The Orlando Insight Meditation Group (OIMG) is a non-profit corporation formed in 1997 to support the practice of insight (vipassana) meditation in the Orlando area.
Our goal is to provide initial and ongoing support for the practice of contemporary forms of Buddhist meditation, informed by current scientific and psychological research. We offer introductory meditation courses, ongoing study groups, and retreats that range from one day to weekend and one week in duration.
Although what we call Buddhism today was initiated 25 centuries ago, it is the responsibility of each generation to carefully study the traditions and apply them to current life challenges. This period on the planet is perhaps subject to the most radical cultural and environmental challenges in human history. Human culture bears a large responsibility for these challenges and humanity will either rise to the challenge or be significantly affected by technological and environmental stress.
Contemporary Buddhism can be understood in the West as an imported Eastern religion and as a mental and behavioral discipline that has a profoundly beneficial effect on individuals and the culture as a whole. The approach of OIMG is more on cultivating mental and behavioral discipline with spiritual manifestations that don’t involve the rituals of religious practice. The importance of cultivating personal integrity, kindness, compassion and generosity is a core aspiration of our organization. It is hoped that the fulfillment of this aspiration can be realized through a process of living in ways that are less self-absorbed and more actively involved in cultivating a lifestyle that sustains the environment, both culturally and environmentally in beneficial ways.
“Throughout the course of life the only ongoing element is the subjective sense of self, yet we seem to not consider the benefits of training the mind and heart to manifest wholesome qualities through a gentle discipline that maximizes our potential for happiness and for benefiting others. I have found that the time and effort I put into daily meditation practice has trained my mind and heart to be of benefit to myself, my marriage, my relationship with others and the environment. I invite you to invest some time and effort on a regular basis towards fulfilling your own personal, social, environmental and spiritual potential.”
Peter Carlson has practiced contemporary Mindfulness meditation since his first retreat at the Insight Meditation Society in Massachusetts in 1982.
He has sat over 50 retreats since then, lasting from 3 days to 3 months in duration and has attended retreats led by many different teachers, including Joseph Goldstein, Sharon Salzberg, Larry Rosenberg, Carol Wilson, Marcia Rose, Arinna Weisman, Bhante Gunaratana, S. N. Goenka, Matt Flickstein, and, most recently, Shaila Catherine.
He has taught meditation classes and retreats in the Orlando area since 1992. From his perspective as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, the concepts and practices we call Buddhism are taught by Peter as a profoundly liberating psychology that focuses on encouraging each student to understand Buddhist Psychology in depth, meditate regularly and diligently, and thoroughly integrate the liberating and spiritual practices of Buddhism into one’s life in the world.
Prior to his commitment to Buddhism he was a professional artist and he brings an orientation towards craftsmanship to his teaching style. Training the mind is not mysterious; rather it is a set of skills that directly affect how we interpret what is happening in the world and is organized around the belief that living an ethical life offers beauty worth cultivating. He believes in the value of understanding the liberating concepts that Buddhism offers, but that value can only manifest through direct awareness and personal discipline.