Meditation - The Basics


Different postures affect how the energy flows through the body and how alert the mind is in meditation. For most meditations, we suggest sitting upright with the spine erect while still being comfortable. It is not necessary to get into a precise or difficult posture to meditate! If you are uncomfortable or straining to be in a certain position, you will not be able to relax completely. Some meditations, such as our Walking Meditation, are done while active.  Obviously, if you are doing a meditation for falling asleep, it would be best to lie down.

How Long to Meditate

Usually 15-30 minutes is a good meditation time, although if you are new to meditation, you may want to start with 5 or 10 and build up. If you meditate regularly, it can be helpful to meditate about the same number of minutes each time. (An exception is our Meditation-in-Action which is done for longer periods of time while engaged in activity.)

When to meditate

When you meditate will partly depend on what kind of meditation you are doing and the purpose of the meditation. Although you can meditate at any time, the ideal times are usually in the morning as a start to your day, or in the late afternoon in order to unwind from the activity of the day and be refreshed for the evening.

If you do a meditation which energizes you, it's better not to do it before bedtime. Some meditations, however, are specifically designed for falling asleep and many people find listening to many of our guided meditations helps them relax into sleep.

Meditations which are deeply relaxing are best done on an empty stomach or at least a couple of hours after a meal.

How often to meditate

The ideal frequency of meditation may vary from person to person depending on many different factors.  Generally speaking, once or twice a day is ideal.  A regular routine of meditation is invaluable.  The benefit derived from meditation starts to carry over into our activity more when we meditate regularly.  Many find twice a day to be ideal, but certainly, even once a day can make a big difference.

It is possible to meditate too much.  Everything in life is about balance and proportion.  Usually, 15-20 minutes twice a day is sufficient and more could be counter-productive.  (Taking brief meditation breaks more often would be OK, however.)

Thoughts in meditation

Thoughts arise spontaneously in the mind. They are a natural part of meditation. The goal of meditation is to become more at ease, relaxed and at peace with whatever is happening. Therefore, it is important to not resist anything that comes in meditation, including thoughts.

Don't try to push out thoughts or resist them. Simply notice that thoughts are present and let them go the way they come -- effortlessly. When you find that the awareness has been caught up in a train of thought, easily come back to the focus of your meditation. (This will vary depending on the type of meditation you are doing. In a breath meditation, for example, come easily back to the experience of the breath.)

It's important to understand that you have not made a mistake when thoughts come or the mind has become absorbed in thought. It's a natural part of meditation. The mind may get caught up in a "story" about what is happening in our life, or even what is happening in meditation -- what has happened or will happen. Likewise, we can let go of that. Don't purposely follow the train of thought. Let it go. Let go of the meaning of thoughts. Let thoughts be a meaningless activity in the mind!


It's enjoyable to meditate in a quiet place, but it is not always possible. All of the meditations on our website can be done in a noisy environment. The key is to not resist noise. Don't try to ignore the noise or to block it out. Simply let it be and continue with your meditation.

Everything is a part of meditation -- the noise, your thoughts about it, the way the mind may start to resist it, the emotions that arise about it. Treat everything that arises in meditation the same way -- let it be, let yourself be!

Falling asleep in meditation

Hopefully, in meditation we enter a state of "non-resistance". This would include not resisting sleep if it comes. If we try to keep from falling asleep, we are straining. The goal of meditation to establish a state of ease. Therefore, if sleep comes, let it come.

As the body relaxes, it will take the opportunity to sleep if it is needed. If you find that you fall asleep frequently in meditation, it may mean that you need more sleep at night and is a good reminder to make sure you are getting enough rest.

Ending Meditation

It's important to take time to come out of meditation slowly. When we are deeply rested in meditation, it can be jarring to suddenly get up and start our activity. Remain with your eyes closed for a minute or two. Stretch, move around a bit, and gradually become more active. When you are ready to open your eyes, you can open them downcast at first. Take your time!

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