The Board of Trustees is the hub of our many volunteer activities. Since Valley Insight’s inception in the mid-1990s, we have had a steering committee of some sort. In 2002 this group began meeting regularly. At the time of our incorporation as a not-for-profit organization in 2006, an official Board of Trustees was established and has met monthly ever since. This core group continues to shape our direction, advise our teachers, help administer our classes and sits, and support Valley Insight retreats. Approximately thirty-five sangha members have served on the Board of Trustees. We offer a deep bow of appreciation to these dedicated individuals.
I first learned about insight meditation in an introductory course that Doreen taught 12 years ago at the Friends Meeting House in Hanover. The dharma and Valley Insight have been my spiritual home ever since. I was fortunate to work as a physical therapist at DHMC and the Norris Cotton Cancer Center for more than 20 years. After retiring in 2018, I completed a certification course in teaching English to non-native speakers. I previously served as the treasurer of Valley Insight for several years and returned to the board in 2020. It has been wonderful to welcome new sangha members and be a part of the growth of Valley Insight in the last several years. I’m very grateful for the Valley Insight teachers and spiritual friends who have inspired and supported me on this path.
I have felt so grateful to find, in Valley Insight’s warm and welcoming sangha, a community of such authentic and engaged persons, who individually and collectively have supported my own growing exploration along the Buddhist path. The journey, for me, had unexpected beginnings: I have served 25 years as a family physician, first in the Navajo Nation in northwest New Mexico, and then since 2003 here in the Upper Valley. Early in my career I was drawn to meditative “techniques” as a means of supporting the wellness needs of my patients. Only more gradually did I recognize how essential were such practices, and the deep wisdom that informs them, to my own sense of wholeness. In these past several years the Dharma has become central to my experience of both inner contemplation and outer connection with the world. I have found inspiration in the Insight teachings of Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield, in the engaged spirituality of Donald Rothberg and Ajahn Succito, in the wise and generous mentorship of Doreen Schweitzer and Karen Sumner, and in the constant support of my beloved wife Barb and our sons Daniel and Ben, now in their early twenties. I bow with gratitude to all of them.
I first discovered Buddhism through a survey course I took in college many years ago. The ideas presented in this class resonated with me in a way that the teachings of my Catholic upbringing never had. A few years later, the writings of Jon Kabat-Zinn spurred my formal practice. I was excited to see so clearly how the some of the basic Buddhist teachings could be applied to everyday living. I practiced Zen Meditation for a time in the 1990s and then practiced more informally over the next few decades. Eight years ago, at a particularly stressful time in my life, I discovered Insight Meditation. Since that very first class, I have felt at home in this tradition. I have been learning and practicing with the help of a wise and varied set of teachers, books and talks. Although originally motivated by the idea of Awakening, Insight Meditation has shown me that the beauty of the path is in the living of it each day. Other teachers that have influenced my practice include Upasaka Culadasa, Rob Burbea, Joseph Goldstein and Doreen Schweizer.
Michael Stoner (he/his)
I’d been exposed to Buddhism earlier in life and was open to both the practices and to many Buddhist teachings but resisted the religious context in which the teachings were often embedded. In 2006, I began meditating regularly and, seeking to deepen my meditation, attended a retreat led by Jack Kornfield. By that time, causes and conditions were such that I was able to experience the Dharma in a much different and deeper way and began to understand it viscerally and intellectually. At a retreat with Jack a year later, I took refuge. I became active in Valley Insight shortly after I discovered the sangha. Teachers who currently inspire me include Akincano, Steven Batchelor, Christine Feldman, and the faculty of Bodhi College; Bhikkhu Analayo; Gil Fronsdal; Joseph Goldstein; Sayadaw U Tejaniya; and Doreen Schweizer. I am certified to teach mindfulness meditation by the Mindfulness Medication Teacher Certification Program (MMTCP), founded by Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield).