Do you feel totally at ease being guided by your meditation or mindfulness teacher? Some people instantly click with their instructor and others just go along for the ride, hoping that one day it will 'click'. You may not even know or ever thought of whether you felt them or understood them correctly, but it may be worthing asking yourself a few questions in order to get the best out of your meditation practices. Because there are over 17 different types of meditation, it helps to try various techniques in order to then gain perspective on the right teacher for you.
Your true spiritual teacher specialises in teaching you a technique, such as yoga or meditation, in a way that allows you to become self-sufficient. They don't want you to worship them, rather they teach you the principles and it's up to you to execute what you learn and continue the practice.
When it comes to learning meditation, there are some things to consider when searching for a spiritual guide or teacher.
Finding a spiritual guru
1. Can you understand their 'language'? Are they straightforward?
If you're getting lost with the terms they use when you're trying to simplify your life in the first place, it can become very confusing. Look for someone who can break down meanings and descriptions so that you can easily follow their technique and learn to master mindfulness simply.
2. Are they strict about their learning protocols?
Some aspects of meditation may not always make sense to Western ears, like being asked to participate in a ceremony or gong ritual. A good teacher though won’t negotiate on the purity of their teaching just to appease your more modern ideals – as most teachings have roots starting in India, keeping tradition alive is important to the entire process.
3. Are they inspiring?
A true guru will express patience or deal with a difficult student or issue in a mindful way, especially in group settings. A compassionate guide will feel light, masterful, in control and still not take themselves too seriously. There's just something about them that inspires you to be a better person.
4. Do they practice daily?
How can you learn to master the art of self love and meditation if your teacher is not doing it for themselves? Make sure your spiritual guru is someone whom you respect and admire for their consistency, dedication and also show signs of success.
5. Do they require a meaningful exchange?
A true guru will require you to make a meaningful exchange in order to learn how to meditate, though it may not always be monetary.
Whether it’s taking time off of work or volunteering your time to help those less fortunate, a spiritual guide should teach you that you only ever get what you are willing to give.
6. Do they require you to "empty your cup?"
A good teacher only gives you information if you're willing to try and follow their technique. You must break down all selfishness, barriers and struggles and open your heart and allow yourself to be led. If you approach them with curiosity and sincerity, they will gladly show you the enlightened way.
7. Are they happy to provide you with long-term support?
It's important to understand that learning to meditate is a two-way street. When approaching a potential teacher, it's best to show reverence for what they teach and display plenty of curiosity. From any teacher’s standpoint, the hardest students to teach are those who think they already know everything.
Remain sincere in your communications as your guru will be the one who provides you with ongoing support in your practice for a long time. Without their guidance, you risk dropping off your practice, or developing bad habits. They see you as a reflection of themselves, and would never want you practicing incorrectly.
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