What’s Meditation About?

Download Issue 47

Or pick up a copy here

Share Button

If you had an amazingly useful tool or ability that you took for granted, wouldn’t you want to know more about it? Wouldn’t you want to intentionally use it and cultivate your ability? Most people would say “yes”! Well you do, and you can, and it’s called “awareness” or consciousness. You would neither exist nor know anything without it. We all use it every day, but it usually goes unnoticed by people because it’s transparent and works behind the scenes. It has no content. It is like an empty screen or space, where anything can appear, like a film. We live our lives preoccupied, fascinated, frustrated, happy, sad, and curious, etc. With what appears in our awareness and mind.

What if you temporarily stopped looking at what appears on the screen? What if you stopped thinking about all your interests, joys, troubles and responsibilities and quietly paid attention to only the feeling of being present and the space in which thoughts, images and objects appear? What if you just stopped doing everything for 10 to 15 minutes and paid attention to awareness itself? Or what if you just focused intently on one thing? Well something both amazing and, for some, frustrating would happen. You would start to relax, but you would also start noticing how much your mind was full of thoughts and images and how it runs on automatic. It’s like a machine that keeps on going and going without you really controlling it. Many would realize how stressed they were but never knew it. All those thoughts and mental activities have a real, tangible physiological impact on the body and mind. Nothing happens for free in this universe. Mental activity uses energy and stimulates the nervous system. It may get frustrating to see all that activity. You may get impatient and start thinking about all the stuff you have to do or prefer to be doing besides this exercise. Either way, if you decide to stay with the exercise, over time you will discover more and more the peaceful space in which you exist as the feeling of “I am”- the Presence of awareness or consciousness itself. You’ll discover how refreshing it is to be in that space and how it actually regenerates you. Amazingly your mind will get more clarity not less. It’s like waking up in a pristine environment from a good night’s sleep, but even better, because it didn’t take up 7-8 hours of your time.

The exercise or practice I described is traditionally called meditation or contemplation. Meditation is an act of focusing one’s attention, or awareness, but unlike thinking, one does not actively engage the mind. There are different forms of meditation, but they all have the essential form that I have described. People can meditate using various techniques, such as focusing on or counting one’s breath, or focusing on an object or silently repeating a mantra, (a word or series of words). The process produces an alternate state of consciousness and change in physiology in a way that is deeply relaxing and centering. All humans have a natural tendency toward contemplations. Some enjoy it with little effort, like watching a beautiful sunset, scenery or the ocean waves. Others don’t take the time for it because they are too distracted with their thoughts, and daily concerns.

Meditation is by no means new – it has been used for religious and spiritual purposes for thousands of years, especially in Asian countries such as India and China, but also in the West as a form of prayer. Over the past few decades, millions more have adopted the practice of meditation. People are not just using it to help with stress, but for emotional and mental health, and as a way of coping with physical pain and disease.

Meditation has penetrated into the popular culture, and people have started to realize its great benefits outside of its original religious intentions. More and more people are using it as organizations, educators, medical, and health professionals are now endorsing and recommending ir. Many large corporations are not only encouraging it, but are actively organizing it into their culture. Their motivation is perhaps obvious – it’s good for the bottom line. It promotes more effective performance, reduces stress, and maximizes productivity.

When you start to meditate, there is a shift in the relationship between body and mind. You start to feel the body more and become less preoccupied with the content of your mind. This produces a sense of deep relaxation as bodily functions like breathing, mind, and heart rate start to shift into slower rhythm. The result is that you feel better, more energized and relaxed. The “better feeling” is what we associate with an innate sense of happiness. In the next articles we will present some more good reasons to take up the practice of meditation and contemplation. What better way can you spend 20 minutes of your day? It can increase your productivity, energy, and happiness while decreasing your stress and your potential for dis-ease. And it’s free!

Going out

Who the hell is Sugar Sammy? – That moment your wife tells you you’re going to see a French-speaking comedy in Paris

Anglophones in Paris are fortunate to be able to enjoy a thriving English-speaking comedy scene, with regular stand-up nights across the city. Personally, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing most of these and have even [...]

Community News


360€ for 50 Hours Tuition!!! The Newest French Language School in Paris offers the most accessible rates

French language classes at Centre Zenith in the 20th arrondissement began on October 18th 2018. Founded by Sourav Choudhury, Centre Zenith brings experienced and native French speakers to the classroom where courses are explained with […]

Random Stories

Cover features

Just for Fun






Grumpy in Paris – 5 ways to beat the upcoming ‘winter blues’

Living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world has its many perks. A wealth of galleries, museums, delicious food, beautiful walks and a melodic language under no matter what context. But all pros have their cons and one of the lesser points of Paris these days is the ‘rentrée effect’ where people have come back from their holidays, said goodbye to summer and are now waiting for winter (even though we’ve only just hit autumn). Here are some ways to beat those winter blues and enjoy the colder season ahead … […]






Non-Profit – The Paris Institute for Critical Thinking begin university quality courses in English

Paris is hard to beat for its cultural and intellectual vibrancy. But the city’s English-speaking inhabitants – whether from France or abroad — do not have many opportunities to employ the language in sophisticated intellectual […]

Use our IG hashtag #expatriatesmagazine - We print our favourites

Something is wrong.
Instagram token error.

Random Listing

  • Draw with Claude
    Explore the Artist in You. A «Hands On» access to your personal talent. - Pencil (color, led pencil), Charcoal, Chalks and Pastels,[Read more]
About Keyvan Golestaneh M.A., L.AC 26 Articles
Keyvan Golestaneh M.A.,L.Ac. is a natural medical practitioner, psychotherapist, integrative healer and writer. He is a master-level yoga and meditation teacher with 30 years' experience in numerous Asian Yogic traditions and Qi Gong. Golestaneh provides an integrated approach to health that incorporates traditional Chinese medicine (which includes acupuncture and herbal medicine), body-centered psychotherapy, structural bodywork and dietary and nutritional counseling Golestaneh holds M.As. in counseling psychology, Chinese medicine and acupuncture, a B.A. in Anthropology, as well as certifications in Structural bodywork, and Jin Shin Do acupressure. He is a founder and the director of the Conscious Health Institute. As well as seeing clients in-person, Golestaneh also offers long distance consultations via the Internet and Skype. Keyvan Golestaneh well be publishing a book on diet and health which will include delicious healthy recipes for all occasions.