Ethnography, with all its limitations, has as its strongest impulse the quest to see and understand “others” on their own terms and to step out of our own viewpoints in order to do so. Conjoining ethnography with mindfulness, this book aims to support the best aspects of ethnography by enhancing the capacity to listen more deeply, see more expansively, keep a check on our biases and connect more compassionately with others.

Mindful Ethnography addresses a central dilemma of ethnography: the relationship of self and other. It suggests ways of viewing the world from different perspectives, getting beyond the categories of our culture and working with our own thoughts and feelings even as we aim to understand those of our participants. Chapters address various stages of ethnographic research: entering a field and seeing it for the first time, immersing in ongoing participant observation, writing up elaborated fieldnotes, analysis, the re-presentation of results and letting it go. It offers illustrations and activities for researchers to try.

The book is aimed at students and researchers who are stepping into the craft of ethnography or looking for new ways in and through ethnographic research. It is for researchers who want to integrate scholarship, social activism and spiritual pursuits in order to do research that is deeply engaged with and transformative of the world.

chapter |25 pages


chapter 1|24 pages

Conceptual Framings

Ethnography, epistemology, mindfulness and non-duality

chapter Interlude I|3 pages

Holding the Weight of the Analytical Mind Lightly

chapter Interlude II|3 pages

Feeling the “Suchness” of a Space

chapter 3|25 pages

Getting in and Along

Connecting with clarity and compassion

chapter Interlude III|2 pages

Trying to do Things Differently

chapter 4|21 pages

Being there Again, Now

Writing up field notes

chapter Interlude IV|1 pages


chapter 5|17 pages


Let it settle itself

chapter Interlude V|2 pages

On the Writing of this Book

chapter 6|19 pages


chapter Interlude VI|3 pages

Meditations on Writing

Connecting mind, heart and earth

chapter 7|7 pages

Letting Go