20 Meditation Tips For Beginners

November 14, 2008 by  

Although a good number of people try meditation at some point in their lives, only a small percentage actually persist with it. This is unfortunate, as the benefits are enormous. One possible reason is that many beginners do not start with an appropriate mindset to make the practice sustainable.

The purpose of this article is to provide 20 practical recommendations to help beginners get past the initial hurdles and integrate meditation as an ongoing practice in their lives.

1: Make it a formal practice. Set aside a time in the day that is your meditation practice time.

2: Only meditate for as long as you are enjoying it. It is especially important in the beginning  that meditation is not a chore.

3: Do yoga or stretch first.  Firstly physical activity will draw your own awareness into the body and away from your mind.  Also a practice like yoga  loosens the muscles and tendons allowing you to sit more comfortably. Additionally,  yoga  opens the body not only at the physical level but also at subtle level,  which facilitates movement of energy in the body.

4: Pick a specific location in your home to meditate.  Ideally the place you choose will be somewhere that does not have much activity at other times. Two reasons for doing this are, the subconscious is conditioned by repetition, so by going to the same place at the same time each day to meditate, you will expect to meditate when you are there. The second reason is that when you meditate you begin to create a particular vibration in that spot. With time and meditation, the place will become increasingly attuned  to this energy of meditation, again making it easier for you to meditate when you are there.

5: Make sure your meditation time is respected.  If you live with others make sure that they understand that you are not to be disturbed while you are meditating. Equally for yourself make the same commitment, for example if your phone should ring, be aware of it and continue your meditation.

6:  Create some representation of sacred space in your meditations spot.  This should obviously be what is meaningful for you, maybe an actual altar with pictures and objects, or maybe just a special rug and your meditation cushion.

7:  Use ritual if it helps you. This doesn’t have to be elaborate it could be as simple as lighting a candle, or a lighting incense. The repetition of a ritual before you meditate, is again conditioning preparation for your body and mind.

8: Commit for the long haul.  When you begin with the clear idea in your mind that the greatest benefits from meditation will accumulate with time, and see it as an ongoing process, you are less likely to give up in frustration.

9:  Meditate with understanding.  Get clear in your mind exactly what you think meditation is and what it will be like before you start. Invariably everybody does have ideas and expectations like this, it is very helpful to make them conscious before you start. So write them down and see exactly what they are.

10:  Be clear of your motivation to begin meditation. When you understand your reasons and objectives in beginning meditation you are more likely to find a practice or technique that will work for you at that time.

11:  Begin with a particular practice that you have actively chosen and commit to doing it for a given time period. Many beginners are constantly jumping from one to type or technique of meditation to another. Your meditation practice is a relationship with yourself, it will not deepen if it consists of one night stands.  This is not to say that the practice or technique you begin with is the one you stay with for the rest of your life, but a relationship is best left when you know exactly why it is that you are leaving, and not done simply on an impulse.

12:  Educate yourself.  Confusion and misunderstanding is the primarily caused by ignorance. Find a good teacher, or online community where you can get answers. Read some books on meditation and spiritual practice, and of course come back to  on a regular basis, or better yet sign up for our rss feed.

13: Notice if frustration starts to creep into your practice. If you notice this happening take some time to explore what is going on for you, what expectation is not being fulfilled. Then examine the expectation itself, what is it based on.

14:  Be honest with yourself. As I said meditation is a relationship with yourself, you are the most important person you need to be straightforward with, and meditation is a key place to practice this.

15:  Be prepared for some discomfort. It is normal in the beginning to experience some physical discomfort when sitting to meditate. Most people are not accustomed to sitting still, other than maybe slouched on a couch. Your body needs time to develop strength and openness in the right places to allow you to sit comfortably and alert. Sooner or later discomfort will also be experienced at the emotional and mental levels. If you are not consciously prepared for this it is likely to deter you from continuing.

16:  Until you are well versed in your meditation practice it can be very beneficial to use a recording to guide you. This will help your mind to let go of concern about what you are doing, and the recording can act as a guide until you no longer need it. Better yet get the Living Liberation Home study Course and start of with a proven meditation teaching.

17:  Start to look for moments of awareness during the day. Finding space to be consciously present  during everyday activities is a wonderful way to evolve your meditation  practice. Take  advantage,  of the time spent waiting in traffic, waiting in line, waiting for anything, to become present to yourself and what you are experiencing within yourself. Look for such opportunities in your day, however brief, simple as they are can radically change of experience of life.

18: Do it together. Meditating with a partner or group can have many wonderful benefits, and can improve your practice.  When meditating with others many people say that it improves the quality of their meditation. However, it is necessary to make sure that you set agreed-upon ground rules before you begin.

19: Don’t stress about it. This may be the most important tip for beginners, and the hardest to implement.  Many people in beginning meditation become anxious about whether they are doing it right or not, or whether something they experience should be happening or not.  ‘Meditation is practice’, goes into more detail regarding this.

20:  invest in a good, comfortable meditation cushion. If you need other things to allow your body to sit comfortably without strain, get them. If you set yourself up with the things that you need, you are  removing a future potential  pitfall  to your practice.

Meditation is one of the greatest gifts that you can give yourself, like any lasting and meaningful relationship it takes energy and commitment, it takes understanding and tolerance. If you put these things in to your practice meditation will become your best friend, and powerful resource.


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8 Responses to “20 Meditation Tips For Beginners”

  1. Elaine on November 19th, 2008 5:20 pm

    Having a special place you use everyday really helps.

    Finding a mantra that works for you is good too. I use the word “Hu” (pronounced like hue) It helps me feel centered and in tune with spirit. It can be used by all religions. It is simply a way to say “I love you God”

  2. Ray Baskerville on November 20th, 2008 8:13 pm

    Hi Elaine, thanks for your input.
    Using mantra is a type of meditation, in India it is called ‘japa’. TM meditation for example is a japa practice.
    I’m happy it works for you, keep it up, and i hope you found things that are helpful to you in the article.


  3. Shantyguy on November 25th, 2008 9:26 pm

    great stuff, like i said elsewhere i wish i’d had such clear advice years ago, still there’s hope for me now. one tip i learn’t myself – don’t meditate when your stoned!

  4. Ray Baskerville on November 29th, 2008 5:45 pm

    Hi Shantyguy
    personally speaking, meditating and getting stoned don’t even fit in the same lifestyle. One is about becoming conscious and aware and the other is heading in the opposite direction. Also energetically getting stoned is impairing and dulls your vibration – not that great for you spiritually.

    So I recommend sticking with meditating and letting go of your needs to be stoned by looking at exactly why you need to do it and find a way to fulfill that need that supports your evolving.

    Om Shanti

  5. Shantyguy on December 26th, 2008 9:32 am

    Ray it’s about a month since you left the reply above and I gotta tell you man I’ve been thinking about it a lot. It’s kinda hard to admit that you are right, but you are. It’s like I can’t keep fooling myself anymore.

  6. Practice of Meditation on September 27th, 2009 5:53 am

    A great meditation tip for beginners is to go to a meditation retreat. The mental strength you get there is invaluable to start practicing daily, it also helps you to increase your awareness and go deep in meditation.
    .-= Practice of Meditation´s last blog ..Hello world! =-.

  7. Ray Baskerville on September 30th, 2009 5:04 pm

    Thanks for your comment Camilo

    I agree that meditation retreats are valuable, personally I like nothing better. They can though have a diverse effect on beginners learning meditation. For some they can inspire a lifelong practice, for others it is too intense and they give up on meditation.

    For anyone who has been practicing meditation for a while, doing a retreat is a great way to deepen the practice and appreciation of meditation.


  8. Ana @ Blue Topaz Rings on October 6th, 2009 5:03 pm

    Hey, Ive been practicing meditation for 5 years now and it has really transformed my life. My relationships are so much more balanced and finally I feel satisfied. My husband and I both get on a lot better and for the past 4 years he’s been meditating as well. I can’t recommend it enough to my friends and family.

    Thanks for the helpful pointers – they will get many beginners of to a great start 🙂
    .-= Ana @ Blue Topaz Rings´s last blog ..Blue Topaz Engagement Ring =-.