I’m a meditator. Which simply means I’m someone who practices meditation regularly, rather than someone who has anything particularly profound to say about the topic.
Knowing that I’m a meditator, friends – and, occasionally, strangers – ask me how to get started with meditation. Or they tell me they tried it, but it didn’t stick, and do I have any suggestions for how to get back on the cushion?
At first I avoided answering such questions, because I didn’t feel I knew enough about it. But my desire to share the gift of meditation won out eventually. I began to write longish emails to friends describing how I got into meditation, hoping that my story might offer a path for them.
Each time I would copy the email I’d sent out last time and adapted it for the new person I was writing to. In this piecemeal process my emails grew and grew. By 2016 my stock draft was too long too edit comfortably in an email client. I started thinking about putting together a guide I could just link to. In 2017, I gathered the material I’d been sharing with people over email into such a guide. I was using Dropbox Paper, of all things, and wasn’t too happy with how that worked. A couple months ago I finally migrated this content to my website and made it publicly available for the first time.
This guide brings together the things I say to people when they ask me how to get started with meditation. I believe it can help anyone to start meditating, regardless of where they are in their life.
I hesitated in publishing it because there’s so much material on meditation out there already, much of it written by people who have a deeper knowledge of the topic than I do. But I haven’t been able to find something that I was happy to direct people to, something at once brief, but also covering the most common questions that come up when folks start practicing. So I felt there is a place online for my little guide.
Here it is: How to get started with meditation
Almost every word is the result of someone’s influence — whether that of teachers whose work I’ve read or listened to, or friends and mentors I’ve discussed my practice with. All blunders are, of course, my own.
I’m constantly revising and updating this guide based on feedback from those who try to follow it. I’d love to hear what you think — whether you’re a meditator already or just starting out on this path.