Some students quickly develop concentration and jhāna; others develop gradually. Shaila teaches a rigorous and nuanced approach to jhāna concentration, but her teaching style is gentle, joyful, and patient.

Shaila’s emphasis is not merely on the attainment of jhāna, but on developing mental skills. While jhāna can produce highly concentrated states in which the mind is free from distraction and has overcome the hindrances, the state of concentration is less important than the skills that develop in the process of learning this meditation method. Meditators will inevitably confront and work to overcome a wide range of obstacles, abandon judgmental habits, balance the mind, refine the skillfulness of their effort, and gain invaluable personal insights.

Those practitioners who are especially adept at concentration will have the opportunity to master each state and skillfully use jhāna as a basis for insight. However, with the intention of liberation, the training will not rush through the mere experience of the jhānas. Although the pace of each student’s development is individual, Shaila generally emphasizes clarity, thoroughness, and skillfulness far more than brief or dramatic experiences.

By working with Shaila over the course of several years, through one or two retreats per year and a dedicated daily practice, students can undertake this profound and systematic training of samādhi and vipassanā without having to travel to remote monasteries in Asia.