Discover how meditation transformed my life and how it can change yours too. Plus, listen to Immune Response, a free sound-assisted meditation exercise.
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Meditation transformed my life in incredible ways and it can transform yours too. You can start by listening to Immune Response, a free sound-assisted meditation exercise that will help you cope in these uncertain times.
Gary Powell, founder of Legally Mindful, is currently General Counsel, North America for Emery Oleochemicals, a global, natural-based chemical company in Cincinnati and has been in private litigation practice for 35 years. He created the Legally Mindful app, which includes a set of sound-assisted meditation exercises for attorneys, and his website includes additional information relating to meditation.
My older sister Kathy was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998. She fought that battle and won. She passed the five-year mark of being cancer-free around 2004. It was great seeing Kathy with what we saw as a new lease on life. While she always had an upbeat, optimistic view of life, after passing the five-year mark, her spirits seemed to soar again.
Unfortunately, her cancer wasn’t done with her. It came back with a vengeance in 2005, and Kathy transitioned on April 20, 2008. Through the end, she showed terrific courage and strength and taught me a lot about maintaining class and dignity through strife.
Kathy’s death in April 2008 was the fourth death of a close relative in the past 18 months. They all experienced a different type of death, from my father who lived five months after a debilitating stroke which took his ability to speak, to my father-in-law who passed quickly from a heart attack, to a wonderful aunt who passed gracefully on her own terms after a long battle with heart issues.
Seeing close relatives die in different ways and at different ages, I really started to contemplate issues relating to life and death, and other “big” questions about my place in life.
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In order to try and find answers to some of these questions, I decided to attend a weeklong meditation workshop at the Monroe Institute (“TMI”) in the beautiful mountains of Virginia.
I had tried traditional meditation methods before, but I did not stick with them for long. I read about the sound-assisted technology TMI had been using in their meditation exercises since the 1970s, and that intrigued me. Meditation backed up by technology – talk about a non-traditional, but apparently effective, approach to meditation!
So, without knowing much more about TMI, I headed off to the mountains of Virginia in July 2008 for my “Gateway Voyage,” TMI’s introductory workshop. Over the course of the week, I was able to get into deeper meditation states than I ever experienced before, and, as a result, I was able to experience a very stress-free, clear-minded existence that whole week.
Better yet, I was able to get back to that relatively relaxed state very easily when I returned home, and I was told by numerous people, including my kids, that they saw a noticeable difference in me and I was a calmer, more patient person than before I went to Virginia.
Unlike traditional meditation approaches where you passively observe your breath and allow thoughts to pass through your mind without judgment, the TMI exercises were guided and were designed for you to be mentally “active.” In other words, you get the experience of taking questions or issues you want to work on into your meditation.
This proved to be a great avenue for self-exploration. I didn’t notice it until I got home, but I seemed to be more at peace with myself, and better able to let things go, especially those things I couldn’t control. This proved very helpful to me in some of the work and personal issues I had been facing.
The next summer, I returned to TMI for its Heartline program. My intention was to learn how to really open up the heart of this left-brained, analytical attorney. During the week, I again had a series of very impactful experiences and got my first real taste of what it means to live from my heart space.
A lot of personal development took place that week and I really experienced how it felt to have coherence between my mind and my heart and how I could, with practice, return to that coherent state just by having the intention to do so.
That feeling of coherence seemed to really start to balance out what seemed to be the omnipresent analytical side of me with a more creative openness that I too often had difficulty expressing. By tapping into my heart energy, I was better able to see things from a wider perspective, listen more patiently, and I really noticed the increased degree of compassion I was able to hold for others.
As I grew more confident in the impact my heart energy had on my own life, I decided to conduct an experiment to see if I could use it to impact others.
On occasion, while travelling in an elevator to my 19th floor office, I decided to send out my heart energy to the other passengers. As I concentrated on sending that energy out to each individual, I noticed that I received more smiles and positive interactions from the other people in response.
This was perhaps my first inkling that I could not only effectively reach out to others and affect them positively, but that it was also in my nature to do this – to teach others what I have learned in hopes that meditation transforms their lives as much as it had mine.
I continued going back to TMI on an annual basis and eventually became an Outreach Trainer so I could give workshops at home. I also decided that I wanted to figure out how to share some of the tools I’d learned with other lawyers to help them bring more peace and happiness into their lives.
It was interesting, but probably shouldn’t have been surprising, that the more I thought about making sound-assisted meditation tools accessible to other lawyers, the more my meditation experiences reflected that theme. For example, during the Conscious Presence program in 2013, we did a meditation exercise where the object was to explore a place of unlimited potential, and to see what we found there.
As I wrote in my journal after this exercise, in the midst of a very awe-inspiring experience of exploring this place, “I was brought ‘back’ and understood that I am a Teacher, not an Explorer, and that my focus should be on the infinite possibilities here (on) Earth …. I am supposed to do my part to help others find this in themselves.”
This revelation made me more determined than ever to somehow fulfill this mission. I had already experienced how the active-mind approach found in sound-assisted meditation exercises worked from a spiritual and self-awareness angle, and now I wanted to extend it to my working life.
Since I was now able to bring an intention into a meditation in order to work on an issue, I began using this method in relation to my work as an attorney. I found this practice to really help my creativity in my work, as well as give me more confidence in my ability to find workable solutions to very complex problems.
I had also felt the tremendous effect meditation had on reducing the stress in my life, or at least the way I was able to deal with it. I knew that if I was stressed, I could bring myself back to center with a single deep cleansing breath, even if I was in a courtroom or a stressful meeting. I also knew I was a happier and more effective attorney. If it worked for me, I was confident it could work for others. That is how Legally Mindful came to be.
In April 2018, on the tenth anniversary of Kathy’s death, I launched the Legally Mindful website with a dedication to Kathy and the hope that my venture in bringing sound-assisted meditation to others would be successful.
The Legally Mindful app, released in conjunction with the website, brings this dream to fruition. Within the app you will find very specific, sound assisted meditation exercises I’ve developed to deal with many of the issues attorneys and other people face in their professional and personal lives.
The exercises explore everything from stress relief to practicing compassion and gratitude. They even afford you the opportunity to examine work-related issues and creatively develop possible resolutions.
My hope is that by using them, you too can experience your own transformation.
Legally Mindful has also introduced an additional, free sound-assisted meditation exercise called Immune Response through its website. It is designed to be accessible to everyone to use to help them improve their immune systems and cope with feelings of anxiety during these uncertain times.
The meditation utilizes a heart-energy approach I started implementing after my Heartline experience in 2009. The focus of this heart-based approach is on developing the mind-body connection in order to improve overall health and wellbeing.
I hope you try out some of the exercises connected to the website and app so you can start to feel some of the same benefits I’ve experienced. I think you will find that at the very least, the Immune Response meditation will ease some of the worries you may be experiencing right now and help you get in touch with the mind-body connection that can lead to better health and strengthened immunity.