Flexibility is essential for a lawyer aspiring to balance the scales of professional life. Achieving a balance between professional life and private life is not easy. Addressing conflicting issues on a day-to-day basis results in mental and physical strain, depletion of energy and risk to health. Professional practice is dependent on a healthy mind, body, heart and soul. Meditation, hypnosis and flexibility allow a lawyer to reach an emotionally calm and a balanced state through focus on an object, an activity or a thought.
Meditation has been known for centuries to reduce anxiety, stress and pain. Meditation increases perception to achieve inner peace and ultimately physiological, neurological, cardiovascular benefits. The essential technique for meditation is focus on controlled breathing and attention in the present to achieve mindfulness. A Delphi study concluded there were three essential criteria for meditative practise: logic, relaxation and self-induced state. A clear mind and healthy muscular tone are ostensible signs of regular successful meditative practise.
Forms of meditation
There are many forms of meditation but a few that would be useful for lawyers would be: Firstly, ‘No thought meditation’, achieved through focused control on preventing unwanted thoughts and emptying the mind; secondly, ‘Concentration meditation’, achieved through focus on one particular thought or object, and thirdly, ‘Mindfulness meditation’, achieved through focus on all neurological and physical inputs into the state of awareness in the present. The key to meditation is to take action. The key to action is emotion. Passion and action sustain the drive for focus and focus channels energy.
Knowledge of self
A lawyer must conduct research into his or her physical, physiological and psychological state. Health is a product of exercise, posture, diet and calm. A lawyer should carefully consider his or her eating habits when happy, sad or under stress. Cultural, social and family influences affecting eating habits should be logged. Additionally, there are many technologies that will provide a lawyer with unique daily statistical data about his or her physiology and self. Collection of physiological data can be used to create a personal health goal as explained below. Finally, knowing one’s sleep pattern is crucial to regeneration, recuperation and physical, mental and cardiovascular health. There are many apps and rings, such as the Oura Ring, which allow the capture and analysis of individual sleep data to assist in understanding the dynamics of individual sleep. Stress factors that uniquely affect a lawyer must be considered and addressed on a daily basis using meditation and hypnosis.
Hypnosis has been used for centuries to enhance focus and improve health, but it is very different from meditation. While meditation is self-induced with full awareness affecting the conscious and the unconscious mind, hypnosis is induced by others or self-induced to reach a state of trance, amnesia, unconsciousness or an altered state.
The ScienceDaily in 2009 reported that “hypnosis induces a disconnection of motor commands from normal voluntary processes under the influence of brain circuits involved in executive control and self-imagery”. Hypnosis was shown to change the state of the brain, so subjects saw colour where there was no colour. Hypnosis is a useful technique for creating change or reversing a state. Hypnosis is best at achieving effective sleep which is key to a lawyer’s readiness to practice. Sleep effectiveness is achieved through a combination of sufficient REM sleep, light sleep and deep sleep leading to an improved resting heart rate and other health benefits.
James Allen wrote: “Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes, And Man is Mind and evermore he takes The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills, Brings — He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass: Environment is but his looking-glass”. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. The unique feature of the human mind is its ability to imagine, innovate and think in the abstract and brain plasticity allows a brain can change itself. One clear and easy method of creating change is through the creation of a goal. A goal is a wish that arises from an idea about the future. It is a target, seemingly insignificant and sometimes impossible but key to planning direction in all aspects of life. Unwavering certainty and focus through meditation and hypnosis are key elements for the successful achievement of a goal.
The legal brain is what is ultimately utilized in the delivery of legal services. Like any tool the brain has to be protected from external influences and enhanced to allow it to function in difficult circumstances. Athletes train to endure physical and emotional stress and to perform at their mental and physical peak. Lawyers need to understand themselves, set personal goals and use meditation and hypnosis to achieve their professional and personal goals for a happy, healthy, and successful professional life. Life means constant change and constant change is best addressed through flexibility achieved through meditation and hypnosis.
A health road-map for a lawyer would include the following milestones: absolutely no sugar, no processed food, eating in moderation according to one’s unique physiology, exercising one’s eyes every hour, developing and maintaining a very strong core, developing an eight pack through constant motion, healthy sex, plenty of laughter, giving to those in need through pro-bono work, and most important of all is to relax and sleep, sleep, sleep. Start now!