Relationship enactive perspective as a principle of relational mindfulness

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The modern perspective has developed a theoretic perspective, where abstract knowledge is prioritized over contextualized understanding. One of the commitments that are made in assuming this theoretic perspective is to believe that we acquire a knowledge that we can abstract and generalize. This theoretic perspective separates direct experience from representation. The representational perspective of knowledge, even though has been strongly criticized, both for its theoretical and pragmatic implications, continues to influence our understanding of knowledge, affecting all areas of natural and social knowledge, within which the understanding of mindfulness has also been affected by this perspective. As a meta-theoretical alternative to the representational perspective there are the holistic and presentational approaches, within which there is the corporatized perspective, proposed by Francisco Varela, who proposes that cognition as a mind-body unit, from a perspective it calls enaction, which seeks to be an integrative response to the mind/body problem. Based on an intermediate pathway between the objectivist and the subjectivist extremes (Thompson E y Varela FJ. Radical embodiment: neural dynamics and consciousness. Trends Cogn Sci 5(10): 418-425, 2001), enaction and neurophenomenology appear as a research program that seeks to question and transcend the representational perspective of knowledge. While the enactive response seeks to better solve some of the problems posed by the representational perspective, integrating the first and third person looks, it fails to account for the knowledge that arises from an interaction between two or more people. As a complementary alternative to that of the action, this presentation proposes to develop an active relational perspective, which maintains on the one hand the mind/body unity proposed by the action and that explicitly includes the relational dimension of the second person, as a valid dimension of scientific knowledge, and that requires to be incorporated. This enactive relational perspective could be transformed into a relevant aspect in understanding relational mindfulness. The enactive relational gaze would allow to account both of an understanding of the mind and the body and of the relational interaction given in the encounter at the present moment.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRelational Mindfulness
Subtitle of host publicationFundamentals and Applications
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9783030577339
ISBN (Print)9783030577322
StatePublished - 26 Jun 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Embodied cognition
  • Enaction
  • Neurophenomenology
  • Relational enaction
  • Relational mindfulness


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