Saturday, November 30, 2013

Mindfulness Research - Footprints in Melting Snow

     "What is so special about Wittgenstein’s methods is that they do not work in terms of abstract concepts. They work by focusing our attention on certain kinds of events occurring in the situation surrounding us. Indeed, they work by sensitizing us to the fleeting & momentary events that we are ‘struck’ by in some way, events which are novel and unrepeatable, events ... only ‘once-occurrent’ ... occurring for yet ‘another first time’. And what is important about such events, is that instead of a representational–referential understanding which can be formulated in terms of laws, principles, or rules supposedly governing repetitive events, they provoke a wholly different kind of understanding: a relational–responsive kind of understanding, not to do with what something ‘is’ in itself, but with a practical grasp of the changing, moment-by-moment links & relations between such events and their surroundings as they unfold.

     A footprint may be a very fragile & minor indentation – yet they are the imprint of & so capture something of, the living creature that has already passed by. Unlike analysis that, as it were, lays open the animal on the dissecting table, the footprint is the passing trace of something live, a trace of a moment that has already passed, beyond grasping, intangible."

        Moss D, Barnes R. Birdsong and footprints: tangibility and intangibility in a mindfulness research project. Reflective Practice 2008; 9(1): 11-22.


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