The Mindfulness Blog

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We've Got A Long Way To Go, And A Short Time To Get There

No, I'm not talking about country-western singer, Jerry Reed, or the old Burt Reynolds movie, Smoky and the Bandit. And I'm not talking about a truck commercial. I'm talking about lawyer well-being.

We've got a long way to go before the legal profession recognizes the existential urgency of lawyer well-being, and puts its money where its mouth is. Or, restating the proposition in legalese, its time the profession stops treating individual lawyers as mere chattels, or fungible goods.

Sure, most of us survive. Some of us even thrive. But the tragic reality is that a few of us don't come out alive--and that's a few too many. That's the bad news. But the good news is that there is, well, some good news that can help us travel that long way, in a relatively short time--it's called mindfulness and meditation.

No, neither are likely to occur to us by listening to country-western music (though I am a fan) or by watching a movie (of which I am also a fan), but both mindfulness and meditation are a heck of a lot more effective--and accessible--than many of us may think. And if you are not inclined to take my word for it, I know a few scientists who you can talk to.

Just try sitting (or kneeling, or lying down, or walking) quietly. Maybe with your eyes closed, if you are comfortable doing that. Choose an "anchor" upon which to rest your attention--perhaps your breath, or a mantra, or a  visual point of concentration--and voila! You're well on your way to meditating. Which will, in time, make you more mindful.

I enjoy sitting alone, but I have to say that lately I've become enamored of sitting with a group-- it's like having someone to share the experience (as well as a big smile), after a great snow skiing run. And although I prefer to sit in silence, I am always happy to be part of a led meditation, guided by a leader or a teacher.

I don't mean to sound glib, or trite, but it really is all good. Sure, there are purists, but I'm not one of them. Some days I'm feeling more formal in my approach, and some days I'm feeling more informal. Some days. my attention is easily focused on my anchor and some days, my mind is all over the place.

Some days, my meditation is a textbook exercise of watching my thoughts and letting them pass, without attachment, and some days it's more of an exercise in contemplation, about something that insistently keeps coming up, again and again. Some days I get the bear, and some days the bear gets me--and the funny thing is, I never know what my meditation will be until I sit quietly, close my eyes, and start observing my thoughts.

Yes, we've got a long way to go. But there is a short way to get there, in a comparatively short period of time. Care to try?


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