So one of the most persistent questions that people ask on my favorite podcast 10% happier (please check it out if you haven’t… it is superb!) is “Do I need a teacher?” Today’s podcast featuring the amazing Helen Tworkov had her recounting this question as she was beginning her journey.
So, full disclosure, I don’t yet have one but have some ideas on getting some. (More on that in the conclusion.) But I have friends who encouraged me to start meditating, and I think each of their guru’s are worthy of a shoutout – and may be instructive for those who are medi-curious.
The Joy of Living’s Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche.
I begin with him because he is the teacher of my dear friend Laura, co-founder of MobileOm, who got me on my journey to meditation with a simple gift. In addition to his existing, must-read books called the Joy of Living series, Mingyur has just released a new book In Love with the World (which is co-authored by Helen T mentioned above, and gave me the impetus to pen this post!) Here is his Amazon Bio “an eminent meditation master among the new generation of Tibetan Buddhist teachers trained outside of Tibet. Mingyur Rinpoche teaches throughout the world, with centers on five continents.”
As this gent is world famous, Laura’s training with him came locally via video. Our beloved local yoga studio Breathe Together Yoga holds a class there where they use his format as provided here. (Note: I will also be using this format as we kick off the CEC – Cambrian Edition.) He is inspiring but funny and very approachable as he shares very openly about his challenges.
I cannot wait to read his new book, and will certainly be writing a review for this blog.
The Marvellous Ms. Fletcher
In the “right place, right time” vein, shortly after finishing the Just Sit book, I happened to have coffee with a friend who I knew to be a meditator. I mentioned to Melissa that I needed a teacher and she heartily recommended Emily Fletcher’s Ziva Meditation. You can read my earlier review here, but to sum up / use the metadescription from her website “Emily Fletcher is the founder of Ziva, the creator of The Ziva Technique and regarded as the leading expert in meditation for high performance.” Or put differently, a very engaging meditation teacher who has taken the teachings of Karma Nidra Yoga, and made them accessible to people schooled in today’s fast pace of life.
I took her online class and found the 14-day session very useful to establish my meditation habit, but she also has a recently published book Stress Less: Accomplish More which sums up her approach and is very readable.
Amma, The Hugging Saint
My favorite manager from my corporate days, the amazing Alison, is also a meditator. So when she heard I was beginning to pursue my path, she connected me to her guru, who has a remarkable story and following. Oprah’s team writes about her in this way ” Amma’s Mission to Transform Humanity Through the Power of a Hug – A cheerful, tireless Indian guru named Amma is on a mission to comfort all of humanity.”
Alison has been taking classes from her team at a bay area ashram and has also taken her child with her as Amma travels America to share her gift. I have also gone to take an initial teacher training at the ashram and find it wonderful; will be taking more trainings this summer and will certainly share what I learn.
But who will be my teacher?
I have learned so very much from my friends’ teachers. But as Dan Harris (in sense my teacher via his wonderful 10% happier podcast/app) has mentioned, there can be great value in studying with someone IRL. He was able to meet many great teachers in person and currently calls the venerable Joseph Goldstein his teacher. And I think for me, I do need someone that I can connect with in person.
So, I’m exploring those options and will report back. And I believe in the veracity of the old saying “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”