There are so many types of meditation to choose from that it is pretty safe to say there is no ONE right way to meditate. It is a matter of choosing a type of meditation and a teacher that is right for you!
In this post I talk about some ways to recognize if a teacher is appropriate for you. In future posts I will give a small overview of some common types of meditation.
Things to look for when choosing a meditation teacher
- A schedule of classes so you can see if what they offer is appropriate for you, both time wise and content wise. The language they use may be unfamiliar to you, but the teacher should be able to give you a rough idea of what skills you will take away from the classes.
- Meditation “drop in” sessions often don’t have a pre-determined lesson schedule and are usually more flexible without a set curriculum. I have been to drop in sessions that were wonderful and some that were not. Try a session or two to see what you think of them or ask what you can expect from them.
- Are you expected to do homework? Good! The more you practice the easier it becomes.
- Do they ask you what you want to get from the classes?
- They may be making sure you are a good fit for the class. Not all teachers ask this and that’s OK, but if a teacher pre-screens participants it can mean they are making sure the class is right for you.
- Some teachers tailor the way they deliver their information to more closely match what the majority of the students want.
- Many mediation practices have their roots in different religions or spiritual practices. Are you comfortable with having some spirituality mixed in with your meditations? If you are, it will give you a lot more options to choose from.
- What do the classes cost? Where I am the cost ranges from free classes sponsored by non-profit organizations (Most of the free ones I’ve seen come from a religious or spiritual background. Some expect students to do things like help set up the room or clean up after class.), up to about 150.00 per class for private lessons. Prices depend largely on factors like –
- How much competition there is where you live. Generally, if there are a lot of teachers to choose from you may find more inexpensive classes.
- The teacher’s experience as a teacher. Paying a bit more for a someone who has a lot of experience can be worth it because they likely have developed teaching methods that enhances a student’s ability to learn more quickly, or to go into deep meditation more easily.
- Do the classes take place in the teacher’s their own home? Less expense for them can mean less cost to you.
- The price usually goes up if they have hand outs for you like printed materials or guided meditation CDs.
Things to avoid
- Guarantees that you will become fully “enlightened” by taking the classes.
- Everyone progresses at their own speed and there are no guarantees.
- What a teacher can guarantee is that she/he will teach you how to develop specific skills. How well you develop those skills is up to you.
- Enlightened can mean anything. Personally I take it to mean someone who has attained a high degree of ability in meditation practices and has emotionally and spiritually evolved beyond the norm. Some teachers attach a meaning to that word that is specific to their practice. If someone is promising you enlightenment but you think you would like to learn with them anyways, ask them what THEY mean by that word. If the answer satisfies you go for it, but if the explanation leaves you with doubts you may want to find a different teacher.
- I consider it to be a red flag if after a couple of classes the teacher expects you to start “giving unselfishly” either financially or of your time. A healthier approach is if the teacher tells you BEFORE you start the classes exactly what their expectations are of you.
- I avoid teachers who insist that there is only true path. They may be perfectly well meaning, but I prefer teachers who have the capacity to see the value in what other have to offer. There are lots of choices out there. It is a matter of picking one that you works for you!
To Your Health 🙂