zen and the art of superscalar maintenance

In this month's issue of the ABA Journal, Steven Keeva addresses "A Meditative Perspective" in a how-I-spent-my-summer-vacation article on a lawyers' meditation retreat at Spirit Rock. This would be a little too far afield for me; my usual stomping ground is Cloud Mountain.

The best thing about this superficial article was a reference to Dennis Warren, a Sacramento-based lawyer who has thought deeply about stress and performance. Here's a quote I pulled out from that link:

We are frequently unable to control the way our cases develop or their outcomes. But we always have the ability to choose how we respond to these developments, rather than merely reacting automatically and unconsciously. If we can make conscious and skillful judgments and choices, rather than mechanically responding from habit and emotion, the results will naturally take care of themselves.

I suppose Keeva is trying to educate the unmindful lawyerly masses about basic concepts of meditation, but the article failed to satisfy me.

I was chatting today with an expert witness who happens to be a psychologist and found myself struck by the peculiar insight that litigation practice encourages living in the future--monitoring deadlines--and not the present moment. He thought was pretty funny that being in the present moment could detract from the practice of law. I haven't decided yet whether technology returns me to the present or plants me even more firmly in the immediate future, so that I am always slightly ahead of myself. In either case, however, I strive always to make conscious and skillful judgments and choices, no matter the pain that inheres in a situation.

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