Your Mindfulness Practice and the CASE Method

As you work to integrate a mindfulness practice into your legal practice, remember the case method.  By this, I am referring to the Jurisight term which sets forth the instruction on cultivating mindful awareness.
The “Case Method” offers an easy to remember traditional mindfulness instruction — one which also happens to be the subject of interesting neuroscience research.  ”Case” can be broken down to CA and SE.  C.A. stands for “Concentrated Awareness” while SE refers to “Sensory Expansion.”  This two-part process is the basic foundation for many mindfulness practices.  In the next The Mindful Lawyer Newsletter, the CASE Method will be discussed at greater length along with with a guided instruction.
Concentrated Awareness
We concentrate awareness by bringing attention to an object and practicing holding attention on that object.  Tthe breath serves as the most popular object of attention though it can be absolutely anything. Because the breath is always present, and a body process, it is always accessible.  As you may discover, learning to aim and sustain awareness on the breath can be a powerful practice.   Below is a simple instruction on concentrating awareness.
1.  Have a seat.
2.  Lower or close your eyes.
3.  Bring awareness to your breathing.
4.  Follow your in-breath and out-breath.
5.  Allow your belly to move with the breath.
6.  Notice the experience — sensing the flow of air in and out of your nose or moth or the rise and fall of the belly.
7.  Practice this for a few minutes.
A few tips that may be helpful to you in practicing are: (1) find a quiet place to sit, (2) if you catch your mind wandering, notice that it has wandered and bring it back to the breath, (3) there is no right or wrong way to practice, and (4) you may find it helpful to count to yourself with each exhalation as you take ten breaths and then begin again.  In neuroscience circles, where this practice is studied in the laboratory, this practice is called Focused Attention.  The upcoming The Mindful Lawyer Newsletter will discuss this research.
Sensory Expansion
By concentrating awareness, you begin to establish a stability of mind and body.  The commotion arising both within you (e.g., mental chatter and agitation) and outside you (e.g., external events) becomes more manageable  and you anchor yourself more firmly in the moment and become a little less reactive to this commotion.  This readies you (though it need not be a prerequisite) to then expand awareness, lifting it from the single-pointed object of your attention to more of what is taking place in the moment.  Below is an instruction that continues where the instruction for concentrated awareness left off.  It involves the expansion of awareness to embrace on the the senses — sound.  This instruction ends here for purposes of this introduction.  The process of expanding awareness is intended to embrace all that arises and passes away  within your experience, which includes sound, along with the other senses — and also thoughts, feelings, and body sensations.   When researched, this process is known as Open Monitoring.
By mindfulness attending to what arises in the field of your awareness, and not reacting to it as stongly as you might were you not engaged in mindful awareness, you change the way you relate to your experience, gaining greater mastery over the events that arise duringt he course of your life.
8.   Allow awareness of your breathing to recede into the background.
9.  Expand awareness to embrace sound — listening to what arises, changes, and passes away as if listening to it for the first time.
10.  Take a few breaths as you attend to sound — not forming a judgment, or even naming it.  Just noticing.
11.   Allow awareness of sound to recede into the background as you bring awareness back to the breath.
12.  After taking a few breaths with awareness of breathing, open your eyes.
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