The Mindfulness Blog

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In Memory Of [Insert Name]

It's still August, and the hits (as well as the blogs inspired by those hits), just keep coming!

"In Memory Of Elizabeth Of Elizabeth Reed", by the Allman Brothers band, is an instrumental that plays over and over in my head. The riffs are classic, the Live At The Fillmore East album that debuted the song is one of the best damn albums I ever listened to, and the feeling evoked by the music is timeless.

And that's the way it is with moods, isn't it? They color everything, then recede back into the shadow of unfolding events-- only to unexpectedly reemerge, until they run their course and dissipate as quickly as they began. Moods, emotions, thoughts-- they come, take over, then (for most of us), leave. How strange.

They take us back in time, and carry us into the future. They are really quite remarkable in their ability to sink our morale in one moment, and lift our spirits in another. Mood, emotion and thought can transport us to heights, and bring us crashing back to earth-- without ever moving!

But we are not our moods. We are not our emotions. And we are not our thoughts. Sure, they all seem to be very real, but much like a rainbow, they're actually illusions. Now you see it/them-- now you don't. They're a lot like music that we can turn up, or turn down-- tune in, or tune out. That's where we come in.

Specifically, we can make time for meditation, which enables and fortifies mindfulness. The waves will come-- but we can learn to surf (tip of the hat to Jon Kabat-Zinn, who popularized the phrase). Self-regulation, or management can help us get over the rainbows of mood, emotion or thought (I'm conjuring another great song)!

The present moment is not always pleasant. As a matter of fact, it's often unpleasant, and downright difficult. Cranky clients, critical supervising partners, difficult work peers, or contrary opposing counsel-- talk about waves! For lawyers (for all of us) the waves come at us all day, everyday. Sometimes the present moment is good, and sometimes it's not so good. But it's real-- and it will pass.

Our minds often stray into the future or the past, but they can be trained to regulate-- and moderate-- the time travelling. So, too can our minds be trained to regulate-- and moderate-- our moods, emotions and thoughts, through the practice of meditation. Brain training, like the physical training we bring to our bodies, is all about reps and consistency.

Just like we choose the music we listen to, we can also control the moods, emotions and thoughts we respond to!


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