Mindfulness: Beyond Stress Relief and Towards a Better World

Like most people who find their way to mindfulness practice, I did so many years ago in efforts to find more sustainable solutions to dealing with stress as a driven, young attorney in my late twenties.  In what was an early incarnation of what is now called mindfulness-based stress reduction, or MBSR, I did find that by becoming more mindful of my breath, I could slow down my heart rate.  The ability to do this seemed to give me a sense of relief that, up until that time, I may have thought would have only been available from solutions existing outside of myself in the form of food, drink, other people, etc.

I had no awareness or knowledge at that time of any sort of template for living in a way that could potentially transform that sense of relief into deep, sustainable inner peace.  Even if such a template had been presented to me at that time, I would have thought it to be so contrary to my priorities that it would have been quickly dismissed.

For years, actually decades, I continued to practice meditation almost solely for the physiological relief it afforded me from the typical stressors of contemporary American life.  For a good deal of this time, however, I pretty much continued thinking and acting consistent with conditioning I had internalized through my formative years.  This conditioning, I can now appreciate in retrospect, had forged a strong egoic identity that was largely impermeable to the notion that I might look upon life in fundamentally different ways.

But as will often happen as we get older, life has ways of humbling just about everyone.  Over time, we amass wisdom of experience that may, at some point, serve to penetrate the ego and open us to new ways of thinking and being in the world.  Once this door is opened, we can begin trying new ways of orienting towards life experience.  We can begin to let go of maladaptive strategies and behaviors.  We can walk out into life with an open sense of wonder and begin to experiment with new ways of being that would have previously been too threatening to the ego.

At this point, through trial and error, as well as with the benefit of wisdom from others who have walked this path over millennia, we can come to identify specific ways of being and acting in the world that actually deepen our inner peace for beyond stress relief.  What is most amazing, though, is finding that those ways of being and behaving that most foster inner peace are actually those ways of being and behaving that help others, make the world more compassionate, promote health and well-being, reduce waste, promote sustainability, constructively resolve conflict, etc.

Even as an experienced practitioner, however, I encounter times when my conditioning, together with societal norms, cause me to question the purpose or value of sustaining a spiritual practice beyond “stress reduction.”  After all, much of what is required is contrary to behaviors that are “valued” in contemporary American society.

The answer to this question, though, I have come to view as the ultimate win/win scenario.  What I have found is that the behaviors and ways of being in the world that help others and actually treat the world in a far more sustainable way are actually the behaviors that provide me with inner peace and clarity.  When venturing out into the world with this foundation, life becomes far more interesting as behavior is not driven and limited by egoic notions of how life “should” be.

To learn more about the benefits of mindfulness practice, especially as applied to legal disputes and conflict resolution, please contact Holistic Lawyer Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263, or visit http://www.Holistic-Lawyer.com.

 

The Overemphasizing of Intellect and Importance of Meditation for Lawyers

Human beings have succeeded in evolving as a species largely as a result of unparalleled intellect and problem-solving faculties.  Our abilities to scan our environment for danger, conceive of and implement creative solutions, and learn from our experience have enabled us to thrive on this planet.  We have also been programmed with an internal reward system that produces positive affect when gaining mastery over one’s environment that, arguably, has provided us with sustained motivation to continue to strive for mastery, even long after our basic needs have been met.

This pursuit of environmental mastery, however, has come to dominate behavior is a way that has led to humans perceiving themselves as separate from life as a whole.  This, in turn, has led to an evolutionary point at which humans have begun to destroy fundamental aspects of life, including the physical environment.

What is now critical is that we as a species learn to subordinate our unprecedented intellect to conscious awareness of, and connection to, all of life of which we are all an integral part – not separate actors.  It is the heightening of this consciousness and connection to present-moment experience that can be realized and cultivated through mindfulness and meditation practice.

As a profession, this evolution of consciousness is especially critical to attorneys.  In their primary role of facilitating the resolution of human conflict, lawyers are in a unique position to instigate change that can help move us forward as a species harmoniously with life of which we are all a part.  In the continued absence of this consciousness, civil conflict and criminal behavior will continue to be addressed in ways likely to perpetuate undesirable behavior and further deterioration of the world around us.

My mindfulness and meditation for lawyers programs work to heighten consciousness of lawyers that can lead to not only a more healthy and sustainable society, but to personal transformation for attorneys that can begin to reverse a trend of deep professional dissatisfaction and escalating substance abuse that has persisted in the legal profession for decades.  To learn more about meditation for lawyers, please call Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263, or visit http://www.holistic-lawyer.com.