How to Find a Meditation Teacher
When we begin working with people, we’re told frequently that the person has been looking for a meditation teacher for some time but didn’t know where to look. So, we thought we’d offer a few tips on how to find a meditation teacher! We are teacher ourselves, but we also have teachers we work with! We know it can be difficult to find a teacher, so here are a few tips we can offer.
Sit with a Group
If you can, find a meditation group to practice with. Maybe there’s a teacher leading the group. You may or may not connect with a local teacher, but meeting a teacher in person is definitely preferable. If your local meditation group doesn’t have a teacher leading it, perhaps some of the people you meet there can recommend some teachers that they like! You can use FindASit to find local meditation classes near you.
Listening to Podcasts
A lot of meditation teachers with podcasts offer additional one-on-one coaching and sessions privately. They are sometimes done via phone and sometimes via video chat. Of course, in-person meetings are best when it’s possible, but it isn’t always possible! Try searching through podcasts on meditation, mindfulness, or whatever you are interested in most. Listen to talks and meditations from different teachers and see if there is one with whom you feel a connection. Listening to the podcast of a teacher can give you an idea of who they are as a meditation teacher and help you make a decision.
One thing you can do is just ask someone for a recommendation. You may ask people at your local meditation group, in online groups on social media, or an existing teacher you know. You’re always welcome to ask us! Asking somebody who knows a few different teachers offers you the opportunity to get a recommendation that is educated and based off your needs. We may get shy about asking, but it just may help us find the perfect teacher for where we’re at!
Be Careful with Google
You may search for a meditation teacher online, but just keep in mind that you need to do some research before trusting a meditation teacher with important personal information. Does the teacher have any empowerment, credentials, or certifications? Who are their teachers? There are many people who complete short online trainings to become a “certified mindfulness coach.” However, these online courses may not produce the best coaches in the world. It’s just important to be aware that what you find in search results aren’t complete stories. Be sure to do your own research, see if you can find writing online from the individual, and look for reviews if possible!
Things to Consider
When looking for a teacher, there are a few things to consider. These may not all apply to you and your needs, but they are things worth considering.
Does it matter to you how old your teacher is, what their gender is, or their sexual preference? If you feel more comfortable with a female teacher, find a female teacher! You may not have needs like these, and that’s okay. It’s just a suggestion as there are many people that benefit from working with someone with whom they connect deeply. Consider things like age, gender, sexual preference, race, or even where they live!
There are many different meditation traditions. There are secular traditions like MBSR, Buddhist traditions like Zen and Insight, and newer traditions and teachers like Eckhart Tolle and Marianne Williamson. It’s good to know what tradition you’d like to work with. Of course you may not know entirely about all of the different meditation traditions, but perhaps you can figure out what general route you’d like to go. Maybe you know some teachers or teachings, and you can look up to what tradition those belong. You also may not care, and just find a teacher that suits you and let go of the need for them to be in a specific tradition.
Emphasis and Specialties
Is there somewhere specific where you’d like to focus your attention? Find a teacher that has experience working with (or even living with) the issues you are facing in your life and/or practice. For example, we specialize in working with those with addiction issues, those struggling with anxiety, and couples. Although we work with people who don’t meet any of these criteria, this is where the bulk of our experience lies. Find a teacher that works specifically with what you want to achieve. You can usually find a teacher’s specialties somewhere on their website.