Read. Watch. Listen. with Thomas Telfer

Read. Watch. Listen. introduces you to the personal side of our faculty, staff and alumni. Participants are asked to answer three simple questions about their reading, viewing and listening habits – what one book or newspaper/magazine article is grabbing your attention; what one movie or television show has caught your eye; and what album/song, podcast or radio show are you lending an ear to.

Thomas Telfer is a Western Law professor.

Today, he takes a turn on Read. Watch. Listen.

*   *   *

Many of us go through our days on auto-pilot missing the present moment. Too often our minds are affixed to the future and our to-do list or worries about the past. Mindfulness is a contemplative practice that allows us to bring attention, insight and better judgment to our daily lives. Leading mindfulness scholar Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as “the awareness that arises from paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.”

Mindfulness can involve a guided meditation, but it also means bringing mindfulness to everyday activities such as listening, walking, eating or even a mindful shower or bath. I discovered mindfulness while I was in hospital being treated for depression.

I’m currently teaching two mindfulness courses at the Faculty of Law: an optional first-year, non-credit course, Mindful@Law, and an upper-year, credit course entitled Mindfulness and the Legal Profession.


For an excellent introduction to Mindfulness read Dan Harris’ 10% Happier: How I tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help that Actually Works – A True Story. Join ABC news reporter Dan Harris on this journey from his televised panic attack to a discovery of mindfulness. The book contains an excellent appendix with instructions, FAQs and examples of guided meditations. Harris opens his appendix with three “bad reasons” not to meditate.


Perhaps the best introductory video on mindfulness is Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe’s Ted Talk, All It Takes is 10 Mindful Minutes. The video is described below:

“When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment.”


I’m a long-time fan of Bruce Springsteen and I’m listening right now to his latest release, Western Stars. Springsteen’s lyrics sometimes touch on the importance of the present moment a key concept of mindfulness. In Living in the Future, he writes “Don’t worry … none of this has happened yet.” In Drive Fast, on his newest album, he writes, “Don’t worry about tomorrow; don’t mind the scars.”

To truly experience Springsteen, once must see a concert. I’ve selected a live performance of Waitin’ on a Sunny Day. The video captures the sheer joy of a Springsteen concert. 33 million views – and counting.

*   *   *

If you have a suggestion for someone you would like to see in Read. Watch. Listen., or would like to participate yourself, drop a line to