Here’s a summary of one more chapter from Mindful Ethnography – one that addresses one of the most important issues in this book, not just for ethnographers, but in terms of the lessons I want to take from ethnography for living in the world. It explores how we can connect compassionately and empathically with others (and with ourselves), staying connected with both our heads and our hearts, as we engage in activity in the world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdoQ62CRXI0.
It digs deep into the question of “othering.” Just who do we create as others (in both small and big ways, along large social axes of race, class and gender, as well as in all kinds of everyday ways). To what aspects of our selves do we construct these “others”? What “empathy walls” do we put up – what Arlie Hochschild refers to “obstacle(s) to deep understanding of another person, one(s) that can make us feel indifferent or even hostile to those who hold different beliefs ”? Can mind-hearted practices help us surmount them, transcending our own limits on how far we are able or willing to go – or at least better recognizing them? What might we see on the other side, and how might that help us in our efforts to transform the world?
I also share an “aside” in this chapter – on the paradox of accepting things as they are while acting to change the world – one of several paradoxes I sit with in this book as I bring together scholarship, spiritual pursuits, and social action. (See also this blogpost: https://marjoriefaulstichorellana.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=262&action=edit)
At the end, I offer a guided “metta” meditation for field workers: a way of connecting with more clarity and compassion with all of the people in our field site.