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 also a common denominator among human beings, struggling to be mindful in life.
In my mindfulness practice, I struggle with finding time to practice, overcoming the internal objections I encounter to not doing something ostensibly more productive, my desire to have only pleasant experiences when I meditate (which is impossible), and occasionally, my flat out aversion to sitting still.
But one of the things that energizes me, and keeps my mindfulness practice going, is remembering that every single one of us has those same struggles. I once asked my teacher whether he really did sit every day. He said he made it a practice of getting his butt on the cushion for a moment every day – and some days, that was enough.
In law practice, we also have common struggles. We struggle to manage the volume of work, or the fear when the work is slow; the mind that is constantly scanning for issues and danger; having to be right every single time, with no margin for error; extreme competition, including our training in competition and own competitive natures; and living surrounded by conflict.
And it can really energize us to remember that these issues are ubiquitous in the profession. Which is the same thing that energizes us as meditators.
I use an app called Insight Timer when I meditate. At the end of a sit, it tells me how many people I’ve just meditated with.
Sometimes there are upwards of two thousand people meditating at the same time as I am. I like to take a minute and think about all of those people. And along with wishing them a good sit, I like to remember that every single one of them probably could have thought of something ‘better’ to do than sit and do nothing. But they all chose to sit. And so did I.
It reminds me to remember, that as meditators and as lawyers, we really are all in this together.