Endurance and evanescence : on the practice and performance of silence and meditation
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Through the use of autoethnography (Bochner & Ellis, 2000) and ethnodramatic performance (Saladana, 2003) this thesis presents an articulation of how the practice of meditation and silence influences identity and communication. Through self-reflection, interviews and conscious performance, I hope to contribute to literature describing health geographies and wellness communication. The data for this paper was collected during ethnographic fieldwork conducted at Bodhi Zendo, a Zen Meditation Centre located in the hills of Kodaiknal, in the province of Tamil Nadu on the southeastern coast of India. During a four-week period between December 1st 2012 and January 2nd 2013, I participated as a practitioner and researcher where I conducted interviews with other retreat participants, documented my own experiences, and recorded my own and other participants' reflections through photography, video, and self-reflective field notes. During my time at the Zen Centre I meditated for ten hours daily and I completed both a silent mini-sesshin and a silent sesshin . This paper includes thoughts and experiences prior to the fieldwork in India as well as thoughts and reflections experienced during the five months upon returning home to Canada. The pupose of this paper is to demonstrate the experience of self through a meditative lens and describe the liminal and transformative states between silence and sound.
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