By Kimaya Singh
Are there any meditation teacher ethical guidelines? Just as there are many styles of Yoga, there are also many kinds of meditation and many different opinions about the best way to teach the art. While all of them have their strong points, the one thing that remains constant is the need for knowledgeable and ethical teachers. For many meditation teachers, the ethical information and policies regarding teaching students in Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong also apply to meditation.
Although standards vary concerning meditation teacher ethical guidelines, there are guidelines that apply to all meditation teachers. Students may look for the following qualities when selecting meditation classes:
• Professional level of expertise and experience concerning the rituals, practice and function of meditation
• Reasonable length of time spent in the study and practice
• Some indication of qualifications and skills
• Quality services for reasonable prices
• References from former students
Like Yoga teachers, meditation instructors are ethically bound to maintain certain rules of proficiency, propriety, and conduct. These rules apply to personal relationships with students as well as to the class as a whole. Meditation teacher ethical guidelines typically include the following topics.
• Confidentiality of personal information
• Preservation of public welfare above personal interests of staff or clients
• Ethical and moral conduct both inside and outside of classes
• Fair representation of training and experience
• Respect of the client/instructor relationship
• Equal treatment of all students
• Avoidance of personal conflicts or public criticism within the group or among individuals
Like Yoga instructors, meditation teachers are role models for their classes and their communities. The need to maintain proper behavior and ethical standards is a prerequisite to effectively helping students along their spiritual paths. Because students sometimes choose mentors to share confidential information, teachers must know how to respond as well as how to honor their trust. As with any professional endeavor, intimate relationships between teacher and student are inappropriate and potentially harmful.
Meditation has been an integral part of the Eastern world for thousands of years. It is commonly believed that meditation was relatively unknown to the Western hemisphere until the middle of the 20th century. Since that time, its increasing popularity has led to a variety of practices based on the old standards.
However, the Bible contains many references to meditation. The Book of Psalms, in particular, mentions meditation, at least, a dozen times, which indicates that Jews and Christians were both familiar with meditation. The modern day word “meditation,” comes from the Latin word, “meditatum.” Most of the early meditating by Christians was practiced by monks. While modern religious theologians often point to differences in meditation purposes, the underlying purpose is to improve one’s self. Whether you pray or find clarity, you will still improve yourself.
As teachers of the 21st century, meditation teacher ethical guidelines keep us on track as we introduce derivatives of this ancient practice, techniques sometimes seem unnecessarily intimidating to beginners. While meditation is mystical, it is not mysterious. By avoiding elitist attitudes and embracing newcomers, meditation teachers not only help individual students; they make the world a better place.
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