Dearest Sangha,

During this season of gratitude, I invite you to reflect with me on what we’ve experienced and accomplished together since last fall, and to open your hearts as we embrace our future.

Since January when I became NYI’s Executive Director, I have sat with you as we listened, learned and practiced with many of the most inspiring meditation and dharma teachers. From Sharon Salzberg on faith to Mark Epstein on therapy, from Bhikkhu Bodhi on saving the earth to Pannavati on finding joy even in adversity. We’ve reached out to every facet of our community with programs featuring Lama Rod Owens, Narayan, Andrew Olendzki, Josh Korda and more.

We’ve held our first of a series of silent Urban Retreats with our partner the Insight Meditation Society of Barre, MA, and revitalized our environmental consciousness with our Sacred Earth Sangha. Our People of Color, Insight Out LGBTQI and Aging as a Spiritual Practice sanghas grew in friendship and social awareness while we launched another community group — Insight Dialogue Sangha, to expand our awakening to connect with others.

Underlying so many of our affinity and issue-based groups has been the strength of our dedicated practitioners and volunteers who offer everyone so many opportunities and ways to just sit tranquilly with spiritual camaraderie.

We are all nurtured by the commitment of so many NYI teachers including Sebene Selassie, Bart van Melik, Jon Aaron, Rosemary Blake, Elaine Retholtz, Gary Singer and others who generously offer their dedication to NYI and you.

But we recognize that our success this year couldn’t have happened without the input and guidance of our community. You helped us drive change where it was needed, and inspired us to grow the range and number of our programs.

As we look at 2020 and beyond, we are focusing on the work that still needs to be done—with your help:

  • Wisdom & Deep Dharma: We will continue to cultivate opportunities to bring the next generation of teachers to New York Insight—and to offer more opportunities for deeper practice. In January Jon Aaron and Rosemary Blake will lead a year-long reflection on life and death from the Buddhist perspective.
    Our IMS Urban Retreats have plans for weekends featuring Bonnie Duran, DaRa Williams, Bart van Melik and Leslie Booker so you can drop into the IMS experience right here in NYC throughout the year.
  • Diversity:  New York Insight is committed to all who seek refuge in the Dharma, and in 2020 we will reinvigorate this effort with new leadership of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee – our Co-Chairs Karen G. Williams and Julio Rivera. The Committee will strengthen our commitment to diverse voices on our Board, our calendar of programs, and among our teachers. We want to ensure that our community is as vibrant and diverse as our home city of New York, and responsive to all.
  • Our Spiritual Home: In 2020, we will address NYIMC’s ongoing and critical challenge: the cost of rent in NYC. In the short-term, we will make the changes necessary to reduce and stabilize our rent. This will open one of the most important chapters for New York Insight: planning for a future when we own our own space. With ownership comes the deep stability that our sangha craves and the freedom to focus on what’s most important for a spiritual home: the needs of our sangha— our community and teachers.

With NYI’s Board, staff, teachers and volunteers I share the hope that we can count on you to support New York Insight’s Annual Fund so your generosity will ensure our future of enlightened friendship and joyous programs.

No matter your ability to contribute, every single dollar you share with New York Insight will go to supporting our important mission of awakening hearts and minds for the benefit of all.

With deepest gratitude for a most cherished year with you,

Jessica Chao
Executive Director
On behalf of the Board, Staff, Volunteers, and Teachers of
New York Insight Meditation Center

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