The Mindfulness Blog

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A Rose By Any Other Name Would Smell Just As Sweet

I've been re-reading my posts last month, exploring the connection between "competence" and wellbeing, and one particular idea that really jumped out to me was the idea that language-- the manner in which we identify things, and the connotations or associations that we attach to them-- can strongly impact the way we feel.

That may be obvious enough to most, but for me, it was a real light bulb moment. In particular, the light bulb shined on a topic that is near and dear to my heart: Lawyer wellbeing. Could it be that the language we use to describe certain elements of wellbeing, are getting in the way of meaningful adoption or implementation?

Much of the language we use to describe "wellbeing" (a term that is itself fraught with varying degrees of connotation and association that make some people uncomfortable) is centuries old and could benefit from a bit of modernization. Specifically, I'm thinking of the components of wellbeing that address the mind part of the mind/body health dichotomy-- terms like "mindfulness" and "meditation".

Maybe, if we were to stop using those terms-- began referring to them in a different way-- the people who consciously or unconsciously tend toward a negative connotation, might become more comfortable? I know that sounds incredibly simplistic, but who knows? Simple is usually regarded as a pretty good thing.

Mindfulness is essentially about purposefully cultivating one's attention, without judgment, and without attaching a particular outcome to the result. And attention is inevitably drawn to detail. So, what if we were to abandon all reference to "mindfulness" and begin instead to refer to, "purposeful attention to detail, without judgment and without regard to any particular outcome"? Doesn't that sound like a quality one would value in a lawyer?

And what about meditation-- which is actually a practice that reminds one of, and cultivates the presence of, purposeful attention to detail. What if we were to abandon all reference to "meditation" and begin instead to refer to "brain training that develops mental fitness"? Doesn't that sound like something one would value in a lawyer?

Let's take time to examine the language we use in referring to mindfulness and/or meditation. Let's clarify our intention, by using terms that are understood in a more positive manner, in the year 2022.

 A rose by any other name...!


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