Frequently Asked Questions

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Are there meditation apps or courses that can supplement my practice with Insight Chicago?

Yes, there is a wealth of resources available to support your practice outside of attending our meditation meetings. Insight Chicago frequently shares ongoing opportunities to participate in full day mindfulness retreats, as well as multiday or longer-term retreats.

Can’t I just meditate alone? Why join a group?

Individual and group meditation are both beneficial and encouraged. Participants in Insight Chicago generally have both an individual and a group meditation practice. The group or sangha provides a forum for group mediation, discussion and support in the cultivation of one’s own meditation practice.

Do I need to bring my own meditation cushion? Will any be provided?

If you prefer to use a cushion to sit on the floor, it’s best to bring your own, since few locations have cushions to loan.

I can’t sit in the lotus position. Can I still meditate?

There is no prescribed sitting posture other than to be able to be relaxed yet upright. Some people enjoy sitting on the floor on a cushion or on a mediation bench, while others prefer sitting in a chair. Most locations have chairs available for sitting.

I’ve never meditated before. Will I learn how to meditate at Insight Chicago meetings?

Meditators of all experience levels are welcome. The group leader will be happy to offer guidance on how to get started. Each meditation session usually begins with some basic meditation instruction as well. Meeting attendees also often share techniques that have worked well for them in their own practice.

What is meditation?

Insight Meditation is a simple technique that’s been practiced around the world for more than 2,500 years. It’s also called Vipassana meditation, and it begins by focusing on the breath in order to calm the mind.

I can’t meditate because I can’t turn off my thoughts and have trouble concentrating. Should I try anyway?

Yes. Noticing or being distracted by rambling thoughts is common among meditators. Meditation can actually be beneficial in developing concentration and calming one’s own “monkey mind.”

Do I have to be a member or make an appointment to attend a meeting?

No need to be a member or make an appointment. Meetings are open to all.

What happens at Insight Chicago sittings?

Most sittings include a period of group meditation followed by readings, recorded talks and sharing by attendees. Many meetings offer instruction for beginners in how to meditation.

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