Februar 2, 2018
Mindfulness and the Persistent Me-diation

This week we move into the interesting domain of mediation and the relevance of mindfulness to the mediation process, with a focus on how mindfulness supports the role of the mediator as a third-party neutral. As you read the assignments and go through the week, please give thought to the many ways that you are mediating throughout the day. For example, consider how you may find yourself the mediator (or assume/claim the role) while in traffic, when with family, while spending time with friends, at work, and even in the classroom. Take this to another level and reflect on how you might find yourself both mediator and one of the parties (there’s an interesting conflict of interest), and reflect on the ways that you mediate/negotiate with yourself (e.g., should I keep working to finish a project or watch Netflix? Is it time to stop eating, or take another handful of chips or cookie?) In doing so, you may notice the mediator "within," which connects to some of the readings and a written assignment.

We will explore in class the foundation of mediation (I assume most of you have but a passing familiarity, if that), and its connection to mindfulness to better understand this important avenue of alternative dispute resolution and to develop a deeper knowing of mindfulness practice.


—Kabat-Zinn, “Mindfulness for Beginners,” pp. 11-15.
—Rogers, "Mindfulness for Law Students," pp. 7-10.

Reading Packet

I think you will enjoy the excerpt from Michael Singer’s book, “The Untethered Soul.”

Also included in this week's reading is a student writing. The Note by Evan Rock offers you a foundation-level understanding on the ways that mindfulness can assist the mediator in maintaining his or her role as a third party neutral. I think that Rock's Note offers a good example of a student's integration of mindfulness into a law review piece and its structure will be helpful to you as a model for the paper you will write.

1. After reading the excerpt from "The Untethered Soul" see if you might observe the activity of the mind, of thoughts calling the shots while at school, home, or when out with friends or colleagues.

2. On page 355, Rock writes, "The impartiality of a mediator restricts the mediator from taking sides with any party." On page 363 he gives an example of mediating a driveway dispute. Drawing on Rock's article along with your direct experience practicing mindfulness, (1) what are the challenges you see in "not taking sides" to a dispute, and (2) how might mindfulness be helpful in achieving this? Draw upon a real world dispute you are/were involved in, if you are able, in answering this question. Use 1 pages to answer.

Please bring your assignment to class.

3. As we discussed in class, simply scan through Daniel Bowling's article and select one portion that you find especially interesting, and then reflect on it. I think it's a great piece and encourage you to take your time with it, but leave it to you.

4. Go back and review the short science article from last week as you read this week's reading. Look for similarities between the two, to help reinforce your sense of the science and understanding of basic findings.

5. In the space provided under each of the two passages by Paulo Coelho, comment on a connection you find with your own life.
Mindfulness Practice

1. Practice mindfulness each day for 5-minutes or longer, listening to one of my 5-10 Minute Mindfulness guided practices on Insight Timer. After each sitting, briefly note your observations using the Insight Timer journal feature. Afterward, copy all or a subset of your observations and message them to me.

2. On one day of your choosing practice with just the Insight Timer (i.e., no guided recording). As with the other days, send me your observations.

3. When you see a tree (try to do this at least once each day) Stop and Adjust Your Posture—and perhaps even Stretch Your Arms and Fingers.

4. Text me a picture of a tree that you see one day.