In plain language, How to Meditate presents the basics of mindfulness and other forms of Buddhist meditation, from trusted readers’ favorites like bestselling authors Sharon Salzberg and Matthieu Ricard. Also included are inspiring stories of success with the practice from Peter Coyote, Sylvia Boorstein, and Charlotte Joko Beck; answers to common beginners’ questions, advice and resources for sticking with meditation, and much more.

Inside our How to Meditate Special Edition

“How I Started to Wake Up”

Meditation teacher Spring Washam gets personal about starting and staying with her practice. 

I heard about a ten-day Buddhist meditation retreat starting in a few days. It was way out in the desert in Southern California. This was it! It was the break I’d been waiting for and it couldn’t have come at a better moment, because I was truly desperate. I had been practicing on my own for over a year, and I knew I needed to learn how to meditate properly. I was so excited by the idea of ten days of silence, healthy food, and meditation instruction that I was willing to do anything to get there. I somehow got the money together and registered.

“How to Do Mindfulness Meditation”

Each meditation session is a journey of discovery to understand the basic truth of who we are. In the beginning the most important lesson of meditation is seeing the speed of the mind. But the meditation tradition says that mind doesn’t have to be this way: it just hasn’t been worked with.

Good Question!

Throughout How to Meditate, you’ll find friendly, encouraging answers to the most pressing questions that meditators often ask. Like:

Q: I’ve carved out time and space in my home for meditation. But, I still find it easy to avoid it! Are there any tricks that can help?

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  • What Buddhist Meditation Is—And Isn’t
  • What do all the different Buddhist meditation terms mean?
  • What should I do with my eyes when I meditate?


  • How Meditation Helps Clear the Way for Happiness
  • Are there specific things a Buddhist has to do or believe?
  • What Meditation Has Done For Me
    —Featuring Sylvia Boorstein, Joseph Goldstein, Charlotte Joko Beck & Sharon Salzberg

—A Lion's Roar Special Edition—

How to Meditate

Buddhist Practices for Your Heart & Mind

Inside our How to Meditate Special Edition

Read excerpts from our How to Meditate Special Edition: 

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How to Meditate

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—A Lion's Roar Special Edition—

How to Meditate

Buddhist Practices for Your Heart & Mind


  • Learn the ‘BASICS’ of Insight Meditation
  • How to Do Walking Meditation
  • How to Practice Zazen


  • How Long Should I Meditate For?
  • What should I do about pain in my knees when I meditate?
  • Can I meditate on line or on the bus?
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          I had all of my belongings in my car, my last twenty-five dollars in cash, and nowhere to go when the retreat was over. I didn’t care, because I somehow knew that if I could just get to the retreat, everything would make sense."

Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche takes you through the basic practice at the root of Buddhist meditation: from what to do with your eyes, hands, and breath to how to relate to the thoughts that come up.

What we are talking about is very practical. Mindfulness meditation practice is simple and completely feasible. And because we are working with the mind that experiences life directly, just by sitting and doing nothing, we are doing a tremendous amount.

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The best practice is the one you’ll actually do, so if you can only sit for 10 minutes, and not 25 or 30, then go with that. And here’s a great little cheat if you can’t get yourself to do even that: simply commit to get into your meditation posture daily. You don’t have to actually meditate, or spend any particular amount of time there—but keep doing it. In time, it will feel more familiar and you’ll be less resistant to actually meditating.