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Mindfulness and “well-being is a two-way street”

Prof. Olga Nickole Kuyan

5 Nov 2021

The Studio Legale Lauricella introduces an well-being form of the modified Mediterranean Style of Life.

The Law Gazzette article “Well-being is a two-way street, judge tells ‘wildly optimistic’”

touches, inter alia, two important issues: well-being and golden rule.
Chandler said: "Just as practitioners should not receive unreasonable demands from the judiciary, so judges should not be put in the sort of position this court faced in the present case: well-being is a two-way street. Realistic time estimates must be given”.

While quasi all people have heard about the well-being and the golden rule, only some people have met it in their lifes. Well-being and the golden rule are desirable things as for clients/parties so for lawyers/judges. But do you often see the case parties or clients who take care of judge/lawyer’s well-being? It’s another side of the golden rule. Et sic, judges/lawyers have to take care of their well-being. How to remain thankful, polite and kind judge/lawyer?

Lawyers/judges operate and work within the context of complex human situations – predominantly situations of conflict and stress – and attempt to apply a body of external laws, rules and practices to resolve those situations and conflicts. This is within a framework of time, financial, epidemic and other external pressures.

What could we, the legal firm, advice to judges/lawyers? How could we apply the golden rule here?

It’s a matter of the rule of law, to fulfill our role of stewardship by insulating justice/good lawyering against the challenges of the future.

We, the leading Italian (Sicilian) Law Firm, introduce a well-being form of the modified Mediterranean Style of Life that resolves a broad spectrum of crisis and stress problems.

We confirm that a traditional Mediterranean lifestyle engages regularly in mindfulness.

The researchers found that a high adherence to a Mediterranean lifestyle means a lower likelihood of developing depression, stress or its symptoms.

We put forward the idea on the Evolution towards Judges/Lawyers Wellbeing, Justice through Mindfulness.

We don’t use the term Evolution in its Darwinian-Lamarckian sense. We use it in J.J. Hurtak’s sense:
true evolution is spiritual evolution.

While many empirical studies have confirmed that regular mindfulness meditation can have beneficial effects on people's well-being, so far very little is known about the contribution of mindfulness to lawyering, judiciary and good lawyering, justice.

By the definite science of meditation known for millenniums to the yogis and sages of India, and to Jesus, any lawyer, any judge, any professional, everybody, "can enlarge the caliber of his consciousness to omniscience to receive within himself the Universal Intelligence of God." (Paramahansa Yogananda)

Over the past few decades, mindfulness meditation has become increasingly popular. A woolly concept for many, mindfulness has been described as being “not about feeling better, it is about being better at feeling”. The Oxford on-line dictionary describes mindfulness as: “A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique”.

Judge/lawyer applies discretion/creativity, interprets legal norms, makes decisions. He/she is a thinker, a decision-maker. Mindful thinking is the ability to be aware and conscious of your thoughts. Mindful judicial discretion/legal creativity is to be aware and conscious of your thoughts regarding application and interpretation of legal norms in a just way. To ground yourself in the present case/legal issue, acknowledging what you are thinking and feeling – but without being reactive to it. Being a mindful judge/lawyer means being aware of your thoughts, emotions, and how you're feeling both physically and mentally.

The impact of mindfulness is already widely recognised and appreciated in the fields of medicine, psychology, education and business but the legal profession has been slower to accept and integrate its transformative effects. Meditation retreats for lawyers are still relatively rare on this side of the world however in the US they are more common. The fact that lawyers are more sceptical than most, is perhaps the key reason why mindfulness has been slower to take off in the legal profession.

The reported benefits of mindfulness meditation practice are numerous and varied. These include reduced stress, improved well-being, increased immune functioning, boost to memory and focus, increased relationship satisfaction, enhanced self-insight, morality and intuition. Some benefits of mindfulness are obvious but others, no less important, are less so because they are more subtle.

We hypothesize that:

- good lawyering/justice depends upon the judicial discretion/legal creativity,

- the creativity/discretion is based on the mindfulness (legal consciousness),

- the legal consciousness makes the part of awareness and mindfulness;

- mindfulness is the road to justice and well-being.

In particular, we use insights from scientific knowledge to examine how evolution of mind has informed and been informed by wider changes in science (labs) to achieve justice and wellbeing.

Max Planck says: "All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter."

Michio Kaku recently caused a small shock in the scientific community by claiming to have found evidence of the existence of an unknown and intelligent force that governs nature. "I came to the conclusion that we are in a world made up of rules created by an intelligence, not very different from a computer game, but of course, more complex," said the scientist.

What we perceive with our five senses is not reality. Quantum physics has shown that space and time are illusions of perception. An experiment at the University of Manchester revealed that the shape of the interior of an atom is almost entirely empty space. The question then became how a judge/lawyer could possibly make the Justice/just lawyering sees him.

Our mindfulness (consciousness) does not exist in our brains or in our bodies, but this illusion of our individual bodies has manifested the idea that we all think independently from one another, that judges/lawyers all think independently from one another. With this understanding it seems possible to scientifically explain telepathy, clairvoyance, spiritual mediums related to the transfer of information between sources without physical means of communication phenomena.

When we understand that there is a common spiritual bond between all things in the universe and that we are all part of a divine intelligence, that judges are all part of the Universal Justice, this simple understanding will fill all the holes in modern justice included judicial discretion. A judge is just (fair) and his justice is immortal and timeless, once she/he identifies with the eternal realitym the cosmic Justice, and consistent with the quantum vision, he will enter the new paradigms of quantum consciousness.

We advance a theory that as minimum, a judge/lawyer has to have legal consciousness. The conventional existence of justice/wellbeing corresponds to the present (“living”) level of a judge/lawyer– to the level of his/her mindfulness linked with his/her spirituality.

When we say about the spirituality, it is necessary to clarify what we mean. Spirituality is not a religion. There are some pretty clear ways in which religion and spirituality differ.
Norman Fisher says: “These teachings are those of humanity, even though they may have originated 2,600 years ago. They can be taught in secular settings.”
Daniel J Siegel says: “Oftentimes, people hear the word ‘mindfulness’ and think ‘religion’, but the reality is that focusing our attention in this way is a biological process that promotes health – as a form of brain hygiene – not a religion. Various religions may encourage this health-promoting practice, but learning the skill of mindful awareness is simply a way of cultivating what we have defined as the integration of consciousness.”

Spirituality develops when we dedicate our freedom to something greater and more important than ourselves, with that we identify ourselves. A judge develops spirituality when he dedicates his freedom to justice, with which he identifies himself. In order to achieve justice, a judge must go out of himself. A mindful judge works on his own interiority, but uses the body, he is aware that as a body he depends on nature, as a judge he depends on the judiciary, law, the rule of law, he knows that there is a human dimension of justice that cannot be reduced to the bios, nor to the judiciary, it is free, where the judge can act with discretion, he can create justice that was not there before, the judge knows that he can move away from a legal norm; he knows that freedom is precious and therefore must be cared for, supervised, disciplined, and that the justice happens if the judge relates to a larger dimension, to superior intelligence, to top values.

We hypothesize that the justice in any settings depends significantly upon the synthesis of the “democratic” foundations, principles, established by law (e.g judicial independence, the-rule-of-law state, access to fair justice), and some top value that a judge\lawmaker is devoted to serve.

Among others, great Ivan Ilyin wrote about the idea of serving the highest value. We have found the same idea in the thoughts of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin SJ, Teodosij Dobžanskij, Anne Dambricourt-Malassé and others.

We forward the idea that the Judicial Discretion/Legal Creativity ranks with the level of Mindfulness (legal consciousness). We contribute to debates whether the problems of Justice and Judges Wellbeing are resolved on the basis of the correspondence of Mindfulness (legal consciousness) to the basic legal principles of a state to counterbalance the liberal idea of universalism.

We advance the idea that the justice/wellbeing’s problems are the failure of judicial discretion/legal creativity and the result of the mindfulness (legal consciousness)`s deformation and blemish.

In line with this point we hypothesize that the Judicial Discretion/Legal Creativity is the art of law as the justice is the art.

We share the Charles Halpern words, written in the context of the American legal system, applicable equally in a global context, because the difficulties and issues described by Halpern are faced by lawyers in jurisdictions across the world, including Italy and Russia: “Legal education and the legal profession, like society at large, are in a period of transition. Lawyers and law students today face unprecedented challenges, from upheaval in the legal market, to seismic shifts in health care, financial markets, the environment and other sectors. In order to thrive and effectively service their clients in this time of uncertainty, legal professionals need new skills, and I believe deeply that one of them is mindfulness, the ancient practice of moment-by-moment, non- judgmental awareness.” Halpern and others like we advocating the potentially transformative effect of mindfulness in law are laying the foundation and paving the way for an urgently needed movement within the law that can, hopefully, only gain momentum. Such foundation and such way are applicable for every judge\lawmaker, independently from the political settings, from a state.

Following Halpern’s idea,we are adamant that the present time is fertile ground for the practice of mindfulness and that it is teachable and learnable.

Little is done to educate and train lawyers – whose discretion/legal creativity tends to focus on the external, and to rely on ‘thinking’, ‘judging’ and ‘action’ – on the equal value and benefits of focusing on the internal, and relying on ‘not thinking’, ‘not judging’ and ‘not acting’.

Law is a living organism. It is based on a factual and social reality that is constantly changing. It’s a matter of the rule of law, to fulfill our role of stewardship by insulating justice/good lawyering against the challenges of the future.

According to our conclusion the establishment of judicial discretion/legal creativity by the rule of law is not the judge/lawmaker`s whim but the result of development of state/community, law, mindfulness/spirituality. To what a judge/lawyer pays attention dipends upon such development.

The analysis we carried, although still incomplete, suggests not only that the concepts of justice and judges/lawyers wellbeing needs a better definition, but that its main dimensions, including the phenomenon of judicial discretion/legal creativity with the special attitude to mindfulness (legal consciousness), to the Mediterranean Style of Life should be taken into account for their different impact. Just imagine — understanding how Mediterranean Style of Life alone can produce mental clarity, good health, longevityof lawyers/judges/professionals/clients/everybody and Justice/Good Lawyering!

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