The Mindfulness Blog

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The "I" In "D & I"

Inclusion is all about shared experience, and it's really important--especially in our law firms, our law schools and our judiciary, where shared experience isn't given the thought or attention that it requires.

Diversity and Inclusion ("D&I") have been the focus of not only the American Bar Association ("ABA"), but also, many professional organizations and leading thinkers in the expanding field of expertise that us old-timers refer to as, "human resources". D&I is at the heart of every law firm's planning for the future, as well as the present. Inclusion is about sustainability--pure and simple.

And mindfulness and meditation can be critical pieces of the Inclusion puzzle. There's the all-too-common notion that the best way to promote Inclusion, is to organize social activities (e.g., firm outings). But those kinds of social functions don't serve the same purpose-- will never serve the same purpose--that personal activities can serve.

I'm talking about personal activities with which many or most of us don't have prior experience. Maybe a personal activity about which many or most of us share a common doubt, or skepticism. Like meditation (which is the means by which we can become more mindful).

How many fingers do you need to count the number of personal activities (discounting silly party games, which aren't really personal) where a 60-something white male partner can sit next to a 30-something associate, who is a woman of color? And comfortably say absolutely nothing? With their eyes closed or disengaged, gazing downward?

Both of them leaving the experience completely comfortable (or mutually uncomfortable) with the feeling that they've shared something in common--because they have. Something they can talk about together and/or with others who may have also sat silently with office peers with whom they may have never imagined sitting.

Meditation is Inclusion, and there are few other benefits--perhaps, none-- that  can serve both the individual, as well as the firm. It's a 2, or 3, or 4 for 1 kind of a deal. The seemingly exclusive practice of meditation is actually one of the most inclusive things one can do with others.

For me, meditation is like snow skiing-- while I'm in the middle of an intense run (be it steeps or bumps), I am totally focused on me and what I'm doing. But at the end of the run, I need to pull up my goggles, smile at one of my buddies and say, "Damn, that was good!". You get the idea.

Bottom line: Without genuine "I", there can't be any meaningful "D". And without D&I, our profession will neither thrive, nor survive. Check it out.

Meditation as a tool for Inclusion. Who'd have thunk it?


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