I am not a trained meditation teacher, but I have been practicing meditation for over 35 years, so I guess that gives me some credibility. When I started teaching meditation a couple of years ago, my goal was to help people who wanted to learn how to meditate. Many people in that first classes told me “ Oh, I just can’t meditate”. Well after the first class many of them changed their view on meditation and realized that yes, they could meditate.
In each class, we would go over the many scientifically proven benefits. Then we would work on meditation techniques: Breathwork, letting go of thoughts, and just learning the basics. I always stress that this is a practice, not a perfect. No self-judgment. Keep at it, if only for a couple of minutes.
As the weeks went on, more and more people came to class. It really caught on. Some of the people in class even got into our yoga practice. It was really great. Then the pandemic hit. So I moved the class online and also offered it for free on Zoom. A few of the regulars who had been coming to class, also came to the online meditation class. Some didn’t. As the weeks turned into months, more and more people started joining us on Zoom.
I posted the class on my Temple website with great results. We started to get people from all over the country. One of our students lives in Pittsburgh. My daughter-in-law's parents live in Austin Texas. My daughter-in-law lives in San Francisco. We have had people from Colorado and some even from overseas.
As the weeks went by, we had a core group of about 15 people every week. Then an amazing thing happened: We all became friends, and when one misses a class, the others always ask about them. The group is very open and many offer comments on their experience during the meditations. Some see visions of light, others cry, and the group listens and shares with no judgment. It has really turned into something wonderful every Monday night.
A few months ago, I started having a theme every week. One of the themes was compassion. Self-love, forgiveness, dealing with grief, living in the now, and many more. The week we did the forgiveness meditation, one of the new students came back the next week and told the group that because of that meditation on forgiveness, she reconnected with her sister who she hadn’t spoken to in ten years Wow! I shared how my own experience with forgiveness let me reconnect with my brother who I hadn't spoken with for nineteen years!!
This past Monday, I had what Oprah might call an "ah-ha moment”. I realized that I was teaching so much more than meditation. I was teaching people how to live happier, more fulfilling lives. The lessons from the guided meditations were powerful. I looked back in my mind and I saw the transformation in some of the people, from a hectic stressful life, into a calmer more centered life.
I am so humbled by this class and the group of wonderful people who share and care about each other with genuine affection. I must also acknowledge and give thanks to Savitri for being there with us every week, she is also such an important part of our group. I don’t know where this path will lead, but I will continue on Monday nights as long as even one person shows up.
Please join us if you like. It’s free and you can see how wonderful Monday nights can be when we come together in this way.
---Andy (Teg) Steinfeld