The business of law has undergone a radical shift in the last few years. How we communicate and the speed of communication has dramatically changed. In addition, there is a seismic shift away from paper to going “paperless,” and with that shift we face ever increasing challenges as a result of the shift to the digital world (think Panama Papers). As Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz said to her dog, Toto, upon exiting her home which a tornado had swept from the plains of Kansas to the magical, beautiful and dangerous land of Oz, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore. We must be over the rainbow.” Just as Dorothy felt out of her depth by being literally plunked down into a strange and unfamiliar new world, many lawyers share this sentiment.
As we are flung into this new normal, some of us may tend to resist these changes. (I’m used to doing things my way why should I have to change…, sound familiar?) Mindfulness helps us overcome our resistance to the oncoming freight train of change because it helps us learn to accept what is.
Mindfulness can help us learn to be OK with some discomfort; we don’t have to push away or avoid unpleasant feelings. By simply being with these unpleasant feelings we often find that this too shall pass. Once we get through the unpleasant feelings, we can see opportunity in what we once perceived to be an obstacle. Let’s face it, at the end of the day one of our greatest challenges is increasing our productivity. Rather than resisting change, you may find that you can embrace (some) change which may help you increase your productivity, but first, you must overcome your resistance.
As stated by John Kabat-Zinn in his book, Wherever You Go There You Are:
When we let go of wanting something else to happen in this moment, we are taking a profound step toward being able to encounter what is here now. If we hope to go anywhere or develop ourselves in any way, we can only step from where we are standing. If we don’t really know where we are standing – a knowing that comes directly from the cultivation of mindfulness – we may only go in circles, for all our efforts and expectations. So, in meditation practice, the best way to get somewhere is to let go of trying to get anywhere at all.
So let’s take a few minutes and not try to get anywhere at all. Take a few moments and sit in an upright and stable posture. Lower or close your eyes. Bring awareness to your breath. Follow the in breath, follow the out breath. When you notice that your mind has wandered, gently return awareness to your breath. When you finish, see if you might be more amenable to releasing your resistance and finding an opportunity!