If you are acting like a zombie, you are probably acting mindlessly. Although they can be scarily entertaining, zombies are apt metaphors for mindlessness, a not so entertaining but sometimes scary state.
It’s not their fault, don’t blame them, they don’t even know they are zombies, they think they are awake, but they are not really, they are sleeping. They are so possessed by their minds that they think the dream is real, they think those voices in their heads are who they are and they have forgotten how to live. They experience everything through words and concepts and have forgotten that the world is a sensory delight.
Poor lost souls, they think the past and the future are real and they spend their lives there. Their minds drag them back and they propel them forward, they cannot see the glory of this moment. They cannot see it because they are not here. The present moment, the only place where life really exists, is cast aside as irrelevant, they miss the miracle of existence and are barely alive at all.
Fortunately there is an antidote for this dismal existence.
But there is hope for some, because most Zombies are not yet completely dead, they still have a chance at life, in fact some of them are even starting to wake up. Right now quite a few Zombies
When people say, “This is the way to do it,” that’s not true. There are always many ways, and the way you choose should depend on the current context. You can’t solve today’s problems with yesterday’s solutions. So when someone says, “Learn this so it’s second nature,” let a bell go off in your head, because that means mindlessness. The rules you were given were the rules that worked for the person who created them, and the more different you are from that person, the worse they’re going to work for you. When you’re mindful, rules, routines, and goals guide you; they don’t govern you.
To improve healthcare workers' job satisfaction and patient care, several physicians and aligned professionals are learning about and using narrative practices. For example, take a look at this article about two people in North Carolina who are teaching courses in Narrative Medicine. From "Stories heal at narrative medicine workshop" (Mountain Xpress):
“Not all patients are storytellers, but every patient has a story to tell,” says Dr. [Claire] Hicks, who believes that narrative medicine helps train us to listen, to empathize and to heal. During the workshop, Dr. Hicks shared insights from a physician’s perspective in her work with HIV patients in hospice and how writing enriches her capacity as caregiver. . . .
. . .
The importance of story is the driving force behind narrative medicine. “Ways to read story are ways to read life,” says [Professor Laura] Hope-Gill.
I have been convinced of the value of narrative practices for a long time, particularly as they increase the ability to be reflective. Therefore, I was excited when I read a message from Professor Anne Villella on a legal education listserv in response to my asking her what she meant by "narrative practices." (One of the courses she offers at Lewis and Clark Law School is on narrative practices). Here is what she wrote (posted with permission):
The idea of narrative practices that I mentioned in my post include many of those found in Narrative Medicine, which you mention. I have attended a 4-day Narrative Medicine workshop and read much of the scholarship on Narrative Medicine. Its impact on those in the healthcare field have been remarkable in terms of developing professional identity, compassion, a sense of affiliation, and, ultimately, patient care.
I believe similar practices can have similar results in the practice of law and representation of clients. And, I know that there are others out there who have incorporated narrative practices into their courses.(I would love to hear from others who have done this!)
Besides Narrative Medicine, there are other resources out there about narrative practices. The work of Gillie Bolton comes to mind--she facilitates workshops and has written extensively on
Here's an article I wrote for the February edition of the Denver Bar Association's The Docket. From the article:
Mindfulness, which can be a result of meditation, has many benefits in addition to weathering the storms of feelings and thoughts. A recent article in The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry listed four components of mindfulness: attention regulation, body awareness, emotional regulation, and change in perspective on the self. Although each of those components is neutral in itself, when used wisely and toward positive and wholesome purposes together, they can provide great assistance to lawyers. For example, mindfulness can reduce stress, enhance problem-solving, and improve client service. Not sure how mindful you are? You might begin a self-assessment by taking a look at the questions on the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). The MAAS is available many places on the Internet and can be found with a quick search. Below are a couple of the questions from its set of 15:
Pioneer of conflict resolution and long-time mediator Gary Friedman has chosen an apt title for his forthcoming book: Inside Out: Working Through Conflict. Because I too believe mediation is partly an inside job—that the self-awareness of the mediator is a critical component of effective conflict resolution—I am very much looking forward to this book. I also have much respect for Gary's skill and wisdom so have no doubt the book will be a valuable contribution to the field.
Below is an excerpt from the book; the excerpt was included in the Center for Understanding in Conflict newsletter. (Sign up for the online newsletter at Friedman's Web site.)
All this talk of feelings: Is this therapy?
Because the self-awareness work we do in our programs is so challenging, people resist it in many ways. Participants in some of our programs ask if we’ve crossed some kind of professional line in including the emotional dimension in our awareness of ourselves and our clients in our work. Does that put us in waters too deep for people who have not been trained as therapists?
That question interests me, because it is now clear in recent studies of decision-making and conflict that emotions are a central factor when parties make decisions and professionals try to understand what is happening with their clients. If we decide to avoid the challenge of understanding our clients’ feelings, we miss information that is essential to doing our jobs well.
Using emotions to inform conflict work is still not universally accepted, but my experience over decades has shown us the power of doing so—and the perils of remaining blind to the way our
Excerpt from a new article in The Economist on mindfulness:
What got the mindfulness wagon rolling was the 1960s counter-culture, which injected a shot of bohemianism into the bloodstream of capitalism: witness the rise of companies such as Virgin, Ben & Jerry’s and Apple, whose co-founder, Steve Jobs, had visited India on a meditation break as a young man, and who often talked about how Zen had influenced the design of his products. But three things are making the wheels roll ever faster.
The most obvious is omni-connectivity. The constant pinging of electronic devices is driving many people to the end of their tether. Electronic devices not only overload the senses and invade leisure time. They feed on themselves: the more people tweet the more they are rewarded with followers and retweets. Mindfulness provides a good excuse to unplug and chill out—or “disconnect to connect”, as mindfulness advocates put it. A second reason is the rat race. The single-minded pursuit of material success has produced an epidemic of corporate scandals and a widespread feeling of angst. Mindfulness emphasises that there is more to success than material prosperity. The third is that selling mindfulness has become a business in its own right.
New studies released today underscore the potential impact of healthy lifestyle choices in treating depression, the effects of aging, and learning. The research focused on the effects of mind/body awareness, exercise, and diet, and was presented at Neuroscience 2013, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world’s largest source of emerging news about brain science and health.
The experiences and choices people make throughout life actively impact the brain. As humans live longer, these choices also affect aging and quality of life. Lifestyle changes to diet and exercise will be important to aging populations as non-drug, easy-to-follow interventions with few side effects,make ideal potential therapies.
Can a black-and-white banana remind us to be better listeners?
When people looked at a grayscale photo of a banana, a part of their brains related to perceiving yellow became active, perhaps indicating that prior knowledge of the fruit's color was triggered. For more information about this study, click here, here, here, or here.
The banana research reminded me of some questions asked by Roberto Kaplan, optometrist and author of a book I am reading. He wonders how much of what we see is attributable to us and how much to the objects being seen. He includes a rather startling quote of Alfred North Whitehead, a version of which I now include:
Nature gets credit which should in truth be reserved for ourselves: the rose for its scent, the nightingale for its song; and the sun for its radiance. The poets are entirely mistaken. They should address their lyrics to themselves and should turn them into odes of self congratulation on the excellence of the human mind. Nature is a dull affair, soundless, scentless, colorless ... .
Dr. Kaplan adds:
If Dr. Whitehead is correct, and it is my belief that he is, then we must accept the fact that what we think we are seeing most assuredly tells us more about ourselves than it does about the external world.
If we do not know how much of what we see is coming from us and not from outside, perhaps that lack of knowledge should throw us into a place of intellectual humility. With the possibility of a high degree of subjectivity, could that humility lead to a greater and sharper degree of attention to (and mindfulness with) other people to see how they see the world? Particularly those with whom we do not agree?