You may have wondered how to find a meditation teacher. I mean, it’s not like you can walk into your local shopping mall and ask for some mindfulness lessons.
Where do meditation teachers hang out? Where is your nearest studio? And another question: How do you actually know that your meditation teacher is going to be right for you? Is there such a thing as a good meditation teacher and a bad one…? So confused…!
Guys, I am about to answer all your questions. As a teacher who gives meditation lessons in Hamilton, I’ve come to understand the difference between a good, a bad, and a great teacher.
I know what it is like to need to find a meditation teacher.
Years ago, I had a major stress related illness. I was in personal hell. I needed help. And I wanted to find a meditation teacher.
I wanted to find a meditation teacher to help me with my problems. Because I do not believe in medication. I believe in healthy solutions. And as a spiritual person, mindfulnes just seemed like the best solution (and was). In fact, it helped me so much that I now help other people to become meditation teachers.
But maybe you are like I was: in need of a little help and hoping a meditation teacher could do the trick.
If so, let me help you find a meditation teacher so you can get the answers to whatever mind-related problems you’ve been facing.
Firstly, where do you find a meditation teacher?
Finding a meditation teacher could either be easy or incredibly difficult depending on where you live.
It is easy for certain types of techniques.
However, it can be harder to find teachers for some of the different styles.
If you live in a big city, there are probably are at least a few meditation teachers nearby who you could connect with. If you live in a rural area you will probably need to travel or find a meditation teacher online (more on this in just a moment).
Try searching on Google for mindfulness instructors first to see what comes up.
If you’re like me, you will probably find yoga studios where you can take group sessions. (I personally prefer individual lessons because it is harder to focus in a group when you’re wondering what everyone else is thinking).
If Google comes up with nothing, you may need to do a little bit of investigative research to find a meditation teacher near you.
I’d advise you to look for a meditation teacher in these places:
Where you find yoga teachers, a meditation / mindfulness teacher won’t be far behind.
Call up your local yoga studio and see if they offer lessons. A lot do. Then, if you prefer to take one on one lessons, ask the yoga studio for their meditation teacher’s number, call them, and see if they would be happy to give you some individual lessons.
If you specifically want to learn Buddhist methods, go to the source: Buddhist communities.
I’m personally blessed to have a Buddhist temple very nearby in Niagara (and there are smaller ones even in my own city of Hamilton).
Naturally, Buddhist temples are full of Buddhists, who meditate every day as part of their religion. Not only do they meditate, but many of them also like to pass on what they have learned (unless they have taken a vow of silence, of course).
Many of these Buddhists will actually not even charge to teach meditation to you. They don’t teach for financial gain. They do it for spiritual rewards. And they also happen to be some of the best meditation teachers in the world.
Ask your doctor:
Mindfulness is steadily becoming more and more integrated into mainstream society, and is now taken seriously as a form
of therapy. For this reason, your doctor might be happy to help you find a meditation teacher.
The average doctor won’t exactly have a long list of meditation teachers. However, they can point you in the direction of holistic health practitioners and spiritual healers, who in turn will help you to connect with an instructor.
What sort of meditation teacher should you use?
Believe it or not, there are lots of different types of meditation teachers. Finding the best meditation teacher for you will be a matter of personal taste (and may depend on your religious and spiritual beliefs).
Some of the different types of meditation teacher you’ll find include:
Strictly spiritual meditation teachers:
Meditation might not need to be spiritual, but it sometimes is spiritual anyway. And some of the meditation teachers you find will be very spiritual people. These are the ones who will teach you more than the sheer mechanics of the practice. They will teach you the spiritual and philosophical aspects too.
These types of meditation teachers do not care about religion or spirituality. They are often strictly just mindfulness teachers, and do not do other types.
These teachers are not going to tell you about the philosophical aspects. They are just going to teach you how to use meditation for health. And to be frank, this is what the average person wants.
The at-the-gym teachers:
Some meditation teachers and mindfulness instructors believe that the ractice is just an exercise, just like yoga and cardio. And they’re right, to a degree. It certainly is an exercise for the mind.
These are the guys who will motivate you to meditate every day and to “train your mind”. They’re generally more positive and energetic than other meditation teachers, but they also tend to know less about the science and the philosophy of the practice.
The “guru” style meditation teacher wants you to look up to them. They want to be revered. They are natural leaders who have absolute belief in themselves and in their ability to help you. And they can be incredibly inspiring. If you go with this type of teacher, just make sure they don’t step over the line.
What makes a good meditation teacher?
So, you now know how to find a meditation teacher and the different types of meditation teachers available. But how do you know if a teacher is actually any good?
Here are some tips on finding a good meditation teacher:
Quiz them: Don’t ever take an instructor at their word. Lots of people think they know about the practice without actually being trained in it. Ask them where they studied, who they learned from, how long they’ve been meditating, how many different types of techniques they know… grill them. If they genuinely know their stuff, they won’t mind.
Check their energy: A good meditation teacher will have a certain vibe about them. They will be calm and relaxing. You will be able to feel their presence soothing you. They are gentle but strong, wise but humble. You will know when you are in the presence of a good meditation teacher. Trust your instincts.
If it’s for your health: A lot of people have mental health conditions. If you are looking for a meditation teacher to help you with a mental health condition, they should have officially recognised qualifications. This is different to most instructors. You don’t usually need a specific qualification. But you should never ask for someone’s help with a mental health condition unless they have some serious qualifications to prove they know what they’re talking about.
Sympathy and empathy: A good meditation teacher is nothing if not compassionate. This is a person whom you want to help you relax and perhaps even help you face some of the serious issues in your life. You need to know that they are kind, compassionate, sympathetic and empathetic. Sadly you can’t really test this. You just have to make a judgement call.
No meditation teacher can help you more than you can help yourself
Instructors can definitely help you to relax, to overcome stress and, of course, to learn how to meditate. But no meditation teacher will ever be as good as you yourself can be.
You are the master of your own mind. A meditation teacher can help you to use your own mind in healthy ways, but it really all comes down to you.
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