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Jack  Kornfield

Jack Kornfield

Clinical psychologist, meditation instructor and author

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Sharon Salzberg

Co-founder of the Insight Meditation Society and magazine...

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Stephan Bodian

Meditation teacher and author of Meditation for Dummies

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Top 5 Things to Do

Joy, sorrow, anger, fear, surprise, love, jealousy, delight, openness and bliss—and that’s just the beginning. Mediation can help you work through whatever emotions arise in you. Whether you are new to meditation or seasoned, enlightened or curious, here are some tips to help during your first 30 days of meditation.

1. Find your meditation style.

As you begin to explore meditation, you’ll discover that there are many different styles and traditions that you can follow. It’s important to research several styles to see which method fits you best. Some techniques involve visualization. Some use specific breath techniques and/or mantras. Still others use actions like walking or chanting. Once you find a type of meditation that feels right to you, make a commitment to stick to it.


2. Start small.

As with most worthwhile endeavors, you should start small and build gradually as you begin meditating. Try meditating for two minutes in the morning and two minutes at night. Close the door, set the alarm, put on relaxing music and light some candles. Next time, try three minutes at a time. Even these small amounts can make a difference. Eventually your practice will soar into maturity.

3. Create a comfortable space.

Having a comfortable space in which to sit quietly will help to encourage a regular practice. While it would be wonderful to have a spare room just for meditating, all you need is space to sit. You may find that the corner of your bedroom or living room serves this purpose beautifully. Once you have located a comfortable space, you can make it special by adding a small altar with inspiring images or by simply placing a candle or fresh flower in front of your cushion or chair. It’s also helpful to have an alarm clock to time each meditation.

4. Become part of a community.

Meditation is a very personal journey, but your experience can be enhanced by becoming part of a group of people on a similar path. In a community you can find support, information, insights, encouragement and advice. Checking online for local groups and resources, visiting spiritual bookstores, and talking to friends who share your goals and interests can help you create such a community. You may find that joining a weekly meditation group can help to give you the discipline as well.

5. Ask questions.

As you move deeper into your practice don’t hesitate to ask lots of questions. Become deeply curious about the feelings and sensations that inspired you to seek out meditation in the first place. You can turn to your teacher, the people in your community or to books and online resources for answers. If you’re wondering why you keep coming back to thoughts of your childhood while meditating, talk to someone about it. If you slipped into your first moments of thought-free bliss and want to know how to stay there, ask. Questioning leads to greater clarity and insight.

Posted: 3/11/08