Making your mind and yourself your best friend rather than your worst enemy
Since last summer, I continue my role coordinating the monthly gatherings of the D.C.-area Contemplative Law Group. What difference exists between meditating with lawyers rather than with a group that is not limited to lawyers? For me, it reminds me that we are all connected, and to stop calling any prosecutor a persecutor, to stop vilifying any cop, and to stop calling any judge a fascist. There is no "out there" for the mind; for me to see myself as separate from my opponents is for me to separate me from myself, and thus to weaken myself as a person and advocate.
For plenty of lawyers and others, mindfulness practice is a great alternative to the significant level of alcohol, drug, and other self-abuse among lawyers. Good diet, rest and exercise are also important.
Our Contemplative Law Group meets the last Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m., currently at Bua restaurant, which is likely to change soon to a quieter locale, after we lost our previous quiet top floor of a restaurant that then has undergone long-term renovation work.
Tonight, a new attendee joined us who led meditation, invited on the spot to do so. He is an associate practicing such work as international trade at a large corporate law firm; one of his teacher is in Nepal. This man claimed to have had limited experience leading meditation, and then proceeded to lead a great meditation session as if he had been leading them for years, reminding us to ignore the noise around us, return to our breath when our mind wanders, and not to fight against our mind wandering. It will happen.
Our meditation leader underlined that our mind can be our best friend or our worst enemy. I looked up that concept, to see that it is addressed in chapter six of the Bhagavad Gita. Meditation and other mindfulness practices are a great way to tame and control the mind.
Our mediation leader also said we are not our minds. I think someone else added that we are not our bodies, either. That sounds like a good conversation late at night on a desolate mountaintop, among other places. He also spoke of meditators who are able to get to the level of taking only one breath per minute, and said that taking fewer breaths contributes to longer life.
In taijiquan, we focus on placing our mind in our dantien, an area in the abdomen where the ch’i is stored. A key is to achieve the power of zero, rather than chasing after or reacting to — as opposed to engaging, which is essential — forces and circumstances outside of us.
Mindfulness and meditation are more mainstream now than ever. We have come to the point that law firms, other organizations, and everyone else should see a lunchtime meditation gathering in the office conference room as no more unusual nor weird than the organization’s weekly happy hour or brown bag lunch discussion. I’ll om to that.