Over the years, we have offered a number of courses on Tibetan meditation by our longtime instructor Alejandro Chaoul, Ph.D., an assistant professor and director of education of the Integrative Medicine Program at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Chaoul has trained with Tibetan lamas since 1989 and has helped many of our students on their meditation journey. In fact, there’s still time to join him for Tibetan Sound Healing Meditation: Research and Practice of Body, Speech and Mind this fall. Dr. Chaoul shares his thoughts on being a part of the Glasscock School below.
When did you start teaching at the Glasscock School and was your class very different then?
I began at Continuing Studies by assisting my teacher, Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche in his teachings here. Then, as I was finishing my Ph.D. in 1999, I began teaching my own courses. At the beginning they were more theory/philosophical perspectives of Asian traditions. People were interested and, more and more, asked how to meditate.
Do you have any memorable moments with your students over the years?
I really value interacting with the participants. Many times we run into each other at restaurants or supermarkets, and it is nice to know how they are doing and if they have continued using the meditation practices in their daily life.
What do you enjoy about teaching courses at the Glasscock School?
I enjoy meeting students at the Glasscock School, since they are adults doing this for their own personal growth. Some students who get really interested in the practices want to continue and apply them deeper into their lives. I love being able to help or guide them in their journey.
Have you seen people’s perception of meditation change over the years?
Yes, totally! When I started teaching here in 1999, meditation was something marginal, rare and weird. And people were more interested in the idea of meditation and knowing about meditation. Now, and probably because of more research and health benefits, meditation is more of a household word, and people really want to learn how to meditate and bring it into their lives.
To see Dr. Chaoul in action, watch a video of a meditation session he lead earlier this year at the Rice Gallery.