Are you looking for a good meditation teacher? Do you feel overwhelmed and confused with exactly what to look for? If so, you’re certainly not alone.
Finding the right meditation teacher is so important because the right teacher can set you on your way to a more spiritual path.
As a meditation instructor, my intention is to share my knowledge and to share those things I wish I had known when I first embarked on my spiritual path.
Three Simple Steps
There are some basic rules to follow when looking for a meditation teacher. There are also some things you should watch out for and some qualities to be aware of. This article will provide a basic review of some of my favorite teachers and resources.
The first place you can start is by doing research. You can do this in a number of ways:
- Searching on Google
- Asking friends for referrals
- Searching on YouTube
- Going to your local bookstore
- Reading meditation and spiritual books
If you feel overwhelmed, don’t worry. Simply get online and experience some sample meditation sessions on YouTube. They may not be personally designed exactly for you, but they will give you a better idea as to what to expect.
There is no substitute for taking that time to experience someone’s work. If someone has a YouTube channel, they may also have workshops or other types of events or retreats that you can attend.
If you’re first starting out, it’s probably a good idea to try out different teachers and different styles. That’s a good way to explore and get a better idea on what style or method is right for you.
As you explore different methods, try and really listen to and follow what resonates deeply with you and your spirit.
As with anything new, it may take some time for you to fully understand what it is you like. This is really no different than finding the right music teacher or the right athletic instructor.
Do your best to tune in energetically and see if a certain teacher is right for you. Some other things to ask yourself are:
- Does the experience bring you deeper?
- Do you feel more peaceful and connected?
- Does it feel authentic?
Tap into your own inner state and your intuition as you go through this process. Not everyone will resonate with you.
It’s also important to feel free and practice discernment when it comes to teachers because teachers are merely human beings.
Spiritual Teachers and Scandals
You may run across some teachers associated with scandals, and that’s another good reason to spend some time researching.
It’s important to ensure that the teacher you choose is living with a sense of integrity. In other words, they are walking the talk and in alignment with what they are teaching.
If you resonate with someone, you will feel a sense of connection and it will also feel like a heart-centered practice.
The spiritual community is no different than any other community. It’s important to keep in mind that sometimes the energy can go awry with different types of teachers.
As you go through this process, it’s also important to gauge if there are any unspoken agreements or any blocks you sense. Any community you become a part of will also involve some conditioning or programming from that lineage or practice, so be mindful and notice if you feel a silent pressure to “go along with the group.”
That is another reason to practice discernment. Make sure the leader you choose to follow is aligned with your intuition and your own true voice.
Herd mentality or groupthink is another thing to be aware of as you get deeper into your practice.
It’s easy to go into communities that follow a teacher. As you do this, it’s important to keep in mind that there may be some innocent unspoken values and beliefs that still keep the group stuck or in a place of dysfunction.
Since it’s under the guise of spirituality, or under the guru, it might, in fact, be widely accepted in the community as a whole. It’s easy to get caught up in this vortex and lose your sense of individuality or sense of self.
It’s crucial to be aware of any herd-like mentality or groupthink and to always use your best judgment.
Just because a spiritual group is doing things in a certain rigid way, doesn’t mean it’s right for you. If a practice ever feels unhealthy or not conducive to your spiritual beliefs, you should feel free to walk away.
There may be teachers who seemingly follow a traditional system, but don’t have real integrity so be aware and use your own judgment.
For example, I once went to a community that was based on a guru system. Even though 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 terms of religion or spiritual traditions.
One community in particular I visited was a place where a lot of people worked with Karma Yoga and practiced giving back to the ashram through free service.
As I got deeper into this, I started to sense how much anger and resentment there was, so much so that you could even taste it in the food. The practitioners were burned out and they obviously didn’t have money or resources or an ability to even go outside of the ashram, and make their own way.
They also weren’t allowed to express themselves, and they didn’t have permission to speak the truth about their experience. This was like a dark cloud that loomed over the community.
A lot of this negative energy went back into the community itself, in the food, the environment, and even the atmosphere there.
If you’re in more of a group field, you can unconsciously absorb some of the values, beliefs, and unspoken agreements, especially with practices like meditation. When you’re engaged in a practice like meditation, you are opening up your energy, and, as a result, you can become very impressionable. These unconscious beliefs can become your own.
In knowing this, you can make a point to just be aware of any time you aren’t free to speak your truth. If any group or community makes you feel small, invisible, or solemn, then it is probably not the right community for you.
This may also feel like a sense of spiritual control or pressure. Now keep in mind, this is much different than practicing a silent meditation or practicing silence because that is not about not having a voice.
If you start to feel dogma and doctrine where you feel the need you have to do certain things in order to be spiritual, just be aware of that. You shouldn’t have to do things to please the teacher or conform to the group.
There were times in my life when I engaged with some communities where it was more of a guru system in India or Asia. This wasn’t something I necessarily believed in, so ultimately it affected my practice on a personal level.
In the end, it wasn’t something that I decided to consciously follow when I wanted to go further in my own practice.
That is one of the biggest reasons why you should strive to find those teachers that resonate with you, and teachers who allow 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 stripped from you, and you feel more like a wallflower than a participant, you will probably want to steer away from that kind of practice.
Be mindful of how you feel as you engage in different practices, and mindful of your sense of self, your sense of purpose, and your energy, when you are interacting with spiritual groups, or new teachers.
It’s 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 thinking you need to be open to everybody and accepting of everything.
There is always a lot that can go on under the hood. When you get involved with certain groups and organizations, whether it’s a corporation or non-profit, or spiritual community, just be understanding of your own sense of self and sense of centeredness and how you navigate within that space.
There are many different styles of meditation that you can learn. Three very basic ones are:
- Awareness meditation, or insight, meditation
- Focus meditation or concentration
- Guided meditation.
Understanding these basic types will help you find the one that resonates with you.
At Sura Flow, we teach a flow-based meditation, which is learning how to tap into your higher self, learning how to tap into your creativity and your purpose, and your energy.
It’s really about getting in touch with your life force energy as a way to inform you and guide you in your life path. You always have the option of not choosing to work closely with a teacher, and you can even learn from cats!
Eckhart Tolle once said. “I have lived with Zen masters, all of them cats.“
What he really means is that cats are a lot like Zen masters. They are stoic and calm and have a nonchalant manner. They also seem to have a great sense of inner peace. They are able to sit down and rest or just stare.
If you ever set out to spend your whole day observing the behavior of cats, or even observing dogs, you’ll see what it means to be enlightened, and you’ll see what it means to be in the zone. It’s really about loving unconditionally, especially with dogs.
As you start to deepen your own personal practice, you have many choices. You could learn on your own, or study with a teacher. You could read a few books or listen to guided meditations.
Sometimes a teacher can bring you deeper into your own personal practice. You might go through many different teachers in your lifetime.
Give yourself permission to try different things and to experiment with different styles and teachers.
You can also choose to work closely with one particular teacher but make sure that you don’t feel blinded to that one practice or tradition unless you feel a deep authentic call to it.
Always be aware of your personal power, your energy, and your personality as you engage in different spiritual practices.
Recommended Meditation Teachers
These teachers come wonderfully recommended as authentic people who walk their talk.
Sharon Salzberg’s work is based upon a compassion meditation called Metta meditation and she teaches with insight practice. Sharon is a beautiful, genuine, authentic spirit.
Ram Dass is a truly authentic, amazing teacher who recently passed on. He used to be a professor at Harvard until he got kicked out and he’s something of a maverick and a rebellious type. I love him and his books are full of wisdom. One of the books we have used in our one of our training sessions is called “The Journey of Awakening,” which 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 amazing accessible programs online with Kim Eng and Tara Brach.
I know a little bit of Tara’s work and many who come through our trainings resonate very deeply with her work and she’s a beautiful teacher.
You can always check out YouTube for free meditations or download a free app called Insight Timer, where you can have access to a lot of things, including free guided quality meditations.
Thanks so much for joining me. You’re welcome to come visit us. We’re SuraFlow.org. We offer meditation trainings to people who want to teach meditation, who want to become a meditation coach group and deepen their own practice.
We also offer meditation trainings to leaders.
Until next time, much love to you.