There may come a time when a meditator stands to benefit from a relationship with someone who’s further along the path. Reading books, attending lectures, or watching Mr. Tolle on YouTube can point the way, but the right guide will take you deeper.
My suggestion is to ask friends for their first-hand experiences and to sample local people. If you live away from urban centres, try the Internet for online instruction. I’m currently auditing a by-donation course with the Insight Meditation Center, with daily practice tips, optional reading, and access to teachers via Skype or email.
My own journey evolved in stops and starts. Fifteen years ago someone suggested that I might benefit from meditation and took me to a 10-day silent retreat as taught by N.S. Goenka. That made me curious but didn’t cause me to meditate on my own. A year later I googled ZEN and TRAINING and MONASTERY and soon found myself on the other side of the continent for two intense months of what felt like Zen boot camp.
Soon afterwards — while working full-time and doing graduate studies — I found a group in Oregon who were looking to start a monastery. When a former elementary school became available I was invited to contribute my hotel management experience and stayed for a year to help get things started. Since then I’ve attended retreats with different teachers, but continue to return to Great Vow Zen Monastery and consider my teachers there as spiritual guides for life.
How did you get to where you are on your meditation journey?