Apr 29, 2016 Attending the Mindful Life conference today and tomorrow in Arlington, Virginia
Some great mindfulness programs take place numerous times a year in the Washington, D.C., area. For instance, on a weekly basis, for a donation/dana, people can join great meditation/mindfulness/dharma sessions with teachers Tara Brach (Bethesda, Maryland), her husband Jonathan Foust (Arlington, Virginia) and Hugh Byrne (feeling that “Byrne”, in Washington, D.C.). A few Mondays a year, the terrific Sharon Salzberg leads dharma talks and meditation at the Campaign for Tibet. The Dalai Lama usually comes to town for public programs every year or two; a Tibetan monk tells me he may be coming again in January 2017. The BuddhaFest has come to town for many years, and now we have the very good Mindful Leadership Summit that I attended last November, and the organizer’s related Mindful Life conference that runs today and tomorrow.
Benefiting tremendously in my life and trial battle practice from daily mindfulness practice, I am attending the Mindful Life conference today and tomorrow. At this conference, I have been blessed with meeting for the first time San Francisco law profession Rhonda Magee and Mirabai Bush, who with Ram Dass was a student of Neem Karoli Baba, and who wrote Compassion in Action with Ram Dass.
Rhonda is full of positive energy, teaching mindfulness and race law, and pursuing her work beyond the law school walls. Her work includes addressing both mindfulness and race, including through her article “The Way of ColorInsight: Teaching and Learning Race and Law Through Mindfulness-Based ColorInsight Practices,” Georgetown Law Journal of Modern Critical Race Perspectives. (2015). SSRN.
Mirabai’s work teaching contemplative practice includes doing so with educational and other organizations. She encouraged me to attend next week’s Spring On Maui retreat, which includes Ram Dass. I heard and then met Ram Dass in Washington, D.C., in 2003, and he is amazing.
I also reconnected with my teacher Sharon Salzberg; Hugh Byrne; and great teacher Fleet Maull, who transcended over a decade in prison applying his meditation and other Buddhist practices and now regularly teaches others and includes work with inmates. Fleet recounts his experience applying his practice in prison in Dharma in Hell, a worthwhile read.
Thus far, this conference has been more of a battery recharge and a great way to connect and reconnect with hundreds of people from near and far who apply mindfulness to their daily personal and work lives. I had lunch with a local entrepreneur at the nearby Kabob Palace — which has some good vegan sides and great fresh chilis, and which is a great cultural and sociological experience in itself — who mentioned Nisargadatta Maharaji — author of I Am That, whom he says would ask people who would seek wisdom from him “Do you know who you are?” That is but one of the great connections I have made with attendees.
Reminding me to be more mindful, after the fact, was my offering a mindful magazine head I know, for me to write a mindfulness in the law practice article before giving him a more proper greeting, asking how he was doing, and getting a sense whether he was even in the frame of mind at the time to discuss this topic when several people had already waited in line to speak with him. Mindfulness, then, is a daily practice that does not guarantee that we stay on the path, but does help us better to recognize when we have strayed from the path and to return to the path.