In this autoethnographic quadrologue, the authors aim to show how meditation experiences defy verbalization in a qualitative research setting. This leads to the insight that an autoethnographic approach may be a much better fit for such an experience, where complex and inexpressible things can be found. This is especially the case since autoethnographic texts include and immerse the reader in the experience. Even though in the case of meditation this can hardly be achieved, this quadrologue aims at conveying some of the struggles and peculiarities of meditation practice. It focuses on the research process leading to the decision to employ an autoethnography paradigm. Thus, the focus of this article is the differentiation of autoethnography from other methodological approaches and the conscious decision in favour of this method, which is rather unusual in German-speaking countries. The authors develop the thesis that both the meditation experience and the decision to employ an autoethnographic paradigm led to the experience of “wandering off the beaten track” and crossing the boundaries of what is usually done in society and social science respectively.


meditation, qualitative research methods, subjectivity, autoethnography, perception

Author Bio(s)

All author notes are based on the time in which the manuscript was prepared.

Anna-Katharina Kothe, B.Sc., studied Philosophy (B.A.) and Economics (B.Sc.) at the University of Tübingen and is currently enrolled at the University of Vienna for a Master of Arts Degree in Philosophy and Economics (M.A.). Through her studies she has worked in various interdisciplinary projects dealing with the nexus of philosophy, political science, and economics. She tries to do a short meditation practice every morning, but still struggles to show up. Please direct correspondence to ak.kothe@posteo.de.

Stefanie Vochatzer, M.A., studied Social Work (B.A.) at the Cooperative State University Villingen-Schwenningen and Foundations of Education (M.A.) at the University of Tübingen. She works as a teacher for childcare workers in training and is lecturer in social work at the Friedrich-Schiller-University of Jena and the Cooperative State University. She is working on projects around autoethnography, history of education, and women’s and gender studies. She is looking forward to visiting the Benediktushof with the represented group again and is still learning about practicing meditation. Please direct correspondence to Stefanie.Vochatzer@uni-paderborn.de.

Christian Oesterle, B.A., studied Economics (B.A.) in Heidelberg and later Philosophy (B.A) and Musicology at the University of Tübingen. His focus lies on ancient Greek philosophy and general aesthetics. He is not meditating on a regular basis anymore but tries to enjoy the aesthetic states in his life. Please direct correspondence to oestionline@gmx.net.

Steffen Philipp Ruf, M.Sc., studied Psychology (B.Sc., M.Sc.) at the University of Tübingen. After working as a research associate in the field of clinical neuroscience he decided to continue his studies in medical school where he just finished his final exams. While he is also working on his doctoral thesis in psychosomatic medicine, he tries to incorporate meditation in his daily life which appears to be a never-ending project. Please direct correspondence to s.philipp.r@gmail.com.


We thank Dr. Nils Weidtmann (University of Tuebingen) and the Tuebingen Forum for Science and Humanities for their support.

Publication Date


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.







To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.