Legal Conflict and Inherent Unsatisfactoriness

To a significant degree, our counterproductive reactions to most situations involving conflict are a function of the extent to which we cling to inaccurate views of the nature of life.  A primary Buddhist teaching relates to the truth of suffering and the inherent unsatisfactoriness of existence.  This “unsatisfactoriness” is often manifested in the impermanence, pain and perpetual incompleteness intrinsic to all forms of life.

In modern American society, most of us have lived with decades of pervasive conditioning that life should provide us with lasting “happiness.”  In order to successfully promote goods, services, ideas, etc., the idea of happiness continued in these messages promises some perpetual state of bliss devoid of pain and suffering.

Problems begin to surface when we come to internalize this notion of “happiness” to a point at which we unconsciously accept these messages as truth.  Once this misguided idea of the nature of reality has been adopted, we are well positioned for highly charged reactions to life situations that do not square with these internalized ideals.

Almost invariably, situations arise that are painful.  These situations involve loss in the form of relationships, material acquisitions, physical health, and eventually life itself.  One’s refusal to accept these realities of existence will eventually cause one to react to conflict either by simply denying reality inherent in the situation, or by pushing back in a futile effort to manipulate reality so as to make these situations “go away.”

This type of reactionary behavior and denial can be extremely unhelpful and damaging when facing legal conflict.  Defensive reactions aimed at preserving egoic ideals of how life “should be” can effectively sever one from an ability to open up to a wider, more holistic view of the situation at hand.  Viewing the situation from such a constrained vantage point will usually preclude identification of optimal solutions to conflict.

The integration of mindfulness with law practice offers the potential of moving beyond one’s conditioning that life should not include suffering.  In so doing, people involved in legal conflict may become far better able to identify and implement optimal solutions that can serve to fundamentally improve their lives long after concrete legal issues have been resolved.

To learn more about the transformational potential of holistic law practice, contact Attorney Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263, or visit his holistic law and mediation website at http://www.Holistic-Lawyer.com.

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 Importance of Compassion in Effective Dispute Resolution

An increasing number of studies point towards the integral role that compassion and empathy for others plays in cultivating happiness and well-being. Compassion arises from a felt connection to all of life in the present moment. Compassion lies beyond thoughts and preconceived notions about a person or a given situation.

The typical adversarial approach to conflict resolution that pervades contemporary civil justice in America is rarely effective in cultivating compassion and/or empathy. Instead, one’s thought-driven notions of how things should be most often form the basis of an attorney’s litigation strategy.

Such a failure to elicit compassion and empathy can explain why, far more often than not, legal or “courtroom” victories ring hollow for a prevailing party soon after a fleeting sense of ego gratification dissipates.

In contrast to this prevailing adversarial model, holistic law practice has as a primary objective the cultivation of compassion and empathy prior to the development and implementation of a concrete legal strategy. A fundamental precept inherent in the holistic approach is that optimal, lasting solutions to interpersonal conflict arise from beyond ego, thought, and preconceived notions.

To learn more about holistic law practice, contact Holistic LawyerMichael Lubofsky at (4-5) 508-6263, or visit http://www.mindfulaw.com.

Rethinking The Role of Attorneys in Society

For centuries, the function of attorneys in American society has been primarily defined by an ethical obligation to zealously represent clients within proscribed evidentiary and procedural guidelines aimed at eliciting “truth” and, ultimately, some ephemeral notion of “justice.” The more broad notion that attorneys should work towards the overall betterment of society has been subordinated to the ethical obligation to advance the interests of individual clients.

The more broad role in moving society forward in more sustainable directions refers not simply to offering inexpensive legal services to the financially underprivileged, but rather to working to address fundamentally flawed orientations to life that contribute to an overwhelming percentage of legal conflicts and criminal behavior.

Most attorneys may read about serving the more holistic needs of clients and respond that such issues fall within the purview of psychologists, clergy, or spiritual counselors. A law practice that emphasizes mindful awareness of present-moment experience, however, is uniquely positioned to offer fundamental, lasting changes to clients in the context of resolving problematic real-life situations, whereas the work of psychologists and spiritual counselors is often conducted in a more abstract, experiential vacuum.

The historically fundamental failure of attorneys to help move society forward and truly help resolve problematic behavior has become patently obvious to society at large. Our system is broken largely as a result of our flawed definition of the role of attorneys as usually little more than “advocates” in a fundamentally misguided “adversarial system” of justice. The term “justice” in itself, embraces a dualistic concept of “right” and “wrong” that serves to drive society in more polarized directions, doing little to promote healing and more desirable, sustainable outcomes.

In time, society will either embrace a more mindful approach towards conflict resolution, or continue to fracture by individual motives driven by self-interest. If attorneys can come to redefine their roles, however, as agents of a fundamental shift towards heightening mindful awareness of present-moment experience in the face of some of life’s most challenging situations, attorneys may begin to truly help move society in more positive, sustainable directions.

To learn more about incorporating mindfulness in law practice, contact Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263, or visit http://www.mindfulaw.com. We also offer professional coaching to attorneys interested in incorporating mindfulness into their individual practices.

Mindfulness in Law Practice

The mindful law practice emphasizes the unique core of each individual client that lies beyond his or her “problematic” legal issues. In cultivating mindful attention on present-moment experience, clients come to face concerns which are typically future-focused, often manifesting themselves in the emotion of fear. This clash between present-moment awareness and projected future concerns, however, can also serve as fertile ground in which to plant the seeds of inner peace.

My holistic practice tends to work simultaneously on two planes: (1) the practical plane emphasizing real-life legal solutions; and (2) the “spiritual” plane which aims to heighten one’s mindfulness and dis-identification from learned conditioning in a way that can facilitate inner peace. Improved mindful attention to the present moment will often lead to otherwise overlooked creative legal solutions as well as a reduced likelihood that clients will repeat decisions, behaviors, and reactions that may have contributed in no small way to the client’s current legal difficulties.

In my initial meeting with a client, there is a focus on understanding his or her current legal situation to ensure that timely actions are taken to preserve and defend the client’s legal rights and/or defenses. A blueprint for addressing the client’s legal issues is laid out so that the client can begin to let go of some of the fear that he or she has come to associate with current legal difficulties. Ideally, from this point forward, meetings become more oriented towards the cultivation of mindfulness. Less time in future sessions is devoted to he practical solution-oriented aspects of representation – the tenor shifts more from attorney to counselor.

As an example, a client facing a divorce involving children may, through our mindfulness sessions, come to identify certain entrenched thoughts which, upon closer examination, are directly contributing to strong “fears” that their legal situation may cause them to “lose everything,” e.g., identity as a spouse, a parent, etc. These fears may be causing the client to react in ways that are actually exacerbating the client’s situation, e.g., “clingy” or obsessive behavior, manipulation of children so as to win their approval vis a vis the other spouse, etc.

Through our mindfulness sessions, however, a client can begin to internalize the notion that he or she need not be defined by his or her thoughts. The client begins to cultivate an ability to connect with a more grounded sense of being that lies beyond his or her conditioned thinking, and beyond the prior importance the client had put on his or her status as this or that. In becoming more present focused, negative thoughts associated with formerly projected negative future outcomes begin to dissipate. The client comes to realize a whole new way of approaching life. The client’s previously destructive behaviors begin to cease.

In this way, the integration of mindfulness in law practice can serve as a unique springboard for truly improving the lives of clients, and society as a whole. To learn more about mindfulness in law practice, visit http://www.MINDFULAW.com, or call Michael Lubofsky, Holistic Lawyer, at (415) 508-6263.

A Return to Here and Now

The period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day can prove particularly challenging for mindfulness practice. Commercial and societal messages of things we should have or want, the way our lives should be, etc., confront us at every turn and through all forms of media. We may feel especially hijacked by thoughts of what we think is or was expected of us by those closest to us now, or those closest to us in the distant past. It is not difficult to imagine how the pull of such expectations can work to extricate us from the present moment and into an unconscious, thought-driven mode emphasizing idealized notions of how things should be.

With the holiday season now behind us, we can begin to settle back into our more familiar routines in an environment somewhat less charged with embedded messages of things we should buy or how our lives should be in some Rockwellian sense. Freed from such learned conditioning and expectations, many may find it easier to reconnect to present moment experience and resume a more mindful approach to daily life.

In the context of dealing with legal problems which may have been avoided or left pending during the holiday season, now may be an opportune time for re-grounding in a mindful sense of being that is far more conducive to identifying optimal solutions to these challenges. My holistic approach to law practice can help reestablish a fundamental connection to present-moment experience and, in the process, facilitate identification of how to best approach the most vexing issues in your life.

If you are facing a legal issue and are trying to identify how to best proceed, contact Holistic Lawyer Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263, or visit our website at http://www.Holistic-Lawyer.com.

How to Better Connect With Clients

Most law clients fit into one of two categories: (1) individuals facing consequences involving perceived loss; or (2) individuals or corporate entities looking to maximize material or financial wealth. In either case, most clients are likely struggling to some degree to accept the impermanence of certain aspects of their lives that they had come to incorporate into a thought-based or egoistic sense of self (e.g., a significant relationship, a job, personal safety, freedom, etc.). While an attorney’s learned expertise lies in a working knowledge of laws and procedures necessary to advance or defend a client’s legal rights, in most cases clients can reap far greater benefit (and be far more satisfied) with counsel able to truly connect with the client’s inner core of being.

This connection manifests itself when an attorney deals with client from a foundation of heightened present-moment awareness. When the relationship springs from this point, the usually disconnected attorney/client relationship dissolves. The client begins to deal with the attorney in a far more honest and authentic fashion. New, creative solutions become possible that would never have surfaced in the traditionally disjointed attorney/client relationship. In this way, the client is far more likely to realize a true, lasting benefit from the attorney’s services.

Though seldom taught in law schools, a practicing attorney can cultivate an ability to connect with clients in this way through mindfulness training. To learn more about mindfulness training for attorneys and how this can benefit your practice, visit http://www.holistic-lawyer.com/attorney-coaching/ or contact Michael Lubofsky, Esq., Holistic Lawyer at (415) 508-6263.

Law Practice as a Springboard to Inner Peace

Holistic law practice emphasizes the unique core of an individual that lies beyond his or her “problematic” real life legal situations. The holistic focus, emphasizing mindful attention on the present moment, often collides in law practice with client concerns which are typically future-focused, often manifesting themselves in the emotion of fear. This clash between present-moment awareness and projected future concerns, however, can also serve as fertile ground in which to plant the seeds of inner peace.

My holistic practice tends to work simultaneously on two planes: (1) the practical plane emphasizing real-life legal solutions; and (2) the “spiritual” plane which aims to heighten one’s mindfulness and dis-identification from learned conditioning in a way that will lead to deeper internal peace. Improved mindful attention to the present moment will often lead to otherwise overlooked creative legal solutions as well as a reduced likelihood that the client will repeat decisions, behaviors, and reactions which may have contributed in no small way to the client’s current legal difficulties.

In my initial meeting with a client, there is a focus on understanding his or her current legal situation to ensure that timely actions are taken to preserve and defend the client’s legal rights and/or defenses. A blueprint for addressing the client’s legal issues is laid out so that the client can begin to let go of some of the fear that he or she has come to associate with current legal difficulties. Ideally, from this point forward in the holistic representation, meetings become more oriented towards the cultivation of mindfulness. Less time in future sessions is devoted to he practical solution-oriented aspects of representation – the tenor shifts more from attorney to counselor.

From this point forward, our in-person sessions present both challenges and opportunities to begin letting go of future-oriented concerns triggered by legal issues and to begin a deepening of one’s present-moment awareness and inner peace.

As an example, a client facing a divorce involving children may, through our mindfulness sessions, come to identify certain entrenched thoughts which, upon closer examination, are directly contributing to strong “fears” that their legal situation may cause them to “lose everything,” e.g., identity as a spouse, a parent, etc. These fears may be causing the client to react in ways that are actually exacerbating the client’s situation, e.g., “clingy” or obsessive behavior, manipulation of children so as to win their approval vis a vis the other spouse, etc.

Through our mindfulness sessions, however, a client can begin to internalize the notion that he or she need not be defined by his or her thoughts. The client begins to cultivate an ability to connect with a more grounded sense of being that lies beyond his or her conditioned thinking, and beyond the prior importance the client had put on his or her status as this or that. In becoming more present focused, negative thoughts associated with formerly projected negative future outcomes begin to dissipate. The client comes to realize a whole new way of approaching life. The client’s previously destructive behaviors begin to cease.

In this way, holistic law practice can serve as a unique springboard for truly improving the lives of clients, and society as a whole. To learn more about holistic law practice, visit http://www.holistic-lawyer.com, or call Michael Lubofsky, Holistic Lawyer, at (415) 508-6263.