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Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology

versión On-line ISSN 1445-7377
versión impresa ISSN 2079-7222

Indo-Pac. j. phenomenol. (Online) vol.13 no.2 Grahamstown abr. 2013


Using mindfulness as a teaching aid for phenomenology



Ian Rory Owen




This paper recaps the position of the Bern school of Husserl interpretation, namely the work of Iso Kern and Eduard Marbach. Kern and Marbach have provided detailed accounts in English as to how to read the key issues in Husserl regarding the philosophical and psychological positions and the methods used to create a theoretical practice that goes before empirical work. When it comes to teaching, there is nothing more useful than a demonstrable technique that shows the evidence to which the scholarship refers. This paper notes the meditation technique of mindfulness that calms the mind, aids acceptance and provides a sense of well-being in a direct way. Despite that application, mindfulness also provides an opportunity for the spontaneous experiences of the phenomena of consciousness to show themselves. In this way, direct personal experience of phenomena can be followed by the interpretation of Husserlian phenomenology. Mindfulness is a parallel which makes the words of Husserl, and Heidegger for that matter, come alive. Mindfulness, as a lived experience, is a foil for teaching in order to set students on the track of what Husserl did in order to get to the conclusions that he provided. This return to the phenomena sets the scene for understanding the difference between Husserl and Heidegger and the understanding of phenomenology in general in qualitative psychology.




The order of the presentation below makes some introductory remarks that set the scene for Husserl's intellectual endeavour. First, the technique of mindfulness is provided in overview, with a key example which really needs to be practised by readers in order to experience the full effect of the technique. Second, links are made to Husserl. Third, some interesting parallels are noted to another qualitative school of understanding consciousness in one part of Buddhism. Fourth, it is important to understand the attitudes of approach to an object as these are constitutive of the phenomena that appear. Fifth, the article returns to the philosophical heritage of phenomenology, to make the connection between Husserl and Heidegger's different approaches in a way that breathes life back into the tension between them.

The sixth and final part closes the paper with some comments about the practice of Husserlian and empirical phenomenology today. This paper explains the original comparative perspective on interpreting consciousness as consciousness that begins with the givenness of the object of attention and works to identify the constant and universal aspects of the many types of correlation between a mental process and an object of a specific sort (Marbach, 1999, pp. 254-5) and explains how to interpret noemata with respect to their different types of givenness (Husserl, 1982, §§131-2, 149-150). It does not mention the detail of the other practices that Husserl used.

Mindfulness is a non-ideological form of meditation or awareness exercise that has a role in expanding awareness and beginning the ability to focus on the experiential evidence of different manners of givenness of various types of noema. It has uses in psychotherapy for accepting negative emotions and training the meditator to hold their attention. It is this process that has the by-product of an increased sense of awareness and well-being. The technical terms used below are based on the 1913 vocabulary as follows. Following Rick Tieszen (1995, p 444) the technical terms can be summed up as how to make distinctions within a whole of experience, between its components as "act(content) → [object]," which means that attending to objects, in the 1913 terminology, is "noesis.noema → [object], that an object is understood across a series of impressions (noema) of it through a mental process of some sort, a noesis". What this expresses is the universal claim that the basic building block of the smallest units of meaning is a mental process, a noesis, a form of intentionality, which apprehends an object of attention in a manifold of views, so producing many noemata, or noematic senses, for every specific meaningful experience of an object. Let me provide a concrete example. A circular wooden table with four legs is only circular in plane view. In every other view of it, it is elliptical in some way. There are thus manifold noematic senses of any object and yet the object is still recognisable as the same. In qualitative psychology and everyday experience generally, conscious life is comprised of very many noematic senses of the very many objects that constitute any human world. The project is to understand the parts of what the smallest wholes of meaning are in a general way. Thus, all objects appear through profiles, noematic senses, but in specific noetic ways as heard, seen, and imagined. The original terms are found in Ideas I, as referring to manifold experiences of the one object as through "noemas as correlates of noeses" (Husserl, 1982, p. 318), which are subject to intentional analysis. The word correlate is chosen to express how a noesis varies with the specific noematic sense involved. Phenomenology bridges the subject-object gap because both the object, as it appears through many noematic appearances, and the noeses of making something aware, can be studied. Thus it makes sense to say that different noetic modes of awareness refer to the "noetic-noematic structures in the principal modes of consciousness" (Husserl, 1982, p. 222) because noemata are always given in some way which alters how they appear as heard, seen, and imagined. The conclusion is finding that universally "essences, noema and noesis, are inseparable from one another: Infima species on the noematic side eidetically point back to infima species on the noetic side. That becomes extended naturally to all forms of genus and species" (Husserl, 1982, p. 307). This is a way of saying that not only is phenomenology object-directed but it is also directed to defining the ways that the modes of being aware 'give' those objects; in other words, make them present in different ways. What this terminology means is that every object of attention (be it a thing, a person, an idea, music, a story, science) appears through a manifold of appearances, noematic senses, or better noematic senses, in specific noetic ways (as heard, read about, empathised, imagined). Thus, the most basic experience of anything in the lifeworld is comprised of the very many objects that appear; but always through a large number of profiles or appearances in a number of specific ways of being aware. With these words of introductory definition, the remainder of the essay outlines the ways that evident phenomena pop into the mind during a mindfulness meditation exercise and are the direct experience interpreted by Husserlian phenomenology to conclude on the nature of objects and the noeses that make them appear.



The technique of Jon Kabat-Zinn (1994) called mindfulness meditation can be described as learning how to accept what exists without the addition of ideology, spiritual, or religious overtones. Its instructions are remarkably simple. One instruction is to attend to a meditation object, in its here and now perceptual presence. What happens though, when focusing on a simple natural object such as a leaf, a dried apricot or an egg, is that the mind wanders off onto something else. Of course, I cannot begin to list all the possibilities that could arise about what the mind wanders onto; however, what happens is that a new noema appears, a new noematic sense or meaning, usually of another object that is not perceptually present at all here and now. The point is that as a meditation practice, what the instruction to 'attend to the perceptual object and to hold it in your awareness' really means, is to do so while purposefully refusing all other noemata and noeses. As a means of training the attention, the point of mindfulness is to expand awareness and make it more sensitive and accepting of what appears, so that it no longer overlooks what it could experience. A metaphor of training a puppy to sit can be used to describe the ability to train oneself to stay aware of the meditation object. What happens in mindfulness meditation is that consciousness wanders off onto other objects. So, the second meditation instruction is to call attention to leave its non-meditation objects and return to focusing on the meditation object, in a similar manner to training a puppy to 'come' and 'sit'.

What mindfulness shows in the instruction to 'attend to the perceptual object and to hold it in your awareness' is that a small physical-object in front of a person who contemplates it, sets the object in a designated foreground. As an example, imagine sitting on a chair at a round table, looking at an unboiled chicken's egg. The egg is laid on the table and following the meditation instruction means that your visual attention narrows your visual horizon. As you stare intently at the egg, some of your ambient attention will also go outwards to what else appears, and indeed who else and what else, is in the room. However, to use the metaphor of the puppy, at some point, consciousness begins another experience, apart from perception of the egg and it is these experiences that are highlighted in the minimalistic meditation setting. Meditation is a minimalistic experience and a change from the natural attitude obliviousness to experiences, and therefore the work of the mind is shown in greater detail.

These spontaneous objects that intrude might be a large number of things. They are spontaneous and self-generated meanings that get superimposed on the current perceptual attention giving. If you follow the instructions, you might see actual visual images superimposed on the egg, because the 'puppy' becomes interested in a memory, or an imagining unfolds perhaps, to some other scene where you might momentarily be having an experience that can definitely be noted as not perception. The point of mindfulness for teaching phenomenology is that it parallels the change of attitude from the natural and naturalistic to the phenomenological attitude that Husserl requested. It involves rejecting the psychophysical and focusing on the egoically intentional (in selecting attention, willing, deciding and rationalising) and non-egoic automatic syntheses, the passive processes of supplying nonverbal meaning, emotion and habit (Husserl, 1997a, p. 218, Husserl, 2008, §35, Marbach, 1984, p. 211). The natural attitude1 is commonsense realism that understands consciousness as part of the biology of the body and assumes meaningful things in the world are just as they are. It involves a non-critical acceptance and a failure to understanding the proper role of consciousness and intentionality. On the other hand, the reflective or phenomenological attitude is the rejection of the naturalistic and natural indiscriminate belief in the straightforward realism about the world in preference for a new frame of understanding. It involves embracing the world of the intentionality of consciousness as it appears and no longer taking it for granted. In the phenomenological attitude, consciousness is no longer inserted into the natural thing-world. The discovery of the consciousness-world is that there are universal aspects that must be true for all consciousness to be as it is.

It is possible to stay with the egg example in meditation and take the comparison between mindfulness and phenomenology a step further. What appears is that any egg as sold to the public is perfectly egg-shaped, a unique object with associations to the bird that laid it, with associations to the possibility of cooking it, or with associations that it could be easily damaged as it is delicate, or that it might give off a slight smell of 'egginess', or indeed that it might have a tiny feather attached to it as a symbol of where it came from. In Husserlian language, noeses present noemata of the object egg. It is given or fulfilled perceptually and there are many possible intentional links to other contexts, persons and objects (as noeses that presented noemata) many of these will be in ways that are not given but are empty. These links or references raise the curiosity of the meditator (Marbach, 1984, p. 233).

The fundamental phenomenon is that being does appear in consciousness because "every existent" is "constituted in the subjectivity of consciousness", (Husserl, 1969, p. 232), and there is the "necessity of starting, each from his own subjectivity" (p. 236). There is no other reality behind the one that we experience, in this sense appearance is being: "there is ... no difference between appearance and Being ... the appearances themselves ... are not themselves a Being in turn that appears by means of underlying appearances" (Husserl, 2002, p. 269). There is direct access to being in an unclarified form. The task of eidetics is to clarify the encounter between consciousness and being (Husserl, 1968, §§9, 10, 1982, §§2-9, 70-74, 76, 153). Intentional analysis works out how consciousness is aware and how it refers to exemplary experiences, and how to note the parts and wholes that together comprise the multifaceted awareness of the world that we share, in more than one sense of the word 'world'. The phenomenological community must be able to understand each other's words and start at the same beginning: what does appear of the egg is precisely what it is with all its references intact.

The example of the egg can also be taken towards the topics of being and belief. The being of the egg-object as it exists appears through the manifold of senses of the egg-as-it-appears with respect to the attitude of approach to the egg. In mindfulness, the egg is there as an object of contemplation, to note what comes up and what goes away again, in learning how to quieten the mind and open it up to the greater contexts that exist. What this means for everyday awareness is that very often we do not get full attention and we move away from phenomena all too quickly.

When the object of attention is very simple, and there is sufficient room for the attention to wander off onto other objects, what appears is always some meaning at the nonverbal level which is augmented by the inner dialogue of one's own voice thinking in its habitual style. Once something definitely not an 'egg in perception' has appeared in awareness, the puppy has wandered, and this new experience can be clearly contrasted with the vision of the egg. For the purposes of teaching, it is possible to be aware of and reflect on the type of intentionality currently being added to the perception of the egg. Similarly, meditators might focus on themselves. This is the case where the onlooker, oneself, becomes the object of attention, as how one thinks and feels about oneself has been raised out of the pre-reflexive immersion in experience. Although it is possible to think of some other higher aspect of oneself as a person, the contexts in which the self has thought about itself may include temporal ones, like thinking of oneself in some other time-frame, other than the here and now contemplation of the egg.

This is the place where it gets interesting, because it is no longer a wonder as to what evidence there is of the internal workings of consciousness. The mind always does wander off and spontaneously has direct access to a random assortment of phenomena. Literally, any object could arise in any type of mental awareness, thus providing a unique noematic sense. Objects other than the meditation object come to mind. The next section makes the teaching points clear between the mindfulness example and Husserl's practice.


Phenomena as revealed in mindfulness

The first teaching point of comparing and contrasting Husserlian meditations with mindfulness ones, is ensuring that accurate concepts are put to the details of phenomena. This is because the use of words creates a certain house style of how to speak about what we experience. This is really a matter of how to communicate between colleagues in the phenomeno-logical community.

When mindfulness is taken as a way of noticing and then analysing phenomena the focus is not on meditation. What phenomenology is about is noting the different forms of givenness of what appears in addition to the constant perception of the here and now context around the phenomenologist and so identifying the definitive aspects of the "noesis-noema correlations" that can appear in a universal way (Marbach, 1992, p. 141). In Ideas I (Husserl, 1982, p. 53), Verweisung, intentional reference, an association, exists within an Aufienhorizont or Hof, which can be rendered as context, lifeworld or surrounding world. The horizonal context is added to the object of attention as its surrounding and associated contexts of other references, associations and implications. For instance, a thing such as an egg appears perceptually, it is determinate and its noematic sense understood immediately. Consciousness stays focused on the manners of visual and olfactory givenness, but has added to it a number of senses "obscurely intended to a horizon of indeterminate actuality" (Husserl, 1982, p. 52). Stated differently, objects are understood-as such and such in their identity, but have added a number of associations and links, backwards and forwards in time, to a large number of contexts of sense. The same object of perceptual attention also carries with it an Innenhorizont, a learned inner horizon. If we stay with the sample example of an egg the Innenhorizont is the sum total of the learned and experienced personal association concerning an egg; which could be something such as remembering the last one I ate, or imaging frying eggs, or planning to buy some, or remembering a film about chickens walking around.

In a perceptual example, while I see only one face of the object at once, I gain the impression of it in its three-dimensional and meaningful wholeness. The one sense appearing of the object of attention has other senses (Abschattungen) added to it. For instance, when looking at a three-dimensional physical thing, what appears is a gestalt as the face of the thing that appears but its sides are appresented and do not appear in perception. Rather they appear only inauthentically. (Using a different terminology, it can be said that the object has references to the world (Heidegger, 1996, §17), this concept is discussed in more detail later in this article). So whilst a gestalt2 whole appears as consciousness understands objects (Husserl, 1997a, p. 43), the inauthentic quasi-appearing senses are actually "not presented" (Husserl, 1997a, p. 48). Husserl (1997a, pp. 51-4, 132, 165-7) concluded that the temporality of consciousness was making this addition automatically.

In Ideas I (Husserl, 1982), there is the clarification that "'horizon' thus has the same value here as the terms 'halo' and 'background'" (p. 197). In terms of temporal givenness, there are the "three dimensions of Earlier, Later, and Simultaneity" (p. 196). These are "modes of givenness of Now, Before, After, with their modally determined simultaneity and recession" (Husserl, 1982, p. 192). Temporal givenness is one fundamental way of understanding an object of attention and its intentional links. There are other places where the image of an object and its intentional links come through. The general theme is to note the senses of objects, (cultural objects that belong to a group), in relation to horizons of persons, connected through empathy and intersubjective intentional implication.

I turn now to a discussion of the basics. Thing and Space Husserl (1997a) wrote, "we have the peculiar state of affairs that the perception of a whole does not imply perception of all its parts and determinations. Implied perceptions are separate perceptions" (p. 42). In this quotation the word perceptions really means presentiated additions of sense. Husserl (1997a) continued: "Yet the proper appearance and the improper are not separate things; they are united in the appearance in the broader sense" (p. 43). This quotation refers to the manifold of noematic senses as being definitive of their object. "The clear result of these considerations is therefore that improperly appearing moments of the object are in no way presented. Perception is ... a complex of full and empty intentions ... The full intentions or full apprehensions are the properly presentational ones; the empty are precisely empty of any presentational material" (Husserl, 1997a, p. 48). What this means is that perception itself is deceptive in that the sense of what appears might be highly idiosyncratic and unique according to what the individual brings to perception in terms of their unique past learning, beliefs, understanding and expectations of what might be about to happen. This type of interpretation is the real subject matter of phenomenology and its proper approach to perception. The simple meditation on an egg continually could provide perceptual evidence of the egg visually and olfactorily, present in its visual and olfactory context. However, what is added to it is Vergegenwärtigung, presentiation of all kinds of non-perceptual meaning about eggs (as imagined, remembered, empathised, anticipated, and depicted). There are also associations for what could be going on for the meditator, if they are worried, relaxed, about to go on holiday, or if they have child care to arrange, or other everyday matters leak into the mediation experience. These are early explorations of the same image of meaning and appearance, where the being of an object transcends its manifold senses and is recognisable in them.

With these explanatory comments in place, the following passages from Analyses Concerning Passive and Active Synthesis (Husserl, 2001) can now be understood. Husserl (2001) noted the original situation of attending to a thing-object in perception: "this fundamental division between what is genuinely perceived and what is not genuinely perceived belongs to the primordial structure of the correlation: External perception and bodily 'object' ... the thing is precisely the full-thing that has still other sides, sides that are not brought to genuine perception in this perception, but that would be brought to genuine perception in other perceptions" (p. 40). This is a way of saying that a number of experiences of an object may not fully specify what can be experienced of it. Or in other words, it raises the qualitative question of how many experiences are sufficient to understand more complex objects such as the givenness of physical things in perception before advancing onto the more abstract concepts such as, for example, 'fairness', which is a conceptual object.

To return to Husserl's (2001) focus on perception: "In every moment of perceiving, the perceived is what it is in its mode of appearance [as] a system of referential implications [Verweisen] with an appearance-core upon which appearances have their hold. And it calls out to us, as it were, in these referential implications: 'There is still more to see here, turn me so you can see all my sides, let your gaze run through me, draw closer to me'" (Husserl, 2001, p. 41)3. This is an invitation to stay with what appears of the manifold of noesis-noema correlations. In other words, what shows itself of an object appears through a tumult of profiles as seen, as remembered, as talked about, as imagined, as empathised as another person experiencing it from their perspective, so on and so forth. The same situation of the object and its intentional links is being presented with these words and is similar to the intersubjective meaning of cultural objects (see, for example, for instance, Husserl, 2001, §56h; Husserl, 1968, §16). All of these experiences refer to objects that belong to audiences of others in culture and society.

In Cartesian Meditations (Husserl, 1997) the statements are more general but the image is the same once more and understood in the context set out above: "consciousness of something" changes through "being able to do so according to - indeed, only according to those horizons intentionalities. The object is ... a pole of identity" (Husserl, 1977, p. 45). This is a way of saying that objects appear definitively and fundamentally out of the manifolds of experience as still recognisable identities. Moreover, "By explicating their correlative horizons, it brings the highly diverse anonymous processes into the field comprising those that function 'constitutively' ... not only the actual but also the potential subjective processes, which, are ... 'implicit' ... that explicate the implicit sense" (Husserl, 1977, p. 48). This means that in addition to what appears generally in memory, perception, anticipation, imagination, there are a whole series of implied other experiences. In the egg example this could be the future anticipation of cooking the egg, or of wanting to eat food with eggs in it, or any experience that is added to the perception of it in the here and now. Phenomenological Psychology (Husserl, 1968) noted that experiences and horizons are inseparable: "every field of seeing and looking has an open outer horizon, which can not be separated from that experience" (p. 46). In section 71 of Crisis, Husserl (1970a) concluded that the connection to the understanding of others occurs "by way of empathy and the empathy-horizon" (p. 255), which explains how cultural objects are linked to reference groups of people through intersubjective intentional implication. Crisis (Husserl, 1970a) shows that the transcendental attitude realises that there is the unification of all intentionalities into the one pool of civilization as it unfolds across its history, the "total framework of all souls, which are united ... internally ... through the intentional interpenetration [Ineinander] which is the communalization of their lives" (p. 255). So the notion of the object and its intentional links is central for research in the transcendental attitude of trying to decide on universal factors that appear in all instances by only considering mere possibilities (Husserl, 1982, §§70-74). The route to understanding noetic forms is thus to universalise and idealise specific examples, to be able to draw conclusions regarding how consciousness works.

Phenomena could be attended to and varied imaginatively in order to begin the process of the seeing of their universal characteristics via their noesis-noema correlations of their manner of appearing (Husserl, 1982, p. 221) and this data is refined by "universal eidetics based on purely mental intuition" (1997b, p. 248), using the imagination to consider and vary key parts of the whole of an experience, in order to find its universal constituents. The crux of the matter for Husserl was to have fulfilled experiences of specific noemata, which indicate how the noeses must be presenting them, how we understand objects, contexts and all that abounds in the world. For here and now meanings and perceptually-given being do not come alone, nor can they be read off from perception. Rather, they arrive with much that is presentiated and not immediately perceived. In many ways, these implied meanings and associations far exceed what is merely perceptually present here and now. At this point, there is no need to rush off to our books.

Let us now return to the nub of the matter once more via the phenomenon of staring at an egg whilst being sat at a table, so much so that our visual horizon focuses only on the egg and effectively wipes out other visual awareness. There is much else that can come to mind when the ego focuses attention on the perceptual now. The other things that show themselves as co-present are also our own mental habits of thought: a future-orientation perhaps, an evaluation of the egg itself, or an evaluation of the process of looking at the egg, which at first might seem trite or silly, or some other excessively hasty jumping to conclusions about the egg, about the table that it is on, about the sounds that can also be heard, or some memory of this morning comes along, or some imagination about something else altogether. In the meditation attitude, meditators do not classify what appears at all. As a meditation, the instruction is only to be aware of the mediation object, here and now. However, all the places where the mind goes to, and how it creates, synthesises and assimilates, is Husserlian territory, direct evidence of how consciousness is at work and how it shows itself to itself.

The natural attitude is like an untrained puppy. The natural attitude is defined as a bias towards realism and the assumption of the existence of things as ordinary opinion in the world sees them. "Phenomenological perception concerns the pure phenomenon of this reduction. What is perceived in it has no place in objective space, but not in objective time either. Nothing of transcendency is posited with it: the pure phenomenon is a pure, plain This, an absolute givenness and nothing problematic" (Husserl, 2008, p. 366; cf. 1989, p. 385). On the other hand, the non-reflective attitude is running around, sniffing every new object that comes along. The puppy needs training if it is to be a dog that can meditate in the mindfulness sense and become able to hold its attention and calm itself in a spiritual practice. This involves learning how to be relaxed and open to what happens, whether one is fully aware of the workings of one's consciousness or not (in the case of using meditation as a technique to calm anxiety), or whether the purpose is becoming aware of one's personal experience and wanting to interpret it in a Husserlian way. The idea of puppy training shows that the evidence for understanding our own consciousness can be ignored. Mindfulness meditation shows that the lifestyle that we have supports, or otherwise contributes, to the habits of living, jumping between conclusions, catching ourselves making absurd judgements that have nothing to do with the simple task we are trying to do, or of other habits of thought, action, emotion and valuing that can get so easily made, and are nothing at all to do with the perceptual here and now.

In closing this section, I appeal to phenomenologists to self-reflexively be aware of the style in which phenomena are experienced, and can be compared and contrasted with different experiential givennesses, according to their methodologies of reductions and attitudes (manners of approach). This is because these really need attending to through being open to exemplary experiences (Marbach, 1987, 1992, 1996, 2000). Marbach (2005) advised that the way to reflect on the connection between the objects of consciousness and their causative acts is to begin "reflectively, so to speak backwards, from the intended object x "out there" (in the real world or in some fictional setting) to the modes of givenness of this object in my conscious experiences" (p. 155). What this means is that interpretative work is required to contextualise and juxtapose the givenness of an object of attention with other types of givenness of the same object, and then with different types of object, in order to identify the differences and universalities. In order to make the method of interpretation tangible, the process needs defining in order to show its experiential orientation (Marbach, 1999, pp. 254-5). The process can be presented as four steps:

1. Phenomenological reflection stops the previously pre-reflexive intentional process and uses memory or imagination, for instance, to bring back an experience to consciousness, to enable greater awareness of its inherent structure, which can be gained by noting the different types of meaning and connection that are present in any noesis-noema correlation.

2. The object of attention is reflected on with an eye to its "multiple constituent parts" with respect to the intentional "activity of the kind in question" (Marbach, 1999, p. 254). Only definitive experiences are considered. Phenomenologists inquire as to how the object is given in its various noemata of appearance, as meant, as given, in such and such ways. Phenomenologists are initially instructed only by these concrete experiences of givenness. What appears are subtly nuanced different forms of givenness, indicating the intentionalities, associations and intentional modifications involved.

3. The instruction is to inspect experience in a more generalised and idealising way. The generality involved is to consider an object as ontologically neutral (as neither believed nor disbelieved, as one in a series of instances), as one of an infinite series of eidetically varied but possible noesis-noema correlations. To become aware of the universal aspects on both sides of the correlation is a twofold awareness, within a method for expressing the appearing whole in the language of the professional discourse. The investigation is a wholly meaningful and sensual exploration of experience to conclude on "the essential form of the transcendental accomplishments in all their types of individual and intersubjective accomplishments, that is, the total essential form of transcendentally" (Husserl, 1970a, p. 178) merely possible "accomplishing subjectivity in all its social forms. The fact is here, as belonging to its essence, and is determinable only through its essence" (Husserl, 1970a, p. 178, emphasis in original). Eidetic imaginative variation is a second tool for the inspection of universals, necessary aspects and conditions: which can be at a moment in time, the static view, or developmentally across a period of time, the genetic view. The elucidation can be turning to the object; or to the intentionalities involved. The purpose is to check the constancies and variables, and spot the necessities involved by using imagination as a form of givenness, a refinement of the raw data of what is experienced in the reduction.

4. Final checking and conclusions are achieved through comparing and contrasting with the elucidations of other noesis-noema correlations, to decide on the intentionalities and the work that consciousness does in making sense. Thus, the end products are conclusions in language on the many forms of intentionality in relation to the meaning of the objects that appear.

It is only through self-reflexive awareness and identification of the parts and wholes of the inherent being of consciousness, in our very own experience, that we have the phenomena of phenomenology (Husserl, 1968, §95; Marbach, 1987, p. 247). We cannot do otherwise than speak about what we find, as we make our interpretations meet what appears.


Commonality between phenomenology and Buddhism

Iso Kern (1988) stated that consciousness in Husserl's view has four main aspects. In order to illustrate this he retold the story of the passage of Buddhist thought from India to China in the seventh century (Hsüan Tsang, 1973). I do not intend to claim that phenomenology has rediscovered something, but rather to point out that the practices of meditation and phenomenology have something in common in that they return us to our very own lived experiences of what it is like to be in our part of the world, at this point in history. What the instruction, 'attend to the perceptual object and to hold it in your awareness' also brings is the possibility of reflection through a greater awareness of what we really do experience. Without the instruction it is all too easy to gloss over what is happening for us, so that important information, the awareness of the various forms of noetic and noematic evidence, is lost.

What Kern (1988) described are four main aspects to consciousness which lead to many further connections of sense. The first distinction to make is about what it actually means to go from being in the natural attitude, to what it means to be aware; that is to be aware of what one was previously only partially aware or perhaps wholly unaware. Perception can be considered as a centre with four directions running from it, with these directions explaining the four basic classifications of experience that Kern described and related to Hsüang Tsang (1973). The general teaching format is to experience them and then analyse them. This is presented in figure 1.



1. Attention narrows and focuses visually in the egg meditation. What appears are one's own hands and oneself looking out on one's body in the normal way. What is apparent are the feelings of one's body and the sensation of sitting upright, if one is sitting on a chair and looking at an egg on a table. What exists in addition to that, in the dimension of one's own visual perception of one's own body, is that the sense of oneself as a perceiving person, who is on a chair in a room, hearing ambient sounds, looking at the egg, feeling a sensation in one's stomach, and being able to move one's head and upper body around, so exercising choice and looking at and around the meditation object. These are the here and now experiences of perception described by terms like "primordial reduction" (Husserl, 1977, §44). (I am omitting many more examples). What appears is one's living bodily feeling in relation to the look of one's arms and fingers and the experience of inner dialogue about the egg. These are the experience of being a Husserlian meditator too, because it is clear that the bodily experience of moving around an object is connected to it (1989, p. 152; 1997a p. 159; 2001, pp. 49-51).

2. While the instruction is to 'attend to the perceptual object and to hold it in your awareness', other noemata come into consciousness. There might be perhaps the thought of buying some milk on the way home and how to get in and out of the shops during the rush hour. There might be thoughts about people and things to do, things to read, meetings at work to attend. And there may be multiple senses of the one and the same object of attention appearing for internal discussion. All of these noemata appear in some form of noetic-givenness and so it becomes possible to discern what each noesis is by comparing and contrasting one noesis with other types, by attending to the manners of givenness.4

3. The spontaneous presence of what appears to non-reflective everyday awareness, concerns an aspect of the self that Husserl referred to as either "absolute" consciousness or its connection to the long-lasting automatic recording process that is "retentional" consciousness. There are a whole series of awarenesses that are spontaneous ("genesis spontanea", Husserl, 1991, p. 106) such as new thoughts in internal dialogue that are not bidden by ourselves, even if it is our internal voice that is talking: spontaneous emotion, imagination, memory and anticipation arise, within one's own view of the world. Further study is required regarding the many automatic generations of meaning, and of its shapes and forms. Anonymously functioning non-egoic processes spontaneously create some types of senses and meanings, so that objects pop into consciousness apparently unbidden by the egoically driven rationalising of the internal voice or other conscious strivings.

4. There is a more self-reflexive form of attention that leads from any awareness of what one's mind has become aware of: The I or ego, the higher sort of self-consciousness, mainly concerns choice and willed action in relation to the body and the choice of intentionalities deployed5. There are aspects of us and our attention which operate alongside the more egoic, choice-oriented form. The change from the natural attitude to the reflective one entails the direct personal evidence of one's own involvement in one's own experiences. The ego shows itself in being able to abandon wanderings off and come back to the meditation object. This is the direct experience of the ego. There is the reflective dimension of being aware of alterations in the intensity and super-imposition of one's sense of self, be it only weakly or momentarily of the evidence that the puppy has wandered off onto focusing on itself, and has experienced something spontaneously, and only then realised that it was a future-oriented planning of what to do tonight and what to say to somebody on the phone.

The remainder of the paper uses the return to the phenomena stated above and discusses how words are chosen to express the different types of givenness that appear.


Attitudes of approach

An important topic for phenomenology is the link between attitudes taken and the object that appears in that attitude. I argue that a wider means of appraising phenomena should occur with respect to the tradition of hermeneutics as experienced in the parts and wholes of consciousness.

The hermeneutic circle is the observation that multiple comparisons of understanding form the meaning of any object. In relation to textual analysis, the "final goal of the hermeneutic procedure is to understand the author better than he understood himself" (Dilthey, 1976, pp. 259-260). Hermeneutics is the answer to the "first ... epistemological problem" that, in the context of the "human studies is the analysis of understanding. Hermeneutics, by starting from this problem and seeking its solution, becomes relevant to the questions about the nature and foundation of the human studies," (Dilthey, 1976, p. 262) which is differentiating between general experience and valid knowledge. Its method is to compare multiple contextualisations. For instance, a phrase in a text could be compared to several parts of the text to show what it truly means in an attempt to end an ambiguity. The hermeneutic circle is the attempt to answer an aporia: "The whole must be understood in terms of its individual parts, individual parts in terms of the whole. To understand the whole of a work we must refer to its author and to related literature" (Dilthey, 1976, p. 262). Any object makes sense across different horizons of senses, many of which bear a relation to, and get added to, the object thus producing its many senses. Similarly, in natural science since Heisenberg, Einstein and Rutherford, there are no method-independent results. All methods, for finding the being of even the natural world, do so in their own way: X-rays, ultrasound, measurement, microscopes, chemical analysis, biology, all interpret material being according to their standardised formats. Natural being, as shown by the techniques and attitudes of natural science, is a relativism, as is every approach (Husserl, 1970a, §9, 1989, §2; 2002, pp. 257, 268). The insight afforded by hermeneutics is comparing and contrasting the different forms of making sense of natural science, phenomenology itself and the everyday world, and hence accounting for the different intentional achievements of each. Despite what Husserl wrote about eidetic science overcoming hermeneutics in Philosophy as Rigorous Science (2002, p. 293) for instance, it is still the case that eidetic work is creating ontological conclusions for theory, via distinguishing parts and wholes, universals and variable factors. The natural being shown by scientists is only ever the outcome of what the ideas, techniques and measuring apparatus measure. The posing and answering of questions forms a whole. Most often, the worldview is circular and self-supporting. For instance, natural science took the phenomena of both the wave-effect and the particle phenomena of light and turned them into a mathematical and statistical universalisation. This is a perfectly acceptable way to begin to understand quantum phenomena.

In this section another Husserlian distinction is brought into sharp relief. The reductions to attitudes of attending to the full experience of being and understanding the qualitative ground of it, is that there is an attitude of how we deal with things, when we are attending to them in different ways. The natural attitude, the everyday experience of being alive in the lifeworld, is the common sense way of doing things that is closed off to the possibility of doing other than it habitually does already. It is not that the natural attitude is not entirely unaware. It is rather that everyday living is addressed with conflicting needs for things, such as getting some milk on the way home from work, that interrupt meditation practice. The point is that phenomenology is about essences and universals. Consequently, the natural attitude stops when phenomenological reduction initiates the phenomenological attitude of interpreting experiences as outlined here (Husserl, 1997b, pp. 161, 163).

At this point I will make a brief summary of some of the key issues in relation to their aims. From the point of view of their contributions to civilization, there are the divisions between the natural sciences, as exemplified by physics, biology, chemistry and astronomy. These are parallel with the human sciences, empirical or interpretative. A further parallel is everyday life. The natural attitude lifeworld is a different level altogether. It is simultaneously the very same natural world of the physicists and everyday commonsense life (Husserl, 1970a, §9). Quantum physics is one attempt to show what real being truly is. One discourse is science about nature that is supported by the eidetics of mathematics. This has an analogous relation to the human sciences of meaning and intentionality which could be supported by the eidetics of pure psychology (Marbach, 1988, p. 263). Whether it is the exploration of the universe through astronomy, or the attention to the 14 most basic quarks that comprise matter, it has to be noted that natural science is not the only approach to natural being. It was Husserl's core idea that a priori analyses are the way forward. For phenomenology, however, natural science is not the way to find the experiences that ground meaning and assist in understanding how consciousness works.

What is wrong with the natural attitude lifeworld is that it is not self-aware. Although commonsense is not entirely without reflective ability, for the natural attitude the reflection about awareness is not uppermost in the mind when it is time to drive home through dense traffic. The fact of the matter is that Husserl focused on givenness, and his practice is just one means of turning to what we already have at our disposal (Husserl, 1982, §27). This leads to the vitalising effect of mindfulness meditation for those who are willing to train the puppy of consciousness and learn from its meanderings. The vitalising effect is born of the simplicity of focusing on perception, or even emphasising one modality, such as vision (because even ambient sounds intrude; whereas in the natural attitude, attention was scattered and literally caught in the ambient world). The simplicity of the perceptual meditation object permits reflection. Husserl's desire was to let what appears teach us about the being of consciousness and the correlation with the being-conscious of the whole: that being more open to being increases our awareness of its givenness to us. So attending to the flimsy givenness of suddenly and spontaneously imagining where to buy some milk on the way home, that pops into consciousness whilst looking at an egg, is evidence that teaches us about the structure of the imagination and our ability to plan and think of the future, and our personal and intersubjective needs for milk and other household necessities. Phenomenology and mindfulness are not constructive of the prior understanding but the opposite: they invite and permit being-for-consciousness and being-conscious to reveal themselves, in their noema-noesis correlations. The revolution in knowledge according to being-for-consciousness is based on the revaluation of that being and self-awareness concerning the manner of its being known. It should be clear by now that realism and objectivity in the sense conceived by early twentieth century natural science is not acceptable.

Thus, the scope of phenomenology is revolution, revelation and reformation. Reduction is a revolution in that it is an insistence on turning to experiences and interpreting them intentionally. Revelation is the seeing of essences of noesis-noema correlations from the raw experiences and through variation in imagination (Marbach, 2005). Reformation is the end-product of new applications in science, the humanities, and other practices, in applying the new understandings of intentionality6.


The semblance of phenomenology in Heidegger

This section takes Dilthey, Husserl and Heidegger and follows the links between their work in a way that allows the appreciation of personal experience and meaningfulness as an entirely reasonable enterprise. The leading lights are Dilthey, Husserl and Heidegger because together they show how science also has an empirical and a priori-eidetic stance towards being. Heidegger famously disagreed with Husserl by embracing the ancients via Nietzsche's smashing of metaphysics in, for instance, sections 1 to 7 of Being and Time (Heidegger, 1996), on the way to arguing for an explicitly hermeneutic, philosophical, historical and linguistically-aware turn to the understanding of ontology as a part of Da-sein's being. Heidegger believed that Da-sein knows being because of the pre-reflexive understanding of the world of all beings, which is always already part of Da-sein's being. Da-sein's being is openness made by ecstatic temporality (Heidegger, 1996, §69). The temporal world-frame comes first and enables meaningful beings to be found within it: "if the being of Da-sein is completely grounded in temporality, temporality must make possible being-in-the-world and thus transcendence of Da-sein, which in its turn supports the being together with innerworldy beings that takes care, whether theoretical or practical" (Heidegger, 1996, p. 333). In fact, he should have really showed the temporality of the world in more detail, if he were to be really clear.

Heidegger's analysis of parts and wholes is interesting but his approach is avowedly anti-intentionality even though intentionality is mentioned in passing as references within a world. For Heidegger (1996), being comes from temporality as the "existential and ontological constitution of totality of Da-sein is grounded in temporality" (p. 398). However, the reductions and the attitudes7 portrayed in Being and Time are much more of a return to etymology and the history of philosophy than attending to the givenness of phenomena here and now. Despite the rhetoric of phenomenological destruction and the destruction of ontology, Heidegger finds being in citations from the world of the ancient Greeks, rather than finding some way of communicating about how being appears here and now, through memory and anticipation, in larger contexts and the contemporary world. In other words, he carefully ignores the messy details of how Da-sein understands. The wording that Heidegger used sounds like a vicious attack on the enemy of false understanding but it is actually a demand to get out the history books and follow back current usages of words to find the light of their historical inception in the drive to Wiederholung, retrieve. "The question of being attains true concreteness only when we carry out the destructuring of the ontological tradition. By so doing we can thoroughly demonstrate the inescapability of the question of the meaning of being and so demonstrate the meaning of our talk about a "retrieve" of this question" (Heidegger, 1996, p. 23; cf. 1988; Kocklemans, 1977). He also disparaged the idea of the hermeneutic circle (Heidegger, 1996, p. 315) whilst it was his main strategy for understanding.

Heidegger was quite right to identify pseudo questions and pseudo answers. However, that is traditional argument. Of course, the veneration of false ideas needs to be shown via clear examples. There should not be conceptual drift in the central meanings that we use to structure our professional discourses. Of course, we should discover things by skill and foresight and explain them well. The point of phenomenology is precisely to demonstrate conceptual grounding in referent experiences in a public way and explain things, so that the professional community can agree or disagree, as they see fit. "To the things themselves!" (Heidegger, 1996, p. 24; cf. Husserl, 2002) means precisely revelation and not mystery and concealment. Proper concepts prove themselves in fully revealing the phenomena, being as it appears as apprehended by the being of consciousness. Accurate concepts and understanding disclose the phenomena for consciousness for all. Heidegger did interrelate parts of the whole but they are there as 'existentials' rather than clearly illuminated studies of the intentionalities of many kinds, or the attention to how things appear in the horizon of temporality that brings the meaning of being to us. It is odd that Heidegger knew Husserl's time lectures well (1991) but refused intentionality in his writings. It is not clear how Heidegger bettered Husserl's account in Being and Time (Heidegger, 1996) as Husserl had already described it 20 or more years previously in his time lectures8.

Husserl's sense of the reduction in the 1920s was making a return to experience, not the historical precedents of words, usages and traditions of the birth of sense, but to catch the current meaning in the best way possible. For Husserl, focusing on past usages, even if they do exemplify current ones, is only that: looking back at a past, and hence looking away from how intentionality is implied in empathising the past views of others and working out how it was like then, by reading ancients texts. Yes indeed, real being is well and truly in front of our noses. Real being is right here right now as revealed by attending to it itself, in its 'thisness' (section 1 above). So Heidegger (1996) provided the semblance of phenomenology when he wrote: "Science of the phenomena means that it grasps its objects in such a way that everything about them to be discussed must be directly indicated and directly demonstrated" (p. 30) for all to share and bear witness to the same evidence. Comments like: "Before words, before expressions, always the phenomena first, then the concepts!" (Heidegger, 1992, p. 248); or, the need for "fulfilling the requirement to open our eyes and take the phenomena as they offer themselves as against all firmly rooted theory and even despite it" (1988, p. 62) sounds remarkably good except that Heidegger provides little or no evidence of the phenomena. Therefore, Being and Time (Heidegger, 1996) really returns to the history of philosophy. So this usage of the word phenomenology is misleading as Heidegger runs away from the encounter between consciousness and being and is enamoured with historical evidence for previous narratives about being that are then argued to be accurate accounts.

Heidegger and Husserl agreed to some extent that the phenomenological gaze attends to evidence of what is given of being in consciousness. The language used is highly evocative. However, even though early writings of Husserl urged phenomenologists to describe; it just does not work like that. It is inevitable that concepts are grounded in first-hand experiences which are personally meaningful. Words can exemplify what the evidence seems to say. However, the whole point is that the concepts used must be fit for purpose and bear in mind the manifold of experiences of noesis-noema correlations (Husserl, 1977, 1982, 1997b). Dilthey, Husserl and Heidegger agree that wholes are highly influential and that parts must be adequately contextualised and comparisons made. Parts and wholes co-exist.

So Heidegger's etymological analysis and argument appropriates a vague idea of intentionality only with respect to historical references to ancient Greek philosophy. It does not deliver anything over and above what Husserl had already shown in 1913 (Husserl, 1982, §27). In contrast to Heidegger, Husserl's phenomenology analyses and universalises experience to find which intentional parts form a whole. In the case of the visual perception of an egg, phenomenology is not going to think about eggs, chickens, or the history of the keeping of chickens, or the being of eggs as recorded in Aristotle or Plato. No, the point is that the words used must be fit for their purpose and be in a genre that is clear and scholarly. So this really promotes discussion about how to make and communicate phenomenological observations themselves.


Retrieve of phenomenology

In closing, rather than there being a lack of application of phenomenology and its understanding of intentionality, there should be an abundance of co-working between phenomenologists, psychologists, philosophers and other academics and practitioners. What I am referring to is the practical worth of the accurate universalisation of consciousness that Husserl brought forth (Marbach, 1993). Colleagues in the sciences and philosophy can gain from each other's ventures (Husserl, 1970b, §71). Rationality about experience is the sought-after wisdom which proves its worth when used. I read Husserl from a pragmatic perspective when I say that the worth of a phenomenological attitude is specifying the intentional achievements in what the natural attitude assumes.

The case of teaching can be used as an example. Depending on what is being taught, the teaching-learning experience could include practising a skill under guidance or, for instance, getting to really understand how to read key passages in a text (besides many other forms). In the case of teaching phenomenology, if students have not realised that they too have first-hand experience of the referent experiences to which Husserl was referring, then the grasping of what his words mean is hindered. I do not read Husserl as specifying that there are only two ways of seeing the world: Either it is my way, the one and only right way; or it is those ridiculous ungrounded ways. Rather, the project is one of co-working and using eidetics in the sense of putting the pure before the applied (not after it) to argue mathematically about how the subjective-objective bridge is crossed as Husserl frequently advised readers that geometry is the model for understanding his interpretative stance (Husserl, 1970a, p. 178, 1972, pp. 79-81, 1982, §§2, 6, 7, 9, 70, 72, 73, 79). The point is to ensure that qualitative personal experience is given its rightful place as the realm from which to draw universal conclusions. In the way that mathematics comes before science in relation to natural being, a parallel pure psychology can draw its universals in relation to the fourfold aspects of consciousness. Qualitative experiences are the one and only laboratory for noetic investigation. Our lives are rich sources for understanding. However, for colleagues not involved in the phenomenological attitude, understanding intentionality could also be a profound source of inspiration. The turn to reflection is indeed a complex one and the direction to becoming aware of the types and internal structural workings of the many species and genera of intentionality is what awaits (Marbach, 2010a, 2010b). Pragmatically speaking, accurate understanding shows itself in solving problems and providing theoretical explanations that cannot be achieved by other means. What the original phenomenology shows for cognitive science, for instance, is that meta-cognition has been studied qualitatively since at least 1907, and was studied for many centuries prior to that within Buddhism. The point for cognitive science is that there is always some prior understanding of what consciousness is like and that it is the job of theory-making to promote empirical work. When it comes to understanding consciousness, it is useful to have a qualitative analysis of the functioning of consciousness because all understanding begins and ends in consciousness. Accordingly, to embrace the cognitive revolution in psychology is to be self-reflexive in theory and realise that all empirically-derived conclusions are readings of the events in the experiments and are not facts outside of meanings for consciousness. When it comes to therapy too, there are plenty of insights to be gained in understanding psychological problems through formulating them in a meta-cognitive way. This is because people reflect on themselves in their contexts and how they interpret what passes for evidence is highly variable and a worthwhile topic of study.

Phenomenology must be clear to itself as well. It is no good if it commits the same or similar sins of lack of self-understanding that it admonishes others to correct. One thing that phenomenology should do is prevent the encroachment of moribund traditions that do not meet their objects, nor understand properly their own manner of approach to them. The being of the object does appear across the manifold of senses (Husserl, 1968, p. 58). For instance, when it comes to science, it is scientism that is the enemy. When it comes to history, it is an excessive turning backwards to the past, in a way that avoids the here and now consequences of the past that makes historical inquiry lose its impact. On the other hand, there is the case when physicists, for instance, adopt a new paradigm that illuminates the field with applications of new knowledge. It is only the illusion that phenomenology and empirical science are incompatible that obscures their commonalities. The Husserlian claim is that understood-being is the one and only experienced-being that appears within consciousness. All claims to facts and understanding conclusions of any type exist inside consciousness (Husserl, 1977, p. 84). The meeting place between consciousness and other consciousness, between consciousness and idea, or between consciousness and an egg, real or imagined, is all there ever will be and being-for-consciousness in these different contexts.

Let us stay with Husserl for there is much to be impressed by. Understanding exists across retentional consciousness that includes the current moment. The understanding can be implicit or explicit, depending on whether it has been fully made an object of attention or not. There is also language that is so important in giving our experiences shape. However, understanding can inhabit the space between nonverbal meaning and linguistic reference and not disclose the phenomena of consciousness. Husserl made a turn to consciousness in its context of other consciousness and created the fourfold understanding that Iso Kern described (1988). Until at least 1929 Husserl (1977, §35) pursued pure psychology as one way to understand consciousness and enter into transcendental philosophy9. He also wanted to create a transcendental phenomenological philosophy of consciousness 'as such' of a consciousness overall. (Similar to the Buddhist sense of one world and one consciousness, there is one being for consciousness). Husserl stuck at his mission and reconsidered his own constructions (such as the interpretation of temporality, Husserl, 2001, p. 173) and began again if necessary. Where Husserl was clearly focussed in Ideas II was the person and the surrounding world (1989, §46, 50). For when intentionalities implicate each other, it is inescapable that imaginings of the future get created with belief and that understanding is thrown forwards and gets believed-in-advance as what will be.

Phenomenology must attend to experiential evidence (Husserl, 1982, §24; 2006, p. 1). Concepts must fit the experiences of noesis-noema correlations where equal measure is given to experienced-being and the being-that-experiences. Both need to be adequately interpreted and shown for all to share in the understanding. Theory can never be primary. Only rationalised experience teaches. The givennesses of the many noetic forms of consciousness is shown in imagining or thinking of the future, or a memory that appears now, in full colour and daylight-bright, shows how illusive some acts of consciousness can be. The puppy that follows the novel sights and smells of its habitat needs to be called to sit and attend to what is given. However, reflection lends itself to discussion because it can be about specific meaningful instances that show us what greater universal processes are at work. Despite Husserl's misgiving over his time lectures and his self-criticism, they did set him on the path to itemising how being appears within temporality, particularly in the years 1909 to 1911 prior to the publication of Ideas I. From 1905: "What we accept [is] appearing time, appearing duration, as appearing" (Husserl, 1991, p. 5). "But ... space and actuality are ... appearing spatial form, appearing temporal form" (p. 6). "The contents endure; they have their time; they are individual objectivities that are unities of change or constancy" (Husserl, 1991, p. 89). These comments emphasise an aspect of how the temporal field of the now can have superimposed on it, other modes of temporal existence, of beings. Awareness brings the meaning of being and consciousness to first-hand inspection. It is thereafter a matter of interpretative style as to how we discuss how consciousness, in all its qualitative and meaningful splendour (that exceeds and evades natural science), becomes rendered into styles of discourse about it. The original project was to follow Husserl's 'mathematical model' to universalise how things appear and conclude on how they do so; to identify the structure of consciousness (Marbach, 1987). The technique of mindfulness shows that it is precisely because the untrained mind wanders off, like a puppy, that it has to be called back to givenness. Phenomenology had the rallying cry 'to the things themselves' and that means the elucidation of being-for-consciousness and consciousness itself. However, the wandering off is interesting because that moment is a spontaneous occurrence of one of the four dimensions of consciousness at work (Kern, 1988).

The skills of intentional analysis are finding the right words after attending in sensual and meaningful acuity to what appears.


Referencing Format

Owen, I. R. (2013). Using mindfulness as a teaching aid for phenomenology. Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, 13(2), 16 pp. doi 10.2989/IPJP.2013.



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About the Author



Ian Rory Owen was born with the Dutch family name van Loo in Wellington, New Zealand in 1960. He is of mixed European descent being part English, Welsh, Dutch and Czech. He received his Bachelor of Technology degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1982 and worked briefly in technical journalism and business during the 1980s. He re-trained in counselling, hypnotherapy and psychotherapy during the 1980s and began his therapeutic career in 1987 by working on an acute psychiatric admissions ward. He gained a Master of Arts degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy from Regents College, London, in 1991, and has other qualifications in Medical Anthropology and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. He became a UKCP registered psychotherapist in 1995 and a Graduate Member of the British Psychological Society in 1999. He worked as a Senior Lecturer in Counselling Psychology, at the University of Wolverhampton, UK, and led a MA/MSc in Counselling programme. He also taught phenomenology and philosophy of science and psychology plus a variety of forms of therapy theory and skills on a Doctorate in Counselling Psychology programme until 2001. Since 2001, Ian has worked for Leeds and York Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust where he is currently a Principal Integrative Psychotherapist and provides individual brief therapy for adults. He received his PhD in Counselling and Psychotherapy in 2005 from Regents College, part of the University of London. He is the author of 76 refereed papers and three books on the original writings of Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, attachment and phenomenological theory of mind as they apply to the theory and practice of individual psychotherapy. He has drawn on the common influences between Husserl and Heidegger and the work of Aron Gurwitsch, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Simone de Beauvoir, Alfred Schütz and Paul Ricoeur in producing the intentionality model, a theoretical integration, to support therapy practice. In his spare time Ian is interested in African, Brazilian and Afro-Caribbean dance and music and he has a number of artistic hobbies. E-mail address:



1 The natural attitude is not to be confused with the naturalistic attitude which is the blindness of natural science that steadfastly refuses to see consciousness and takes natural being and natural causality as the only relevant form of being and so ignores the biopsychosocial whole, mistaking a part for the whole (Kern, 1986, p. 28, Kern & Marbach, 2001, p. 76). The intentionality of consciousness is not merely part of the psychophysical whole of the body.
2 Husserl and Christian van Ehrenfels both developed the idea of the gestalt by reading Ernest Mach in 1886. Husserl noted the effect of "figural moments" in relation to number theory in 1890 (Husserl, 2003, pp. 215-223).
3 What appears are "appearances-of only through the intentional horizons that are inseparable from them" (Husserl, 2001, p. 43). There are also further links to temporality too which I will discuss below: "the continually progressing fulfilment is at the same time a continually progressing emptying. For as soon as a new side becomes visible, a side that has just been visible gradually disappears from sight, becoming finally completely nonvisible" (p. 45).
4 Marbach has summarised the change from the natural attitude to the phenomenological one and carried out empirical research with children on their ability to understand pictorial presentiation (1983, 1996). Kern (1977) is probably the best introductory piece on the purpose of phenomenology. Kern and Marbach (2001, p. 69) defined the personalistic attitude as one of empathising the "motivational connections among a person's subjective experiences", which makes it a precursor to a phenomeno-logical attitude approach to social life, living in the lifeworld of everyday culture.
5 There is a certain spontaneous quality to the many pre-reflexive features of the self. The pre-reflexive is comprised of the same totality as the reflexive. Some aspects are presences and noeses, some egoic and non-egoic, and concerned with training the attention and marshalling its possibilities.
6 The enthusiastic reception of Husserl and Heidegger in France should be noted. Sartre concluded that "the dualism of being and appearance is no longer entitled to any legal status within philosophy" (1958, p. xxi) and "ontology will be the description of the phenomenon of being as it manifests itself", (p. xxiv). Whereas Merleau-Ponty (1962) was more circumspect: "consciousness ... admits of no separation of appearance and reality ... appearance is reality ... The truth of perception and the falsity of illusion ... lies in the way they appear, then the truth that defines one and the falsity that defines the other must be equally apparent," (p. 294). Both of these are arguments in favour of basing all knowledge on a qualitative ground, which is what Husserl argued for.
7 Whilst neither the words reduction nor attitude appear in Being and Time (Heidegger, 1996) their equivalents do in the form of a reduction through inadvertent mistakes thus disappointing Umsicht (§16), the loss of the sense of the world through Angst (§40), a reduction to relate being to temporality (§§65, 66, 78, 79) and a turn to history as well (§76).
8 Whilst Husserl never explicitly wrote that the meaning of being exists in temporality and the world, the lectures of 1905 to 1917 had many such points, so many that they are almost too numerous to mention. They can be grouped as comments concerning the seeing of noesis-noema correlations (Husserl, 1991, pp. 28, 33, 40, 42), specific forms of givenness of retentional consciousness and memory (pp. 25, 38, 43) and imagination and the future (pp. 53, 69) and the object and its intentional links (pp. 55, 89, 151, 155, 172).
9 To make a response to Kant's (1993) Critique of Pure Reason, particularly pp. A95-129, and explore empathy p. A353

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