The meditation technique does not change from teacher to teacher. Only how it is presented and taught differs.
Some meditation trainers are secular, some spiritual, and some both. Secular teaching is a modern concept. The teachers charge their students for workshops and classes.
Spiritual teachers do not charge but are paid in some other way (in the form of food, clothing, and doing their tasks) by their students. They teach in temples, ashram, or sangha.
In this article, we will learn how to distinguish between a fake and a genuine teacher.
Role of a Traditional Meditation Teacher
Meditation was always a spiritual practice and not a standalone technique. The practicing teacher taught not only the technique but the overall principles and style of the tradition.
The teacher could be a monk, priest, or a guru of that tradition. The teacher could reject a student if he felt that the student was not mature or sincere enough to learn this art.
The selected student would learn from his guru and would support his livelihood. The teacher did not charge directly. Students helped their master by doing tasks, giving him food and clothing. The teacher had the status of a spiritual father of the students.
Role of a Meditation Teacher in Modern times
Western science discovered the benefits of meditation during the 20th century. It perceived it as a means to achieve goals rather than only focusing on spiritual development.
The two types of meditation masters now are:
Secular teachers: They teach meditation as a personal practice to improve the quality of the mind. It does not involve spiritual teachings. Hence, people from different religions can practice it without any hurdle. They teach a simplified version of meditation to the people.
Spiritual teachers: They use meditation as a path to spiritual enlightenment. They teach about life and the universe. People from different traditions and cultures need to investigate the teacher and the style of practice he follows before they can connect with him.
But, the technique involved in all the teachings can be practiced by anyone irrespective of religion.
How to Select a Meditation Teacher?
Once you have shortlisted the type of goals you want to achieve with meditation, you can now search for the right teacher or a group for you.
Here are a few things to look for before selecting a meditation teacher:
Step #1: Work experience: The teacher should have experience of 3 to 5 years of practicing meditation daily. It takes consistent practice and time to become mature enough to teach someone. So, do not select a teacher who is not committed to daily practicing. Meditation is not only about closing eyes and focusing on your breathing.
Step #2: The motivation behind teaching: Some people teach meditation only as a means to earn money as it is a trend that is catching up fast. So, you should know the intention and the authenticity of the teacher before opting for their services. Check whether he has a genuine love for his service, or he is greedy, arrogant, and only wants to become a successful self-help guru.
Step #3: Personality traits: There are a few qualities possessed by the person who has been practicing meditation for a long time. These are calmness, patience, kindness, and truthfulness. Deep practitioners have peacefulness in the face and quietness in the eyes. It is not necessary to be a master of all the qualities. But, these are present in a mature practitioner. The percentage may vary from person to person.
Step #4: Education background: Always check from where your teacher learned to meditate. Be aware of people who have not learned the technique from the experienced meditators but books. They also charge very high fees for workshops and meditation classes. Select one who has completed an organized training from an experienced practitioner.
Step #5: Fake promises: Meditation needs consistent practice, and there are no shortcuts. Run away from a person who promises to teach secret and unique methods to learn the technique.
Step #6: Reviews: You can check whether the trainer can deliver results or not by reading the reviews or by talking to those who follow his teachings closely. Ask them about their learning and what they have achieved after getting trained under him.
Now you have a fair idea of the types of meditation teachers and what qualities you should look for in them.
Search for as many teachers unless both your heart and mind agree with each other. People can create a fake image in this digital era of personal branding. But, they cannot copy the kindness and calmness on the face.
With time you might feel the need to change your current teacher. It may happen because either you no longer feel attached to him or due to the changing needs of the time. Do not feel afraid to move on and search for a better trainer if you have a genuine reason to move on.
Always be confident about your decision. If you have doubts, take the opinion of people who meditate.
Share your thoughts in the comment below.
Also if you know someone who is looking for a meditation teacher, share this article with them.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Preeti Shah