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From Discourse to Awareness: Towards a Mindful Rhetorical Psychology of the Person

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Theory & Psychology TAP-09-0116.R1 Regular Manuscript Rhetoric, Social Construction, Mindfulness, Buddhism, consciousness This paper opens up the possibility for a dialogue between rhetorical social psychology and Buddhist thought. It suggests that a mindfulness-based approach may complement the rhetorical study of the person. The rhetorical critique of cognitivism is based on a certain narrow (Western) concept of mind cognition that is very different to the mind of Buddhist thought. The proposed inclusion of Buddhist mindfulness into rhetorical studies of consciousness may broaden current debates and practices beyond a sole focus on discourse. This move is in sympathy with, and in response to, the affective turn in social psychology and the rest of the social sciences which has lead to renewed interest in, and search for, ways of studying embodied subjectivity, awareness and personal order. Mindfulness practice offers a complementary art of living to this work, which discursive and post-discursive approaches appear to lack.


Foundations, Psychology & Buddhism I follow the call by Brown and Stenner (2010) to reconsider the foundations of critical psychology following the discursive turn. In Psychology Without Foundations, they take a step back from the details of recent critical psychological research to consider it within the context of the continuing crisis of social psychology (for example, between mainstream experimental and qualitative psychologies). They make a persuasive case for revisiting the foundations of psychology as a trans-discipline, by engaging with process philosophers of experience. They argue for a psychology which does not prematurely seek solid foundations for example, in discourse or cognition proposing that attempts by social psychologists to fix and provide onceand-for-all explanations actually impedes rather than enhances our understanding (p. 2). Instead, they do not call for new foundations, or for abandoning existing foundations, but for a creative and reflexive foundationalism, which is always changing. They propose the art of existence or living should be made the central object of psychology (see also Brown, 2001). To paraphrase, they ask What forms of life or being are we to create? and How are we to live based on recent theoretical ideas? They suggest this will involve a caring ethical engagement, which is badly needed in psychology. In accordance with the spirit of this perspective, I propose a shift in social psychological research practice from a discursive or cognitive ground to a groundless ground in mindful awareness. Paradoxically, this is achieved here in part through a rhetorical exploration of how language may be used to cultivate a mindful orientation. In turn, this orientation involves seeing the mind and consciousness as not only discursive activities, but also as specifically embodied, affective and social activities or selfless processes. I explore the following questions: How are we to understand the

embodied and material foundations of our lived experience along with its rhetorical organisation? How can we cultivate forms of awareness, which get us into contact with the groundless ground of our changing existence? And what would it mean to make a shift from a focus on discourse to a stance, which also cultivates mindful awareness in our research practices? I will respond in three primary ways: paralleling Buddhism and social construction; presenting a rhetorical analysis of early Buddhist discourses on the conscious cultivation of mindfulness; and by indicating to the reader of this article how a mindful orientation might be cultivated during the reading of the paper which uses the guidance presented in the Buddhist discourses to approach the very phenomena under analysis. The paper thereby attempts to produce a reflexive approach to foundations, akin to that proposed by Brown and Stenner.

Paralleling Buddhism and Social Constructionism Brown and Stenners process philosophy resonates strongly with Buddhist ideas and the Buddhist-inspired practice of mindfulness, although they do not make these links. From a Buddhist perspective, attachment to a fixed ground is seen as an existential dead-end. In Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, Batchelor (2010) suggests that to:
steady ones gaze on the finitude, contingency, and anguish of ones existence is not easy; it requires mindfulness and concentration. One needs to make a conscious shift from delight in a fixed place to awareness of a contingent ground (p. 156).

The parallels do not end here. Indeed, Brown and Stenners (2010) aim to continuously examine how foundations are constructed and reconstructed as a live feature of the phenomena we study (p. 4) seems to the present author like a

suggestion for how mindfulness might be practiced in, or as, social research: by cultivating the capacity to come into more intimate contact with the shifting groundlessness of momentary experience, and responding compassionately to the anguish that awareness of this impermanence can engender both within and beyond us. Indeed, one book on mindfulness meditation is titled The Art of Living (Hart, 1987). However, current critical psychologies do not provide much guidance on how to steady our gaze on change and transformation in the ways suggested by Batchelor. Indeed, the training of consciousness so familiar to Buddhist practitioners in the mindfulness (or Insight Meditation) tradition might seem strange and unfamiliar even irrelevant to the majority of social psychologists. Arguably, our premature grounding in cognition and discourse, as well as our prejudices, may have precluded engagement with traditions originating in the East. Much discursive psychology prioritises discourse: locating and grounding psychology in the study of language use in talk and texts increasingly in conversational materials. By analysing discourse, critical psychologists highlight what could be termed the interdependent nature of the discursive mind and how it is dependent upon, and productive of, social action, interaction and contexts of language use both conversational and ideological (Billig, 1996; Edwards, 1997; Edwards and Potter, 1992; Potter, 1996). This work claims that dominant social cognitive approaches to psychology have looked in the wrong place, when they locate psychology in hypothetical computational processes in the isolated individual mind, which cannot be observed. Instead, discursive researchers reject the experimentalism and individualism of much cognitive psychology, and observe external, outwardly

occurring activities and shared practices in everyday life, rather than putative inner states produced within rarified experimental settings. Long before the rise of discursive psychology, William James (1890) famously argued that the psychologists of his day overlooked the free water of consciousness (p. 255) or the subjective stream (p. 259) of inner states. The same might be said of todays discursive psychologists, who tend to adopt a sceptical stance towards inner states, such as consciousness. Critics suggest that discursive psychology represents a dead-end in the sense of it being an unbalanced kind of psychology. Social constructionists were initially criticised for presenting disembodied research, which neglects the non-discursive materiality of bodies and objects (Bayer and Shotter, 1998; Brown, 2001; Burr, 2003; Nightingale and Cromby, 1999). Embodiment, feelings and affectivity aspects of subjectivity that are partly pre- or extra-discursive are arguably neglected in discursive psychology (Cromby, 2007; Hollway and Jefferson, 2000). As Durrheim (2011) notes, discursive psychology adopts a model of the person as Homo Rhetoricus: as speaker or hearer oriented to stake and interest in interaction. He argues in the context of studying racism in South Africa that discursive psychology has privileged discursive action at the expense of other kinds of bodily, material actions taking place in the world. He suggests that while the move from a perceptual to discursive model of psychology has been enormously productive, it risks losing site of the non-discursive. For other critics, discursive constructionists have tipped the balance too far in favour of what happens between us (e.g. discursively) at the expense of studying what happens within us (e.g. psychically or somatically) whilst acknowledging that the inner and outer are not discrete locations.

But there are different varieties or flavours of discursive psychology (McKinlay and McVittie, 2010). Some discursive psychologists do indeed stay ontologically agnostic about the existence or otherwise of inner states existing within the mind or body, preferring not to make claims about inner phenomena existing behind or beyond the rich surface of outwardly hearable or observable language use (e.g. Edwards, 1997, 2006). This perspective has been accused of either (i) lacking an ontology of subjectivity by adopting blank or empty understandings of what is within people when they interact (Corcoran, 2009; Hollway and Jefferson, 2000); or (ii) implying instrumental agency in the subject position of the discourse user who strategically manages stake and interest in each encounter (Madill and Doherty, 1994). By contrast, rhetorical psychologists understand inner states themselves as partly discursive. The rhetorical psychology of thinking, categorisation and prejudice (Billig, 1996) can be described as ontologically constructionist because inner states are argued to be constituted through outward practices (Corcoran, 2009). The image of the thinker as a conversationalist locates the psychology of thinking in language use in spoken interaction, which then becomes internalized (Billig, 2008). The person both produces, and is produced by, discursive action, common sense and ideology. This work is partly influenced by the cultural psychology of Bakhtin, Voloshinov and Vygotsky - especially their ideas of inner speech and internalization. Similarly, in psychoanalytic discursive psychology - influenced by Wittgensteins action view of language and Freuds psychoanalysis - even unconscious practices such as repression are seen as discursively and dialogically constructed, rather than inner processes (Billig, 1999a). Feelings and emotions, whether conscious or unconscious, are understood to be discursively constructed in interaction through language use.

This work illustrates how we can treat consciousness and unconsciousness as discursive activities. But there is a risk of reducing the richness of consciousness to one modality: words that are being spoken or written and being heard, read and understood when used for the performance of social action. Indeed, inner life (e.g. bodily feelings) might be taken off the map of social psychology except insofar as it is understood as solely discursively produced through words. Topics such as sweating and pain (Gillies et al., 2004), ageing (Gillies et al., 2005), physical illness (Hollway and Jefferson, 2005), dizziness (Brown et al., 2009, 2011), Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (Brown, 2001), and silence (Billig, 1999a) are hard cases which do not seem to be (easily) reducible to discourse or language use without undermining their essentially embodied, material or non-verbal nature. Similarly, consciousness is a topic, which is difficult to explain purely through discursive theory or discursive empiricism. In this sense, I wish to present mindfulness practice as one way of studying the mind behind the mouth (Edley, 2003), which is largely neglected by discursive psychology, but without resorting to cognitivism. When discursive psychologists do consider the body and embodiment, this is usually through discourse or conversation analyses, which stress the vocal or spoken aspects of embodied being (e.g. Wiggins, 2002). While this is useful in pushing the discursive turn towards the analysis of embodied and gestural actions, analysed at a between-person level, arguably we need more embodied methodologies, which study both the internal and external dynamics, which produce embodied experience (Csordas, 1990). From a mindfulness perspective, discursive approaches are disembodied in a very particular way, which is difficult to appreciate without experiential practice of mindfulness. Discursive psychologists do not tend to require

mind-body synchronicity on the part of the investigator, participants or members. One is not required to cultivate awareness of bodily postures, sensations or feelings in discursive work. The body and embodiment are understood primarily from a betweenperson point of view, i.e. looking externally at bodily practices. By contrast mindfulness is rooted in an experiential meditative practice in which synchronicity of mind and body is cultivated internally. The present approach is sympathetic to the turn to affect, embodiment/materiality, or spatiality (e.g. Cromby, 2007; Burkitt, 1999; Stam, 1998). This is often engaged through predominantly theoretical work. However, attempts to theorise the body, subjectivity and affect might be another dead-end for psychologists, because such work tends to avoid specifying what we are to do in response to such critiques. What methodologies are we to adopt in their study? Blackman and Cromby (2007) encourage the development of methods and analytic inquiry based upon a form of sense-making that is embodied rather than cognitively and consciously understood and articulated (p. 13). They argue that the development, adaptation or adoption of an appropriate method might currently be the primary impediment to critical psychological investigations of affect and feeling (p. 17). A number of methodological interventions have recently been proposed which seek to produce non-discursive, non-cognitive and embodied forms of knowledge, such as Memory Work (Gillies et al., 2004), Visual Analysis (Gillies et al., 2005), Free Association Narrative Interviewing (Hollway and Jefferson, 2000) and Phenomenological Psychology (Langdridge, 2007). Such research attempts to study non-discursive aspects of outer social life (e.g. materiality, objects, power) and inner subjective experience (e.g. bodily sensations, feelings, emotions) along with their discursive production.

In some discursive empiricism, analysts tend to look at or listen to practices occurring between people in external interaction, from the point of view of an onlooking or hearing analyst. A strict analytic separation is sometimes made between subject (researcher/analyst) and object (discourse/members practice) (although see the reflexivity of some early discourse work, e.g. Ashmore et al., 1995). Some recent work in psychosocial, affective and embodied research tries to more thoroughly collapse solid divisions between researcher and participants, for example by: investigating the counter-transference relationships between researchers and participants (Hollway and Jefferson, 2000); or engaging in collective group-level analyses, producing work in which researcher and participant positions can coincide within one person (Gillies et al., 2004, 2005). There are similarities here with early methods of systematic experimental introspection adopted in America and Europe, which are now being revisited in studies of consciousness (Petitmengin and Bitbol, 2009). Mindfulness practice also involves taking ones own subjectivity as the locus of inquiry, and uses that subjective engagement to pursue embodied investigations. For example, Bentz and Shapiros (1998) mindful inquiry approach to social research combines the Buddhist concept of mindfulness with phenomenology, critical theory, and hermeneutics that puts the inquirer at the center (p. 171). Stainton-Rogers (2011) discusses mindfulness as a study skill relevant for critical social psychology (pp. xxiii-xxv). And Barnes and Moss (2008) discuss the relevance of mindfulness to qualitative research; paralleling a mindful perspective with the unmotivated looking of conversation analysis. Offering a light, spacious noticing, curious and appreciative, and not too grasping to make what is passing too fixed and tangible (p. 19). In the space of mindfulness, one creates a context of friendly, curious inquiry

free from strong assumptions and preconceptions (p. 13). This involves opening to the tangible and intangible aspects of experience with equanimity. I will invite the reader to sample such an approach, by adopting the position of both researcher and participant, in a rhetorical exploration of early Buddhist texts. This is similar to proposals for first-person inquiry in enactive cognitive science studies of consciousness, but without making the same solid distinctions between first-person (subjective), second-person (intersubjective) and third-person (objective) research accounts (Varela, Thompson and Rosch, 1991). A rhetorical perspective on mindfulness may allow us to complicate such separations. From the discursive side of the debate, it is easy to assume that any approach, which stresses the importance of inner life, is equivalent to cognitivism. But psychosocial, phenomenological and humanistic approaches to social psychology among others all attest to this not being the case. Equally, Buddhism does not adopt a cognitivist understanding of the mind. But unfortunately, there has been little engagement between Buddhism, critical psychology, and social constructionist psychology, despite there being deep similarities and affinities between these approaches theoretically, methodologically and ethically. There is a long history of engagement and mutually enriching dialogue between Buddhism and psychoanalysis, which predates social constructionism, and which has not yet been explicitly explored by critical psychologists or psychosocial researchers (Magid, 2002; Safran, 2003). It is not my intention in this paper to consider the strikingly overlapping epistemological stances of some Buddhist traditions and psychoanalysis, especially object relations and relational psychoanalysis. This would take another paper. But generally, I am concerned that

work in psychosocial studies becomes synonymous with psychoanalysis at the expense of other commensurate traditions such as Buddhism. Recently, social constructionists have explored some of the theoretical resonances between notions of relationality, joint action and co-action and Buddhist ideas of inter-being or dependent origination; theories which undermine the existence of abiding independent entities, whether in people, or in natural and social worlds (Gergen and Hosking, 2006; Gergen, 2009; Kwee, Gergen & Koshikawa, 2006; Kwee, 2010). The historical Buddha, Siddartha Gotama, was not so concerned with ontology (what is) as with epistemology (how things come to be), which parallels a constructionist approach (Gombrich, 1996). Mindfulness practice can be considered epistemologically pragmatic through its emphasis upon the effects of particular constructions in terms of the complex web of dependently originated processes. The main concern becomes whether the constructions constitute or alleviate anguish. Both critical psychologists and Buddhist practitioners are critical of essentialist stances, which attempt to identify a core essence in objects or individuals that are isolated and independent from specific conditions. Whereas discursive constructionists tend to ground themselves in the study of discourse, Buddhist mindfulness practice is often grounded in the groundlessness of changing bodily sensations and feelings. It thus has parallels with embodied research (e.g. Finlay, 2006). Moving from discourse to awareness involves coming into experiential contact with experience behind or beneath language and before it arises. For example, Pagis (2009, 2010a, 2010b) has conducted participant-ethnography on the production of intersubjectivity in vipassana meditation silent retreats. Pagis shows how the kind of vipassana meditation she studied is initially and primarily a form of embodied reflexivity, quite different to an abstract or discursive reflexivity wherein

one makes oneself a subject or object through language (I, me, mine). Instead, it is anchored or grounded in the sensed or felt body. Shusterman (2008) similarly illustrates how mindfulness meditation is about feeling ones own bodily sensations from within rather than observing ones own and others bodies from the outside. In the words of Merleau-Ponty (1945), it involves getting in touch with the lived body of experience, rather than the objective body of science. Mindfulness practice also involves opening up our inquiries to more than just three senses (i.e. sight, hearing, mental activity), which seem to dominate discursive turn work, to include other neglected senses (i.e. bodily sensations, feelings, touch, taste, movement). A mindfulness-based perspective thereby challenges the ocular metaphor frequently employed in Western culture, as adopted in discursive analyses, which study what is observable in a transcript or video recording. In this sense, mindfulness practice has a less identified or attached relationship to discourse (or talk) than discursive psychology. Indeed, as shall be seen, the emphasis of mindfulness practice tends to be initially upon non-discursive sensory awareness of the full range of sensory experience especially bodily sensations and feelings experienced from within without clinging to the contents of experience. But paradoxically, we need to use language in order to cultivate such a stance internally. Beyond such general theoretical parallels, there have been few attempts to think through in detail how a Buddhist approach might resonate with critical psychological research and practice. Gergen (2009) is critical of individualised meditation practices which only focus on individual change presuming social change can arise purely from individual practice and argues that we need relational meditation practices, which cultivate mindful communities. At this stage, these are proposals, which have

yet to be practically developed. In this paper, I consider a rhetorical approach to mindfulness as a social approach. To develop this approach further, we need to understand how a Buddhist approach might complement a rhetorical psychology of the person, and how rhetorical psychology might in turn help to bring the mindfulness-based approach out of its cul de sac in experimental cognitivist and neuroimaging research. Might we be able to synthesise the perceptual and discursive accounts of consciousness through dialogue between this perspective and rhetorical psychology? To develop this position, it is important to understand how I am approaching mindfulness itself. One great challenge is teasing mindfulness apart from the dominant cognitivist paradigm through which it is commonly engaged.

Mindfulness Practice as a Culture of Awakening It would be easy to assume that mindfulness is a religious, spiritual or mystical practice but it does not need to be seen in this way. I will now discuss background assumptions to my take on mindfulness as a culture, lest it is understood simply as a cognitive process or therapeutic technique. The present paper is grounded mainly in an understanding of mindfulness practice derived from the contemporary Insight Meditation movement in the West, including the work of Batchelor (1997, 2010), and the early Buddhist Pali Canon: key texts in the Theravada school of Buddhism, one of the earliest stratas of Buddhism. Pali is the ancient Indian language used to record the teachings of Gotama and his followers over 2,500 years ago. The Pali Canon comprises what Gotama is claimed to

have actually taught, although there are disputes about the historical accuracy of the written teachings. I adopt a highly selective reading of this canon for the purposes of developing mindfulness practice as a style of critical psychological experiential inquiry. For discursive and rhetorical psychologists, these teachings might be very interesting, not least because they often take the form of dialogues between Gotama and a variety of interlocutors. It is in these discourses that teachings on mindfulness can be found. The word mindfulness is used particularly in the Setting up of the Foundations of Mindfulness (Analayo, 2003), Mindfulness of Breathing (Rosenberg and Guy, 1998) and Mindfulness of the Body (Nanamoli & Bodhi, 2005) discourses. The present discussion will consider these texts from a rhetorical perspective, whilst acknowledging that there is much debate within the fields of Buddhism, Buddhist Studies and Psychology about precisely what mindfulness is, and how it is to be practiced (Williams & Kabat-Zinn, 2011). The practice of mindfulness has been part of several of the world traditions of Buddhism since its early origins in ancient India, developed in a variety of Eastern cultures, and now recently adopted in the West especially in the United States and Europe since the beginnings of the twentieth century. It is part of the extensive Buddhist meditative tradition. I am using the term mindfulness practice instead of dharma or Buddhist practice because these latter terms can create a lot of confusion and misunderstanding particularly the mistaken assumption that what I am presenting is necessarily a religious or spiritual perspective (ala Transpersonal Psychology or Psychology of Religion and Spirituality).

Instead, I intend mindfulness practice to be inspired by dharma or Buddhist practice understood as a culture of awakening rather than as a religion (Batchelor, 1997). This perspective becomes possible through a Modernist or Postmodernist take on Buddhism suitable for engagement in a changing, globalized world through complex cultural processes, including detraditionalisation, demythologisation, and psychologisation (McMahan, 2008). This involves seeing Buddhism as a cultural practice of awakening. Crucially, this perspective is very different to religious Buddhism. From the present perspective, Buddhism is a collection of practices, or things to do, rather than truths to believe. Buddhism becomes a religion the moment the teachings of the Buddha are taken to be true without critical examination and reflection. Buddhism is a culture in the sense of needing to be cultivated or grown, or brought into being. It is an art of living rather than a dogmatic adherence to particular beliefs. By approaching Buddhism as a culture of awakening, we can understand how the Buddha was engaging in dialogue with his host culture. In Arguing and Thinking, Billig (1996) points out that theoretical approaches do not develop in isolation, but rather argumentatively in conflict with other approaches. His antiquarian psychology turns to ancient Greek philosophy and shows how ideas develop historically in relation to their cultural and intellectual contexts. We need to understand how Buddhist ideas similarly developed during the same historical period (5th century BC). Gotama was living through times of unprecedented social and cultural change, mainly involving a movement from a traditional agrarian society to an increasingly market-based economy and from government by local tribal leaders to centralised power in the form of monarchies. Such social change may partly explain his focus on impermanence/change. Arguably his approach provides a highly skillful way of

responding creatively to change and is especially relevant to contemporary periods of rapid social transformation. Nevertheless, many of his ideas need to be understood in their specific cultural context, and translated and adapted for contemporary purposes. Gotama was arguing against the dominant Brahminical belief in an abiding Self (atman), which is the pure consciousness that is the core of ones true being and identical in nature to Brahman (God) (Batchelor, 2010, p. 275). The Upanishads (or Vedanta) were literature exploring the ways to achieve unity with Brahman, for example, through concentration meditation practices designed to lead to absorption states (jhanas). Instead of seeking absorption with Brahman, and detaching oneself from sensory consciousness, Gotamas mindfulness practices were partly designed to investigate the conditionality of lived experience in and through the meditative cultivation of an awareness of co-arising conditions. Instead of there being an abiding independent substance, which animates all reality, all phenomena are conditioned and changing. The principle of conditioned arising or interdependent origination is one of the Buddhas original ideas.
When this occurs, that comes to be; from the arising of this, that also arises. And when this no longer occurs, that comes to an end; from the cessation of this, that also ceases (Olendzki, 2010, p. 106).

This perspective is not a depiction of linear causal sequences or chains of events but that multiple factors co-arise in each moment while mutually conditioning one another (ibid., p. 110). No isolated independent phenomena can be found. This undermines the idea of isolated factors interacting with one another. In mindfulness practice, it is argued that we do not find underlying essences, but rather interdependent processes. This is not the same as saying that everything is connected or interconnected. As Olendzki astutely points out, the word

interconnected rests upon a spatial image suggesting a relationship between two or more things (p. 105). Instead, conditioned arising is part of the Buddhas process philosophy, wherein the dynamics of the flux are more significant than the temporary structures taking shape and arising within it (p. 106). Meditation means to cultivate (bhavana) particular qualities internally, such as mindfulness. Crucially, this involves particular uses of language as well as bodily postures. Mindfulness is a concept used to direct our attentions, moment by moment, to the conditioned processes of becoming. Our attentions become directed to the patterning of such processes especially those, which provide the sense of a continuously existing, abiding self. Buddhist concepts of emptiness and selflessness/not-self emphasise our lack of inherent independent being and bring attention to our responsibility to ourselves, others and othernesses. Even material objects such as a piece of paper are selfless in the sense of containing no isolated, independent core. This background is essential for understanding how I am approaching the cultivation of mindfulness through meditation practice.

Mindfulness: From Definition to Practice I understand mindfulness primarily as a practice to be performed rather than as a concept to be theorized, or state to be measured. This broadly methodological approach can be distinguished from scientific and therapeutic approaches. Much scientific work on mindfulness attempts to study its nature by pinning it down and treating it as an object of study within a hypothetico-deductive positivist

experimental paradigm, involving the manipulation and measurement of factors and variables (e.g. Baer, 2010). Even enactive or embodied cognition research - which combines cognitive science, phenomenology and Buddhist theory and practice - is situated within an experimental (neuroimaging) paradigm (Varela, Thompson & Rosch, 1991). Within this paradigm, social psychologists will be more familiar with the experimental social cognitive research by Langer (1989) and colleagues. This is a non-Buddhist, non-meditative understanding of mindfulness. Here, mindfulness is a style of information processing involving the creation of new conceptual distinctions and categories, which are sensitive to the present social context. It is opposed to the mindless utilization of concepts from the past. While there are some similarities between Langers mindfulness and early Buddhist mindfulness in terms of how attention is understood, the concepts are not the same, and should be treated as distinct (Langer and Moldoveanu, 2000). In particular, I consider an essential aspect of mindfulness to be the awareness of bodily sensations, which are not addressed in Langers definition. Her definition is also a highly individualized understanding of mindfulness (Billig, 1999b). Contemporary therapeutic interventions such as Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy adopt the definition of mindfulness as awareness of present experience with acceptance (Kabat-Zinn, 2003) indirectly influenced by humanistic psychology (Dryden & Still, 2006) or as a meta-cognitive decentering drawing upon cognitivist computational theory (Teasdale, Segal & Williams, 1995). These definitions are intimately connected to the therapeutic purpose of mindfulness practice in such programmes; they are not primarily tailored to understanding mindfulness as a style of investigative inquiry, suitable for critical psychology.

Such psychological definitions of mindfulness risk de-ethicising mindfulness practice by aligning it with acceptance. There have been calls to re-engage mindfulness practice with its Buddhist ethical roots (Bodhi, 2011). This is crucial if we are to engage with mindfulness practice as critical, cultural-historical approach to social psychological research, which requires a solid ethical grounding. In addition, there is also a need to recover the recollective dimensions of mindfulness, which allows mindful awareness to encompass events from the past, and distinguishes the present perspective from the idiosyncratic take on mindfulness as present moment awareness alone. One may mindfully remember or witness an event from the past as well as the present; acknowledging that there is never a pure present moment outside of historical construction and processes of conditioning. Most crucially for this paper, such research tends to ignore the active qualities of language use, and how rhetoric is central to the cultivation of mindfulness. I am using the term mindfulness as an English translation of the Pali word sati (RhysDavids, 1890). Sati might be better translated as a kind of awareness, which is embodied and feelingful. But even this is vague compared to the specific meanings given in the Pali canon. It could equally be bodyfulness or heartfulness, because it does not just concern the mind. In fact the Pali term citta, which is usually translated as mind, is more accurately rendered heart-mind. It connotes the affective qualities of our mental and bodily activities and the intimacy between our usual distinction between thoughts and feelings. It undermines our assumed rationality by foregrounding our affective being. And it highlights how the take on the discursive mind (Harre & Gillett, 1994) is overly restrictive because it is grounded in discourse alone.

A Rhetorical Approach to Mindfulness Billig (1996) criticises cognitive, ludic and dramaturgical theories of social psychological life for neglecting its argumentative aspects. He thereby lays the theoretical foundations for rhetorical and discursive psychological investigations of topics such as attitudes, categorization, and thinking. But the focus on argumentation and the two-sidedness of everyday thinking in rhetorical psychology risks undermining other embodied, sensorial aspects of existence. For example, the grounding in logos and anti-logos neglects the groundless ground of changing bodily sensations. By contrast, mindfulness involves opening ourselves up to the rich diversity of our sensorial lives, which can encompass the contradictions of inner speech and dialogue, but is not limited to them. Nevertheless, at the same time, there is a possibility that the non-discursive dimensions of our existence are rhetorically organized. Sharf (1995) illustrates this in his critique of the rhetoric of experience displayed within Buddhist religious discourse. While concepts such as mindfulness are presumed to designate discrete states of consciousness experienced by Buddhist practitioners in the midst of their meditative practice (p. 231), the lack of public consensus between practitioners about their meaning belies the notion that the terms function representatively. Instead, Sharf argues that they function rhetorically and ideologically, performing social functions within specific cultural, historical, and political contexts. As Sharf (2000) acutely points out, as soon as we attempt to define experience we situate it in the public sphere, assuming an objective or third-person perspective (p. 226). At the same time, third-person objective accounts must be written by living, breathing individuals working in the first-person or perhaps collaboratively and inter-subjectively with others in the second-person who in turn

have their own thoughts, memories, and feelings (Varela & Shear, 1999). This debate has its roots in Wittgensteins (1953) critique of James (1890). Wittgenstein disputed that the meaning of psychological language (e.g. inner state words such as anger) is established directly and introspectively through a correspondence relationship with the inner states themselves. Instead, an inner process stands in need of outward criteria (p. 129), to be found primarily in language use. How are we to step out of this longstanding debate about language and mind? One way is to consider how rhetoric can be used alongside the adoption of specific bodily postures to cultivate a mindful perspective, which in turn cannot be reduced to language. From this perspective, we become interested in how language can function as an essential part of the experience of mindfulness. This is in line with James pragmatist orientation, Wittgensteins action view of language, and the functionalism of early Buddhism, in which consciousness is seen as an embodied function, rather than an entity (Scott, 2000; Stanley, 2011). In general terms, meditation practice is rhetorical in the sense of being argumentatively directed towards the development or cultivation of a particular way of being, in opposition to other alternative ways of being. One cultivates concentration in opposition to distraction, kindness as opposed to hostility, nonattachment as opposed to clinging. Mindfulness meditation is rhetorical in the sense that it involves the cultivation of a presence of mind (upathana), which is the opposite of absent-mindedness or distraction (multhassati) (cf. Langers 1989 distinction between mindfulness and mindlessness). It is also a specific form of remembering, rhetorically organized against forgetting. The verb form of sati is sarati and can be translated as remembering or recollection. In being mindful, we are reminded to recall what is otherwise too easily forgotten: the present moment

(Analayo, 2003, p. 48). Mindfulness involves recollection of the present, sustained awareness of what is happening to us and within us on each occasion of experience (Bodhi, 2005, p. 262). To be clear: this can involve becoming aware of remembering an event from the past. It is a lucid awareness of whatever is happening momentarily. But here it will be considered specifically in terms of its present moment, embodied and affective dimensions. Befitting my pragmatic perspective, mindfulness is presented in the early Pali discourses as something to do, rather than as a concept to grasp after. We are invited to cultivate a clear comprehension and awareness of our bodies, feelings, mind and the full range of our sensory contents according to a specific, applied ethico-moral framework. Crucially, it is to be practised in a kind and gentle way, which is affectionate towards whatever comes into awareness. We take an ethical training to alleviate harm and avoid creating distress, if possible. This is especially important when working at the boundary between our interior and exterior lives, which includes our bodies, our heart-minds and our interactions with others and othernesses in our surroundings.

Cultivating a Mindful Stance It is perhaps easier to understand a mindful stance through practice rather than intellectual thought. According to Batchelor (2010), mindfulness practice involves creatively responding to four injunctions to act. He offers the memorable acronym ELSA: Embrace and fully know anguish or suffering (rather than avoiding or ignoring it); Let go of the craving for things to be otherwise (e.g. by avoiding or rejecting experience); Stop reacting and experience responsive calm; Act in such a

way as to cultivate a specific ethically-informed way of life. The final injunction comprises mindfulness practice and opens the practice up to social engagement. This approach involves seeing mindfulness as an embodied methodology. For Gotama, mindfulness of the body needs to be developed and cultivated; it cannot be taken for granted. The meditator is instructed to abide contemplating the body as a body ardent, fully aware and mindful (Nanamoli and Bodhi, 2005, p. 145). How? A meditator, gone to the forest or to the root of a tree or an empty hut, sits down; having folded their legs crosswise; sets their body erect, and establishes mindfulness in front of them, ever mindful they breathe in, mindful they breath out (ibid.). Evidently, the cultivation of mindfulness requires specific social and material conditions to be in place. To practice this method in contemporary life, after reading this paragraph, try setting a timer to ring in 10 minutes time. Mindfulness practice requires a degree of initial solitude, social withdrawal and silence in order for stability of concentration to develop. If you can, find a quiet, secluded place. Then, the meditator adopts a particular bodily posture, suitable for their own body. Bring awareness to your bodily posture. Adopt an open, upright yet comfortable posture, which is self-supported if possible, either in a chair or sitting on a cushion. Work gently within the confines of your own bodily abilities. Close or half-close your eyes and incline your head slightly downwards. Traditionally, the mindful researcher would begin their mindfulness of the body by bringing awareness to the sensations of their own breathing. Mindfulness of breathing is probably the most widely used method of body contemplation (Analayo, 2003). Contemplation of the body is to be practised through mindfulness and clear comprehension of breathing as it occurs.

Notice any obvious places of intentional holding in your body: the base of the stomach, shoulders, hands, forehead, around the eyes. Release them if you can. Notice those parts of your body, which are contacting the outside world: the sensations of your skin against clothing; your bottom sitting; your feet on the floor. Notice any evidence you have that you are alive right now in this moment. When you are ready, take three deep breaths, expanding your lungs. Feel the movement this creates in your body. Then, letting the breath breathe itself, see if you can find where you can feel the movement of the breath most readily. Rest your attention on these changing sensations, whether at the belly, chest, or nostrils. Keep your attention there for the remaining time.

Investigating Interiority Through Mindfulness Evidently, while mindfulness initially involves a non-discursive contemplation of the body, we need to use language as our guide. In cultivating mindfulness, we are using language as a tool to open ourselves up to the rich diversity of our sensory contact with the world, becoming more aware of life as it is lived. This includes the full range of our sensory life, such as bodily sensing, touching, hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling/emoting, thinking and our intuitive capacities. We become aware of a flowing stream of life arising and passing away. The mindfulness meditator begins by bringing awareness to the bare sensations of the breath as it is felt in the body. One becomes mindful of the sensations of the air flowing through the nostrils or the kinesthetic rising and falling of the abdomen. One extends in time the initial split seconds before one begins to

recognize, identify, and conceptualize (Analayo, 2003, p. 59). The actual sensations of inhalation and exhalation are directly sensed. This is different from thinking about ones breathing. Fromm (1960) describes thinking about breathing as cerebration rather than mindfulness: Once I begin to think about my breathing, I am not aware of my breathing anymore (p. 67). This perspective on breathing is a good illustration of the different vantage point on experience of Buddhism and discursive psychology. From a mindfulness perspective, the breath is sensed inwardly. This moment-to-moment sensing is used as a tool for the cultivation of concentration, synchronicity, and awareness. This has been termed a bare attention, in which one focuses on feeling the sensations of breathing with a beginners mind (Suzuki, 1970): suspending conceptual or discursive thinking in favour of unprejudiced, direct perception and sensation. By contrast, when breathing features in discursive psychological studies, for example conversation analyses, the auditory sound is transcribed and may feature in analysis for how it functions as part of the co-ordinated performance of social actions such as crying or laughing (Jefferson, 1984). Perhaps this is a difference of perspective: mindfulness is initially directed within, whereas conversation analysis is directed without. But there are possible similarities. As Barnes and Moss (2008) illustrate, the stance of mindfulness seems a similar orientation to the unmotivated looking or ethnomethodological indifference of conversation analysis in which members methods of making sense are explored inductively without praising or blaming them. As Psathas (1995) explains, the variety of interactional phenomena available for study are not selected on the basis of some preformulated theorizing, which may specific matters of greater or lesser significance (p. 45). Breath awareness is

practised by bringing a similar kind of non-judgemental watchfulness to the sensations of the breath. The tendency to change or control the breath is momentarily suspended. We simply wait and see what arises and passes away. But this is an actively engaged rather than indifferent stance.1 While mindfulness is often initially cultivated and directed inwardly, in the sense that the meditator becomes aware of subjectively experienced bodly sensations from within, it culminates in an extrospective awareness which can encompass our awareness of our social and natural worlds. Moore (1995) argues that training in Zen Buddhism involves a resocialization in which the initiate learns to perceive the social world in a dereifying manner (p. 704). Dereification is the perception of the objects of the social world as socially relative and as dependent on human perception and activity (p. 719). From this perspective, Zen is a form of radical reflexivity (p. 721), similar to ethnomethology. Mindfulness practice may therefore have the potential to challenge ideological discourse, which reifies psychological or social realities in ways that were critiqued by Gotama.

From Calming to Inquiry Mindfulness of breathing is presented here as a calming practice which is a precursor to the inquiries which may lead to experiential insights. It is essentially a training in attention. One brings the mind back whenever it wanders; what James (1890) termed voluntary sustained attention. While concentration or unification (samadhi) practice may lead to experiences of calm (samatha) or eventually absorption in the object of

See Moore, 1995 on further similarities between Zen Buddhism and ethnomethodology including parallels between Zen Koan practice and Garfinkels breaching experiments.

concentration (jhana), this needs to be distinguished from insight meditation (vipassana) which is a style of experiential inquiry, resulting in intuitive insights experienced at a bodily level. One of the aims of calming practice, which includes adopting a stable bodily posture, is to stablise and centre the mind. With practice this stability will increase and some subjective space maybe experienced between thoughts, sensations, feelings. When we slow down in this way, we can begin to inquire into the patterning of subjective experience. The point at which enough stability, concentration and calm is developed which allows intuitive insights to arise is termed access concentration. We need enough concentration to reach this point in practice, which may occur quickly or after much practice. Then, we become aware of the moments of sensory contact, which arguably arise before the activities of rhetorical construction begin. When beginning meditation, we may notice that our minds are wild or drowsy. If wild, we may notice a torrent of discursive thoughts, taking us away from our meditation object (i.e. the sensations of breathing). A cascade of judgements, fantasies, projections, reactions, commentaries, memories, desires, or plans may arise. This is what James (1890) metaphorically termed the thought stream and includes thoughts and feelings which maybe discursive, visual or difficult to discern. If drowsy, a kind of heavyness, hazyness or fuzziness may be felt, and bodily sensations of tiredness maybe more apparent. Noticing transformation and processes of change and becoming is a key part of mindfulness practice and allows ones attention to stay relatively stable whilst bearing witness to impermanence. By stopping or pausing and swimming against the stream of our reactivity cycles, we are able to suspend or reverse our routine

activities, and witness their coming into being. This allows us to understand the connection between pre-discursive experience and the arising of rhetorical constructions.

Mindfulness, Rhetoric and Experience If we were conducting a traditional rhetorical analysis of Gotamas guidance for meditation presented above, we might have brought attention to the use of listing, and how the three lists of three work to produce the utterance as performing the social action of instruction. This act would need to be understood in its local strategic, as well as broader historical, context; perhaps as a meditation instruction opposed to, for example, absorption meditations. But this strategy would crucially miss the point of mindfulness itself: that it is to be practiced, rather than intellectually dissected or analysed. Through silent meditative practice, one trains in bringing mindful awareness to the conditioned genesis of phenomena, discursive nor not, in ongoing experience. Mindfulness practitioners tend to be sceptical of linguistic concepts because their employment often takes them experientially away from visceral awareness of what is happening sensorially in the present moment (Suzuki, 1970). This can include sensations of touch, taste, hearing, smelling and seeing. In Buddhism, the mind is seen as a sixth sense which one should be especially aware of because of its ability to make things such as thoughts, feelings and sensations seem to be permanent, our own possessions, or satisfactory especially through the use of language (Bodhi, 2005). Mindfulness practitioners often seek to go beyond thinking, language and concepts, or

at least to adopt a more skillful i.e. non-attached/non-identificatory relationship to them, in order to then foster more ethically wholesome ways of speaking and acting. So, meditation allows us to take our personal inner lives seriously whilst at the same time not clinging to the contents of consciousness. But this is not to say that mindfulness meditation is language-less or entirely separate from discursive activity. Its practice is intimately connected to public uses of language. The present perspective does not advocate a complete detachment from language use, as in some styles of vipassana (Hart, 1987). Instead, language can be used to guide practices, as our awareness turns to changing sensations, which arise before rhetorical action.

However, in discursive psychology, descriptions or instructions are studied for the business they do in interaction, and for the actions and deeds they are used to perform, rather than their putative correlates in mind or world (Potter, 1996). The analyst avoids creating an inside/outside split by assuming, for example, that utterances reflect or report inner states of mind. In mindfulness practice, by loosening identification with the contents of consciousness, one momentarily suspends the conditioned assumption that discursive thoughts index reality or self (Epstein, 1996). Thoughts are seen not as representational, but as active parts of the constitution of realities. In turn, we can use discursive utterances to direct our attentions in particular ways, and cultivate a mindful stance towards the arising of discourse. Buddhism often comprises a scepticism of language which derives from an understanding that discourse does not represent the self or world, but rather often has pragmatic effects in terms of how it leads to, or alleviates, anguish. Nevertheless there are approaches, which understand vipassana as a realist practice allowing us to see things as they really are (Hart, 1987). This is not the approach adopted here. Instead,

we can see language as very useful for mindful practice, and as contingent, constructed, and constitutive of realities. Buddhist texts provide many very useful structuring categories and devices, which are themselves rhetorical, for the investigation of interior and exterior life. To use a cognitive metaphor, we could understand these as tools for parsing experience. Linguistic tags and labels are used to pull out particular patterns from the stream or flow of experience, which cannot always be reduced to language. For example, the meditator contemplates feelings as feelings. Feelings (vedana) specifically refer to the hedonic tone, which experientially arises upon sensory contact with a given object. Let us take the example of physical discomfort or pain in the body. If experienced with an unpleasant hedonic tone, the meditator may notice a temptation to make the sensation go away, by for example moving position or scratching an itch. One may notice a desire to make a rhetorical movement towards or away from a particular sensation, depending upon its hedonic tone. Bringing awareness to the sensations themselves interrupts this automatic response and allows for inquiry to proceed (see Cromby, 2007 for a commensurate approach to feelings). We can use this method to become aware of the role of bodily sensations in the arising of discursive thought, or what Billig (1996) calls inner dialogue. Perhaps when a painful physical sensation arises in the body, the meditator witnesses the arising of a phrase of inner speech. This meditation business is a bad idea its making my body hurt. By bringing awareness to what prompted the arising of such inner speech, we would be beginning to adopt a mindful approach to our inner lives which at heart is an investigative approach. This requires a degree of calming of our heart-minds.

As well as becoming aware of how phrases of inner speech are conditioned, we might also become interested in the activities performed by these phrases. For example, the above phrase might be performing an evaluative judgement of experience, along with an associated act of selfing, by taking the body as a personal possession (my body). The impression is given that the whole body is hurting. But is this borne out through experiential inquiry of bodily sensations? Body scanning techniques may be useful here (see Shusterman, 2008). In mindfulness meditation we cultivate mindfulness by bringing attention to the whole range of six internal and external sense spheres or bases. This includes the body, mind, eyes, ears, nose and tongue. We become aware of phenomena arising at all of the sense doors. The meditator investigates and examines that state with understanding and embarks upon a full enquiry into it (Nanamoli and Bodhi, 2005). This means taking a careful approach to the investigation of whatever arises and passes away and particularly paying attention to the conditions, which internally and externally give rise to particular phenomena. According to Gotama, the beginnings of a sense of self is constructed in experience precisely at the moment when we notice we like or dislike something, and cling to it, taking it as a personal desire for an object. For example, an utterance in inner speech may arise such as this is I, me or mine when mind-consciousness comes into contact with a bodily pain. If such pain is taken as an unwanted part of the self, anguish may arise and we may be prompted to remove the sensation.

Conclusion I propose that a mindful perspective offers an art of living, containing the seeds of a psychology that is radically experiential and embodied in practice and which includes, but is not limited to, the discursive domain. At the same time, rhetorical psychology may contain implications for Buddhist insight meditation practice, by emphasizing the rhetorical/social organization of momentary mindful experiences. Thus, it is argued that the very capacity to remember to be mindful is rhetorically, as well as materially, organised. The Buddhist take on consciousness as a co-dependently arisen phenomena, based upon one of the six internal and external sense bases, potentially broadens out the rhetorical conceptualization of the person. It is proposed that in each moment of awareness, a sensory organ (e.g. eye) co-arises with a modality of consciousness (e.g. eye-consciousness), and an object of awareness form (e.g. visual form). This happens for each other sensory modality: ear, nose, tongue, body and mind. Each moment of consciousness is dependently arising based upon this tripartite. Thus, social psychology is not reduced to rhetorical action, and interior life is not reduced to inner dialogue. Once we pursue such inquiries, we may find that during sustained mindful practice, the solid distinctions of within/between, internal/external, public/private, and discursive/embodied collapse through an awareness of transformation and intangibility. It might be argued that such a perspective is individualistic, because it focuses on bodily sensations experienced internally by the solitary meditator. But who is this meditator? Mindfulness practice encourages us to investigate the notion of a

self who is meditating. The integrity of the subjectivity of the conversationalist may thereby become experientially undermined.

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