This article has been taken from a relative beginner that found success with this incredible practice. Shannon Harvey has brought the research and evidence to the forefront and tested it personally to see if it can do everything that it says it does.
Wonderfully, it did exactly as it said, and much much more… Here are her 5 questions to ask a meditation/mindfulness teacher…
FIVE QUESTIONS TO ASK A MINDFULNESS TEACHER
1. Where did you learn meditation? (Or what is your meditation lineage?)
The expert teachers I’ve met have usually been trained by someone, who trained with someone, who trained with someone else, going back hundreds if not thousands of years. This is sometimes called a meditation ‘lineage’. Although some teachers might have their own unique style, there’s a great deal to be gained by being grounded in time-tested techniques. Look for teachers who have clearly done their own work too; those who have been meditating for decades, not months. Also, as any upright professional in any industry admits, continuing education is really important. If you find a meditation teacher who still studies, who regularly attends long retreats and keeps skilling-up by doing new trainings, this is a good sign.
2. Where did you receive your teacher training?
Although there’s not a universal mindfulness teacher ‘qualification’, this is a helpful question. In the same way that you wouldn’t want to learn yoga from someone who attended a few yoga classes, or to receive psychotherapy from someone who went to see a psychologist a few times for their own problems, it’s best to learn mindfulness from someone who has been trained to be a teacher by a well-regarded institution. A good follow up question to also ask is who encouraged them to become a mindfulness teacher? It might be a red flag if they can’t articulate a person or institution with a good-reputation.
3. Is your style about relaxation or acceptance?
This simple question will tell you if they’re teaching mindfulness meditation. Even though mindfulness meditation can be relaxing, it is not the main game. The actual aim is to change the way we relate to our thoughts, feelings and experiences by cultivating non-judgemental awareness. If your teacher is not making that clear then they may not understand mindfulness themselves.
4. Do you think everyone should meditate?
Although a good mindfulness teacher might say they wish everyone practiced, they will also be able to give you a nuanced, thoughtful response which touches on the fact that although mindfulness meditation can help many people in varying circumstances, it is certainly not for everyone. In fact, they may also say that there are some people who shouldn’t try mindfulness.
5. What is your motivation to teach?
If your meditation teacher is the real-deal, they are likely to say they want to help people to understand the nature of their own minds better. They will likely want to hold the space and offer guidance to help others navigate the tricky waters of their own minds. They will encourage independent thinking and open inquiry in their students. Red flags here would be signs of pushiness, the requirement of blind obedience, or the expectation of adulation.
Have you experienced both a good an bad practitioner? Do you feel these line with your views on what makes a good teacher?
For upcoming courses, workshops and retreats, check out www.awareful.com.au for a reputable, established and experienced team of practitioners that has delivered success to over 4000 people in the last 5 years.
This has been taken from Shannon Harvey‘s e-book and I believe it is a great foundation to reflect upon before engaging in practice.