In June of 2018, Meditate A Center for Healing Arts relocated from Chicago, Illinois to Charleston, SC in the heart of West Ashley.
The address for Meditate Center for Healing Arts is 757 St Andrews Blvd with the zip code of 29407. Andrew Shykofsky is the lead meditation instructor at Meditate Center for Healing Arts.
Why did Meditate open in Charleston, SC and why now?
Andrew Shykofsky: It was time for me to leave the Midwest and explore a better climate. I found Charleston to be a perfect, charming city that is very energetic and dynamic. Many people are drawn to Charleston presently (as I was). With this kind of growth, I believe it will be helpful for the people in Charleston to have more choices as far as their meditation practice and spirituality.
Are there a lot of meditation centers in Charleston say, compared to Chicago?
Andrew: Well, there are definitely a few key players and I believe that is the sign of a healthy community. If there were no centers offering meditation at all in Charleston, I would be concerned. As much as many people talk about wanting to meditate, without good resources and a community, it can be hard to remain consistent. Chicago has some excellent studios and it seems more are opening up albeit, not as fast as yoga studios. Yoga is a lot more popular in North America but meditation is not far behind.
Andrew Shykofsky:Meditation Instructor
at Meditate A Center for Healing Arts
Do you teach Buddhist meditation?
Andrew: Not expressly. The Buddhist approach to meditation is going to be based in the spiritual beliefs and doctrine as taught by the Buddha centuries ago. I love the Buddhist philosophy and have read a lot of Buddhist teachings. However there are centers in Charleston that specialize in Buddhit meditation taught by people from Nepal, Thailand, and Burma. They will be much better teachers for that style than I could ever be. But I will say this, there is definitely some overlap as far as what I teach and the Buddhist approach.
Andrew: For example, all meditation styles begin with a focus on the breath. Breathing is fundamental to human life. It is important when first sitting to begin a session that you draw your mind and focus to your breath. Some forms of meditation have you remain with that focus (on the breath) the entire session. I don’t teach that approach and neither do the Buddhists but it can be a very positive approach to meditation. In addition, Buddhists have a spiritual belief that all beings are connected, the classic teaching of the ‘Oneness of all life’. I believe the same things however in my Level 1 Meditation Course, the focus is a little more practical.
Can you say more about what you mean by ‘more practical’?
Andrew: It can be tempting to bypass the day to day anxieties and use meditation as a sort of escape from real life. In other words, a person might sit quietly and create an inner space that tries to move beyond one’s difficulties, to transcend them if you will. Of course, such a respite is welcomed however when the meditation is finished, the person still has whatever difficulties. What I teach is using meditation as an active way to explore, process and resolve inner emotional and mental difficulties permanently.
But what about the notion that we are not supposed to think during meditation?
Andrew: There are times when that kind of meditation is perfect. Anyone who is able to still their mind at will is likely to have developed that ability and strength because their minds have become cooperative through meditation. However, never thinking during meditation doesn’t make sense to me. Meditation is a practice to teach, discipline and manage the mind. The mind is an amazing tool that we are given but like all tools, one needs to learn how to use it. Learning how to use it in my opinion is best done while in meditation.
So you actually teach students how to use their minds?
Andrew: Perhaps that sounds a little ambitious! But in essence, yes. I was taught how to gently move my focus away from negative thought patterns and address negative emotions while sitting quietly in meditation. Over time, I developed a relationship with my mind and emotions. it sounds a little weird but when you experience it, it makes perfect sense. Many spiritual teachers speak of a gap between ‘I’ the observer of my thoughts and the mind which generates the thoughts. Given there are 2 distinct parties (I and my mind) my goal is to create a loving relationship between the two. But the key is that ‘I’ am in charge, not my mind.
Does the mind tend to cooperate?
Andrew: It can here and there but in most people, the mind has grown accustomed to leading one’s life. I have found peace and happiness come much more frequently when the mind takes direction from me and not the other way around. Whenever a new leader is emerging though, the old one tends to fight to stay in charge. This is what makes meditation hard in the beginning. The mind resists being managed. But it can be done if the student is patient and develops a good habit of meditating regularly. Having good guidance from an experienced teacher is also very important.
When you say ‘regularly’ how often do you recommend?
Andrew: In an ideal world, daily meditation is the fastest way to progress but these daily sittings don’t need to be that long. I teach 20 minutes daily will lead to dramatic positive transformation over time. When people begin my Level 1 Meditation Course (now offered at Meditate A Center for Healing Arts in Charleston), or our online meditation course, I suggest they meditate 4 times per week as a minimum.
That seems pretty manageable!
Andrew: Yes, I totally agree.
Thank you for speaking with us. Interested students can click the buttons below to register for an upcoming Level 1 Meditation Course or download the course syllabus.
Level 1 Meditation Course Syllabus