George Haas speaks with us today about his call-in mentoring program, Morning Meditation, and the benefits of having a teacher.
A question that frequently gets sent into the podcast is whether or not it’s important to have a teacher. Since the secular approach seems less positively inclined towards institution, doesn’t that also include a certain degree of skepticism about the value of guidance?
It’s a good question! We should bear in mind that though some centers and teachers have been harmful to students, there are also very good centers and very good teachers. We shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, but instead think critically about what our needs are, and how a particular group or person may be able to guide us in our practice. There is no one size fits all when it comes to this very personal, experiential process of development, and we need to exercise as much diligent effort in our search for the right fit of a teacher, as we exercise diligence with the practice itself.
Modern technologies can help support us in our meditation in ways unavailable to previous generations. There is no longer a barrier — or excuse! — to not getting support because of one’s geographic limitations. Constraints for finding other, like minded practitioners are as close as one’s computer, from the Secular Buddhist Association’s Weekly Practice sessions, to the call in guidance of today’s guest.
George Haas began his path with a period of light-weight spiritual seeking, and heavy-duty drug and alcohol use. In 1978, he began working primarily with concentration to reduce the anxiety of living sober. Moving to Los Angeles from Manhattan in 1992 to work in the film and photography trades, George began sitting Vipassana at Ordinary Dharma in Venice. In 1998, he began study with his current teacher, Shinzen Young, and Vipassana Support International, where he is now a senior facilitator. George offers guided meditation via conference call Monday through Saturday mornings, and teaches privately via Skype, phone, email, text & IM, which Los Angeles Magazine included on its Best of LA 2011 list as “Best Online Buddhist Meditation.”
So, sit back, relax, and have a nice Downy White.
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Music for This Episode
The music heard in the middle of the podcast is from Rodrigo Rodriguez’s CD, Shakuhachi Meditations. The tracks used in this episode are: