Meditation Proves Secret Weapon in Courtroom

Picture yourself walking into court, ready to give a closing argument on what has been a lengthy and challenging trial. You know the facts inside and out — you’ve been living and breathing this case, this argument, this moment in front of you for weeks, perhaps even months. Then as you begin speaking, the words flow smoothly — with good pace, tone and rhythm. The judge is listening intently and following everything you are saying. When you finish, you know you communicated exactly the message you intended to convey. Meditation is one tool that can help attorneys have this type of experience. Click here to continue reading this article by...
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Brain Health as a Dallas Police Line of Defense

Dallas Police officers are receiving additional defensive training, not in the use of firearms or bullet proof vests, but how to better use what is perhaps their best defensive weapon – their brains. The Center for Brain Health, part of the University of Texas at Dallas, and its Brain Performance Institute, are now collaborating to provide potentially critical training in tactical decision-making, real-time problem solving, and better managing their emotional response to stress. The Brain Performance Institute will offer officers Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Training (SMART) and a mindfulness program specific to law enforcement. SMART strengthens the brain’s frontal networks — regions that support planning, reasoning, decision-making, judgment, and emotional...
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Mindfulness Training Reduces Stress in Police

Police officers face unique challenges everyday: departmental politics, pending litigation, irregular shifts. And on the street, they come face-to-face with criminals, violence and death, and situations that threaten their own safety. This stress is often experienced with excessive hostility, which impairs officers’ well-being and can negatively impact their behavior with the public. This stress is also reflected in depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and suicide —in higher rates than in the general population. Mindfulness-Based Resilience Training for law enforcement is now coming to light with the first empirical research on the program. Click here to continue reading this article in Project Censored.

Quiet Justice

When I tell people that I teach a class in law and meditation at UC Berkeley’s law school, I often hear snorts of disbelief. “It’s easier to imagine a kindergarten class sitting in silence for half an hour,” a friend said to me, “than two lawyers sitting together in silence for five minutes.” But the class is no joke. In fact, it’s part of a ground-breaking movement that has quietly been taking hold in the legal profession over the past two decades: a movement to bring mindfulness—a meditative, moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, relationships, and external circumstances—into the practice of law and legal education. Judges have been meditating before taking...
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Police Employees In Menlo Park To Explore Mindfulness Training

In June of 2016, through the City Manager’s Office, Mayor Kirsten Keith (then Vice Mayor) and Chief Bob Jonsen met to discuss the value of Mindfulness training for law enforcement in light of recent national discussions in regards to the disconnect of the relationship between law enforcement and the public. Mayor Keith completed the “Search Inside Yourself Leadership Program” last year and then broached the topic of mindfulness training with Chief Jonsen. Weeks following their discussion, Chief Jonsen followed up with the Mayor’s suggestions and met with law enforcement professionals regarding mindfulness training for police agencies. While mindfulness training is fairly new to law enforcement, its value is quickly being...
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Taking Mindfulness to the Streets

In 2006, Brant Rogers offered a free yoga class to police officers at his studio in Hillsboro, Ore. No one showed up. A few days later his phone rang. The caller introduced himself as Detective Richard Goerling of the local police department. “I want to talk about yoga for cops.” he told Rogers. “I want you to help figure out a way to stop the hurting.’” Goerling was intent on finding techniques that might help police officers cope with the job’s endemic pressures, which can cloud judgment, fuel unconscious biases, and manifest as rage or panic — or a combination of the two. Emotionally charged states can create the kind...
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Saving the Lawyers One Breath at a Time: Mindfulness in the Law

The role of a lawyer in a democratic society is significant in that lawyers ensure that the democracy is functional and its citizens enjoy fundamental human rights. Acting as advocates and advisers, lawyers also play an important role in virtually all business transactions in this country. And yet, as critical as they are to society, lawyers are reported to be the most frequently depressed occupational group in the United States. A new study by the American Bar Association and the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation found that 28 percent of over 12,825 practicing lawyers polled reported a problem with depression. This is over three times the rate found in the general...
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How One Judge Is Using Meditation To Bring Healing After A Crime

When Georgetown professor and Magistrate Judge Gretchen Rohr first met Erica Huggins in 1994, she was surprised to find that Huggins, who was formerly incarcerated and later released and acquitted of all charges, was not an angry person despite what she had been through. “She was not at all what I would have pictured,” Rohr said. “She has an amazing amount of compassion and a great sense of peace.” When Rohr asked Huggins how she was able to do her work without getting distracted by hatred or anger, Huggins answer was simple: Meditation. Rohr adopted the practice into her daily life, which helped her feel a deeper connection to the reason she entered law...
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Video of our Mindfulness-Based Wellness & Resiliency Program in Oregon

Mindfulness is making a difference in the lives of an unlikely group: prison guards. Officers in Oregon’s Department of Corrections are starting to use the calming tactic, which just requires a person to focus on their breathing and be present in the moment, in prisons. Research shows mindfulness can also abate anxiety, boost the brain and improve sleep. And for those who work in high-stress professions like corrections, these perks of the practice are vital to a good quality of life. Click here to continue reading this article by Lindsay Holmes in the Huffington Post. 

Documentary Explores Meditation in Mexico Prisons

When Greg Hopkinson walked into one of the most violent prisons in Mexico – a jail where 44 inmates died in a battle between rival drug cartels – the experience was mind-blowing. “It was just unbelievable – the peace, contentment, and stillness in the place was palpable. “Effectively we walked into this massive meditation retreat.” What changed? How did Apodaca prison in Monterrey, Mexico, go from the scene of a violent uprising in 2012 when members of the Zetas drug gang slaughtered rival Gulf cartel inmates to a place of peace and stillness? It was through a practice known as Ascension meditation. Today, a quarter of the 2000 prisoners, guards...
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