Yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle carried "ZEN and the art of lawyering." I have presented before the benefits of meditation for lawyers — and the benefits for the clients of lawyers who meditate. This article gives more reasons to meditate including . . .
"You can still be a warrior," he [Farley Tolpen] said, "but because you're at peace with yourself and you're centered, you're not coming from rage or fear or anger."
Tolpen said he still gets mad and makes mistakes, though now the experience and emotion feel different: "I'm a work in progress. It's exciting."
The article includes stories of how several lawyers came to be meditators. And it draws a quote from an online interview of Professor Leonard Riskin . . .
A Zen approach to the law emerged in 1999, when Professor Leonard Riskin of the University of Missouri at Columbia School of Law [now at University of Florida] began discussing mindfulness meditation in his law classes.
"I believe that mindfulness can help mediators and other dispute resolution professionals (including lawyers) feel
better, get more satisfaction out of their work, and do a better job for their clients," Riskin said . . . .
The halls of both law firms and law schools now hold meditation. UC Berkeley, Harvard, and
Stanford [see note below as to why Stanford is crossed off], as well as other law schools, sponsor seminars in mediation.
After the Harvard Negotiation Law Review published [Riskin's] 2002 article -- "The Contemplative Lawyer: On the Potential Contributions of Mindfulness Meditation to Law Students, Lawyers and Their Clients" -- the review hosted a forum of more than 150 lawyers and law students at Harvard that spring to discuss the article. Soon afterward, several prestigious Boston law firms, include Hale & Dorr, put Riskin's ideas into practice, offering on-site classes in mindfulness meditation.
Are you meditating yet? For more benefits of meditation for lawyers: Mind advice? Bring attention to the conflict.
Note (added August 1, 2007, 11:25 AM Mountain): I just received an e-mail from an associate director of media relations at Stanford Law School asking me to remove Stanford from the list. She says that the information in the San Francisco Chronicle article was inaccurate. The reporter has been contacted and is issuing a correction. The media person says it is misleading to the public to say that Stanford Law has offered such a seminar: "We simply haven't . . . ."
Note (added November 4, 2007, 8:15 PM Mountain): An article from the Los Angeles Times about physicians using meditation with their patients: "Doctor's orders: Cross your legs and say 'Om'." Hat tip to SharpBrains.
Note (added November 11, 2007, 2:00 PM Mountain): Another article on meditation research and benefits: "What the Beatles Gave Science."
Quieten your mind. Attend to the moment. Mindfulness-based meditation is being touted as beneficial for any number of afflictions: from anxiety to asthma; social phobia to psoriasis. But what is it, and how can science scrutinise subjective states of mind? Three scientists at high powered institutions discuss how they've turned a personal passion into a professional investigation.
Note (added April 24, 2008, 1:05 PM Mountain): Article: "Attention regulation and monitoring in
meditation." (pdf) Abstract:
Meditation can be conceptualized as a family of complex emotional and attentional regulatory training regimes developed for various ends, including the cultivation of well-being and emotional balance. Among these various practices, there are two styles that are commonly studied. One style, focused attention meditation, entails the voluntary focusing of attention on a chosen object. The other style, open monitoring meditation, involves nonreactive monitoring of the content of experience from moment to moment. The potential regulatory functions of these practices on attention and emotion processes could have a long-term impact on the brain and behavior.
Note (added May 14, 2008, 9:05 AM Mountain): An article from the Vermont Bar Journal by J. Patton Hyman: "The Mindful Lawyer: Mindfulness Meditation and Law Practice" (pdf).
Note (added September 30, 2008, 9:22 PM Mountain): I have added a post where I collect and continue to add resources, mostly articles, about mindfulness in the law and contemplative lawyers. The URL that forwards to that growing list is http://www.contemplativelawyers.com.