I’ve been thinking about the best way to respond to this question as it comes up a lot.
When my interest in Buddhism first piqued, I remember being overwhelmed by all the resources and lists. A common recommendation was to find a reputable teacher, but few were close to where I lived at the time, travelling wasn’t easy without a car, and I still had a lot of social anxiety. After several trials and errors, and some guidance from the community, I eventually found my place on the path.
Taking my own experiences into account, I’d recommend starting simply. Understand the training rules, practice general mindfulness in everyday life, and study a short discourse—perhaps the Buddha’s teachings on metta. To have success with a meditation object—especially one as subtle as the breath—it helps to build a foundation in the basics. Further, I’d suggest not feeling discouraged if having a teacher isn’t possible for you. There’s certainly a benefit to having a teacher, but progress can be made without one.
What advice would you give?