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Holistic Mediation Mediation

Mediation Versus Litigation: Addressing a Larger Societal Problem

Within a wide swath of civil litigation can be found a common denominator: The tendency of people in contemporary American society to sidestep responsibility for their own happiness and well-being, instead looking toward external factors to blame for undesirable outcomes or consequences.

Almost by definition, our predominant adversarial model of civil litigation encourages, cultivates, and solidifies blame.  For example, in filing an initial complaint to initiate a lawsuit, a plaintiff is basically required by procedural rules to allege facts that establish on their face what a defendant or defendants did wrong.  The plaintiff is then required to set forth a request for relief stating how these alleged improper or wrongful acts caused harm or loss.  Nowhere at this initial pleading stage would a plaintiff acknowledge any affirmative role that may have contributed to the harm of which he or she is complaining.

It is only at a more advanced stage of pleading that an adverse party may file a “Request for Admissions,” which would prompt a party to acknowledge that his/her/its actions or inactions may have contributed to the problem at hand.

So it often seems in a more broad societal context.  We seem conditioned to focus on external factors to explain our problems (and much of our happiness).  Many would maintain, however, that such thought-driven notions that attribute happiness or lack thereof to external factors are largely delusional.  Such a misguided orientation may go far in explaining why litigation “victories” resulting from the adversarial process seldom produce an enduring sense that the conflict has been resolved in any sort of optimal fashion.

In contrast, holistic law and mediation works to help dissolve defensiveness and entrenched conditioning to the point at which participants become better able to see through their misguided preconceptions.  They are then better able to objectively assess their acts or omissions that may have contributed to the current conflict.  At the same time, the cultivation of an empathic environment by the holistic lawyer or mediator facilitates this process as participants feel more understood and less judged for “mistakes” or “misunderstandings” that my have contributed to the conflict.

To learn  more about how holistic law and mediation can facilitate optimal, sustainable conflict resolution, contact Holistic Lawyer and Mediator Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263, or visit http://www.Holistic-Lawyer.com.

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Compassion Holistic Divorce Holistic Mediation Mediation Mindfulness

The Transformational Potential of Mediation

In conducting more than two dozen mediation sessions in Alameda County Superior Court, what is most glaringly apparent is the extent to which mediation participants enter mediation with all-defined, hardened positions.  Moreover, these individuals almost always are convinced that their interpretations of some event or events that have taken place in the past are the “correct” or “right” interpretation, and that the opposing party is simply “wrong.”

Through extensive mediation training and experience, a professional mediator becomes increasingly able to identify when a participant appears “locked into” a position, and then employ sensitive listening and empathic skills that may soon begin to loosen the grip of tightly-held, heavily egoic, positions.  It is the dissolving of these firmly held positions that begins to shift a mediation focus from positions to interests.

Freed from the grip of ego, one can begin to entertain an increasingly expansive notion of “interest” to transcend one’s “self interest” which may have predominated at the outset of the mediation.  “Interest” can then begin to more fully encompass a spouse, a family, a community, or even all of life.  In this way, mediation can serve a transformational function as a springboard for previously untapped solutions that transcend self-interest and serve to move the participants, as well as society at large, forward in more sustainable ways.

To learn more about how mediation might work for you, contact Meditator and Holistic Lawyer Michael Lubofsky by calling (415) 508-6263, or by visiting http://www.mindfulaw.com.

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Holistic Mediation Mediation

Mediation versus Litigation: The Answer Becomes Clear

Where holistic law practice has at its core wisdom borne from a grounded sense of being, it is only within the mediation forum that individuals are afforded the freedom and flexibility to access this wisdom and have this wisdom guide participants toward optimal dispute resolution.

In contrast, formal litigation imposes strict rules (e.g., rules of evidence) that ultimately ensure that disputes are settled based largely on objectively verifiable events.  By definition, admissible evidence excludes intuitive knowledge and other phenomenon arguably behind the realm of human thought, including compassion and empathy, as salient factors to be considered by the parties when attempting to fashion a remedy to a dispute.

While litigating parties may, individually, evoke and consult with unverifiable sources of knowledge such as intuition, compassion, etc., in determining his or her individual litigation strategy, the litigation process itself is designed to eliminate discussion and consideration of such factors when both parties are together before the tribunal.  The parties are thus denied the opportunity to reevaluate their respective positions in light of inner wisdom accessed and articulated by other parties with what litigation would deem “adversarial interests.”

From an evolutionary standpoint, it is understandable that interpersonal dispute resolution grew into a system that basically extracted emotion and unverifiable feelings from the equation.  It is not difficult to imagine that in a lesser evolved form, such emotion and visceral sense was likely to lead to chaos and physical violence.

It is also conceivable, however, that as a species we have evolved to a point at which we are beginning to recognize truth as lying beyond thought and objectively verifiable facts.  Holistic law practice, by helping clients disidentify from learned conditioning and habitual reactions, can facilitate heightened access to this inner wisdom.  A properly orchestrated mediation forum can ensure that the inner wisdom of all interested parties is elicited and properly considered in sculpting optimal dispute resolution.

To learn more about holistic law practice and its applicability in the mediation context, contact Attorney Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263 or visit http://www.mindfulaw.com.

 

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Holistic Divorce Holistic Philosophy Law Practice Mindfulness

What Is Holistic Divorce?

Partners facing marital breakdown typically are confronted with deep fears and insecurities that can trigger a wide range of emotional reaction.  Divorce often has serious implications in family relationships, finances, daily routines, and can shatter one’s sense of security.  Divorce involving children can magnify these challenges as well as pose serious long-term harmful consequences especially for young children.

Unfortunately, our civil justice system, which includes family law courts, has evolved out of an entrenched adversarial model which posits that by encouraging each party to put forth their version of events most zealously, the truth will emerge and a just result will follow.  This system largely breaks down when the parties, as they typically are in divorce, are acting largely out of fear-based conditioned reactions that are overwhelmingly emotional in nature.

In additional, traditional legal education teaches attorneys to focus on objective facts and largely ignore any emotional or spiritual component that may underlie a situation being presented by a client in a divorce context.

Holistic divorce law is an alternative to this adversarial model that incorporates the following primary components:

(1) Holistic Divorce Stresses Conditioned Thinking and Habitual Reactions That May Be Clouding Judgement

Rather than focusing almost exclusively on objective facts, holistic divorce practice aims to help clients disidentify from conditioned thinking and habitual reactions that may be seriously clouding one’s judgement at a time when this clarity is most important.  This is done by incorporating mindfulness exercises at the beginning of representation, prior to deciding on a concrete strategy for moving forward with divorce.  By helping a client connect more deeply to present-moment experience, he or she begins to appreciate that future actions need not be dictated by defensive reactions such as revenge, spite, anger, etc. that may only serve to make a challenging situation worse, both in the short term and long run, for the marital partners and the children involved.

(2) Holistic Divorce Rejects The Prevailing Adversarial Model of Litigation

Rather than viewing a marital breakdown largely in terms of a winner and loser, holistic divorce practice rejects this dualistic orientation in favor of a deeper wisdom revealed by heightened consciousness and present-moment awareness.  For most of us, we have been conditioned to confront “problems” with intellect aimed at identifying concrete solutions to alleviate difficult emotions. Holistic law appeals to a more spiritual foundation that will often give rise to creative approaches to marital and familial breakdown borne of deeper compassion towards all involved.  In this way, we can craft a plan for moving forward that can actually transform the lives of all involved in truly positive ways, rather than providing some fleeting satisfaction that might result from “winning” or gaining an upper hand.

(3) Holistic Practice Seeks To Embrace The Widest Possible Circle of Stakeholders in Crafting a Solution, Rather Than Alienating The Client

In typical law practice, once a client presents his or her version of facts to the attorney, he or she may almost never hear from the attorney who then takes the client’s version of events and plugs it into an almost formulaic procedure for divorce actions.  The attorney devises a strategy that he or she believes most likely to achieve outcomes that the client wants, while almost completely ignoring the interests of others likely to be effected by this outcome.

In contrast, holistic divorce seeks to include as wide a net as possible of those likely to be impacted by the ways in which this situation is ultimately resolved.  At the very least, the holistic lawyer will work with the client to heighten mindfulness in a way that will give rise to some degree of compassion for others likely to be effected.  It is within this compassion that potentially transformative solutions may be identified that can potentially improve the lives of all involved in the long term.

To learn more about holistic divorce practice, contact Attorney Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263, or visit http://www.Holistic-Lawyer.com.

 

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Holistic Philosophy Law Practice Mindfulness

Holistic Law: Blame and Attribution As a Means of Sidestepping Legal Problems

Through evolution, as an important means of survival, it was often critical when faced with challenges in meeting our basic needs that we were able to identify a cause in the environment that we could then act upon to remove the current obstacle.  In many of these primordial situations, if one were to just do nothing, he or she could be physically attacked by a hostile adversary or animal posing a direct threat to survival.

Thus, from an evolutionary psychology standpoint, it makes sense that he human ability to find external causes for difficult situations was critical for survival of the species.

As with many of our more ingrained coping strategies, however, our strong tendency towards identifying environmental factors as causes of challenging situations has become strongly habitual.  In contemporary society, we are seldom faced with immediate threats to our physical survival.  Nevertheless, when faced with difficult situations that prompt anxiety or fear, our conditioning often looks towards external causes that we may come to believe caused our current difficulties.

If this conditioned response mode is not met with a threshold of consciousness (i.e., grounding in present-moment experience), one can quickly become absorbed and seriously distracted with thought-driven stories about how this person or that person caused or brought about the threatening situation.  This tendency can soon lead to outward expressions of anger, blame, etc. as if these expressions might somehow alleviate the challenging situation.  In the process, however, one will become increasingly disconnected from present-moment experience and come to experience deeper unhappiness that, in itself, may prompt another cycle and layer of blame and attribution.

This type of cycle may be common within individuals involved in, or considering, legal action.  Whether involved in divorce, an employment law dispute, an accident that has caused physical injury, criminal prosecution of some type, etc., it is not difficult to imagine one easily becoming enmeshed in this blame and attribution cycle.  The extent to which this cycle gains momentum is the extent to which the individual is likely to overlook creative solutions to the current situation that might potentially serve to transform his or her life in truly positive ways.  Instead, decisions are likely to be made as to how one might exact revenge or retribution against the person, institutions, etc. that are considered responsible for the current situation.

Holistic law practice works with clients to, among other things, help temper this ingrained tendency towards blame and attribution and instead heighten one’s connection to present-moment experience.  It is within this heightened mindfulness that clients can identify optimal solutions to their challenging legal situations.  To learn more, contact Holistic Attorney Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263, or visit http://www.holistic-lawyer.com.

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Holistic Philosophy Law Practice Mindfulness

The Danger of Defensive Reaction When Dealing With Legal Problems

Mindfulness has at its core the cultivation of a heightened ability to consciously connect with present-moment experience.  Doing this often involves a process over time of dis-identification from “ego” or thought-driven notions about how “I am” or “you are,” as a “separate” individual.  When we remain stuck in such learned conditioning, we are far more likely to react to difficult situations in an unconscious, defensive manner principally aimed at keeping one’s ego intact and preserving our relatively static notion of “self.”

To the extent that one’s ego derails an individual from present-moment experience (i.e., “reality”), he or she is likely to become agitated, anxious, and reactive.  In the process he or she will often fail to identify creative approaches to these situations, miss opportunities to deepen consciousness, and ultimately remain stuck in old patterns of habitual reactions.

The inability to maintain one’s connection to present-moment experience can be very common when facing legal problems that may have implications for situations in one’s life that have come to form the core of how he or she has come to define his or her “self.”

Mindfulness in law practice is essential in helping clients break out of non-productive and often harmful habitual reactions to these challenging life situations, and instead open to new possibilities that extend beyond the perceived boundaries of the “self.”  The inability to approach legal situations in a mindful way will often lead to recurrence of similar undesirable life situations in the future.

To learn more about the incorporation of mindfulness in law practice, contact Holistic Lawyer Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263, or visit http://www.Holistic-Lawyer.com.

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Holistic Philosophy Law Practice Mindfulness

Finding Peace in the Midst of Legal Problems

Legal problems tend to involve life situations that may prompt examination of the past and fears about the future.  In particular, one may begin to examine his or her role in bringing about the current situation a s a result of past actions and/or decisions.  He or she may also worry about how the future may manifest itself depending on how the current legal matter is ultimately involved.

Problems in this context often arise when these tendencies prompting reflection on the past and fears concerning the future cause one to become disengaged from present-moment experience.  At this point, one runs the risk of approaching his or her current situation either by defending decisions made or actions taken in he past, or by trying to manipulate the current situation so as to potentially reduce the likelihood of unfavorable feared outcomes in the future.

What is lost in this approach in an inner wisdom accessible only when one is able to let go of concerns about past and future and become more highly conscious of things as the are, right now, apart from judgements, interpretations, expectations, and thought-driven notions of how things “should” or “should not” be.

The incorporation of mindfulness in law practice can work to bring clients more deeply back to present-moment experience so as to reduce the likelihood that formal legal action or strategy will spring from learned conditioning and habitual reactions that may be highly likely to muddle and complicate the current situation.  If legal action is taken based on such habitual reactions to egoic threats, there is a high likelihood that the current undesirable situation will repeat itself in the future.

A holistic law approach that helps to cultivate a more mindful, conscious approach to legal situations holds the potential of approaching challenging situations in ways that can positively transform the lives of all involved, instead of perpetuating current conflict and difficulties.

To learn more about holistic law practice, contact Attorney Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263, or visit http://www.holistic-lawyer.com.

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Holistic Philosophy Law Practice Mindfulness

The Role of Unsatisfactoriness in Legal Problems

The first noble truth in Buddhist philosophy is that life includes dukkha which is roughly translated from Pali by contemporary scholars as a sense of “unsatisfactoriness.”  From an evolutionary standpoint, being “wired” with this sensitivity makes sense as an internal motivator for humans to venture out into their environments seeking food, shelter, procreation, etc.

One could argue that we as a species have reached an evolutionary milestone, at least within contemporary American culture, at which our basic survival needs are largely satisfied, and much of the dangers to survival that may have predominated at some earlier point in our evolution are no longer present.

Nevertheless, our programmed inclination towards “unsatisfactoriness” still exists, to some extent, within all of us.  It would seem plausible that this programming continues, however, to motivate us to almost continuously scan the environment for perceived threats.  In contemporary times with most true threats to our survival extinguished, perceived threats have come to primarily include internal, thought-driven notions of identity or “ego,” and ideas of how life “should” or “should not” be.

It it is within this second category of perceived threats to identity driven largely by ideas of how life needs to be that often gives rise to legal conflict. Individuals will invoke legal process to effectuate some result that they believe will, to some extent, cause life to become more in line with his or her expectations of how life should be.

The integration of mindfulness in law practice seeks to address this phenomenon at its root by working to cultivate heightened clarity on a client’s preconceived notion that may be motivating a desire to pursue litigation in the first instance. By helping clients begin to dis-identify from these conditioned notions, more creative solutions beyond adversarial litigation are far more likely to manifest. These holistic solutions are far more likely to truly help the client in potentially transformational ways, as well as move society towards a more just foundation.

to learn more about holistic law and the integration of mindfulness in law practice, contact Attorney Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263, or visit http://www.mindfulaw.com.

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Mindfulness

Mindfulness in Law Practice as Key To Optimal Client Solutions

The arising of most life situations calling for legal action or intervention involves the coming together of innumerable factors over time.  In order to craft and execute optimal legal solutions, it is necessary to consider as many of these pastors as possible.  This incisive approach is the primary goal of integrating mindfulness in law practice.

In traditional law practice, an attorney is primarily concerned with understanding the goals articulated by the client at the outset of representation.  Usually, these goals are considered in a dualistic framework in which client goals or objectives will be achieved at the expense of another.  This approach will most often overlook other factors present in the client’s situation which, if considered, could hold the key to identifying solutions that could help the client far into the future.  In certain situations, a client’s life could be truly transformed through this process.

Mindfulness in law practice requires intention on the part of both the attorney and client to move beyond preconceived notions, conditioned thought, and habitual reactions that may be causing the client to view his or her situation in a myopic fashion.  This is accomplished through mindfulness exercises integrated into the practice of law.  This is the primary goal of holistic lawyering.

To learn more about integrating mindfulness in law practice, contact Michael Lubofsky at (415) 508-6263, or visit http://www.mindfulaw.com.

By Michael Lubofsky

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Holistic Philosophy Meditation for Lawyers Mindfulness

Mindfulness: More Being Than Doing

Mindfulness and meditation free us from the narrow judgments and limited thoughts associated with ego, connecting us instead to boundless experience that we call “life.”  Some people believe that this transcendent experience can arise only in the presence of very specific conditions, or when engaged in particularly “spiritual” activities.

In reality, the opening of the heart in a way that transcends limited thought has more to do with conscious attention focused on one’s direct, present-moment experience, almost irrespective of what activity in which one is engaged at any particular point in time.  Thus, true inner peace can be found more in “being” than “doing.”