First practice deep breathing, this will cleanse your body and induce a calm state within your mind and body.
Breathe in deeply, hold and breath out. You breathe in the future, hold in the present and breathe out the past. Repeat this breathing exercise 10 times; do this each time before you meditate and you will find that your mind and body will be in harmony ready for the next stage. Feel free to vary the number of exercises to suit your circumstances or need.
If you wish to accompany your meditation either with music or guidance from a tape or CD, and you feel this would enable you to attain a meditative state more easily, do so. Meditation is a completely personal state and you should not allow anyone else to impose a regime.
Some people use a candle, again this should be your preference, any colour will do, but after a time you may find that a particular colour will reflect the meditative requirements.
Light the candle and ensure it is in a safe container and will not be a danger to the surrounding environment. Seat yourself in a comfortable position, that you will be able to maintain for up to 30 minutes without feeling discomfort. As a beginner your feet should be flat on the ground, this is to ensure good grounding. Additionally, your back should be straight, not slouched. Rest your hands loosely in your lap, or on your knees, palms upward (you can make a circle of your thumb and first finger if you wish to symbolise unity with the source).
Breathe deeply in the manner described above; concentrate on the candle flame, or any other fixed point, and gradually allow your eyes to close quite naturally, you will find that this happens without any forcing.
Breathe slowly and deeply and allow your mind to go blank. Imagine a cool, dark lake of still water, concentrate on this lake. Allow any strains and stress to slowly sink into the lake and flow away from you. Keep the surface of the lake completely still, every ripple is a thought which is distracting, concentrate on keeping the lake completely still.
Visualise any troublesome worries or people sinking into the lake, slowly sinking out of sight. Allow any problems you are experiencing to sink into the lake, picture the problem, let it slowly sink into the lake and out of sight.
Keep the image of a dark lake in your conscious mind, do not allow any thoughts or noise to impose on your calm state. As you see the lake stretching out in front of you, you may find that other images, reeds, trees, grass and either birds or animals gradually come into focus. This is perfectly natural and you should not stop this process.
What is happening is that you are creating a retreat within yourself which will always be calm and grounded.
If you are a beginner, especially if you are not using a guided or imagery tape, stay with the dark lake and keep this calm, unruffled image in your mind. The lake is a representation of your inner self; your mind, body and spirit. As the lake is calm, so will your thoughts, body and inner self be equally calm, reflecting the tranquil nature of the scene.
The lake may gradually alter shape and become less dark, or you could find you wish to get up and move round the lake and explore this world you have created within your being. Follow any inclination you want, it is your world and your retreat.
You will find that problems and issues present themselves as part of this scene and you will find within yourself the answers you seek. This takes practice and time, it is not a five-minute wonder; but is well worth the effort involved.
When you are ready, gradually allow your eyes to open and continue to breathe deeply and slowly until you are back in the real world and full prepared for whatever you need to face.