Mindfulness Quote of the Day
You alone are the judge of your worth and your goal is to discover infinite worth in yourself, no matter what anyone else thinks.
--Deepak Chopra

Mindfulness Quote of the Day
The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.
--Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindfulness Quote of the Day
Do every act of your life as though it were the very last act of your life.
--Marcus Aurelius

Mindfulness Quote of the Day
Seek and see all the marvels around you. You will get tired of looking at yourself alone, and that fatigue will make you deaf and blind to everything else.
--Carlos Castaneda

Mindfulness Quote of the Day
It’s a transformative experience to simply pause instead of immediately fill up the space. By waiting, we begin to connect with fundamental restlessness as well as fundamental spaciousness.
--Pema Chödrön

Mindfulness Quote of the Day
Don't let yesterday use up too much of today.
--Cherokee Native American Proverb

Mindfulness Quote of the Day
When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.
--Alexander Graham Bell


Judge Thelton Henderson on his Mindfulness Practice

Mindfulness and the Judge

Welcome to The Mindful Judge website and service. There is perhaps no finer context in which to explore the role of mindfulness in everyday life, than that of the judicial decision-making process. At the heart of mindfulness practice is non-judgmental awareness. At the heart of judicial decision-making is judgment.

The key to reconciling this interesting and seeming paradox is that the non-judgmental component to mindful awareness is one that cannot be realized through intellectual consideration.

Shakespeare offers us:

Forbear to judge, for we are sinner all.
Close his eyes and draw the curtains close;
And let us all to meditation.

~King Henry VI

The Mindful Docket
Solomon Wisdom
Splitting the Baby, Attachment, and Satisfy a Judgment

In the law, an attachment is a remedy that satisfies a judgment. In the context of contemplative practices, the Jurisight term “attachment” is explored as a thought that arises to satisfy a judgment. In the days of King Solomon, “That’s my baby,” was one such thought. . . . Click here to read more.

The capacity to make decisions drawing upon what is perhaps the highest form of judgment -- wisdom and compassion -- is founded on an elusive state of mind. So easy it is to shift -- often without awareness -- to a “judgment” shrouded in bias, preconception, agenda, politics, and, to be perfectly (Jerome) frank, even the contents of one’s breakfast menu.

Great judges, whether their accomplishments are honed through the intentional incorporation of a contemplative practice into their personal or professional lives, or by way of the natural embodiment of the traits associated with mindfulness -- or both -- possess the qualities of wisdom, compassion, and courage. Together, we can term this state of mind and body, “presence.”

These qualities of presence find expression in the traits of deep listening, both to the parties before the court and the activities of the mind (i.e., the “neural circuit court”), reflection, the regulation of emotion, empathy, compassion, and other traits that allow for the people, issues, and concerns arising in the moment to be seen clearly and not become their own source of reactivity. A judge who is in the flow of this mindful embrace, has a presence -- whether on the bench or in a panel deliberation -- that inspires and transforms.

Many judges have experienced this phenomena -- whether by being in the presence of another or offering it themselves. And also, most judges have experienced the challenge of being caught amid reactivity and bias. The cultivation of mindfulness asks only that awareness be applied to these experiences for it is through this awareness that the shift toward greater wisdom and compassion inevitably moves.

Judges play an interesting role in society. They are often the product of political forces, are endowed with extraordinary power, and may be accountable to no one but their own conscience. A confluence of competing and, at time, seemingly irreconcilable factors, converge to set in motion the rich landscape of a judge’s life and life’s work.

Yet judges remain, above all else, human beings -- cultivating the heart and mind of a Solomon or a Deborah as they practice their noble work.

We’d be delighted to hear from you with your thoughts on the challenging and exciting role mindfulness plays in the work of the judge.