Stop Meditating On Your Own

3 min Article Meditation & Mindfulness
A group atmosphere or 1:1 coaching can help you move past emotional blocks to reap the rewards of meditation 24/7.
Stop Meditating On Your Own

Many people think of meditation as a solo journey, but I always recommend that those just starting to meditate don’t try to go at it alone. While there are some excellent apps out there, they only go so far — then it’s beneficial to either take a course with a respected teacher or find a teacher you can work with one-on-one.

Why Work with a Teacher?

Many times when I work with people individually, they’re coming in with some level of experience but want reassurance that they’re heading in the right direction. They can benefit from having an observer to point things out along the way and offer peace of mind. It’s also nice to ask questions from someone who can give you an individualized response.

Once you have the basics of meditation down, the next step is to integrate it into your life, which can be challenging. Many people who have been practicing meditation for a long time struggle with this aspect.

But the whole point of meditation is to apply it to our every day — otherwise, why do it? A group atmosphere or one-on-one coaching can help people move past emotional blocks so they can reap the rewards of meditation 24/7, not just the minutes spent in stillness.

The Power of Community

It’s not only beginners who benefit from the support of a group or the wisdom of a teacher. In March, just before we went into official “quarantine,” my partner and I started a daily meditation group and sent word out to our former students. Eighty or so people showed up — some of whom had been practicing for many years, others who had just completed classes.

This group has been going steady since then. When new classes start, including 20 to 30 participants, the group is part of the learning process.

It’s more important than ever for people to be with others in whatever way is possible. There’s something about being in a group that enriches the process, and there’s a lot you can gain from other people’s practice.

Shortly after I began to meditate seriously, I had the good fortune to meet a teacher named Matthew Flickstein. Though not a high-profile teacher, he is highly respected and studied with the Venerable Bhante Gunaratana, who wrote Mindfulness in Plain English. I studied with Matt for about eight years, and he had a significant influence on my practice and growth, which continued well after I had started teaching myself.

After 14 years of teaching, I am studying with Kittisaro and Thanissara.

Teachers are lifelong students. One way to determine the quality of a teacher is to know who their teacher is. If you want to deepen your practice and find your path, connect with a supportive teacher or group — I promise you’ll get so much out of it.

Use this guided class, Elevator Meditation for Beginners by certified mindfulness teacher Kate Savage, as you learn to build your meditation practice

About the Teacher

Jon Aaron

Jon Aaron

Although Jon Aaron first came across meditation in the 1970s, it wasn’t until the mid-1990s — when he started noticing patterns in his relationships that he wanted to address — that he took a deeper dive into meditation. It took a while to find the right teacher, but once he did, he realized he had been getting in his own way, obstructing the progress of his life because of the way he was identifying himself. “As soon as I let go of that and let life live through this body, then everything became much lighter,” he says. Today, Jon has been a meditation teacher for more than a decade, specializing in mindfulness, mindfulness-based stress reduction (MSBR) and insight (Vipassana) meditation. He has given workshops and classes for organizations as diverse as ABC, the New York Open Center, Physicians’ Reciprocal Insurers, NYU Medical School, and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Jon’s primary dharma teacher has been Matthew Flickstein, with whom he studied Buddhist meditation in the Theravada and non-dual traditions.
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