Objective: Several authors have suggested demands and requirements for teaching mindfulness and meditation. In the scientific literature there is however a lack of evaluation of mindfulness teachers and how to teach mindfulness meditation effectively. This study aims at providing deeper insight of the importance of the teachers in the field of mindfulness and meditation and it investigates how mindfulness and meditation teachers describe the prerequisites for teaching mindfulness and meditation.
Method: The method of Thematic Analysis, TA, was utilized to analyse the data from semi-structured interviews conducted with twelve experienced teachers, from different mindfulness and meditation traditions. The participants are mindfulness and meditation teachers from either within the Buddhist, secular or both Buddhist and secular contexts.
Results: The analysis resulted in three main themes and nine subthemes, such as for example the main theme; Teacher qualification with subthemes; Becoming teacher, Being teacher, Pedagogic skills and Social skills. The results suggest a flexible and pragmatic view on how mindfulness and meditation teaching should be provided. Instead of a fixed set of requirements for the teacher and the student, what makes mindfulness and meditation teaching effective has to do with the ability to recognize the potential in every unique situation with an understanding of the impermanent and interdependent relationship between teacher, student and context.
Conclusion: Being and becoming a teacher is a continuous process and anyone can assume the role of mindfulness and meditation teacher. It is dependent on the students and the context. A formalized education is not a prerequisite but what is required is sufficient compassion and insight. For the teacher’s compassion and insight to ripen and for the student to learn, non-ideal conditions and suffering, is required and it is helpful with supportive fellow practitioners, teachers, especially if they themselves practice what they teach and share what they know.
2016. no 6:3
Mindfulness; Meditation; Qualitative; Teaching; Thematic analysis; Teacher; Student