beginning meditation?





I’m a 16 yr old male considering meditation and[or] yoga for a stronger well-being; more than less, a more solid mental comprehension, or tolerance? If that makes sense? I’m really into improving intelligence through psychology, and that interest has wondered into the outer grasp of the benefits from ‘zen’ on the human brain, and our characteristic habits. BOTTOM LINE, “self improvement.” haha
If you know of any instructional websites (that are free), or detailed books that I could pick up at a barnes and noble, please let me know. I’m not interested in the history, more so the practice, and where to begin.
Leave rude implying remarks where they’re needed; outside of my comment boxes. Also please comment only if you have firsthand knowledge on the subject. Thanks in advance friend.


  1. My beliefs are that there is no “wrong or right way” to meditate. The path towards spirituality is one that splits into countless avenues. I found “HOW to MEDITATE – A Practical Guide” by Kathleen McDonald to be worthwhile for MY path. This does not mean to be appropriate for yours just because it was for mine. Like many teachings, I took what I found practical and discarded the rest. No individual knows the “best way” to do anything because there is no such thing as an independent consciousness.
    I send you pure thoughts on your journey.

  2. Don’t waste your time.
    I’m not being rude here, but meditation is nothing more than focusing intently on nothing. Zen is simply experiencing the present moment. No future, no past, only now. The Japanese call this Zanshin. It is something that the warrior classes practiced because it helped them to mentally get into that place in battle where you can only worry about the now, not what you just did, or what will happen next. It’s possible to experience this to a degree whilst doing randori in certain martial arts styles (aikido, JuJutsu, Ninjutsu.)
    Centuries before this, the Chinese did this as well, and ultimately it all started in India.
    You want to experience Zen? Go drive a car. It’s the perfect example of living in the now. All at once, you are thinking of your destination, obeying the rules of the road, operating a machine using all of your senses, perhaps thinking about things that happened to you earlier in the day, or what will happen later, but you still manage to drive the vehicle from moment to moment without any problem – making split second decisions when necessary. You are in a Zen-like state.
    I seem to remember this book was fairly informative…
    Ultimately, you will find that meditation (sometimes known as “sitting”) is just a great big waste of time. Action is what changes your life, not thinking about nothing.

  3. I’m delighted that a sixteen year-old boy is so self-actualized. My experience has been that joining a local group who meditate helps me as well as any simple book. There is even a book, Yoga for Dummies that is actually quite helpful. I now practice yoga and meditation daily but that is how I started out. Feel free to ask me any other specific questions if you want, I’ll answer them if I can.

  4. I’ve offered descriptions of a basic, widely-practiced meditation technique in other posts. Here’s a link to one:
    Feel free to check my profile for other replies to questions about meditation. I’ve practiced primarily Zen techniques and Vipassana, and I’ve got some familiarity with a number of others (including very similar techniques from Christian monastic traditions, which use a different vocabulary, but follow the very same essential principles).
    There are many books. “A Path With Heart,” is a nice one by Jack Kornfield. I would very much recommend, though, connecting with a practice center so you can get instructions and ask questions first hand. I think the Insight Meditation folks (as set up in the U.S. by Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein) are doing a great job of teaching meditation for our culture; they have practice groups spread across the country.
    King of Limes’ reply above, while the book he mentions is good, is overall a very inadequate account of what meditation involves. (I’ve practiced Zen intensively, as well as studied it academically at Harvard’s Center for the Study of World Religions.)
    The absolute best way to understand what meditation is truly about, though, is to undertake a meditation retreat (say, for at least 5 days). Nothing else compares.

  5. Hi and thanks for your question. The advice above is very good indeed. I would only try to add a little shading to some of the comments and relate respectfully to your aspirations as you understand them so far. I certainly don’t mean to be contrary.
    One of the more revered Zen guys from Japan is reported to have said:
    “To know yourself is to forget yourself.” (Dogen Zen-ji ) He is pointing out precisely that presence in the moment as in driving the car mentioned above. You don’t have to think about it. The car gets driven anyway and much better so than if every little movement of wheel and brake etc. is considered. The resource of meditation lays out clearly how we all are inclined to ask our minds run the show unnecessarily – far into the “future” and from the “past”. In fact the mind does not exist and this can be discovered in meditation. This is the lesson of Rajayoga or Janayoga as well – possibly less so in Hathayoga emphasis. Additionally, modern neuroscience ( as well as non-dual practice) shows us that there is an entirely new mind with every new perception, memory, fantasy etc. Bottom line is that we are not our minds.
    To forget the self then, is to come to the realization that there is nothing to improve upon and that there is already everything needed for a full and appreciatively deep life. All authentic meditation techniques lead – sooner or later – to this fact. The Buddha said that it is our birthright – The Lotus Sutra. The whole idea of ‘psychology’ takes on a new and likely unanticipated meaning altogether. Traditionally, psychology is concerned with the improvement of reactions to a situation thought to be less than desirable as experienced by this “self”. This has it’s use, just as intellect has it’s use in making a living. However to know what one actually is, is to come to the understanding that the old Chinese Chan man, Layman Pang (a layman, not a monk or priest) understood as he walked out into a snowstorm one day. He remarked something like: “Good snowflakes. Not falling anywhere else.” Always, it is consciousness that moves – in this case as these snowflakes falling. It is futile and even painful to want something to be other than it is and yet that is what we persist in persuing. The resource of meditation reveals what is – as it is. You are on the right track to understanding the self and very good luck to you.
    Online or in a bookstore I would recommend searching: Stephen Bodian, Larry Rosenberg, Genpo Roshi/Big Mind, Kosho Uchiyama, Chogyam Trungpa for Zen oriented studies. For Janayoga: Jean Klein, Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, Ramana Maharshi, Greg Goode (@ nonduality dot com).

  6. I recommend Sogyal Rinpoche’s book simply titled “Meditation.”
    The book is small, perhaps 3″ x 3″, and only about 90 pages.
    It is actually the chapter on meditation from his larger book “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying.”
    The book does occasionally make references to things specific to the Tibetan path of Buddhism, but these can easily be passed over if desired.
    The information on meditation is still valuable.
    With respect to King of Limes perspective, his/her car metaphor is a perfect example of one of the mental conditions regular meditation seeks to address.
    Successfully driving a car while the mind is busy jumping from one thought to the next is a great example of not being ‘mindful’ in the moment.
    Meditation can expose mental habits so deeply entrenched that we are unaware they exist.
    I have not read Brad Warner’s book “Sit Down and Shut Up:Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death, and Dogen’s Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye”,
    but did read a well written excerpt from it in the March-April ’08 issue of Utne Reader.
    Your local library may subscribe to Utne Reader and have that specific back issue available for reading.

  7. “Beginning Mindfulness: Learning The Way of Awareness” By: Andrew Weiss – teaches Mindfulness Meditation, Lovingkindness Meditation, Tonglin – the Practise of Compassion – from the Theravada and Zen Traditions. Andrew Weiss, is ordained in both Thich Nhat Hanh’s Order of Interbeing and the White Plum Lineage of the Japanese Soto Zen Tradition. You’ll find this book in the Buddhism Section at Barnes and Noble.
    “Mindfulness in Plain English” By: Henepola Gunaratana, teaches Mindfulness Meditation and Lovingkindness Meditation and is on this Website:
    You may also wish to read the book “Coming To Our Senses: Healing Ourselves and Our World Through Mindfulness.” By: Jon Kabat-Zinn PhD. This book is in the Psychology and Self-Help Sections at Barnes and Noble.
    Metta to all.

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