Getting a meditation teacher

Choosing The Right Meditation Teacher: What to Look For!

meditation

As we begin our meditation journey, it is important to find a meditation teacher who can help us start the journey on the right footing, keep walking steadily towards the right direction and become successful long-term meditators.

However, with the increasing number of meditation teachers through the years, most of whom are not inspired by good motives, we ought to be careful with the teachers we choose to work with and should do our due diligence to ensure we only settle for the best teachers who will get us exactly where we want to be, if not more.

Here, we are going to see the qualities and personal attributes that a good and reliable meditation teacher should have and how to check for them so that you find the best instructor for your practice, whether it is someone you’ll meet physically or use meditation resources such as lectures, meditation recordings, audios, apps or any other meditation resource.

Qualities to Look For When Finding a Good Meditation Instructor

Before we get into the actual qualities to keep our eyes peeled for when searching for the best meditation instructor for our practice, it is advisable to understand how meditation has evolved over the years and the role of the meditation teachers in meditation.

In ancient times, when meditation was solely perceived as a spiritual practice, teachers who trained and walked the students through their meditation practices were often spiritual leaders and had names such as Abbot (who led a group of monks in a monastery) and other related terms based on different spiritual groups.

Meditation back then was seen as a spiritual practice with its own beliefs, traditions, and perspective of life. And what the students were taught when they went to learn meditation, was the way of life from the point of view of the spiritual practice. A good example of this is Buddhist meditation.

People were taught the way the world is viewed, the values to be upheld and the way to carry themselves as mediation practitioners.

However, as meditation found its way into the western part of the world, things changed.

Meditation was modified to fit different needs of people and most of the spiritual aspect of it was taken away to open the door for non-spiritual people to practice it for self-development.

Spiritual-based meditation still exists and many people work with it until today, however, the non-spiritual meditation practice is the current wave and millions prefer to work with it as it is separate from the spiritual beliefs that several people from the western world disagree with. That being the case, the approach to choosing the right teacher for both forms of the practice might be a little different.

In the case of spiritual-based meditation, the idea is to look for a spiritual meditation teacher who has learned and mastered the whole concept of meditation, implements the beliefs, upholds its traditions faithfully, and lives by them.

On the other hand, in non-spiritual meditation, we should seek out someone who has been trained and certified in the meditation style we are interested in learning. On top of that, it helps to get someone who has a certification in another form of self-improvement technique or general wellness such as Psychology, counseling, therapy, and others.

On top of that, there are other key aspects to look out for when selecting a meditation teacher that works for both meditation forms. Here they are:

1. Meditation Experience

It is always a good move to go for the meditation teacher who not only knows how the style of meditation you are interested in works but also has been practicing it for several years, preferably 2 to 5 years.

Meditation takes time to ground the person who is practicing it and a teacher who has been meditating regularly for some years has matured in the practice and has gotten into deeper levels and has experienced deep spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental benefits.

These benefits make the instructor radiate the beautiful values of meditation including compassion, genuine concern for the students, kindness, patience, calmness, and composure, among others.

More importantly, they show signs of success with the specific type of meditation practice they teach. If for example, they teach mindfulness meditation, you can notice the benefits of mindfulness meditation in them that are visible such as improved focus and attention, calmness and peace, and good control of emotions.

They generally embody what you as the student are looking to become.

2. Good Chemistry With The Student

Since we all have different personalities and relate with people differently, we can also expect that meditation teachers are going to have different personalities. All of them may have the goal and desire to transform the lives of the students they teach but they may approach it uniquely based on their personalities and what they think is right.

Some teachers may be assertive and tough but very committed to making you a great meditator. If you are learning from a physically present teacher, you may find that other teachers may be very aggressive with you but it all comes from a place of concern and a strong desire to see you be the best version of yourself.

Other teachers may be lenient with their approach. They may give you time and space to make lots of mistakes, to miss some of the sessions, and even allow you to be aggressive without them reacting. They may practice patience all the way. And this doesn’t mean they are better than the aggressive ones. They are just different.

So based on how you know yourself, how you relate with people and have the best experience with them and also how you learn best, that is, through ease or aggression and strictness, you should choose a teacher who has the kind of vibe and personality you feel works well for you.

Ensure that you choose a teacher you feel comfortable with, someone whose teaching style and way of explaining things match what you like and benefit from the most.

3. Good Communication Skills

Communication is one of the key aspects of good practice. To impart the knowledge and experience they have, meditation teachers use communication. This means they have to be good communicators.

Ideally, you should look for someone who allows you the chance to fully express yourself without feeling limited at all. They listen to you with patience and compassion as you tell them your desires or as you ask questions or seek clarification on certain areas of your practice. They don’t interrupt you as you speak. And after you’re done speaking, they speak and explain things to you in a simple and easy-to-understand kind of way.

When they demonstrate or make you aware of something in your practice, they draw clear illustrations that you can easily resonate with and understand faster. When they walk you through your practice during your meditation sessions, they take you from one step to the other seamlessly and ensure you make the expected transitions at key points without any struggles.

Learn meditation from someone who will be trying to interpret the things they say, at least for the most part, and adopt them in your practice and life generally. So for them to make your practice successful, they need to be good at expressing ideas or thoughts or explaining concepts well.

4. Genuine Motives And Correct Motivation to Teach Meditation

The successful meditation teacher has pure motives and push to teach meditation. They are mainly driven by the desire to share this beautiful and life-changing gem called meditation with other people across the world and help them to not only experience it but also to build their lives upon it and enjoy its benefits for years to come.

Most meditation teachers, however, don’t have meditation at heart. They are motivated by money and how easy it might be to make money teaching the practice because it is growing fast and popular. Other teachers want their names known. They want to be known as the “meditation experts” who are changing the world one step at a time, one meditator at a time.

Always make sure you look out for the genuine desire to serve the world from your teacher. See if you will notice the willingness to help people become aware of, practice, and master meditation without any other benefits attached to that. You can tell by how detailed and excited they are when talking about meditation, how much time they commit to not only teaching the student but also reading books and giving deep lectures that provide new insights into the practice, and many more similar characteristics.

5. Success With Previous Students

There is a quote that says the end justifies the means. And this can be applied to learning and teaching meditation. A meditation teacher’s way of teaching can only be called effective if the students who have learned under them have had a noticeable improvement in their lives.

Most of the time, you can trace the students who have been taught by a teacher you might be looking forward to learning from. You may find online reviews of the teacher, or find someone who recommends a certain teacher because they taught someone they know well.

Before you choose that teacher to help you through your meditation journey, spare some time and look for the students they taught and speak to them. Try to see if they show the kind of results you are aiming for and inquire more about the teacher from them.

6. Credible Background in Meditation

Before anyone can teach meditation and have their students become good at it, they need to have studied the practice exhaustively and done it for years. As earlier mentioned, there are two types of meditation, the spiritual type, and the non-spiritual type

If you are interested in getting a good spiritual meditation teacher, you should aim to get someone who is affiliated with a specific meditation tradition. Ensure the teacher was taught by a well-known meditation master or teacher and they can verify it. Normally, you will notice that they follow a certain set of beliefs based on the tradition they adopted and everything about their practice is well articulated and explainable using the traditions. They also attend or have attended many meditation retreats that have grounded them in the practice.

As for the secular meditation type, seek to get a teacher who has had a credible meditation training course from a renowned meditation center or organization, and they are licensed and qualified.

Asking for their credentials might seem going overboard and display a lack of trust in your teacher but it helps to be sure that the teacher you are going to settle for didn’t just read one meditation book, watch a meditation video, or listen to one or a couple of meditation podcasts and then claimed they were meditation teachers after that.

7. True Meditation-based Personal Attributes

Any well-trained and experienced meditation teacher has grown and evolved in the practice of meditation. Unlike beginners, they have meditated for years and have been influenced by the benefits of meditation to become genuinely peaceful, calm, compassionate, authentic, calm, and pleasant to be around.

While they are all individually unique, you can notice these attributes consistently in them as you interact with them. If you like, you can figure out ways to test for or investigate these qualities so as to be sure.

What you will be aiming for is to determine if the qualities they exhibit are genuine and consistent. The ideal teacher is calm, composed, informed, humble, knowledgeable, compassionate, loving, and caring. And you can feel the authenticity of these qualities within the teacher because they are blended in with their character and they are not forced.

8. How The Teacher Packages And Presents Meditation to You

Another way that a teacher might signal you if they are genuine or not is by how they sell meditation to you.

Normally, genuine meditation teachers will tell you the truth about meditation as it is. They will let you know that it is a lifelong commitment that may require lifestyle changes here and there based on the style of meditation you want to be taught. They will also let you know that it is fairly difficult to practice it and you’re going to have hurdles down the road which you will need to overcome to fully benefit from it. And they will tell you if you’re determined, you will make it work but if you give up on it you won’t get to benefit much from it.

However, the other teachers with ill motives will make their way of teaching meditation appear special and magical with quick fixes for your problems and shortcuts to help bypass the long journey that meditation takes to benefit from and many other gimmicks to get you to buy their meditation products or hire them as your instructor. If at all you stumble upon any of these teachers who will make you feel like meditation will be super easy for you, run fast and run far!

Conclusion

And that is how you get yourself a good meditation instructor who will help you have a smooth and rewarding experience with meditation and get to achieve all your goals as far as this area is concerned.

We encourage you to take your time with this process. Do your research well, gather a list of some teachers you feel might be good for you, research each one of them individually and check for the qualities we have discussed above to see if they have them.

Once you get someone who has almost all of them and your gut feel just sits right with them, then choose them and reach out to them immediately to get started with them as your instructor and helper in your meditation journey.

We wish you the best in your search and we would love to know who you chose and why you felt they were good for you. Please let us know in the comments section. 🙂

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