Finding Your Flavor of Meditation

Many lawyers and judges I coach confide in me that while they have heard of the benefits of meditation—from stress and anxiety reduction to improved memory, focus, and attention span—they don’t actually know how to meditate. As meditation becomes more popularized, in some circles it is assumed that everyone knows how to meditate. For us lawyers who like to have the answer to everything, it can feel awkward to admit we don’t know where to begin. A quick web search using the search terms “how to meditate” or “mindfulness meditation” will provide numerous websites, books, apps, and videos where you can learn more about and sample different kinds of meditation. You may also be surprised to find meditation on the activity schedule at your local gym, community college, YMCA, yoga center, or religious organization. In addition, there may be a non-profit organization in your area that offers drop-in meditation classes for beginners, talks on meditation, or meditation retreats. If you are in recovery, you may be interested in Refuge Recovery (refugerecovery.org), a Buddist-oriented path to freedom from addiction that includes mindfulness meditation in its approach.

While there are as many kinds of meditation as there are flavors of tea, finding a “flavor” that works for you is important. Attending different meditation classes or listening to different guided meditations can be a great way to sample the many flavors and find what resonates for you. 

If you are short on research time and would get started now, try this:

  1. Set a timer for the amount of minutes you want to meditate. (In my beginning meditation classes for lawyers, I start with five minutes).
  2. Sit down, lie down, or stand, whichever is most comfortable and will allow you to be aware but relaxed (without falling asleep).
  3. Close your eyes or gaze softly down toward your nose.
  4. Pay attention to your breath. Notice what it feels like to inhale and to exhale.
  5. If you find yourself getting sleepy, move your fingers and toes and return your attention to your breath.
  6. When the timer goes off, take a moment to notice what, if anything, feels different than it did when you started.
  7. You did it!! Appreciate any improved feelings of relaxation or stillness before returning to your day.

While this may seem “too simple,” it can have profound effects, especially if you try it every day for a few weeks. If it would be helpful to listen to a guided version of this meditation, listen to “Breathing to Relax the Mind and Body” here: consciouslegalminds.com/mindfulness.

For a full list of CLE presentations I will be giving throughout the rest of 2018 across NC, please see the schedule of events in this edition of Sidebar.

Laura Mahr is a NC lawyer and the founder of Conscious Legal Minds LLC, providing mindfulness-based coaching, training, and consulting for attorneys and law offices nationwide. Her work is informed by 11 years of practice as a civil sexual assault attorney and 25 years as a student and teacher of mindfulness and yoga, and a love of neuroscience. Find out more about Laura’s work at consciouslegalminds.com.

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