I recently announced that I had finished my training and become a meditation teacher. Most of my friends and family were happy and supportive, but I did get a few questions.
The most common was: With so many blogs, websites, and apps that can help you meditate, why would I want to pay a teacher to learn?
So today, I thought I’d share with you the reasons you might want to hire a meditation teacher for some one-on-one learning.
Why and how do you meditate?
The first thing we need to address is why and how do you meditate?
There are numerous reasons people take up meditation. Some do so for stress relief. Some have high blood pressure or other health conditions and have heard meditation can help. Some people begin to feel pulled to meditate for spiritual reasons. Some do it because it’s the only quiet time they get in a day.
You might not realize it, but your reason for meditating can have an impact on how you choose to meditate. Doing so for stress relief or health conditions, for example, might result in deciding to meditate every day before you start your day. Doing it for quiet time might mean that you only meditate when you feel the need. Doing it for spiritual reasons might lead you to choose a specific kind of meditation, such as Kundalini or mindful meditation.
Can you read a blog or a website and figure this out? Can you find an app that supports it? Sure, you probably could. But those are all geared toward the general public at large.
A meditation teacher will take the time to get to know you and help you create a meditation practice that suits your specific needs and goals.
You might not feel the need to set any specific goals for meditation. But most of us know we want to achieve something with it. For me, when I first started meditating, it was all about stress relief.
Over time, it morphed. I’ve used meditation to help me cut sugar out of my diet, to increase my patience, to improve relationships with those around me, and more.
In each of these instances, there was a goal. It might not have been something I consciously realized at the time, but it was there. And goals need something tangible for you to know whether or not you’re accomplishing them.
For example, when I used meditation to relieve stress, I needed to be able to feel less stressed. I needed my body to feel more relaxed, my mind to feel clearer and calmer, and my stomach to not be tied up in knots.
A meditation teacher can help you with not only defining your goals, but also with figuring out how to assess whether you’re achieving them. Your teacher will be able to make suggestions for tools and things to look out for to help you identify progress.
And if you feel like you’re not making progress? Your teacher can help you determine why that is. A good teacher can help you look at what you’re doing and see what isn’t working, what needs tweaking to work, and what you might need to start doing.
Apps are great for guided meditations, for providing sounds, and for timing your meditation. What they’re not so great for is personalized guidance that helps you get the most out of your meditation.
Things your meditation teacher will ask that an app won’t:
- Have you ever meditated before? (Some apps ask, but it only does so much to customize your experience.)
- Do you struggle to sit still? What about concentrating?
- What do you envision when you think of meditation?
- What do you hope to gain (or lose) by meditating?
- How do you feel before you meditate? How do you feel after?
- Do you prefer to sit or lie down while meditating?
- What are your primary stressors right now?
- What approaches to meditation are a turn-off for you? What approaches really appeal to you?
- Do you have a personal or professional vision for yourself?
These are just a few of the questions that I would ask as your meditation teacher. The answers to these questions would help me determine how best to support you and teach you meditation so that you would get the most benefit from it.
Have you ever listened to someone instruct you on how to do something and wondered, “What does that mean?”
With a meditation app, you might hear instructions during a meditation that make you ask that. They might say “do a body scan” and you’ll wonder how to do that. Or maybe they’ll tell you to imagine a white healing light, and you’ll think, “Do they mean a light bulb, or a spotlight, or what?”
But there’s no one to tell you. You might go find a forum online to ask, but then you risk getting a dozen different answers – or none at all. Either way, you’re no better off.
With a meditation teacher, you can ask these questions. You can say, “Whoa, hey, wait. What does _____ mean?” and get an answer.
More than that, your teacher can adjust to your needs. If you try a meditation that just doesn’t work for you, you can say so. Your teacher will make a note of it, and help guide you toward others that are more suited to you. You won’t have to sort through the dozens, or hundreds, in an app for the few that work for you – especially if you aren’t sure how to define it.
Working with a meditation teacher
You might choose to just work with a meditation teacher for a few sessions while you “work out the kinks” and learn how to do it before you strike out on your own. Or you might want to work with one on a long-term basis, for accountability and continued support.
Either way, you’ll benefit from the individual support and customized information that you get.
The investment in learning how to meditate and getting tailored support and advice will pay off when you find yourself able to meditate with ease, anytime, anywhere, and feeling the results.
If you’re interested in working with me, please feel free to reach out. We’ll start with a free 20-minute Aspire Session to discuss your needs and goals and see if we’re a good fit.