5 Tools to Help You Start Your Home Meditation Practice

5 Tools to Help You Start Your Home Meditation Practice via Buddhaimonia

Meditation changed my life in ways that I can describe in detail and other ways in which I have no words for. But more than something which has allowed me to get or acquire something else, meditation is my constant companion. Every day, I meditate. And every day I feel the peace that comes from sitting in silence.

I don't know what brought you to meditation. It could be the desire to get "more" from life, the feeling like there's really supposed to be more than this. It could be that you feel something's missing as if you were missing a puzzle piece. Or it could be that you want to achieve something and that you feel meditation will help you do that.

Whatever brought you to meditation, know that there's something deep within you that wants to reveal itself.

Also know that we generally, especially in the West, come at meditation wanting something, desiring to acquire something (and that's perfectly natural), but that your meditation will ultimately show you how to stop wanting that thing and just let it go, and that true peace and happiness exist in developing the ability to do just that.

With that said, I hope your meditation practice helps you find what you're looking for, even if you don't quite yet know what that is.

5 Tools to Help You Start Your Home Meditation Practice

With the internet has come a new way of life.

Learning is no longer only done in a classroom and communication has been transformed forever (and continues to be further transformed every day), and while desktop computers, laptops, and tablets are household items, nothing is more common than the smartphone, a device half the size of a small book all of which hold the power to access, at this point, some recorded form of nearly all the knowledge and information we as humans have gathered over the past few thousand years.

And while these changes haven't been all good, they have been very good and very exciting.

One of the most significant changes, to me, is the fact that now anyone can jump on the internet and access a wealth of wisdom from practically every spiritual tradition that's ever existed.

You can get access to teachings, meditation exercises, detailed instruction, and even watch and connect with teachers and communities of practice via a plethora of content formats and communication methods. That's something I couldn't be more excited about, and a movement which Buddhaimonia was born from.

So know that, even if you don't have access to a teacher and a community to practice with, you can still create a strong home meditation practice and follow a spiritual journey all by yourself with just a few simple things.

Sure, the reality is nothing is required to sit and meditate. But to take that journey without guidance, in my experience, can be extremely damaging as well as "waste" years worth of time, to say the least. And on top of that, there are other tools which just help enhance your practice and make things easier in general.

I hope this simple list of tools and resources can help you in your practice. ___________________________________

Download the "5 Tools to Help You Start Your Home Meditation Practice" PDF Guide, including meditation instructions, and start meditating today:


1. A quiet place to hear the sound of silence

The first and most fundamental thing you'll need is a quiet place. This doesn't have to be anything elaborate or fancy. If you have kids, it could even be your restroom if you just can't seem to find a moment to yourself anywhere else.

It really doesn't matter where, the point is just that you have quiet and peace with which to hear yourself think and be able to devote all of your focus to the task at hand- meditating.

Maybe you want to go all out? First and foremost, don't get hung up by thinking that creating some elaborate meditation space will make the difference in your practice. But with that said, creating a meditation space can help your practice.

Even the simple act of creating a dedicated space for your meditation practice can help you convince yourself in your mind that your practice is important and to prioritize it. But there's much more you can do:

  1. Clear a space which will be used only for your meditation sessions. Don't let anything become placed here. If things start to pile up here, or you constantly have to move things out of the way before you meditate, then that's just one more excuse why not to do it. Take that excuse away before it can even come up by keeping the space clean and empty.
  2. Set your cushion down and don't move it for the world.
  3. Place beside it, on the floor, or in a shelf or stand of some sort, any symbols/statues/pictures which help remind you of, as well as instill, important principles in your meditation practice such as love, compassion, kindness, mindfulness, or equanimity.
  4. Set a dedicated time for meditation and do everything in your power to stick to it. Don't schedule anything on top of this time, you need to act like it's important, even if you're just starting out.

A meditation space is a useful tool in anyone's practice. It's somewhere you can go when you're feeling strong emotions and need somewhere to cool off, a place where you can "find yourself" daily, and just somewhere important for practice in general.


  1. For more on creating a meditation space, check out my book Zen for Everyday Life. In it I detail practices for creating a "Zen space", building an altar like the one I mentioned in #3, and establishing a daily meditation practice from A-Z. You can download the first 2 chapters free by clicking here.

2. A meditation cushion for comfort

A meditation cushion isn't required, but whoa is it nice.

I meditated for at least a year and a half before buying a meditation cushion, usually sitting on either a folded pillow or the floor. Either, or a chair, will work fine, but if you plan on sitting in the full or half lotus position (suggested) I'd highly recommend getting a zafu (meditation pillow) and a zabuton (meditation mat).

The zabuton, or meditation mat, sits on the floor, while the zafu or meditation cushion is placed on top of that. The zafu is very comfortable during meditation, is made for the perfect height to allow your knees to touch down and create a stable tripod when in the full lotus position, and by sitting on the last 1/3 of the pillow you're able to maintain proper posture throughout your meditation, all very nice things. Plus, the zabuton, helps cushion your knees which creates the all-around most comfortable and least-distracting meditation experience.

This simple little cushion will quickly become one of your best friends. Plus, as a bonus, if you ever visit a community or monastery it will help to have your own pillow to use during group meditations.


  1. The meditation cushion (zafu) I use: buddhaimonia.com/cushion
  2. Meditation mat (zabuton): buddhaimonia.com/mat. You can sit with just the zafu, but it's nicer to have than not have.

3. A book (or audiobook) for timeless instruction

I'm a product of the Internet age. By that I mean my path began online- buying books and audiobooks online, listening to dharma talks/lectures on YouTube and elsewhere, and reading articles on websites like Lion's Roar (formerly Shambhala Sun) and Tricycle. Most of the guidance I've received has come in one of those forms.

But I'm not unique. I'm only one of many "new/Internet age" practitioners, someone who didn't necessarily choose to practice in this way but who worked with what he had.

I plan on being a part of a physical community in the future, but as for my upbringing, it's been almost strictly through Internet communication or access to information online. Books and audiobooks may only take you so far, but they're extremely valuable tools on the path.

I prefer audiobooks (I have a membership with Audible.com), because they're super convenient and I find that I actually absorb the material better when listening as opposed to reading. Perhaps it's easier to be mindful of a person's words than it is of words on a page (unless it's an exciting fiction novel, which these are obviously not!). I don't know what it is exactly, but I'd suggest trying it out for yourself.


Here are some of my favorite books for getting started:

  1. Mindfulness in Plain English - The quintessential book on mindfulness, this book breaks down mindfulness in detail from many different angles. Always clear, always easy to understand, and thorough, this is a classic.
  2. The Miracle of Mindfulness - This is one of Thich Nhat Hanh's classics. It does a great job of showing you what it means to actually live with mindfulness.
  3. Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind - This is a classic among classics. If you're new to meditation, the book might be a little difficult to understand at first, but keep at it and you'll see how amazing this book is with time. It explains the basics of sitting meditation and following one's breath in incredible depth.
  4. The Little Book of Mindfulness - You can also get my first book, The Little Book of Mindfulness, for free here.

4. A teacher you can listen to and learn from

If you don't have access to a teacher, don't knock yourself, it's not required (albeit the closest thing on this list to being so). You can practice on your own and learn from teachers "from afar" as I call it.

Today, you can listen to dharma talks online and feel as if you're right there with the other practitioners, listening to the teachings and then applying them in your life and practice.

If you don't have access to a teacher directly, I'd suggest studying teachers online (living and non-living) and studying their work in detail. It would be a very good idea to find a number of living teachers, as that allows you the affordability to listen to new lectures, books, and courses when they're released.

This won't beat learning from someone directly, but even with a teacher and a community the path is still very much about you going it alone (no one else knows what you're going through in any given moment, only you), so it's not as different as you might think.

I will warn you about one thing, though: if you go without a teacher (and a community), you'll have to cultivate a high level of discipline in your practice because without those two things it becomes so much easier to drop off.

Again, though, there is a middle point. As I mentioned before, the age of the Internet hasn't just given us unprecedented access to information, it's also transformed how we communicate. Because of this, you now have the ability to communicate more directly with teachers and fellow practitioners all around the world.

And I don't just mean directly talking with someone, as I mentioned above simply watching a lecture on YouTube or elsewhere is of immense benefit and connects you directly with a teacher's words.

The point is, even if you don't have access to a teacher directly, if you can get online then you have a world of resources at your fingertips


Here's a list of some of my favorite living teachers and their websites:

  1. Thich Nhat Hanh - Someone I've mentioned many times before on Buddhaimonia, Nhat Hanh (or "Thay" as his students call him) is the person whom I've read, watched, and listened to most of all. It also helps that he's written a trillion books and gives (or gave, before his recent stroke) lectures constantly, nearly all of which are on YouTube right now.
  2. Byron Katie - Byron Katie is someone whom I heard quotes from on Twitter for probably 2 years before thinking, "hey, I should look him up!". Of course, I was wrong, because he is a she! And what an amazing teacher she is. To say that her wisdom is vast would be an understatement. I'd really suggest checking her out.
  3. Jack Kornfield - Jack Kornfield is a former Buddhist monk and someone who has taught me quite a bit. I read his blog regularly, which includes a lot of great excerpts from his books. Another great one!
  4. Ram Dass - Ram Dass was part of the first "wave" of teachers in the West of Eastern spiritual traditions alongside some of my favorites: Chogyam Trungpa and Alan Watts (both are unfortunately deceased, although both wrote and recorded A LOT in their day, all of which you can find online).

5. A community you can connect with

A community of practice isn't just valuable, it's priceless. This, just as a teacher, isn't required, but it's as close as it gets to being so.

A community which helps support and nurture your practice is one of the single most powerful aids to your practice. Not only does it give you people, or better yet friends, whom you can talk with and relate to, but it provides you with support during tough times, a place to have your questions answered, or at least explored together as a group, and a constant way of building and developing your practice.

A daily practice which doesn't involve being mindful of how you interact with others isn't much of a practice, and a community will help you with that in an effective way.

But what if you don't have the time or resources to join a community? My best suggestion would be to find a local community or meditation group which meets weekly and go to each weekly gathering. Meditate, interact, and come together with the different group members and build bonds.

Even if you only get the chance to meet with them once a week, you can still begin building deep bonds through your practice and great friendships as well.


Check out the Plum Village (The Mindfulness Bell) as well as Wake Up sangha directories for groups in your area. These are both organizations founded by Thich Nhat Hanh, so I completely support and stand behind the practices of both groups (which are, usually, simply the practice of mindful breathing, short readings from his books, and the recitation of The 5 Mindfulness Trainings, all in a group setting):

  1. Wake Up - Get Involved!
  2. The Mindfulness Bell - Sangha Directory

That's it! Don't make it complicated by adding a bunch of bells and whistles to your practice. These are the fundamentals to begin not only a meditation practice but a spiritual journey of any kind.

I hope you found this list, and the resources, useful. And remember, I'm here for you! Post a comment or contact me here, I'll do my best to help!


Download the "5 Tools to Help You Start Your Home Meditation Practice" PDF Guide, including meditation instructions, and start meditating today: