Hello friends, can you help me find a teacher?

chris jordan, modified 2 Months ago at 4/11/24 10:15 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/11/24 9:33 AM

Hello friends, can you help me find a teacher?

Posts: 6 Join Date: 12/16/23 Recent Posts
Hi guys, greetings and cheers from the extreme southern tip of South America. I'm writing to ask for your help making it to my next step. I'm a 60-yo American living down here at the end of the world, a longtime meditator and fan of MTCTOTB. For about a decade I used Joseph Goldstein's guided meditations, along with reading every book on meditation that I could lay my hands on, and got stuck in a loop where I would make it pretty far into the dark night, not realize that's where I was, blow out of the practice, start again in a year or so, and do it all over again, each time feeling like a loser for having bailed.

Then during the pandemic I had a private cabin in a tranquil town here in Chile, which was perfect for a self-retreat, so with the help of Daniel's book I worked my way up to 2-4 hrs per day for several months in a row without missing a day. Finally made it through the dark night into new territory that was pretty exciting. During this I had several profound arising and passing incidents, energetically equivalent to sticking my finger in a wall socket, then passed through an extended museum of shame, hatred, etc., replaying every bad feeling/act I had ever done/had, until I got to some really subtle dark material that felt like looking at the fuzzy edges of the Universe through the James Webb Space Telescope. Finally I think I got to equanimity, worked my way through a basic experience of the formless realms, felt like a fruition might be coming, and got so attached to having a fruition that I totally lost my ability to concentrate and blew back out of the practice again.

A friend hooked me up with a highly respected meditator who I talked to on the phone once (he wasn't available as a teacher at the time), and he strongly recommended that I stop practicing until I have a teacher. Despite my desire to keep going, this advice felt right, because I can feel that I'm in dangerous territory that risks amplifying self-hatred because I keep quitting. I was impressed by some of the responses I got here to my earlier questions about cessation, so I thought I would write and ask if anyone can help me find a teacher who I can work with via zoom? Or perhaps someone here feels qualified? Basically what I want is to re-enter the meditation space, go through all the steps again, and make it safely to fruition, which (perhaps wrongly) feels fairly close. After that I have no expectation or plan, but fruition feels like something I want in this lifetime, and I don't seem to have what it takes to get there alone. Many thanks for any thoughts or offerings, and if anyone wants to write directly, my email is cj@chrisjordan.com. Cheers and warm regards to you all.  : )
Adi Vader, modified 2 Months ago at 4/11/24 11:46 AM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/11/24 11:46 AM

RE: Hello friends, can you help me find a teacher?

Posts: 318 Join Date: 6/29/20 Recent Posts
I can personally recommend Stephen Procter on midlmeditation.com
Martin, modified 2 Months ago at 4/11/24 12:51 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/11/24 12:51 PM

RE: Hello friends, can you help me find a teacher?

Posts: 873 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
There are several lists of meditation teachers here:

https://www.dharmaoverground.org/discussion/-/message_boards/message/21564331 

The thread included some discussions of specific teachers but you can find more discussion by searching for their names in this forum. 

I keep meaning to write a detailed post on finding and working with teachers but I never get around to it. Among the things that I intend to mention are:

- some teachers charge a little or a lot, and some only accept donations or don't accept any payment at all (this feature tells you less about the teacher than you would expect) 
- some teachers want a commitment (months or even a year or more) and others think in terms of individual meetings 
- most teachers have a specialty and it helps to figure out what that is
- there are teachers who have done teacher training, including at least some general counseling training, and some who have not; this may be an important factor if your mental health is not super robust when you work with the teacher
- teachers (though no fault of their own) tend to present their teaching model as the only teaching model, either claiming that all teachers basically agree or that all other teachers are wrong; there is no need to confront teachers about this, but it is useful to keep this common feature of the type of people who end up becoming teachers in mind
- it's easy to fall into the mode of going with a teacher because of the tradition or respect, but looking at more than one teacher making choices/changes based on what you actually need has pragmatic payoffs
chris jordan, modified 2 Months ago at 4/14/24 1:41 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/14/24 1:41 PM

RE: Hello friends, can you help me find a teacher?

Posts: 6 Join Date: 12/16/23 Recent Posts
Super helpful Martin, many thanks. I'm hitting the cushion again in the meantime, feels good to at least be getting back to concentration practice. 
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Dream Walker, modified 2 Months ago at 4/15/24 2:13 PM
Created 2 Months ago at 4/15/24 2:13 PM

RE: Hello friends, can you help me find a teacher?

Posts: 1745 Join Date: 1/18/12 Recent Posts
Martin
Heya,
I keep meaning to write a detailed post on finding and working with teachers but I never get around to it. Among the things that I intend to mention are:

- some teachers charge a little or a lot, and some only accept donations or don't accept any payment at all (this feature tells you less about the teacher than you would expect) 
- some teachers want a commitment (months or even a year or more) and others think in terms of individual meetings 
- most teachers have a specialty and it helps to figure out what that is
- there are teachers who have done teacher training, including at least some general counseling training, and some who have not; this may be an important factor if your mental health is not super robust when you work with the teacher
- teachers (though no fault of their own) tend to present their teaching model as the only teaching model, either claiming that all teachers basically agree or that all other teachers are wrong; there is no need to confront teachers about this, but it is useful to keep this common feature of the type of people who end up becoming teachers in mind
- it's easy to fall into the mode of going with a teacher because of the tradition or respect, but looking at more than one teacher making choices/changes based on what you actually need has pragmatic payoffs

I encourage you to write your post, I would love to read your breakdown/perspective from your experiences/research. 

Daniel Ingram, has of course, already written his take on "Teachers" in MCTB2.
Chapter 11- On Teachers


I can also recommend the list of teacher qualities to consider from the book "Saints and Psychopaths" ---
List of qualities

Good Luck,
​​​​​​​~D

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