Body and Emotion: The Aesthetics of Illness and Healing in by Robert R. Desjarlais

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By Robert R. Desjarlais

Body and Emotion is a learn of the connection among tradition and emotional misery, an exam of the cultural forces that effect, make feel of, and heal serious soreness and malaise. for you to examine this courting, Robert R. Desjarlais served as an apprentice healer one of the Yolmo Sherpa, a Tibetan Buddhist those who dwell within the Helambu area of north-central Nepal.

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Additional resources for Body and Emotion: The Aesthetics of Illness and Healing in the Nepal Himalayas

Sample text

During an October healing, Meme divined that her illness was caused by "many tears falling from her eyes," deep feelings of "confusion" and "anxiety," and an inability to "hold" her heart-an etiology that lifted the blame offYeshi for her despair, gave meaning to her tears, and conveyed her plight to others. As the shaman divines, so the anthropologist imagines : I experienced my own "divination" of Yeshi's troubles two months after my arrival in Helambu, on the night of a May healing performed on her behalf.

Yet while my "divinations" were of a soundly subjective nature, arising out of the constraints of my own experience, they apparently did realize some sort of tacit knowledge. And I take this knowledge to have dealt less with some hidden world on the other side of silence than with my own mundane involvement with the everyday lives and concerns ofMeme's clients. I do not find much that is mystical in the process : while the revelations took a vivid form in my case, I believe they probably occur in most successful ethnographic endeavors.

Wherever their locus, the ethnographer must search for a language that illuminates their combined thrust and sense as they relate in the original context. An ethnographer's convocations of words, if woven together like the chords of a sonata, can offer an experientially rich sense of what it may be like to grow old in a distant village. This is the working hypothesis to be tested here : by grasping the charge of the relation between different cultural forms, between ways of feeling, hungry ghosts, and the subtle play of images, we can better realize the imaginative force, if not the specific territory and content, of Yolmo experience.

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