settings offer a rare opportunity to step outside the complexity of our lives and focus very deeply on practice. This can be an invaluable resource to more fully explore instruction and understanding. Here are some groups in our area that offer various residential retreats throughout the year.
Mid America Dharma organizes about seven residential vipassana retreats a year in the Illinois, Missouri, Kansas area.
Tri-State Dharma offers several residential vipassana retreats at a center in Indiana.
Insight Chicago organizes retreats, days of mindfulness and classes in the Chicago area.
Twin Cities Vipassana Collective emphasis on residential retreats led by senior teachers in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. Minnesota.
Illinois Vipassana Meditation Center is a center that teaches 10 day residential courses about every two weeks with video taped meditation method instructions by S.N. Goenka.
- Dharma Seed Teachings of Theravada Buddhism (hundreds of teachers)
- Audio Dharma Dharma talks given by Gil Fronsdal, Andrea Fells and various guest speakers at the Insight Meditation Center
- Free Buddhist Audio A selection of talks, interviews, and question and answer sessions from the early 60s to the present day.
- Birken’s Collection of Dharma Talks 4500+ talks collected by the Birken Forest Monastery.
- Amaravati Monastery and Abhayagiri Buddhist monasteries in the tradition of Ajahn Chan
- San Francisco Insight Meditation Community Talks from SFIMC
- Seattle Insight Meditation Society Talks by Rodney Smith and others at SIMS
- Against the Stream Inspired and influenced by the wisdom and compassion teachings of all Buddhist traditions
- Steamboat Buddhist Center: Talks by Tim Olmsted (who often accompanies Pema Chodron on retreat) and others
by individual teachers
Mindfulness in Plain English, Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
One of the best. Amazon says, “If you’d like to read about meditation and then go back to your regular life, don’t get this book.” Believe it.
Mindfulness, An Eight Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World, Williams and Penman
This book offers a week by week plan along with very good information on meditation practices. It’s presentation is not tied to any religious tradition.
Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, Thich Nhat Hanh
A classic book on bringing mindfulness into daily life.
Wherever Where You Go, There You Are, Jon Kabat-Zinn,
Kabat-Zinn is the founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of MA at Boston. This is his introduction to meditation. It includes a series of guided meditations.
Open Mind, Open Heart, Thomas Keating
Meditation teachings from a Christian perspective.
How to Meditate: A Practical Guide to Making Friends with Your Mind, Pema Chödrön
Pema is known for her compassion and ability to teach in ways that touch the heart.
Awake in the Wild, Mark Coleman
Written for those who find Nature a source of inspiration. Offers suggestions for bringing meditation into the natural world. (He also puts on a great retreat.)
A Path With Heart, Jack Kornfield
This book changed my life. Kornfield’s gentle spirit and stories opened up the world of Buddhism in a way that nothing else had. A beautiful book about the course of an engaged spiritual life.
The Natural Bliss of Being, Jackson Peterson
This book dives right in to the deeper aspects of spiritual practice. It clears away historical and cultural layers and, drawing from several traditions, points to the truth of what we are.
Zen Heart: Simple Advice for Living with mindfulness and Compassion, Ezra Byda
Instructions on dealing with emotions that includes several useful exercises and meditations.
Meditation Now or Never, Steve Hagen
Zen teachings presenting meditation not simply as a spiritual technique, but as a way of living.
The Perfume of Silence, Frances Lucille
Teacher in the “Non-dual” tradition responding to questions about the spiritual search and the ever-present reality of our true nature.