Winning through non-anger, compassion and forgiveness
Winning as much as possible is what criminal defense is about. As a Fairfax criminal lawyer, I know that winning is achieved not by wishful thinking, but by smart, devoted, and hard work backed by ability and experience.
A great samurai incorporates fighting skills with compassion and internal harmony.
Winning of course includes having compassion, non-anger, and forgiveness
When I blogged on October 20 about using threat ability a as a key component of winning, a non-lawyer friend told me he saw a glaring absence of my addressing compassion, which subject is essential for me as a person and Fairfax criminal lawyer. That point is well made, in that compassion is an essential human trait and an essential part of winning. At the same time, criminal defense involves battles, war, and proverbial bloodshed, and requires that the lawyer have proverbial killer instincts, never flinching to draw proverbial blood when necessary, so long as the lawyer always remains within the bounds of the law and the rules that govern the conduct of lawyers.
Great samurais provide important lessons about winning
One needs look no further than chapter one of the Hagakure book of the samurai to see the essential for a warrior to incorporate compassion into the battle:
“My own vows are the following :
Never to be outdone in the Way of the Samurai.
To be of good use to the master.
To be filial to my parents.
To manifest great compassion, and to act for the sake of Man.
If one dedicates these four vows to the gods and Buddhas every morning, he will have the strength of two men and will never slip backward.”
Hagakure chapter one (emphasis added).
Having compassion and understanding for opponents must never involve ceding our power and winning path to the opponent
The importance of compassion as a criminal defense lawyer is not to cede an inch of power or advantage to an underhanded-acting prosecutor nor opposing witness nor any trespassing judge. Instead, in court, a criminal defense lawyer needs equanimity in order to have no blockages to battling ably and powerfully. Having hate, anger, or vendettas against the prosecutor or opposing witnesses are such blockages.
The criminal defense lawyer needs to have compassion for himself or herself, and then to have the same for the opponent. This compassion provides strength, by enabling the criminal lawyer to see matters from the opponent’s point of view, which always provides a competitive advantage. Forgiving opponents their trespasses removes the blockage of holding grudges, and provides an opportunity to determine whether a trespass was in fact committed, and how serious or not was the trespass. Maintaining non-anger not only removes power blockages, but also makes the opponent unable to find and know how to push buttons that can distract and weaken the criminal defense lawyer, and to boot can drive the prosecutor nuts to the point that the prosecutor is weakened and not thinking clearly. All of this is about creating the criminal defense lawyer’s own world so that s/he is powerfully unflappable.
Ideas for achieving this winning path
How does a criminal defense lawyer develop compassion, non-anger and forgiveness? It is a lifelong path, with mistakes along that path. Meditation and other regular mindfulness practice can help. Taijiquan sparring/pushing hands is a particularly excellent practice, as it incorporates mindfulness with combat. Anger is rooted in fear, so part of developing non-anger is eliminating fear, and injecting full understanding of oneself, everyone else, and the situation at hand. Forgiveness is a recognition that if we hold grudges, those grudges will build up to debilitate us.
Here are some ideas I have developed and return to, for maintaining compassion, non-anger and forgiveness even for the most despicable-acting prosecutors and judges:
– Each moment is a gift. Each breath is renewal. Each challenge is an opportunity. Consequently, getting angry or holding grudges is an unnecessary distraction on the winning path.
– When we get angry, we close our ears. When we close our ears, we miss finding and hearing the gold that could have made us less angry.
– Instead of seeing someone as an a**hole, remember that the feces that emerges from their mouth, actions or a**hole might have specks of gold. Separate the gold from the feces.
– Even the most despicable-acting person has divine potential, which can be awakened and nurtured, either in this lifetime or a future one. Good criminal defense lawyers know the experience of sometimes getting good results even through working with otherwise or seemingly despicable-acting prosecutors, or before a judge who seems heartless or like a prosecutor in robes.
– When one tries angering me and I do not anger, that might drive the person crazy or convince him or her s/he is barking up the wrong tree. I have been told that I have a thick skin and open heart. That is a great way to proceed as a criminal defense lawyer and in life.
Winning as much as possible is what criminal defense is all about.
Today’s blog entry follows up on my October 20 blog entry entitled Threat as an Ingredient to Winning
Fairfax criminal lawyer Jon Katz has been successfully fighting for thousands of criminal defense clients since 1991. To discuss your Virginia criminal case with Jon, please call his staff at 703-383-1100 for a confidential appointment.