Are you looking for a good meditation teacher? Do you feel overwhelmed and confused about what exactly to look for? If so, you are certainly not alone.
Finding the right meditation teacher is so important because the right teacher can put you on your way to a more spiritual path.
As a meditation teacher, I want to share my knowledge and the things I wish I had known when I embarked on my first spiritual path.
Three easy steps
When looking for a meditation teacher, there are some basic rules to keep in mind. There are also some things to look out for and some characteristics to be aware of. This article provides a basic overview of some of my favorite teachers and resources.
The first place to start is to do your research. You can do this in several ways:
- Search on google
- Ask friends for recommendations
- Search on YouTube
- Go to your local bookstore
- Meditation and reading spiritual books
If you feel overwhelmed, don't worry. Just go online and experience some sample meditation sessions on YouTube. They may not be designed exactly for you personally, but they do give you a better idea of what to expect.
There is no substitute for taking this time to see someone work. If someone has a YouTube channel, they may also have workshops or other types of events or retreats that you can attend.
If this is your first time starting out, it is probably a good idea to try different teachers and different styles. This is a great way to find out which style or method is right for you.
As you explore different methods, try to really listen and obey what resonates deeply with you and your mind.
As with anything new, it may take you some time to fully understand how you like it. This really is nothing more than finding the right music teacher or the right sports teacher.
Do your best to tune in vigorously and see if a particular teacher is right for you. Some other things to ask yourself are:
- Does the experience take you deeper?
- Do you feel more peaceful and connected?
- Does it feel authentic?
Tap your own inner state and intuition as you go through this process. Not everyone will resonate with you.
It is also important to feel free and practice discernment when it comes to teachers, since teachers are only people.
Spiritual teachers and scandals
You may come across some scandal-related teachers and this is another great reason to spend some time researching.
It is important to ensure that the teacher you choose lives with a sense of integrity. In other words, they walk the conversation and agree with what they teach.
When you resonate with someone, you will feel a sense of connectedness and it will also feel like a heart-centered practice.
The spiritual community is no different from any other community. It is important to keep in mind that energy can sometimes go wrong with different types of teachers.
As you go through this process, it is also important to assess whether there are any unspoken agreements or blockages that you are feeling. Any community you belong to also involves conditioning or programming from that lineage or practice. So be attentive and notice when you feel the silent pressure to "follow the group."
This is another reason to practice discernment. Make sure the leader you are following is in line with your intuition and your own true voice.
Herd mentality, or groupthink, is another thing to keep in mind as you dig deeper into your practice.
It is easy to walk into communities that follow a teacher. When doing this, it is important to remember that there may be some innocent unspoken values and beliefs that still hold the group down or keep the group in a dysfunctional place.
Indeed, since it is under the guise of spirituality or under the guru, it could be widely accepted throughout the community. It is easy to get caught up in this vortex and lose sense of individuality or self.
It is important to be aware of a herd-like mentality or groupthink and to always proceed to the best of your knowledge and belief.
Just because a spiritual group does things in a certain rigid way doesn't mean it is right for you. If a practice ever feels unhealthy or does not support your spiritual beliefs, feel free to walk away.
There may be teachers who seem to follow a traditional system but have no real integrity. So be aware and use your own judgment.
For example, I once went to a community based on a guru system. While I didn't necessarily follow this for myself, I respected what others believed.
Everyone has a right to what they want to believe in and what they want to practice in relation to religion or spiritual traditions.
One community I especially visited was a place where many people worked with karma yoga and practiced giving back to the ashram through free service.
As I elaborated on it, I began to sense how much anger and resentment there was, so much so that it could even be tasted in the food. The practitioners were burned out and apparently had no money, resources or the ability to leave the ashram and go their own way.
They were also not allowed to express themselves or to speak the truth about their experiences. It was like a dark cloud looming over the church.
Much of this negative energy flowed back into the community itself, into the food, the environment, and even the atmosphere there.
When you are more in a group box, you can subconsciously absorb some of the values, beliefs, and unspoken agreements, especially with practices like meditation. When you engage in a practice like meditation, you open up your energies and it can become very impressionable. These unconscious beliefs can become your own.
Knowing this, you can point it out whenever you are not free to tell your truth. If you feel small, invisible, or serious in a group or community, this is probably not the community for you.
This can also feel like a sense of spiritual control or pressure. Now remember, this is much different from practicing silent meditation or practicing silence as it is not about not having a voice.
When you start to feel dogmas and teachings that make you feel the need to do certain things in order to be spiritual, just be aware of them. You shouldn't have to do things to please the teacher or fit in with the group.
There have been times in my life when I dealt with some churches that were more of a guru system in India or Asia. I didn't necessarily believe in that, so it ultimately affected my practice on a personal level.
In the end, it wasn't something I consciously wanted to follow if I wanted to go further in my own practice.
This is one of the main reasons you should strive to find those teachers who resonate with you and teachers who will enable you to have your own sense of power and authority and your own sense of spirituality.
If you find that your sense of power or individuality is being stolen from you and you feel more like a wallflower than a participant, then you probably want to turn away from this type of practice.
Think about how you feel after engaging in various practices and be mindful of your confidence, mind, and energy when interacting with spiritual groups or new teachers.
It is so important to have that level of discernment. You don't have to approach every spiritual practice thinking you have to be positive Pollyanna and you have to be open to and accept everything.
A lot can always happen under the hood. When you get involved with certain groups and organizations, be it a business, nonprofit, or spiritual community, simply understand your own sense of self and centeredness and how you navigate this space.
There are many different styles of meditation that you can learn. Three very basic are:
- Consciousness meditation or insight meditation
- Concentrate meditation or concentration
- Guided meditation.
Once you understand these basic types, you can find the one that resonates with you.
At Sura Flow we teach a flow-based meditation in which you learn how to tap into your higher self, how to tap into your creativity, your purpose and your energy.
It's really about getting in touch with your life energy in order to inform you and guide you on your life path. There's always the option of not working closely with an instructor, and you can even learn from cats!
Eckhart Tolle once said. "I've lived with Zen masters, all of them cats."
What he really means is that cats are very similar to Zen masters. They are stoic and calm and have a nonchalant manner. You also seem to have a great sense of inner peace. You can sit down and rest or just stare.
If you ever want to spend a whole day watching cats or even dogs behave, you will see what it means to be enlightened and you will see what it means to be in the zone. It's really about loving unconditionally, especially with dogs.
When you start to deepen your personal practice, you have many options. You can study alone or study with a teacher. You could read a few books or listen to guided meditations.
Sometimes a teacher can take you deeper into your personal practice. You could go through many different teachers in your life.
Give yourself permission to try different things and experiment with different styles and teachers.
You can also choose to work closely with a specific teacher, but make sure you don't feel blind to that one practice or tradition unless you feel a deeply authentic calling to do so.
Always be aware of your personal strength, energy and personality when practicing various spiritual practices.
Recommended meditation teachers
These teachers are wonderfully recommended as authentic people to lead their conversations with.
Sharon Salzberg's work is based on a compassionate meditation called Metta Meditation and she teaches with insight practice. Sharon is a beautiful, real, authentic spirit.
Ram Dass is a really authentic amazing teacher who passed away recently. He was a professor at Harvard until he was kicked out and something of an outsider and a rebellious guy. I love him and his books are full of wisdom. One of the books we used in one of our trainings is called "The Journey of Awakening" and is a beginner's guide to meditation
Eckhart Tolle is wonderful. He has published many books including "The Power of Now" and "The New Earth".
Eckhart also has some amazingly accessible programs online with Kim Eng and Tara Brach.
I know a little bit of Tara's work and many who come through our training are very deeply involved with her work and she is a beautiful teacher.
You can always search for free meditations on YouTube or download a free app called Insight Timer which gives you access to many things, including free, quality guided meditations.
Thank you for coming to see me. You are welcome to visit us. We are SuraFlow.org. We offer meditation training for people who want to teach meditation, become a meditation coaching group and deepen their own practice.
We also offer meditation training for leaders.
Until next time, lots of love for you.
How to Find a Good Meditation Teacher for Yourself first appeared on Sura Flow.