Meet Your Neighbor: Shirley Steele |

Meet Your Neighbor: Shirley Steele

How did you become a meditation teacher?

I’ve been seeking the avenue toward God since I was about 18. I explored all the religions that I could get my hands on including Christianity, the Bhagavad Gita and Hinduism, Tantra and Zen Buddhism. I learned all their messages and figured out each religion was giving techniques that bring the person to the spirit within.

Do you combine the different techniques from each religion when you meditate?

No, I don’t. I’m also trained in personality assessment and detailed hand-writing analysis. And through that, I discovered that certain types of people do well with certain techniques. Depending on how a person views the world, certain techniques will help break their anxiety.

Can you give me an example of a technique suited for a certain personality?

Basically, some people are internalizers from birth. Their brain internalizes their thought and they also rationalize the world. Some people are externalizers. Their world is from the outside. They respond with their feelings instead of rationalizing. But from know that, I’m able to discern what sort of techniques would best suit their energy.

Why do your students come to you to learn meditation?

I hope they come to me for what I think my favorite course is called, attain the goal: freedom from anxiety. I want them to come to me because they know their mind is causing the most anxiety, not the world around them. Meditation is really learning how to alleviate the mind. How to relax the mind. Also, I’m interested in the aspirants who want enlightenment.

What is enlightenment, to you?

When the spirit energy within gets so strong, it gets larger than the ego mind. It’s boundaries go past the mind.

You said that you studied many religions. What did they give you?

Each religion offers a practice. In Christianity, I literally fasted and prayed until my hair fell out. I was going to do the practice just like they promised so that I knew God. But it was the Gita, Buddhism, Zen and Patanji Yoga that really taught me meditation. Patanji has the clearest system on how to go from a conscious state to a trance. His system is mostly how I teach people because it was so systematic.

Do you feel that people in Tahoe are open to meditation?

I think so, yes. Tahoe City to me is the epitome of Tao. You see the Tao everywhere and you imaging that it has to touch the heart of the people.

How did you end up in Tahoe?

We took a drive through Tahoe City and we loved it. And I asked my husband, please move me there.

When was that?

About two months ago.

So you just opened a practice up in Tahoe City, Attainment. Have you owned other centers elsewhere?

I have. I owned a meditation center in Sarasota, Florida. I had had that for about five years.

How does nature influence meditation?

Oh goodness, it fits in perfectly. I think it is the perfect example of being still. It doesn’t toil. It doesn’t move. It’s perfect. I think that it is the absolute example of the spirit within. Meditation is teaching the spirit to become still for awhile so you can become perfect. When one is still long enough, the spirit can grow to what it was meant to be and that is satisfaction.

What spurred your study?

I was in pain. I was very abused when I was young and I had pain that no one could see. I was seeking a way to alleviate that pain. The pain was great enough that I wasn’t going to stop until I found it.

Was meditation the solution?

Meditation became the avenue, most definitely. It gave me a great life.

The Sierra Sun’s Julie Brown interviewed Steele for this week’s Meet Your Neighbor. E-mail Meet Your Neighbor suggestions to

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