Jane Affleck

Apr 5, 2021

Jane Affleck on the Environment and Art as Practice

New Books Network 2021

Who will think on Buddhism? Who has the chops to do so? What does it mean to place Buddhism in a configuration of contemplation alongside other thought and one’s personal experience of living a life in some way intimate with Buddhism as practice, as culture, as being and becoming? Although this season of the podcast is practice focussed, this does not mean a return to the warm bosom of feeling, perception and awareness minus thought. The mind demands expression. We are thinking, feeling, acting beings. To think better is a desire that Buddhism has expressed and struggled with throughout its history. Western Buddhism, especially in the States, has evolved in a variety of expressions and forms, and in many ways that expression has channelled the wider anti-intellectual trend in American popular culture, as well as the return to feeling and intuition, and even the lingering New Age focus in on the self. Sitting is doing is a view shared by today's guest Jane Affleck. An artist, occasional academic, and writer. My desire to get Jane onto the podcast was inspired by a piece she wrote for the Side View. It had a title that caught my attention; Meditative Awareness and the Symbiotic Real. The basic idea was that meditation and meditative relationships with the environment can behave as an antidote to anthropocentrism; an extension, if you will, of our over-focus on the selfing process that Buddhism is so concerned with. If ideology is collective selfing, anthropocentrism is species level selfing; this theme is set to be a central one in practice as this century unfolds so expect more guests on here to discuss it. With Jane, we talk about the intimate relationship with the environment that can be fostered and the way that relationship can challenge experiences of selfhood and many of the traps that accompany a self focussed approach to the practising life. We explore how art and the process of creation are integral to this process too. 

Matthew O'Connell is a life coach and the host of the The Imperfect Buddha podcast. You can find The Imperfect Buddha on Facebook and Twitter (@imperfectbuddha).

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Matthew O'Connell

Matthew O'Connell is a life coach and the host of the The Imperfect Buddha podcast. You can find The Imperfect Buddha on Facebook and Twitter (@imperfectbuddha).

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