Cheri Maples is both a lawyer and an ordained dharma teacher. She teaches mindfulness to criminal justice professionals, and others in high-stress, people-helping professions, through her organization Center for Mindfulness & Justice.
Maples first began her meditation practice while a police officer. From "Zen and the art of law enforcement" (Christian Science Monitor):
But on this day, shortly after returning home from a retreat with a Vietnamese monk, the Madison, Wis., policewoman tried another tack.
"This guy was huge, a lot bigger than I am," she recalls. "I just talked to him about what was going on, and he started crying and sobbing and it was clear that he was in a tremendous amount of pain. And given that there hadn't been any physical violence, I decided not to arrest him."
Three days later, Captain Maples ran into him again. "He recognized me, and picked me up and gave me this big bear hug and said, 'You saved my life that night.' "
Maples credits the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh for her approach that night 12 years ago. She remained so impressed she organized a week-long retreat with the Vietnamese monk this summer for officers and others working in the criminal justice system. Mr. Hanh's message: the futility of meeting anger with anger.
H/T: Underdog — Jon Katz.