11. “Being here fully”: Autoethnographic Approaches to Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction as an Embodied Group Interaction of an Authentic Self
Alan Schink [+]
Paracelsus Medical University of Salzburg
Alongside modern yoga, mindfulness meditation is considered to be a driving force for “revolutionizing” body-mind practices in Western societies. A major influence here is the popular MBSR programme, developed in the late 1970s by the MIT-educated scientist Jon Kabat-Zinn. MBSR practitioners position themselves predominantly within scientific and therapeutic discourses. In more opaque ways, modern mindfulness also refers to principles of Buddhist spirituality, while at the same time universalizing the method of mindfulness meditation. This paper investigates what it means to be present in modern mindfulness, and especially in the setting of Mindfulness Based-Stress Reduction (MBSR). Focus is laid upon the group setting and interaction in which mindfulness as an embodied practice of being present is enacted and cultivated. The paper is based on (auto-)ethnographic accounts, produced by the author as a practitioner and trained teacher of MBSR/mindfulness and sociologist of religion in one person.