The Inner Life of Lawyering

Executive Meditating

“No problem can be solved at the level of consciousness that created it” (Albert Einstein)

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, the legal profession has ranked fourth after dentists, pharmacists and physicians for the rate of suicide among its ranks. [1] Even more troubling is the realization that the seeds of this phenomenon are being planted even earlier; with some 40% of law students suffering from depression by Graduation Day. [2] In a profession where linear thinking and critical analysis are preeminent, most would agree that it would be folly to completely dismiss our left-brained capabilities while we join heads to address these very serious issues that plague the legal profession today.  However, in the bigger picture, as Einstein’s quote suggests here, we do ourselves a disservice- as a profession, or simply as concerned individuals, by refusing to entertain and leverage new means of acquiring information to improve our overall well-being, and ultimately our performance as professionals.

By definition, the condition of the profession is inextricably linked to the condition of the professionals within it.  The status quo cannot remain intact very long when new thinking and tools are invited to the table. In my experience with my practice, this current crisis situation is encouraging more and more lawyers to look within to “get real” about the personal and professional lives they have created.  This has further translated into a growing willingness to explore three critical practices that can be of assistance at this time: the practices of meditation, cultivating our intuition and leveraging energy healing. Let’s have a look at what this trifecta of tools has to offer, and how they can propel us forward in cultivating new insights in our respective situations.

Most people have heard of the term “meditation.” On the simplest level, it involves  consciously tuning out external stimuli to rest the mind. It can occur in a variety of ways and/or formats. Some may simply choose to sit in silence focusing on their breathing, others may choose to spend time in nature, and still others may engage in any number of activities where the present moment is front and center. Should a more religious context resonate with you, it can be considered as a necessary counterpart to prayer-rather than actively communicating with your concept of a Higher Power, meditation would involve being more on the receiving end- as a listener.  On a related notion, Professor Rhonda Magee of University of San Francisco School of Law has written extensively on the concept of “mindfulness meditation,” in the legal field as a means of assisting lawyers in being more deeply present and capable of choosing their responses to events that occur in their environments.  She also feels that this practice would be extremely helpful for legal professionals who wish to be at the top of their game throughout their careers. [3] Think of how different your workday might be if you approached your professional obligations from a more relaxed mindset that was increasingly internally sharp & responsive as you committed to regular meditation practice.  Arthur Ashe said it best when he said back in the day, The ideal attitude is to be physically loose and mentally tight.”

The term “intuition” originates from the Latin word intueri, which means, “to look inside or contemplate.”  In everyday usage we often point to feelings or “knowings,” which otherwise have no basis in objective fact.  In the aggregate some might even deem them to be an “internal guidance system” of sorts.  Consciously cultivating our intuitive abilities revolves around improving our capacity to secure information outside the usual framework of our five senses which has the practical effect of expanding our traditional understanding of what is considered information.  Almost all of us have had the experience of having a visceral reaction to someone we have just met (be it a good or bad one). The goosebumps one might get when a particular client walks in the door can be equally, if not more, valuable than the information submitted by the very same client during a preliminary intake session- and when combined with our traditional linear thinking capabilities, we have the added benefit of responding to all aspects of a given situation; which is a strategic advantage not all are privy to.  The value of this approach is highlighted in a quote by the renowned medical researcher and inventor of the polio vaccine Jonas Salk: “Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.”

Energy healing” is best understood as an umbrella term that encompasses a myriad of modalities that address imbalances and distortions in our non-physical energy systems to bring about health, harmony, and balance.  The nature of modern-day life has many people thinking (and ultimately believing) that perpetual drama- at home, at work and everywhere in between- is par for the course.  This author begs to differ. The extent to which one is experiencing such can very well be connected to state of their energy field.

For context, let’s backtrack a bit here. Although these are largely beyond the view of the naked eye, every existing thing has an energy field—a ring of energy vibrating at a speed in correlation to the state of being of the person/thing in question. In many non-Western traditions, said energy fields are deemed to be invisible templates for our physical experience. To the extent that this is so, one can address physical, professional and/or emotional issues or challenges by examining the state of a person’s energy field.  Patterns (behavioral or otherwise)- particularly when they are repeated and are non-responsive to our efforts to change things up- are clear indicators that one needs to look more deeply at the source of said patterning.  Now while beyond the scope of this introductory article, there is a virtual army of practitioners who specialize in analyzing energy fields in addition to removing blockages that hinder or otherwise compromise your ability to live optimally.

Noted Brazilian author Paul Coelho said it best when he stated, “When you repeat a mistake, it is not a mistake anymore: it is a decision.”  Make sure that the decisions you are making are in alignment with the highest and best for yourself, your clients and your life as a whole.

I have introduced a number of things here for you to think about- some which may be new to you, and others which you may not have considered adding to your problem-solving or life enrichment arsenal. Looking at new sources of information and new ways of thinking move us that much closer to creating improved results as far as our overall well-being in addition to crafting personal and professional lives that are reflective of our core values.  Professor Magee also noted that as far as the practice of law is concerned, “clients are [best] served when their lawyers have a deeper set of resources for handling stress and dealing with conflict and uncertainty.” [2] The current state of the legal profession is very much in crisis, however, by leveraging a broader range of self-help tools, you can still decide in your own way not to participate.

 

BIO:  Dr. Idara E. Bassey is an energy healer, spiritual teacher and lawyer. She is Founder of OneLightMessenger, a personal development consultancy geared towards helping high-achieving professionals achieve favorable executive performance by leveraging a distinctive mix of cutting-edge energy healing modalities, intuitive consultation and customized coaching. She received her J.D. and LL.M. from University of Georgia School of Law prior to securing her doctoral degree in Metaphysical Counseling.

She has published extensively in the self-help/spirituality genre over the past 20 years.  Her writings include the award-winning essay collection Reflections of Mystical Sistah: On Traveling Down the Road to Self-Definition (iUniverse) and the recently released e-book Supercharge Your Life: How to Use “Woo Woo” to Become the Most Fabulous You!  along with numerous e-zine articles about strategic ways to integrate spirituality and intuitive wisdom in everyday life and in corporate decision-making.  For more information about her offerings and upcoming programs email her at OneLightMessenger@aol.com.

 

 

[1] HRF, 43 Amazing Suicide Statistics by Profession, HealthResearchFunding.org, http://healthresearchfunding.org/43-amazing-suicide-statistics-profession/

[2] Sara Tollefson, Mindful Lawyering, Greater Good, http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/mindful_lawyering

[3] Rhonda Magee, Making the Case for Mindfulness and the Law, NW Lawyer, http://nwlawyer.wsba.org/nwlawyer/april_may_2014/?pg=9#pg20

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