Two months after my wife died in November of 2017, a friend took me to dinner and at some point said to me that she was going to meditation the next morning. She asked… why don’t I come with her? And so I did and was guided into my first meditation by Sharon Salzberg, a founder of the Insight Meditation Society. I found that it gave me great calm, the first sense of calm and peace that I had had in months. So I started my practice of meditation.
Soon after, when a friend asked what I had been doing and I told her of the meditation, she said that she had been going to the New York Insight sangha, “Aging as a Spiritual Practice”. As I use a walker, I asked if there were steps to get into the building and once I knew there weren’t, I went. The Aging sangha of 25-30 people felt like a community to me. Sitting in the semicircle felt like a warm hug. Each week I took off shoes and put on slipper socks and rolled over with my walker to the seat to the immediate right of the teacher.
Over time, I found that with the practice of loving kindness, mindfulness, charity, and gratitude, along with the help of the Aging sangha teachers – Amy, Rosemary, and Nancy, I was put on the path to healing. I used to cry when I pulled out a t-shirt from a place that my wife and I had travelled to, like the Albuquerque Balloon Fest or Taliesin or Bryce Canyon. Now that same shirt brings a smile for the wonderful time we had there and gratitude for the 53 years of my marriage.
When I came to NY Insight, I of course knew all about dana and did my share. Then one day, I got an email about the Circle of Friends, which helps sustain New York Insight in their location. I joined at a level that I was comfortable with and found that joining the Circle of Friends was transformative. I was no longer a casual meditator. My practice was changed by a commitment to meditation, a covenant if you will, between myself and New York Insight. Whatever I was before, I was now a serious meditator committed to the practice. In addition to a 20% discount on program registrations, NY Insight has committed to me as part of that covenant to continue to provide teachers, special programs, and scholarships that allow others who might not have the same wherewithal to experience meditation.
When the COVID19 quarantine arrived, I was afraid I might slip into clinical depression from being alone. New York Insight’s part of the covenant to me was to continue operations on zoom and invest in training personnel to do so. I am grateful for their decision, as I am sure all who have participated this past year, and I will continue my covenant with New York Insight through the Circle of Friends.
-Arthur Plutzer, New York Insight Circle of Friends member