Meditation for Beginners: Five Steps for a Daily Practice

As a beginner, in establishing a daily meditation practice, the following guidelines can help add variety and richness. Your confidence in weaving these pieces together will grow with practice and this simple flow will become quite natural. There are five parts to this sequence:

  1. Inspriation and Intention: As you begin, take a short time to clarify your intention and offer a prayer of gratitude or a call for inspiration. Remember that meditation is the practice of deep relationships, and that you never practice "alone." Call upon the sources of inspiration in your life, that they may inspire your meditation. Remembering all those who share your life and world, practice in order to in some way be a force of healing and wholeness in the world.

  2. Concentration: Next, shift to some type of focusing, concentration meditation, such as mindfulness of breathing, the nine-part breath, or the elemental breaths.

  3. Meditation: Now shift to a longer period of quiet meditation using whatever technique you are drawn to.

  4. Dedication: Finally, end the session with a brief dedication, gathering the potency generated through this time of meditation into your heart and radiating it to share the blessings with all beings.

  5. Application: As you conclude your formal meditation practice, make a smooth transition and hold the intention to carry the quality of mindful presence into whatever activities will follow. Throughout the day, pause from time to time for a mini-meditation to renew your connection to these qualities, and then continue to infuse your life with the mindful presence, insight, creativity, and compassion that flow from your meditation practice.

Though these five stages build upon each other, if time or inclination do not permit, you will still benefit from doing only steps 1, 2, and 4, steps 1 and 2, or even just step 1. Give yourself credit for any sincere steps that you make in the right direction!

Keep your formal practice short and simple as you begin so that you can begin to establish this new life-habit and feel some success in maintaining it. Then, as you see the benefits, gradually develop, deepen, or expand your practice.

[Adapted from the book "Luminous Mind" by Joel & Michelle Levey]

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