Guidance From A Teacher
I’ve found that following a teacher guiding me in a class or group meditation setting was one of the best ways to build up a meditation practice. It provides stability, direction and balance to grow and learn about oneself in a safe and nurturing environment.
The teacher is there to guide, to observe, to answer questions. He, or she, cares deeply for the well-being of the student and wants nothing but to help the student develop the right mindset and meditative muscles by gently pushing the right buttons or giving a strong shove at the right time. Proper timing is important.
Because of this, students often stay with a teacher for an extended period of time and, in many instances, students become disciples of a particular teacher for the rest of their life – until they gently fade away and find another teacher or just become too busy with daily life just because we have to make a living to survive in the world, which makes it extremely challenging because we also have to interact with different kinds of people who bring their own temperament and background during our personal encounter with them.
An Approach To Practice And Other Questions
Going back to the question of practice, in my experience, following instructions in a session helped accelerate the meditative “muscle memory” in me. It gave me a path to follow. But it has always been up to the student to figure out how to sit, what natural breathing feels like, differentiating what relaxed and not relaxed felt like, and a host of other things that can only be known once a practitioner gains experience and develop a foundational practice.
Should I sit lotus or half-lotus? Is it better to practice on the floor or yoga mat or on the bed after waking up or just before going to sleep? Is it okay if I eat or drink anything before sitting or just quench my thirst after I'm done?
What do I do if I am in the middle of a meditation session and a mosquito bites me? Should I stop and be concerned that it is the rainy season in the Philippines and there are reports of dengue fever and malaria infections.
These are some of the things that you can ask your teacher, or meditation buddy, and I am almost certain that a profound explanation will follow, and each answer poured on an empty cup is a meaningful step towards improvement. And even if the cup is already full, the consciousness will make room for it, because the spirit understands and will expand the cup to accommodate answers simply because it resonates with and recognizes truth.
Figuring Out What’s Best For Me
I loved following instructional “tapes” for different kinds of meditation. It is one of the fastest ways I have learned about practice and how to recognize what’s the best way for me to move forward. And towards the end of each “cycle” of new knowledge and finding the next step, there are certain things that are built up on top of other things learned from a previous practice. So, I took what worked for me and set aside what doesn’t; to look deeply and see what helped or moved my experience to something that clicks in me and made me say that this is the reason why I meditate.
For me, an important takeaway in this process has always been learning to let go of practices that hinder development; which is just recognizing that something may work fine and then one day you realize that the lesson has been learned, and that it's time to keep my eyes open to see what other lessons are out there. So, for me, to be NOT attached to practice is the key to developing one’s practice. It is important and even essential to the goal of meditation, which for me is to find serenity, to connect to the deepest core of oneself and realizing that we are all connected to everything else.
Looking back, it took me a long time to learn not to be attached to following instructional tapes when I meditate. It doesn’t mean that I am disrespecting or abandoning my teacher or am not grateful for it. For me, it simply means that I have learned the lesson that I needed to learn and move on. Non-attachment has a way of leading us to the right path. In my case, I just go with the flow. As long as proper care and due diligence is taken, then there’s nothing to worry about. We just have to trust the process and live with the results.
The divine watches over us in our practice and everyday life. It encourages every step taken towards enlightenment. We walk with the notion that there is a right and wrong path, but there isn’t. Every step one takes is a step towards our goal, whatever it is that we seek; and, whether in life or in meditation, knowing when to let go is a skill worth learning.
A teacher can only point the way
It is worth noting that sitting in meditation is just another tool to reach our goal. To be successful, we have to be certain about the why of our meditative life and practice. What do we want to achieve? When I started practice, it was just to learn how to meditate because I thought that it was something cool and interesting. My goals have since evolved but I still enjoy and find something interesting about meditation every day. That's it for now. I will end with this quote.
”A great teacher can teach Calculus with a paper clip and literature in an empty field. Technology is just another tool, not a destination.” -Unknown
Things aren’t always all roses in the path of meditative practice. We learn from everything that goes our way and move on from there. So, thanks for dropping by and sharing your time to read my meditation talk. I hope that I have sparked a fire that leads to understanding more about our meditative practice and, hopefully, start a conversation.
Have a wonderful day everyone. Cheers!