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Mindfulness is Not Complacency

Last week in a newsletter, in response to President Trump’s “fire and fury” statement against North Korea, I wrote that instead of meeting difficulty with thoughtfulness, justice, and compassion, we’re seeing reactivity and hate. I called our national leadership, “un-mindful.” One member of the mindfulness-in-law community said that I’d missed the point. “We need to be less critical of the people we elect,” she wrote back. “Using your criticism to…

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Some Self-Evident Truths From Mindfulness, and Counting Blessings on Independence Day

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men [and women] are created equal,” endowed with the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s difficult see how self-evident those truths are, in our country, on its birthday, this year. But mindfulness has some truths that are self-evident and can help with the difficulties. Consider the “Four Noble Truths.” Translated into legalese, the Four Noble Truths are…

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Outer Obnoxiousness, Inner Peace, and Mindfulness: Thoughts on the Practice of Wise Speech

Lucy says, “I hate everybody. I hate the whole world!” Charlie Brown replies, “I thought you had inner peace.” “I do!” she exclaims. “But I still have outer obnoxiousness.” And lawyers? Sadly, we’re often the poster children for outer obnoxiousness. But it’s not totally our fault. We’re permanently overwhelmed. We’re reactive by training. And we’re perfectionist by nature. Plus, we work in a combat zone. The conditions are not exactly…

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If Wishes Were Horses, Lawyers Would Ride (Equanimity, Part II)

Equanimity for lawyers – I don’t think it’s just for those moments when we’re encountering internal struggle. It’s also about how we feel when we know what we’re doing, and people don’t take our advice. I don’t know about you, but some people in my life matter more than others. And for those people, when I know what I’m doing, I really want them to take my advice. Take my…

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Rolling With The (Legal) Punches (Equanimity, Part I)

I've been thinking lately about equanimity. Is equanimity even possible for lawyers? Every day in the law is a battle, and equanimity can seem pretty illusive. Our practices are full of uncertainties. We never know when we’ll win or lose, be praised or blamed, get an award or get slandered. We never know when we’ll have a moment of pleasure, and when we’ll be devastated. In the language of mindfulness, these…

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Concentration Equals Happiness

Concentration Equals Happiness

Concentrate! You probably heard that when you were a kid. Or you might say it to your own kids. I know I did both. But it wasn’t until I began meditating that I realized how difficult it is, and how important it is. In fact, concentration is one of the foundations for happiness. How’s that? Concentration, or Samadhi, is the composure & unification of the mind, free from desires and…

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Remembering We’re In This Together

Remembering We’re In This Together

A lot of lawyers I talk to, or who train with me, say they’d love to be more mindful, but it’s hard to remember to be mindful. I can totally relate, because sometimes it’s hard for me, too. But it’s helpful to know that the struggle to remember is a common denominator. In fact, not only is it a common denominator among lawyers trying to remember to be mindful. It’s…

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Protecting Yourself With Mindfulness

Protecting Yourself With Mindfulness

Mindfulness protects us from defaulting to un-wise states of mind like anger, frustration, and greed, and helps us re-wire the mind to default to wise states of mind like wisdom and compassion. Which makes us happier, more likeable, and more effective. Here’s how. About a year ago I saw two cars that I really liked. Whenever I saw those cars on the road, I could feel how much I wanted…

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The Wisdom Of Skepticism

The Wisdom of Skepticism

From a mindfulness perspective, skepticism and critical thinking are essential, and frankly, faith is important, too, but it has its drawbacks. When you begin a mindfulness practice, you’re taking a leap of faith. You’ve heard the claims: mindfulness calms and stabilizes the mind. It increases concentration, and helps shift cynicism to inquiry and judgment to discernment. Mindfulness increases emotional intelligence, which has all sorts of tertiary benefits. And it flat…

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Mindfulness, Really?

Mindfulness, Really?

Yes, really! But what is mindfulness? You can think of it as non-interfering awareness. You’re probably already familiar with non-interfering awareness. Imagine you’re listening to music. Or you’re completely, receptively listening to another human being – say, a colleague or a deponent. Or a client. Non-interfering awareness is a quality of mind that allows you to listen, or to be with someone, or to be in a situation, and to…

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