Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
Mindful Embodiment and the Senses: Touch, Vision, and Song
Anne Carolyn Klein, Rice University
Scholastic and psychotherapeutic communities have to date mainly focused on very particular versions of Theravada and early Mahayana Buddhist mindfulness practice. Much good has come from this. Yet, looking at this work through the lens of Buddhist culture and the wider set of practices, intentions, and body-knowledge in which they are embedded, we are challenged to see if we can take this cross-cultural conversation a step further. To that end, I will propose a template for including in our inquiry such elements of spiritual practice as the integration of mindful attention with sound, imaging and, especially, the traditional theories of embodiment
which give them meaning. I want to explore whether emic categories that do not, at first glance, map easily onto Western ones—prāna and the elements of the body, for example—can be meaningfully aligned with, and possibly refresh, our understanding of self, being, and embodiment, and the therapeutic avenues available to us.