Friday, November 29, 2013

Mindfulness Research - Tracking Mind's Footprints

There is no place to seek the mind:
it is like the footprints of the birds in the sky 
                    from the Zen poem of Zenrin Kushu

     "Our journey has left us with questions about how one approaches research material and the dilemmas involved in trying to grasp something tangible or in trying to capture what is intangible.
     In Roland Barthes work Camera Lucida on photography completed just before his death, he describes his struggle to articulate a way of being with photographs, his own ‘way of reading’: 
       Some [books about photography] are technical; in order to ‘see’ the photographic signifier they are obliged to focus at very close range. [Other books] are historical or sociological; in order to observe the total phenomenon of the photograph, they are obliged to focus at great distance. I realised with irritation that none discussed precisely the photographs which interest me, which give me pleasure.

     Barthes went on to describe his sense of engagement with photographs as akin to a ‘wounding’ – a sense of being drawn to aspects of an image, that in that meeting between the image itself & his own engagement leaves its mark, but is not observable or reducible to some kind of analytic logic.
     For us the wound or mark could also be a footprint – tangible yet also intangible at the same time – much, as is suggested by the Zen quote that begins this paper, as the mind itself."
       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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