He was educated at Melbourne Grammar School and at the University of Melbourne. He graduated with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree (1934) and a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree (1940). In 1947 he received a Diploma in Psychiatric Medicine in London. He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Medicine by the University of Melbourne (1958).
Ainslie Meares was very much interested in the Meditation Practices of Hindus and Buddhists since he visited Nepal in 1960. He dedicated his research to learning Eastern methodologies to gain control of pain and calmness of mind. In Nepal he spent his time with an accomplished yogi who taught Meares. A witiness to the conversation with the yogi recounts that Meares told the yogi about how he used meditation to help his patients.