How do you write a methodology chapter that outlines exactly what you did (methods), and why you did it (methodology), when what and why are inextricably linked to who you are (ontology and epistemology)? In attempting to write this chapter of my PhD, I have tended to spend hours looking up the definitions of these words. Instead, I have a collection of thoughts that I will share in a blog that does not have a clear ending.
Indigenous worldviews emphasise shared principles of interconnectedness and participation with the spiritual, natural, and social communities. Genuine knowledge is experienced and infused with spirit, tied to reality and place: ingrained in the history, journeys, and daily rituals; and enfolded within language—the active and creative experiential process of ‘coming to know’ (Cajete, 2000). In other words, knowing and being are inseparable. The task at hand that permeates my being, my knowing, and my research is to ‘seek life’, that is, “a journey of learning to know life in all its manifestations—especially those of the spirit—and through this journey experience a state of wholeness” (Cajete, 1994, p. 46). The research itself is a storied process of coming to know.
This is something I found through the course of my research. Interviews and literature repeatedly told me that hau, and other concepts I was delving in to, is inseparable from its counterparts. Logically I understood this, but until I experienced it, I was unable to know it (what I now see as the difference between mātauranga and mōhiotanga). I grappled with the definitions of mauri and hau, until a personal experience brought with it clear understanding. When I experienced these forces, I was able to feel in my being the way forward. Knowledge turning to knowing. Meyer further explains this process:
Knowledge was the by-product of slow and deliberate dialogue with an idea, with others’ knowing, or with one’s own experience with the world. Knowing was in relationship with knowledge, a nested idea that deepened information (knowledge) through direct experience (knowing). (2008, p. 221)
Hihiri is that spark, the movement that opens up the next phase. Yet, often times, it is deliberate, directed by intention. This is the slow burn of the PhD that I have experienced. Those epiphany moments where not a product of pure chance as moments of inspiration sometimes seem, but of constant interaction and engagement with an idea, with experience, and with others. Deep knowing comes with wisdom, the wisdom to let knowledge digest, and then to allow knowledge to act.
Knowledge (mātauranga) is different from knowing (mōhio). When illumination of the spirit arrives (symbolised by the rainbow effect in the water), then one truly knows, according to your ancestors. When the illumination of spirit arrives in the mind of the person that is when understanding occurs – for knowledge belongs to the head and knowing belongs to the heart. When the person understands both in the mind and in the spirit, then it is said that that person truly ‘knows’ (mōhio). (Marsden, 2003, p. 79)