Mindful Lawyering

Mindfulness can be described as an intuitive awareness of present-moment experience as distinguished from thought-driven judgments or interpretations about that experience.  Mindfulness refers to a state of being, and as such can only be described, not defined.  Definitions reduce phenomena to static “things.”  Insofar as mindfulness refers to perpetually fleeting present-moment experience, any attempt to reduce mindfulness to a static experience is misguided.

In the context of law practice, mindful lawyering helps clients transcend narrow interpretations of challenging life experiences and embrace a more broad awareness of present-moment reality.

For example, a client facing divorce in which children are involved may, understandably, experience fear of potentially being denied time with his or her children in addition to heightened economic uncertainty.  Most clients facing such a situation, unless they have a developed mindfulness practice, will employ intellectual strategies to “make the fear go away.”  Chief among these strategies is likely to be a decision to retain a lawyer to “fight” and “win” more custody or financial resources.

If the attorney engaged by the client in this scenario lacks a developed mindfulness practice, he or she is likely to approach the situation in a way consistent with traditional legal training.  This traditional training is oriented toward factoring out “feelings,” “emotions,” and similar spiritual components.  As a result, the typical attorney/client interaction usually serves to further cement a cerebral, defensive and aggressive orientation to the client’s situation.  The client is likely to continue experiencing a high level of discomfort and anxiety likely to manifest in aggressive reactions towards the other party/parties, and serve to escalate conflict.

The mindful lawyer is uniquely positioned to interrupt this destructive cycle.  Prior to crafting a concrete legal strategy, the mindful or holistic lawyer can work with the client to more meaningfully ground him/her in present-moment experience, and in the process create some “distance” between this experience and his/her entrenched conditioning and habitual reactions.

As a result of this more mindful approach to lawyering, clients may realize a sense of peace and grounding that has been elusive while trapped in fear-evading, intellectually driven strategies.  It is the heightened connection to present-moment experience that enables clients to realize a felt connection to “life” apart from his or her intellectual narratives about his or her experience.  It is this very connection that gives rise to optimal wisdom and appropriate responses to challenging life situations.

To learn more about mindful lawyering, visit http://www.therapyforlawyers.com or call Licensed Psychotherapist and Attorney Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263.

The Danger of Labeling Situations

Holistic law practice springs from the premise that legal “problems” frequently provide opportunities for transformational growth.  Most of us value stability and security to the point at which we will resist change unless and until pain – be it psychological or physiological – reaches a certain threshold.  Until we reach that threshold, we may tolerate myriad life situations that fall far short or providing inner peace and happiness, instead opting to perpetuate the familiar.

Then we experience some type of loss, threat to the familiar, or an experience at odds with how we have come to think life “should” or “should not” be.  Such experiences can precipitate fear about the unfolding of future events, and upset to our routines, level of financial security, etc.  This fear may even bring about physiological changes, release of stress hormones, etc., that most of us would interpret as “unpleasant.”

These challenges, however, are compounded when we judge the event or series of events as “bad.”  Construing events in such a way may then fuel a belief that people, or life in general, is/are “unfair.”  In reality, however, these events often provide impetus for transformational change that can significantly deepen one’s happiness and inner peace.

When we label these situations as “bad,” we are essentially freezing life in time.  The  fact is that life will continue to unfold.  The key is how we respond to these particular conditions or circumstances.  Our responses will largely dictate how we look back on these situations in a month, year, five years, etc.  If we latch on to our original temporal assessment that a situation is “bad,” we may also slip into a mindset of helplessness that may choke off any adaptive response to the situation.

Holistic law practice works to help clients deal with legal situations in less reactive and judgmental ways, opening the potential for more adaptive response.  Holistic law counseling helps clients move beyond these conditioned reactions that can lead to feelings of helplessness, and toward far wider possibilities for embracing optimal solutions for all involved in a given conflict.

For more information on holistic law practice, visit https://lawyertherapist.com, or call Holistic Lawyer and Psychotherapist Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263.

Holistic Law and the Emphasis on One’s Relation to Experience

Traditional law practice overlooks unique opportunities for clients to truly improve their lives and the lives of those around them.  The narrow focus of traditional law practice fixates on objective facts to the virtual exclusion of ways in which the parties, and others impacted by conflict, relate to those facts.  The ways in which we relate to our unfolding life experience are largely a function of learned conditioning – the result of accumulated past experience – together with genetic predispositions.

Typically, when a client comes to an attorney for advice, they do so because of some real or perceived loss or threat of loss in their life.  This loss may be economic, physical, or ego-related such as feared loss of community standing or identity.  The reality is that an objective fact or set of facts have arisen in the world of which the client has some awareness.  What will widely differ among individuals is the layer or multitude of layers of meaning that he or she will (usually unconsciously) impose on these factual events or scenarios.  These predispositions, to the extent they remain unconscious, largely dictate the ways in which we relate to life experience.

Because legal conflict so often gives rise to these layers of unconscious relation to experience, it presents an ideal opportunity to explore a client’s conditioning and habitual ways of relating to experience.  The failure to explore these tendencies at particularly challenging times is likely to result in these tendencies becoming increasingly solidified in the client’s life.  Because traditional law practice largely ignores these underlying dynamics, clients far more often than not look back on their “legal problems”  with disdain, representing just one in a long series of frustrations resulting from their habitual relation to experience in more or less unconscious ways.

Holistic law practice stresses the transformative potential in conflict.  The holistic lawyer acknowledges and explores with the client his or her ways of relating to past and present experience that may have brought about or exacerbated the “legal problem.”  Often, when these previously unconscious orientations are explored, clients become able to let go of these tendencies and see more clearly the nature of what has happened and what is happening, and deal with it in a far more compassionate and less reactive manner.  More importantly, the client comes to realize that his or her future behavior need not be dictated by conditioned thinking and habitual reactions.

To learn more about holistic law practice, contact Licensed Psychotherapist and Attorney Michael Lubofsky by calling (415) 508-6263 or by visiting https://therapyforlawyers.com.

Moving Beyond Divisiveness

In the current U.S. election, Donald J. Trump has campaigned on the slogan “Make America Great Again.”  The policies espoused by Mr. Trump as a roadmap to this “greatness” largely pit one faction against another, implying that his vision of “greatness” is necessarily dependent on the exclusion of others from this vision.

In addition, Mr. Trump has projected an immorality largely oblivious to the rule of law.  For example, when questioned on business practices that may have allowed him to avoid the payment of personal income taxes, perhaps for decades, he blames loopholes in the system, as if the system should be a dictator and enforcer of morality.

Stepping back from the candidates, however, what can become apparent is the energy with which a majority of the U.S. population is rejecting Mr. Trump’s underlying message.  The goal of this message appears to be to instill fear in as many people as possible as a means of garnering support for his divisive plans.

When we are in fear, our world becomes small, and our vision narrow.  We are triggered to acquire and even hoard what we can, even at the expense of others.

But we are on the cusp of a new consciousness that recognizes the importance of letting go of fear as a necessary precursor to building a sustainable, healthy society.  As a result of heightened mindfulness, increasing numbers of people are becoming experientially attuned to the reality that fear-driven behavior usually precipitates a downward spiral that destroys relationships, societies, and even life itself.

This fear-driven dynamic is also perpetuated by adversarial litigation.  When enmeshed in narrow fears, litigants clutch for whatever award they might realize.  This myopia operates largely to the exclusion of the interests of a much more broad circle of stakeholders.  Any decision made or action taken on such a basis is likely to be far less than optimal and actually harm relationships and society as a whole.

Holistic law practice, by rejecting the underlying notion of divisiveness inherent in adversarial litigation, is moving in step with our heightened societal mindfulness that has fueled much of the opposition to Mr. Trump’s divisive messages.

To learn more about how holistic law practice can help identify optimal solutions to conflict, please contact Psychotherapist and Attorney Michael Lubofsky at https://lawyertherapist.com, or by calling (415) 508-6263.