The Mindfulness Blog

subscribe to RSS feeds

« back to all blogs

Let Us Go Then, You and I

Almost 50 years after I first read it, that poem suddenly popped into my mind-- as I was walking the dog!

The patient etherized upon a table; The women who come and go, talking of Michelangelo; The yellow fog, rubbing its back against the window pane; The snickering eternal footman; Growing old, with the bottom of trousers rolled. Those lines all come back to me, seemingly out of nowhere. The mind is a remarkable thing.

Thoughts and emotions. We are not those things, but they come upon us, nonetheless. Where do they come from? And why? Poets may be better able to access them and put them into words, but so what? I'm a fan of poetry, but a lot of the time, it eludes me. Don't get me wrong-- I love words. As it turns out, though, I think words can be a bit of a trap.

Rather than putting thoughts and emotions to words, however, I try to simply be aware of them-- to observe them-- and let them pass, of their own volition. That's something I work on all the time. It's called meditation, and it helps me to be more mindful. By learning to let thoughts or emotions pass (rather than putting them to words), I no longer "own" them-- and more importantly, they don't own me.

The mind is constantly thinking thoughts, which sometimes give rise to emotions that we latch onto and translate into, or relocate into, our body. In that sense, our thoughts and emotions seem to be really "real". But even though we can't control our thoughts, or emotions  -- we can control the manner in which we respond to them. Paraphrasing the wise man, Viktor Frankl, between stimulus and response, there is a space in which we choose to respond-- rather than react. 

For lawyers (actually, for all of us) the decision to respond rather than react, is referred to as "civility", which lies at the heart of professionalism and general decency. Some refer to it as, "kindness"-- learning to disagree, without being disagreeable. Learning to avoid the impulse to personalize things.

Let us go there, you and I. First, to the place where we meditate (or cogitate, of whatever else we may choose to call it) and second, to respond. We'll still fight (with ourselves, or with others) but we'll do it without the emotion that so often undermines what it is we're trying to say!


Categories: uncategorized
« back to all blogs



Name (required)
E-mail (required but not shown)


Blog Articles