As a beginning meditator, the techniques I typically use are:

  • Counting breaths, restarting at 10 (learned in Japan).
  • Envisioning, with warm feelings, all of my friends and family around me in a large circle (learned in Florida).
  • Attempting to feel the minute sensations from each different part of my body (learned in Florida).
  • Focusing on identifying as many distinct sounds as possible, particularly when in nature (my own).

Are there any other techniques recommended for beginning meditators?

  • Counting breaths on phalanges (with thumb) - up to 12*12=144.
  • "Tonglen": breathing in all the suffering of the world, breathing out happiness.
  • Gladdening one's mind through "noble" posture and facial expression.
  • Zen-style. Just sitting, no matter what happens. "Don't go with the thoughts, don't go against the thoughts".
  • Energy. Identify blobs of emotional energy on and around body and dismiss.
  • Minimizing the amplitude. Watch the diaphragm when breath reverses direction and keep reducing the tension/effort.
  • Bowing meditation (aka half-prostration).
  • Bamboo meditation. Stand up with eyes closed and slowly rock back and forth while focusing on the centers of the feet.
  • Dahnmu (energy dance). Stand up with eyes closed and move freely as your body wants expressing yourself.
  • how would one count to 144 on the phalanges? i can't quite imagine it. – Anthony Feb 15 '15 at 19:09
  • For each Twelve on one hand, count one on the other hand. – Andrei Volkov Feb 15 '15 at 19:10
  • so, by extension how would one count to 12 on one hand? 2^5=32 so i know there must be a way. – Anthony Feb 15 '15 at 19:11
  • 3 phalanges on 4 fingers, counted with the thumb – Andrei Volkov Feb 15 '15 at 19:12
  • 1
    Far Eastern tantra, yes – Andrei Volkov Jul 7 '15 at 12:37

Simple breathing is recommended by Thich Nhat Hanh. I am inhaling, one, I am exhaling one, Repeat for each number up to ten. If get off count go to one.

There is a simplicity to that that does not invoke mental activity and allows one to go to the counting and breathing when thoughts are faced.

Picturing being in the presence of the Buddha and your teacher and all sentient beings can help dedicate your meditation to benefiting all sentient beings and expand beyond the self-centered aspiration for awakening for eliminating one's own suffering.


I personally will not recommend any in the list other than number 3.

You can use 4 also as long as you don't try to identify the sound. The sound should just make contact and produce a sensation and pass away with equanimity in the mind (no liking, disliking or developing self awareness). You should be very careful as not to have after thoughts or form perceptions which slip past your attention. This is generally very difficult for a novice. At a later stage you will start seeing sound as just quantums of vibrations. But having said this the best way to bring your mind to the present moment, if it has wondered away, is to listen to sound or look at the touch sensation as these are always in the present. In the case of sound, this should be done for a short duration due to reasons above.

What I would recommend is:

Before you start and end a session just look at the sensation of the touch of your clothes, wind and the ground and what your posture is.

Then start with breath meditation. To start with just try to see the in out breath. Then the start to finish of the breath. Then note the length of each in out breath from start to finish.

Once you can do that progress to other stages in the Anapanasati Sutta and Maha Sattipattana Sutta.

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