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Faces: Leonard Riskin

Tuesday, October 5, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:19 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

MU law professor Leonard Riskin meditates at least once a day for 30 to 45 minutes. His favorite meditation hours are in the morning or early evening.

“It helps me enjoy life more,” he said. “I become mentally clearer and more peaceful.”

Riskin was the point man in bringing a meditation method dubbed “mindfulness” to the MU Law School five years ago. He currently runs the law school’s Center for Study on Dispute Resolution, encouraging faculty, staff and students to explore the practice. In his “Understanding Conflict” course, designed for students studying dispute resolution, he engages the class in mindfulness meditation for the first 10 minutes. Responses vary.

“Some say it just does not work for them,” he said. “Some find it helpful.”

Riskin discovered mindfulness meditation in 1989 and became passionate about it after attending several meditation retreats. He said it helped him observe his inner thoughts and emotions, thus becoming aware of moments when his mind wandered off or when he was angry.

Other than the Tuesday meditation sessions Riskin leads at the law school, MU sees weekly sessions conducted by other meditators at the Women’s Center and the Student Health Center. Riskin said he thought mindfulness helps people stay focused and relieve stress caused from multitasking.

“I guess you can say it improves your time management,” he said.

Riskin also teaches his meditation method to lawyers in Boston and around the world and is writing a book he said is long overdue.


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