I walk into a supermarket or even a farmer’s market and I’m faced with the tyranny of choice. So many options of what I can buy which of course changes my perception of what I actually need. Sometimes my reaction is to freeze in confusion or perhaps I’ll purchase something I don’t really need or decide based on what is most pleasing to the eye.
This tyranny of choice has now seemingly hit the field of meditation. Similar to the place the yoga world was in several decades ago, meditation, has now worked its way into the mainstream mindset and this is a good thing.
There are opportunities to learn to meditate popping up all over, particularly in New York. In fact there are literally “pop-up” meditation sites. How does one decide where to go?
Instruction and the Embodiment of the teacher is key!
The problem these days, is that there is demand for meditation instruction and consequently there is now a market for meditation teacher training. It’s possible to learn to become a “meditation teacher” with very little practice experience.
Meditation instruction is extremely easy. The practice itself is another matter. When determining where to go for your initial and follow-up training in meditation, it’s key to look at the background of the teachers who are offering this. How long have the teachers themselves been practicing, how many weeks of silent retreat have they been on, who do they consider to be their root teachers and are they still studying. What are the requirements for ongoing training at the institution where they teach.
If someone is teaching meditation (particularly mindfulness meditation) and has had little or no silent retreat experience, there should be concern. It is in this experience, that one learns to work with their own challenges. It is through deep silence and inner work, where the learning happens.
If a teacher hasn’t done their own work, it’s not possible to help a student through the challenging process of practice.
What is bringing you to meditation?
Some people come to meditation because they ‘ve heard it’s a way to calm the mind and want to incorporate this into their daily life.
Some people come because they are dealing with a very stressful job or life situation.
Some come because they are facing a major trauma
Some come for preventative measures, some for immediate gratification.
Some come simply out of curiosity.
And some actually come for liberation!
It’s important to ask this question of yourself and of course that which brings you in the door may change as the practices are learned.
Meditation is good for almost everyone, but it’s important to find a teacher who understands the process and realize one-size doesn’t fit all.
The greatest meditation teacher was the historical Buddha and through his thousands of teachings it’s clear that he taught differently to different people.
Nothing has changed today except for marketing. An effective teacher needs to be adept at determining what works for a given student.
If you’ve decided that it’s time for you to try meditation, New York Insight may be the right place for you. It offers an in-depth approach to practice which is based on the original teachings of the Buddha. There are Buddhist based insight meditation classes and many different mindfulness based classes. There is a diverse group of teachers and the support from a number of affinity sanghas.
Turn the tyranny of choice into an opportunity to make the right choice! Look at what your needs are and whether the offerings at NY Insight will support you fully.