Arriving Home :: The Path To Teaching
“Teaching meditation is a precious privilege.” ~ Mark Coleman
I often get asked what brought me to teaching. It’s been a wonderful question to sit with, because it made me realize that in many ways teaching found me - although I did cultivate the intention over years of studentship and training. When I get approached with questions such as, “what steps did you take to make meditation your career?”, I am usually at a loss for words as teaching comes from this organic process - the unfolding path of knowing when it is right to start teaching and dedication to the practice itself.
Before You Start Teaching
Any good artist, mentor, creator or teacher are first really good students. The type of students who sit at the front of the classroom, asking a lot of questions and going above and beyond in all of the extra credit projects. They are dedicated, disciplined and committed to their own practice and have a sincere investment in their self-study. When it comes to thinking about teaching meditation, you have to have a firm understanding of your own mind that only comes from a direct experience with meditation. The best meditation teachers are also the most committed students and soul seekers, willing to stretch themselves when they are uncomfortable; they keep showing up even when they aren’t quite sure if they have all the answers.
After years of your own practice and studentship, find an accredited meditation teacher training when you are ready to begin teaching. One of the biggest concerns we are seeing in the modern meditation world is that individuals start teaching meditation without the proper background.
As meditation teachers, we have the precious privilege of holding people’s hearts and helping them transform their minds. This is no small responsibility! It takes a lot of work, dedication and preparation to get yourself ready to teach and hold space for a community of fellow practitioners. We really need to do our own work first in order to hold the proper space for others; this includes practicing many of the precepts of practice and living a mindfulness-based life yourself. From getting enough sleep, to taking care of you body through regular movement and exercise, to putting the practice in action when you encounter hardship, stress and challenge.
Most importantly, remember what a privilege it is to hold this space for our fellow humans who are also walking the path of self-discovery and encountering their own fears, ego, bliss and loving awareness. Teaching is not a job or a traditional career - it is one of the greatest gifts we can give another.
You can visit my resources page for links to the two places where I completed my meditation training, The Chopra Center For Wellbeing and The Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA.