On the Mindfulness Path

A few days ago, I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet Jeena Cho and her husband, Jeff Curl, for coffee in Seattle.  Jeena is an attorney and the co-publisher of The Anxious Lawyer website.  The Anxious Lawyer provides a “Guide to a Happier, Saner Law Practice Using Meditation and Mindfulness.”  Jeena stopped in the Puget Sound area as part of her Resilient Lawyer Roadtrip.  Jeena started her roadtrip in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and will conclude it in Eugene, Oregon before heading home to San Francisco.  Jeena’s life work is bringing mindfulness into the legal profession, helping lawyers practice with authenticity and courage.

What is mindfulness?  According to Jeena, “mindfulness” means “paying attention.”  She views meditation and mindfulness as tools for training the mind.  In her book, Self-Compassion, Psychologist Kristin Neff defines mindfulness as “the clear seeing and nonjudgmental acceptance of what’s occurring in the present moment.  Facing up to reality, in other words.  The idea is that we need to see things as they are, no more, no less, in order to respond to our current situation in the most compassionate – and therefore effective – manner.”  Jeena and Dr. Neff are not out there on some nothing-to-do-with-reality tangent, by the way.  Their messages are supported by mainstream institutions.  Jeena has taken classes offered through The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at the Stanford School of Medicine and has completed the teacher training practicum for Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR).   Dr. Neff is an associate professor in human development at the University of Texas in Austin.

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