1.  Everyday Life as Spiritual Life

With so many lawyer jokes floating around, do you ever get asked how you can be a lawyer and also be deeply devoted to a spiritual practice?

I’ve been asked that question only once, by my first employer out of law school. I think it’s actually a legitimate question, one to which I gave very serious thought while in law school. The answer is that I think there would be more of a contradiction with my vision of spiritual life if I didn’t practice law.


Please explain.

It was the summer after my first year of law school that I first realized that I had a spiritual vocation. Among the many questions I had been asking myself at that time was whether or not I should continue on the occupational path that I had started on. I briefly entertained the idea that practicing law would be inconsistent with a spiritual path, and I was at the point where I could have shifted gears without too much trouble if that had been my decision.

A part of me was tempted by the idea that one had to be in a particular set of occupations or environments in order to be spiritual. However, the vision that I have had of living a spiritual life is that it ought to be something which is possible for anybody, regardless of their personal circumstances. It shouldn’t be limited to priests, farmers, health food store owners, hermits and beggars, or whatever elite class I might be able to conjure up as being exclusively privileged for spiritual experience. To exclude any occupation seemed to me to establish a division in humanity, when what I was looking for was to foster unity and heal divisions.

If I were to say that I could not pursue a spiritual vocation while practicing law, it would be the same as saying that it would be off-limits to most others as well. It would imply that unless one were to engage in a limited class of jobs, one couldn’t be spiritual.

I think that living life in a spiritual way is possible for anybody, whether one is a lawyer, a taxi driver, a home maker, a garbage man, a business person, a secretary or a teacher. Engaging in a normal, everyday life ought to be completely consistent with spiritual life.