How to Meditate

When practiced correctly, meditation is a scientific method for increasing happiness. Buddha discovered that we each have a natural reservoir of inner peace in our mind which is the source of authentic and lasting happiness. Learning how to tap into this reservoir is the most meaningful and beneficial thing we can do for ourself and others.

Hello and welcome to our practical guide designed to introduce you to the profoundly transformative practice of meditation.

Over 2,000 years ago, Buddha revealed that we each have a natural reservoir of inner peace in our mind which is the source of authentic and lasting happiness. Meditation is the method for tapping into this extraordinary inner resource.

In this guide we'll start by first exploring what meditation is and why it's so beneficial to do it. We'll then take you through the steps you can follow to actually sit and meditate today, as well as how to set up a daily practice that will lead to meaningful progress.

Let's begin!


What is Meditation?

An explanation of the practice

Right now, meditation is hot! Everyone seems to be doing it. Doctors and psychologists and coaches and managers everywhere are recommending meditation. More and more, people are tuning in to apps, to YouTube sessions, and starting their meetings and classes, and even their playdates Meditation works. Its benefits are proven and people are discovering that it’s not that hard to experience those benefits immediately.  

Having said that, the full power and potential of a regular and qualified meditation practice requires something more than what is often popularly on offer. An authentic meditation practice has the potential to bring about deep transformation on both an individual and a societal level. Buddha did not teach meditation simply so that people could feel a little bit better!

Our “How To Meditate” Guide is designed to empower you with the nuts and bolts of a qualified meditation practice. Let's begin by taking a look at what meditation actually is.

In the book, Joyful Path of Good Fortune, the founder of the New Kadampa Tradition, the Buddhist master, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche writes, "To meditate is to familiarize our mind constantly and thoroughly with a virtuous object."

This simply means that meditation is the practice of using our mind to focus on objects of thought that produce happiness. For example, with breathing meditation, we focus on the breath itself - that's our meditation object. Our single-minded focus; leads us to naturally let go of distractions and possibly negative thoughts ty which has the effect of deeply calming our mind and making it (us) happy. 

Normally we do the opposite, we have a million different thoughts flying through our mind, and they're usually ones that cause us pain and suffering. Buddha coined the term “delusions” to describe these states of mind. We know them well. Anger, attachment, jealousy, anxiety... When we practice meditation, we learn how to let go of these negative states of mind, and in this process, something quite magical happens. We step away from our ordinary perspective of ourself and connect with our profound potential to experience deep and lasting happiness.

"When the turbulence of distracting thoughts subsides and our mind becomes still, a deep happiness naturally arises from within."

Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche

In How to Transform Your Life, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso writes,

"The real source of happiness is inner peace. If our mind is peaceful, we will be happy all the time, regardless of external conditions, but if it is disturbed or troubled in any way, we will never be happy, no matter how good our external conditions may be. External conditions can only make us happy if our mind is peaceful. We can understand this through our own experience. For instance, even if we are in the most beautiful surroundings and have everything we need, the moment we get angry any happiness we may have disappears. This is because anger has destroyed our inner peace."

Take a moment to ponder this, it is truly revolutionary. Buddha is saying that you have the potential for limitless peace and happiness, free from all suffering. What's more, you are carrying the reservoir for the fulfillment of all your wishes in your heart, right here and now. If you follow Buddha's instructions you can achieve this. Anyone can.

Take a moment to ponder this, it is truly revolutionary. Buddha is saying that you have the potential for limitless peace and happiness, free from all suffering. What's more, you are carrying the reservoir for the fulfillment of all your wishes in your heart, right here and now. If you follow Buddha's instructions you can achieve this. Anyone can.

Check out this video of our teacher, Kadam Morten, talking about the experience of inner peace and how wonderful it truly is.

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Let's keep going. Next we'll take a look at some of the many benefits of undertaking a regular meditation practice.


Benefits of Meditation

How Meditation Will Change Your Life

Many people come to meditation either because they are simply seeking some mental relaxation or because they have reached a point in their life where things have become too difficult and perhaps overwhelming. Stress and anxiety. Crippling depression and low-self worth. Meditation helps to alleviate all of these negative states of mind. If we practice regularly, we can quickly gain control of our thoughts so that we feel more peaceful, focused, centered and more productive, all of the time.

It is important to know, however, that meditation will do more than simply give us relief from problematic states of mind. Buddha's ultimate intention was to help people heal at the deepest levels, uncovering a capacity for a profound and unceasing experience of happiness, permanent inner freedom, and limitless joy.

Many people don't believe that great psychological change can actually be achieved. The prevailing view seems to be that even in working as best we can to reduce our negativities and limitations we can't eradicate them altogether. Buddha's view is radically different: our negativities and limitations are not who we are at all. They are superficial distortions of the mind. If we learn how to go beneath these superficial states, we can connect with our naturally peaceful heart. This process will opens us up to profound personal expansion.

Everyone you meet has this potential. You have this potential!


Geshe Kelsang Gyatso's Gift to the World

"These instructions are scientific methods to

improve our human nature"


Now we're ready for the juicy stuff! We're next going to explore how you can begin meditating today.

Here we go!


How to Meditate

Wisdom-Based Breathing Meditation

As we have already outlined, mediation is the most powerful, creative, and effective tool for cultivating the potential of our mind. When we sit down to meditate, we want to begin by feeling recalling how fortunate we are to have this opportunity to experience ourself at our best, and to cultivate our greatest potential.

This step is critical and one you don't want to overlook it. This is how we build a positive association with meditation which will set us up for a lifetime of successful practice. If we see it meditation as a chore, it will invariably fall to the bottom of our list of daily priorities and we will find we never get around to doing it on a regular basis. We may well abandon our practice altogether.

The most recommended and most helpful meditation to learn at the beginning is breathing meditation, which is relatively easy to do yet deeply profound. If we learn to stop focusing on our agitating thoughts and instead focus on the sensation of the breath, we will find that all our unpeaceful thoughts begin to dissolve away. Of course, our mind will want to wander back to these distracting thoughts, both the appealing ones, the mundane ones and the negative thoughts. This is our mental habit. But we simply keep bringing it our attention back to the breath. The more we do train in this pratice, the easier it will become.

It's important we don't put ourself under pressure to produce results, and instead simply just enjoy the process of experimentation - watching the mind and continually bringing it back to the breath. Over time, we'll be able to stay with the breath for longer and longer amounts of time. At first, we may only be able to sustain our focus for a few seconds uninterrupted, then we can build up to 15 seconds, then 30 seconds, then a whole minute, five minutes, and eventually even ten minutes! As we get a taste for the deep peace that's possible when our mind remains steadily on the breath, we'll naturally feel motivated to focus on it for longer and longer periods of time.

While going through this process, it's important that we develop the following recognition: “There is a natural source of peace and happiness already present in my mind, there for me to access. All I need to do to make my mind peaceful is let go of what's not natural to it - the unpeaceful states of mind. If I stop focusing on my agitated thoughts, peace and happiness arise naturally.”

We then want to spend some time simply enjoying our peaceful mind itself. We let ourself absorb into this feeling, bathing in it uninterruptedly. When we do this, we begin to experience real meditative absorption, meaning our mind absorbs into that peace which is in the nature of freedom, spaciousness and happiness. As we absorb into this experience, allowing it to fills our mind, and we can become increasingly aware of the transcendental potential we carry within us.

While breath meditation is wonderful and truly profound, there are so many other meditations we need to also learn if we want to actualize our highest potential and eradicate all our suffering states of mind. Buddha designed his teachings and meditation practices as a spiritual path whereby we can systematically deepen our happiness, one day at a time.

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We are on the homeward stretch now. Hopefully this primer in meditation has energized you and given you the encouragement and motivation to begin a daily practice. Because actualizing our potential is only possible with continued practice, we're now going to share some ways to incorporate meditation into your life every day.

Let's begin!




Setting Up a Practice

How to Live a Truly Meaningful Life

The wisdom approach to life is to use every day as an opportunity to improve our experience of authentic happiness. We need to train every day to remind ourself of our natural source of inner peace in our heart and make the determination to connect to it daily for as long as we can.

To create a daily practice, here are some important steps you can take:

1. Create a Space

When possible, meditate in the same space each time. Set out uplifting images, such as Buddha, serene sunsets, loved ones, flowers, etc.

2. Make the Time

Don't buy into the "no time to meditate" excuse! Try earlier to bed/earlier to rise, shorter shower, etc.

3. Make the Determination

Before going to bed, tell yourself "I will meditate in the morning."

4. Detox from Distractions

Before you begin meditating keep your head clear by steering clear of texts, emails, social media, TV, and newspapers.

5. Plan Ahead

Decide your meditation topic in advance, before you begin.

6. Personalize

Make your meditation personal, not abstract. Have a project, e.g. "I want to improve this relationship", or "I want to work on this aspect of myself."

7. Do it for Others

It's very beneficial to think, "I'm doing this on behalf of others I care about who can't do it/aren't doing it."

8. Take it Into Your Day

Recall your meditation topic at regular intervals throughout the day, and ask yourself, "How can I apply this in my life right now"?

If you have any questions, please always feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].