Nowadays, there are so many authors and so-called teachers that offer seminars, books, online classes and retreats that promise peace and happiness. Some are laypeople, some are monastics, and some are even former monastics. Others still have tied-in celebrities to promote these things and have become hugely successful. These “teachings” have become extremely profitable for many, with some actually becoming multi-millionaires.
While I am not inferring that these teachings are bad or worthless, I am asking you to question who your teachers are, and ultimately how beneficial they may be for you.
And please don’t be mislead into thinking because someone is hugely popular and well-known, that they are therefore a great teacher. While at the same time, because one is a monastic does not mean that they are the wisest of teachers either. I cannot tell you that a layperson or a monastic is better than the other, nor can I attest to their true intention or virtue. Therein lies the discernment that we are all responsible in making for ourselves.
I will share with you that I have read many books, and listened to many audio recordings, by both lay and monastic teachers. Many of which have been highly informative and enlightening. But through all of this study, I have also seen how susceptible any of us can be to believing things which are not actually valid. In fact many can be unwholesome and destructive to our path if we are not completely aware of what we are absorbing. This is what is referred to as sati-sampajañña, understanding with complete comprehension and awareness.
The older that I get, the more I understand impermanence, and what little time I may have left to gain understanding. Wasting time is not on my agenda at this point in my life. So it becomes increasingly vital that I spend my time wisely and choose skillfully that which I will study. And clearly, more than any book, CD, or workshop, the time on the cushion continues to prove to be the most wholesome and beneficial to my practice.
And while I fully understand that guided meditation is much easier for many people, I would encourage each of you to become friends with your own voice. The peace that we all look for is within that silence and that breath that we observe and offer ourselves when we become totally present and non-judgemental. And while this may seem the most difficult at times, the reward is truly the peace that you have been seeking all along.
Save yourself $12.95, and be your own best friend today. Have a seat!