The Mindfulness Blog

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Checking In, Or Checking Out?

How sharp do you think a knife's edge would be, after five minutes of sharpening? Or fifteen minutes? Or a half-hour? You get the idea and of course, for purposes of this post, the knife is simply an analogy for our mind.

Sometimes the whetstone is smooth. Sometimes it's rough. It depends on the angle. It depends on the dullness of the knife. It depends on the intention of the person doing the sharpening. It depends on a lot of things. And so does meditation.

But, just like bicep curls for the brain (tip of the hat to Dan Harris), sitting still and being quiet, observing our thoughts and returning time and again to our chosen "anchor"--be it the breath, a mental picture, a sound or a mantra--will make our minds stronger. That's what meditation is, and that's why I choose to make it part of my regimen every day.

Meditation is decidedly about checking in, not checking out. It's all about mental and emotional fitness--getting stronger and better focused in a deliberate, purposeful way. My chosen anchor is the breath, and breathing in is like drawing the knife toward me--breathing out is like purposely pushing the knife away. Strong and steady.

Meditation can also help us skillfully process the stresses and strains that our days inevitably present--be they personal or professional. And don't let anyone tell you otherwise--the two are very much inter-related.

To be sure, meditation is not a panacea for everything that ails us lawyers, but it covers a lot of bases, if we're willing to make the time and do the work. Can't make time for a longer "lump sum payment"? Then try making a few shorter "installment payments". The time we spend sitting may differ from day-to-day, but the benefits will still accrue!

I'm checked in--what about you?


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