Meditation: a new practice for lawyers

March 3, 2011

It could have been the usual Type A gathering of lawyers at UC Berkeley School of Law except for the subject matter — yoga in Room 110, Qi Gong in Room 105 followed by guided meditation with well-known Zen Buddhist priest Norman Fischer.
Almost 200 lawyers, law students, judges and law professors from around the country, as well as from Canada and Australia, descended on the Berkeley campus last fall for the first-ever national conference on the legal profession and meditation.

Called “The Mindful Lawyer: Practices & Prospects for Law School, Bench and Bar,” the conference was chaired by Berkeley Law Scholar-in-Residence Charles Halpern, who teaches a seminar on meditation.

Meditation, says Halpern, can hone … Read more »

“Buddha Bob”: turning his life around, one bead at a time

February 11, 2011

buddha headOne of the most frustrating things in my life is that for the last few months, because of a change in my wife’s work schedule, I haven’t been able to get up to the prison I’ve been teaching in for the last seven years. I miss the guys there. I regard them as part of my “sangha” (spiritual community). I have great respect for them as spiritual practitioners because of the sheer effort they have to make in order to remain sane and balanced in a very challenging environment. Not only do they stay sane and balanced, but some of them bring about huge changes in their lives. I regard many of them as friends.… Read more »

New in our online store

November 29, 2010

We’ve recently added some new items to our online meditation supplies store. Much of what we sell would make great Christmas presents, and if you’d like to support the work we do in promoting meditation, please consider making a purchase. (If you wonder why we sell things at all, you can read our previous post, “Compassionate Commerce,” or read about “Buddha Bob” and his beauteous beads).

For those of a devotional bent, we have a selection of Buddha pendants in our jewelry section. The one illustrated is the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara, who is a symbol of compassion.

His mantra — Om Mani Padme Hum — is the most popular in the … Read more »

New in our online store

October 15, 2010

We’ve recently added some new items to our store that you might want to check out.

tara prayer flags, mediumThis set of five classic Tibetan prayer flags is hand-printed on cotton by the Tibetan Nuns Project in Dharamsala, India.

The proceeds from these sales help to support nuns who have fled the Chinese occupation of Tibet. The Tara flags are also available in a larger size.

deity prayer flagsA set of five prayer flags, with a different Buddhist deity or symbol on each (Padmasambhava, Windhorse, Milarepa, Tara, and Kalachakra).

This purchase helps to provide food, shelter, and psychological support to former Tibetan political prisoners.

om mani singing bowl and boxA beautiful singing bowl and storage box. The box features the sacred mantra … Read more »

Meditation retreat brings balance

July 12, 2010

Annelie H. Pelaez, a nurse in Plainview, NY, writes about going on a meditation retreat in order to cope with the stresses of her work.

…At the end of my shift, I was exhausted. With blood spots on my uniform and waste stains on my shoes, I went home. That night I signed up for six-day meditation retreat for healthcare providers with Susan Taylor, PhD, which promised stress reduction through focused awareness.

I had seen the ad in Nursing Spectrum more than once. Although tempting, I thought six days was a bit long to be away from the “madding crowd.” But now I was feeling empty, worn out and longed for personal equanimity. I … Read more »

What do you think about while DIYing?

July 10, 2010

Repetitive motions like housework, crafting, building, and fixing are a great way to focus the mind — or clear it into a meditative state. Maybe you think up your best ideas while you work, or a solution to a problem that’s been irking you. We asked a few DIYers what they think about while they work.

When tackling a project like upholstering a headboard, Grace Bonney’s mind always wanders to the same two topics: her dream home and her family. The curator of the popular home décor and DIY site Design*Sponge says, “I’ll pick up some fabric and start to daydream about how I’d use it as a dramatic curtain to separate the living room … Read more »

Norman Fischer on meditation

June 26, 2010

A video transcript.

KATE OLSON, correspondent: It’s early morning along the Pacific Coast. Norman Fischer, a Buddhist priest who’s been teaching meditation for over three decades, opens a day of silent meditation for practitioners of Zen Buddhism.

NORMAN FISCHER (speaking to group): Thank you all for coming, and I hope everybody has a good day, a peaceful day, a day in which whatever needs to arise in your heart will do so.

OLSON: Other days, Fischer is at Google in Silicon Valley offering the same meditation practice to employees participating in a class called “Search Inside Yourself.”

FISCHER (speaking to class): Lengthen the spine, open the chest, and let your body pull itself up.

OLSON: … Read more »

Compassionate commerce

June 14, 2010

begging monksIn the days of the Buddha, people generously supported monks and nuns. They gave them food, clothing, medicine, land, and buildings. And the monks and nuns taught — freely. Many people nowadays, thinking back to that arrangement, say “meditation should be free” or “it’s wrong to charge for Dharma (Buddhism) classes.”

Of course the Dharma was never free! It was free at the point of delivery, in that monks didn’t charge for classes. But enough people supported the monastics for them to be able to do that. It’s that half of the equation that gets forgotten when people are saying, in effect, “give me meditation — and don’t charge me!”

Unfortunately, this rarely works … Read more »

Colorado’s contemplative lawyers

April 2, 2010

The Colorado Contemplative Lawyers Society is marking one year of defying lawyer stereotypes. The group was founded last April on the idea that meditation and “contemplative practices” can benefit lawyers in many ways, including helping them become better lawyers. The two dozen lawyers in the group come from firms big and small, as well as government agencies.

“The year has been one of maturing,” said group founder Stephanie West Allen. “We have, over the months, made some changes in format, and now have one that fits the attendees.”

The meetings, which have been held in the offices of Denver law firms Holme Roberts & Owen and Davis Graham & Stubbs as well as in the … Read more »

Non-attachment, and engagement with the world

January 21, 2010

Inspired Entrepreneur Nick Williams talks with Srimati, a former member of the Western Buddhist Order, about non-attachment. Srimati explains that non-attachment isn’t life-denying, but simply says that we should relate to things as they really are, without trying to get something out of them that they can’t supply.