A number of years back a friend remarked how unusual my choice of the law was as a career path for me. It’s not that he thought there was anything wrong with the law. Only that it didn’t seem to fit me, that he saw me more as a healer or teacher than hired gun.
His question struck a nerve, for it was only a few years earlier that another friend — a local Miami businessman — said I was the nicest lawyer he’d ever known. On one hand it was a compliment. But on another, it was like the kiss of death. For in one heart-felt remark he clarified decades of discontent that had built up in me through the practice.
While I certainly had my warlike ways and enjoyed contests of skill in combat just like the jousts that knights of yore engaged in, there was nothing game-like about the justice system as an arena of combat. It was a dog-eat-dog world where it was win at all costs.
But the worst part of it was that winning wasn’t simply a contest of skill. Or even the facts. It became abundantly clear that the practice wasn’t a search for justice, or even the zealous representation of a client’s position. Because the law was like the rest of society — heavily influenced by the resources available to the participants and skewed in favor of those who weren’t afraid to use them to buy influence or stack the rules in their favor.
It was a reality I could no longer ignore. Their observations drove home what I had refused to see, that my time on that path was coming to an end. And that whatever reasons I had for forcing myself into that box were no longer clear.
I’ve thought long and hard about why I chose such a path, especially when it demanded so many changes in me to go that way.
I certainly didn’t take it as a path to wealth or power. To the contrary, being the apolitical person that I was, my stomach turned at the mere thought of trying to gain such influence.
Yet, the reality of the practice required me to work with and within a system based on the pursuit of the interests of all the participants, including in some instances those of other lawyers who extended conflicts to make more money or simply to feed their own egoic appetite for victory.
To make matters worse, justice often seemed to favor those who were willing to curry favor and influence with judges. And when their clients had the power and money to sway results, I was forced to fight even harder to get justice in an unjust world.
Even now as I speak out on political and economic issues, I still see the pursuit of self-interest (broadly defined) at work. And just as predictably, I still find it repulsive when some try to skew the system in their own favor (or that of their constituent interest groups) to the detriment of the people as a whole.
Understand, I’m not against anyone making money or enjoying the fruits of their labors. Nor am I against those who are weak standing together to speak their minds or assert their rights. What I am against is using anything to gain personal advantage or assert their wills over another. Doing so inevitably results in a sense of injustice and oppression that perpetuates the conflict and sows the seeds of intention to right the perceived wrongs.
Yet, I recognize that the conduct of our systemic affairs is not to be my primary focus for my work. Though the use of money, power and influence remains a hot button issue in me, I recognize that these feelings are triggered by the energetic echoes from lives past that are better allowed to run their course without me.
I do not embrace their use now any more than I did then. Such efforts to advance self-interest at the expense of others still goes against the grain of everything I stand for. Nevertheless, I realize that my role is to help awakening souls create the lives they need despite the battles raging in our common affairs.
As souls embodied in a 3D world, we must make our way through this chaos and conflict. We must negotiate the minefield of self-interest (others and our own) that stand in our way and overcome the obstacles to our self-determination, engaging it only to extent necessary to create the lives we came for.
As it is, however, our world is full of people who would usurp our freedom and use whatever means are at their disposal to get their way, even if it means forcing it down others’ throats. Such efforts are at the heart of our political, economic and other common affairs — and all too common in how many conduct their lives.
In some instances that may mean articulating the principles and practices upon which we can build a new world. At others it might mean standing up to power or even fighting the system.
But alas, we can’t change the world. We can only change ourselves and watch the part that affects us change as well.
Therefore in many cases our best course of action may very well be to allow their battles to run their course toward Armageddon and trust that things will turn out alright. Our task is to somehow make our way through this onslaught without getting caught up in their battles or perpetuating the chaos their conflicts impose upon our land.
In retrospect I think I now see why I was guided into the law. It allowed me to see the influence of these many conflicting energies up front and personal and how to chart a course through them.
For now I use those skills to help people see and negotiate those energies for themselves so they can find a better way through the conflicts and struggles of their lives. Whether they result from the macro-forces of our common affairs or the problematic situations of their lives, the result is the same — the dramas and difficulties bog them down and distract them from what they’re here to do.
Some might see me as a guide through the obstacles they’ve created to overcome. Others may call me a healer of the scars that keep us in conflict living lives that bring us less than we want. I prefer the term teacher of possibility and perspective on another way to get where we want to go.
I am that I am, and try to give you the benefit of what I’ve gathered along the way so you might have an easier time in your own life. Whether you avail yourself of it or what you do with it is entirely up to you.
Just don’t try to force what you want down my throat. If you do, you just might wake the sleeping Leviathan. And that would be a terrible mistake.