There has been endless opining about why lawyers have a higher rate of alcoholism than that of the general population. When I interview lawyers "in the rooms" (that is, at 12 step meetings) about this, they don't seem interested in the issue. Recovery drains their energy and they leave questions like that to those paid to research.
My hunch has been that lawyers, along with the rest of recovering drunks, were seeking control. That's ironic because through alcohol control is lost. Well, it's the feeling of being in control that lawyers chase through alcohol. After all, alcohol removes the inconvenience of reality. Practicing law involves so much that lawyers can't control, ranging from the strategy of the opposing party to the rulings of the judge.
No surprise then, the tenets of Buddhism are figuring into recovery. That Eastern philosophy is all about surrendering to not being in control. So, some lawyers, in addition to or in place of conventional Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, are trying on Buddhism.
At the Shambhala Center, a Buddhist temple in New Haven, Connecticut, on Thursday evenings lawyers, artists, entrepreneurs, teachers, and students come together to let go of the illusion of being in control. The event begins with everyone sitting cross-legged, back straight, hands on the mid thigh. The teacher discusses the Shambhala approach to meditation. The essence of that is focusing ont the breath. The eyes are open.
After meditation, a book is passed around the room. Each one reads a paragraph about some kind of human folly which happens when our species attempts to be in control. Then there's sharing, mostly oriented to how to stay in the present versus the magical thinking of engineering the future via our mighty minds.
The message is that we don't have to suffer. Everyone is there because they have advanced degrees in suffering. Yale law students and law professors might want to swing by at 7:30 P.M. and check out the event.
In addition to recovery, Shambhala provides meditation and lectures Sundays, Mondays, and Wednesdays. On September 11th, there is a 5-week course on contentment in everyday life. Here are details.