Monday, February 7, 2011

The Training of a Reluctant Meditation Teacher

 It wasn't my plan to become a meditation teacher, but apparently the Universe had other ideas. It was 1972, and I was living in Humboldt County in northern California. Back then, for several weeks each summer, Cal State Humboldt campus became home to a conference of about a thousand meditators. The meditators would spend most of their time meditating, watching course-related videos, and attending lectures by Maharishi Mahler Yogi, the teacher who brought Transcendental Meditation from India to the west.
To make some extra money and gain entree to the lectures, I took a job driving meditators who were staying off-campus to and from the conference. Among my passengers was a woman named Janet, a very outgoing and assertive individual, who adopted me as a friend. We would go to lectures together, where she always managed to get us seats down front, and I also recall some pleasant hikes we took in Humboldt County's magnificent Redwoods.
At the time, I had been meditating for about six years, and was feeling the urge to get in some extended meditation time. The next available opportunity for a meditation retreat was an intensive teacher training course being held in southern Spain. I didn't have the funds to attend the course, and to be honest, neither did I have a desire to become a teacher of Transcendental Meditation. However, it just so happened that Janet was one of the head coordinators of the teacher training courses, and Janet decided that I was going to that course.
The course was divided into three separate 10 week training sessions, and she arranged it so that I could work in the kitchen for the first two sessions in order to cover the tuition for the third. Despite my lack of interest in becoming a TM teacher, it was a no-brainer. I would go to the course, work for 20 weeks, and then get in 10 weeks of serious meditation time.

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