Skip to main content

Learning to Meditate: An Instructional Guide for Beginners

Sage has been a witch for 25 years. She enjoys writing informative articles to teach others the craft of the wise.

Explore the basics of meditation with this guide

Explore the basics of meditation with this guide

How to Start Meditating

Meditation is the cornerstone for many religions (such as Wicca) and magical practices. For many, the biggest obstacle to developing a good meditation routine and beginning to reap the benefits of meditation can simply be... getting started. Modern culture constantly inundates us with stimuli in the form of electronic entertainment and distracting gadgets. We are always overcommitting ourselves with more ways to waste time than we can count. It takes time and practice to re-train yourself to still your mind and create a sense of inner calm. A poor understanding of what meditation is further complicates attempts to practice it.

Meditation helps us cultivate a state of mind conducive to ritual, spiritual experiences, psychic development, and magical workings. It really is a lot simpler than most beginners think. Here is a brief guide to help you get started.

What Not to Do While Meditating

Sometimes the best place to start when teaching someone something new is to explain what not to do. Remember the following when you attempt to meditate:

  • Do not get too comfortable. Meditation is meant to put you in a relaxed state of awareness, but you're not trying to get so relaxed that you fall asleep.
  • Avoid trying to clear your mind. That's right, I said don't try to clear your mind. Sadly, this common misconception is thrown about in spiritual circles, and it's the very thing that trips up so many beginners. Trying to force your mind to do anything (even banish thoughts) during meditation is the antithesis of what meditation is supposed to be.
  • Try not to expect major cathartic events like visions, visitations, astral projection, and the like. Sure, they're things you might work up to and occasionally experience, but really, that's not what daily meditation sessions are supposed to be about. Putting that kind of performance pressure on yourself is really going to get in the way of your efforts.

What to Do While Meditating

Along with the caveats, there are a few measures you can take to ensure your efforts are successful. To get started meditating you should:

  • Set aside a place that is calm and quiet. Make it a space away from the hustle and bustle of the household. Steer clear from windows that face noisy traffic, playing children, or barking dogs. It should be a place where you can go undisturbed for up to 30 minutes at a time with a comfortable place to sit.
  • Plan to meditate regularly. You'll get the most out of it if you keep up with a consistent routine. You don't have to start out big—just 5 to 15 minutes each day will suffice. You can increase your sessions incrementally as you start to get into the habit, but at most, you won't need more than 15 to 30 minutes on any given day.
Meditation helps foster a peaceful state of awareness

Meditation helps foster a peaceful state of awareness

A Basic How-To Meditate Guide

  1. Stretch: Do this for a couple of minutes. Stretching will help release some tension, allow you to relax more easily, and will also prepare you for the time about to be spent sitting still.
  2. Get into a fairly comfortable position: Unless you're planning to fall asleep, it's best to sit up with your spine straight. Let yourself sink into the position so you're not forcing yourself to sit rigidly. You can cross your legs if you're on the floor, or you can put your feet flat on the floor if you're sitting on a chair. Lay your hands on your lap.
  3. Close your eyes: Visual distractions can be overstimulating and can get in the way of your concentration.
  4. Take a deep, cleansing breath: Breathe in through your nose slowly and deeply (without straining), then let it out through your mouth even more slowly and completely. Do this once or twice before allowing your breath to just fall into a normal, natural rhythm.
  5. Find something to root your consciousness in the moment: This might be your breath or your center spot behind your navel deep inside. If you're using soft music, you can focus on that. This root essentially keeps you grounded in the moment. Don't force concentration on it—simply allow yourself to be aware of it instead.
  6. Let your thoughts and feelings drift by: It is okay to observe and be curious about your thoughts, but try to remain detached from them. For example, if your mind starts racing with the idea of what you need to do before dinner or with the anger you felt after arguing with your spouse, don't become tense. Just observe with an attitude of, "Hmmm . . . look at that."
  7. Return your awareness to your root: Let your thoughts and emotions drift by. Don't engage them or let them carry you away. If you have trouble letting them go, pull a Scarlet O'Hara and tell yourself, "I can't think about that today; I'll think about that tomorrow." Return your awareness to your root.
  8. Treat any distractions the same way as you would thoughts and emotions: Treat a dog barking or someone in the house dropping something the same way as you would your thoughts and emotions. Note them, and let them drift on by. Think of all these things as though you are rooted in the earth, and they are clouds in the sky on a breezy day—acknowledge them if you must but let them just drift past you.
  9. Take a couple more cleansing breaths, and open your eyes: Do this when you are ready. You might even want to stretch again.

Keeping Up the Momentum

Try to meditate for a minimum of 5 minutes, and whenever you reach your goal try to increase it by a minute or two until you can go for at least 15 minutes. You may have to remind yourself a few times to get into the habit, but you'll start looking forward to the sessions after a while and may start doing two sessions a day. Meditation is an excellent way of making you feel refreshed, calm and de-stressed.

Meditation is a practice that many people keep for the duration of their lives. It really is all you need. However, if and when you feel ready, you can move on to other techniques and more advanced methods.

Meditation Aids

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 Mackenzie Sage Wright


katie on January 12, 2020:

is it okay for me to meditate on my bed???

tammy snyder on June 20, 2019:

thank you for time I really found it very helpful

Aaron on March 25, 2019:

when I was young I would look at a wall and stare at it for an hour yet it felt like 3 minutes was I sub conciusly meditating

Ever on March 17, 2019:

Great article! Thanks!

John on October 19, 2018:

I am new to Wiccan, I have been doing alot of reading and studying, and have decided that i would start to meditate on a daily basis. i work retail, its a stressful job sometimes so i thought if i did start meditating it would help me metally and clear up my mind. how long would you recommend me to meditate, as in, how long for my first time?

Kayla on September 14, 2018:

Thank you for this! Your whole series of articles/guides on Witchcraft and Wicca are quite interesting and very informative, and I enjoy reading them, even if I'm not quite sure how I'll mesh it into my daily life just yet, but mediation is easy enough to do. I haven't worked my way up to 5 minutes just yet, but hopefully, more practice will make it easier!

Rhonda on June 29, 2018:

Thank you for taking the time to write this. I'm new to everything, and trying not to pester my teacher with every little detail, so basic needs like meditating and the like are things I've been trying to research on my own. I'll be trying your method.

Kristalynn on May 19, 2018:

I was in the process of learning Wicca and Witchcraft, when I saw that meditation was a part of it I was genuinely surprised since I am new to the concepts. However, I did 5 mins worth of meditation following the steps and wouldn't I know it most of the pent up anger and stress from the week is gone. As well as what I had pent up from today. It is amazing, I always talked about meditating but until now I never did because I sadly believed in all of the stereotypes with meditating and it didn't seem like my cup of tea, boy I was wrong, just want to say thank you

Unknown on February 08, 2018:

I thought i was gonna do this for like 5 min but when I look at my phone it's been 15+ min

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on October 02, 2017:

Meditating is a lot like 'zoning out'... sounds like you're off to a great start!

When you achieve the right state of consciousness (Alpha state, also known as 'in the zone' to some), you will be in the moment and usually will be unaware of time.

You're onto it, just keep practicing :o)

NinaEberhardt on September 26, 2017:

I'm very new to... well all of this but expecially meditating. I've only done it once. I planned to take only 5 minutes like you suggested. I felt like I was doing OK and kept focus on my breathing. Then I found myself focusing on the black I could see from having my eyes closed.... I could see what looked like gentle light bursts and swirling... it was almost memorizing and I just kept watching. Then i heard someone come in the house and I kind of snapped out of that. Did some cleansing breaths and ended my mediation. When i looked at the time about 15 minutes had gone by and it only felt like a couple. Any thoughts? Was I meditating or just "zoning out"? Thanks.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on June 21, 2017:

Thank you Gretchen!

Gretchen on June 21, 2017:

Really intrigued by Wicca/wiccan n trying to learn n read everything that's "true"....have read a few articles you've written n definitely will be continuing...

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on January 28, 2014:

Hi Ollie; You will find that meditation is an EXCELLENT way to help discipline your mind and decrease symptoms and problems with ADD/ADHD. Moving meditations are a great way to get started if you have hyperactivity, and once you begin training your mind you will find your focus becoming more and more pronounced.

OllieTrolley on January 28, 2014:

This was very helpful, with and ADHD mind, it likes to dart from one thought to another. This helped me relax and clear my mind.

Thank you.


Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on January 19, 2014:

Hi, Greatstuff. Thanks for commenting! That is an unusual meditation position, lol, but whatever works. That's all that's important.

Mazlan A from Malaysia on January 18, 2014:

This is very informative and I like all your dos and don’ts. I meditate every morning before getting out of bed. My meditation position is weird; I will lie on my stomach with my face just below the pillow (like sleeping face down) as this position gives me the best 'option to apply some of your dos and don’ts) and when I get to the alpha stage, I feel like I am floating, great sensation.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on January 10, 2014:

Hi Sara! Thank you, I'm glad you found the advice helpful. I can't tell you how many people I've known who got tripped up on the 'clear your mind' thing. It's not surprising a lot of people give up in frustration. Good luck with your goal this year! Start small, and as the benefits grow, it gives a lot of motivation for more. Comments are much appreciated!

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on January 10, 2014:

Thanks Sangre, I'm glad you find my hub useful. Meditation is funny, it's one of those things that seems hard to fit into a busy day-- and once you do get used to it you don't know how you got through the day without it. Even five minutes can make such a difference. Thanks for stopping by, I appreciate the comment!

SarahLMaguire from UK on January 08, 2014:

Helpful advice here about not trying to clear your mind. When I"ve tried to meditate, I've ended often getting frustrated with myself for 'not doing it right' - just the opposite from how it should be. A more regular meditation practise is something I want to aim for this year.

Sp Greaney from Ireland on January 08, 2014:

I tried this one in a workshop with a friend, but I never did it at home by myself. I can never find the time to do it. Your instructions are great, I might have to stop making excuses and find the time.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on January 04, 2014:

Thanks Victoria Lynn, I hope it helps you out. If you are one of those who have trouble sitting still altogether, you might want to check out my hub on moving meditations, showing you how you can get into a meditative state of mind while in motion doing a task. I appreciate your comments.

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on January 03, 2014:

It's hard for me to try to meditate without becoming distracted. This is the best step by step guide I have seen. Very well laid out!

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on December 30, 2013:

I stumbled on it in college taking a stress management course, the teacher had us do a couple of guided meditations in class and then gave us 'homework' to meditate daily and bring in a journal about our experiences/feelings with it. It's something that just stuck with me, it makes it a bit easier to face the crazy times. Thanks so much for your comments!

CraftytotheCore on December 30, 2013:

I've never meditated before, because I never knew how. But I think everyone can certainly benefit from finding a quiet place to reflect and open their minds. I know my house gets totally crazy at times and I just wish I had a quiet room to hide in! LOL

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on December 29, 2013:

This is so true, Anna Haven. State of mind is so important and can really make all the difference. Meditation helps us tap into an inner peace that can make dealing with everything else so much better. When I stop for a while I notice a huge difference in my state of mind. Thanks so much for your comments.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on December 29, 2013:

Thanks Lettyann; that's exactly it. I've never been a Buddhist but I learned a lot from a Buddhist who ran a meditation group at a UU church, and he would always say "Remember, if you're trying to do something, you're doing it wrong." It is a confusing concept to so many, to just sit there and not force anything and let yourself simply 'be'. But once you get someone to do it, their eyes seem to open and they're like, "Ohhh, I get it now." Thanks so much!

Anna Haven from Scotland on December 29, 2013:

Great article. You explained it really clearly and captured the essence of it perfectly.

The benefits are huge and with a bit of practice it does becomes easier and an integral part of your day, as you said.

The world is a better place and we sense our place within that whole much better with meditation and visualisation. :)

Lettyann on December 29, 2013:

LOVE the advice not to try to "clear your mind". I learned meditation through Buddhist traditions, and it was really emphasized that when we try to "control "our minds, we are being counterproductive. Great guide!

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on December 29, 2013:

Thank you DreamerMeg; I love it when the universe just kind of guides you like that to just what you were looking for. Glad to be of help, thanks for the comment.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on December 29, 2013:

Thank you MPG Narratives; I have been meditating for years and occasionally I let the practice lapse for a while. Then I realized how easily stressed and tense I get and get back into it again. Comments are much appreciated, glad I could motivate you.

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on December 29, 2013:

Thanks Catgypsy. It can take time to get used to it. There are also other meditative techniques that I am working on describing in articles to come, so maybe you'll find something more suited for you. Thanks for the comment!

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on December 29, 2013:

Thank you Billy! Ahh.. the 60s... when people really knew how to let their minds just go. Maybe a little too much sometimes,but still... thanks so much for the comments, I appreciate it!

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on December 29, 2013:

Thank you DzyMsLizzy; that 'clear your mind' thing trips so many people up, it's true. There's definitely better ways to work with the 'busy monkey-mind' (lol, I like that) than trying to force it to go against it's nature. Your comments & votes are much appreciated!

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on December 29, 2013:

Thanks for the recommendation Nell Rose, I'll have to look into it that CD. I usually listen to singing bowls for my regular meditations but every now and then a change of music/background sounds is very refreshing. Thanks for you comment!

Mackenzie Sage Wright (author) on December 29, 2013:

Thanks Carolyn; I used to not be much of a routine person - I was more a fly by the seat of my pants person - so it took a while for me to settle into it regularly. Once you get used to it, though, it's like showering or brushing your teeth. You just sit down and do it.Thanks for your comments!

DreamerMeg from Northern Ireland on December 29, 2013:

Serendipity! Was just talking about learning this, this morning, about half an hour ago!

Maria Giunta from Sydney, Australia on December 29, 2013:

Meditation was a part of my life for years but I have let it lapse lately. This hub has motivated me to start again. Thanks, voted up, useful and pinned.

catgypsy from the South on December 28, 2013:

I have some trouble meditating. I find it hard to let thoughts float by and not get caught up in them...but you have inspired me to try again. Great hub!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 28, 2013:

I have been meditating for decades...since the 60's actually. Great information here my friend.

Liz Elias from Oakley, CA on December 28, 2013:

This is the best guide I've yet read. I especially appreciated the "DON'T" try to clear your mind. That, indeed, has always been my stumbling block; I have what a friend of mine calls a "busy monkey-mind," that simply will NOT clear and leave me to think only of my 'happy place' image.

I've bookmarked this, as well as voted up, interesting, useful, shared and pinned!

Nell Rose from England on December 28, 2013:

This is great Wiccan, and so true about the not trying to clear your mind, it really does do the opposite. I remember a few years ago I had a Tape, shows how old it was, no CD! lol! It was called Awakened dreaming, it was fantastic to meditate too, I sometimes came 'round' after about an hour, thinking it was five minutes! so darn relaxing! if you can find it on cd its well worth it, great hub, voted up and shared! nell

Carolyn Emerick on December 28, 2013:

I enjoyed this article. I need reminders to make meditation a part of my routine.