How is Our Work a Light to the World? One Lawyer’s Efforts

We are asking: How is Our Work a Light to the World? 

We are focusing today on one person’s work in his profession as a lawyer.  He is a sign of light in the darkness—as we are all called to be and especially in our work worlds. 

Peter Gabel and his partner Lisa Jaicks. Photo originally posted to Peter’s website.

Peter Gabel, lawyer, author and former president of New College, is Co-Founder and Chair of the Project for Integrating Spirituality, Law and Politics—PISLAP for short (pronounced pie-slap).  Here is how he describes his work:

“We are a group of lawyers, law professors and law students, as well as some social workers and other related professionals, who seek to create a new model of the legal system no longer based on the adversarial system we currently have that divides people and antagonizes conflict, but rather brings into being a set of processes designed to heal social conflict through fostering empathy, compassion and mutual understanding.”

A good description of their philosophy is found at their website.

They hold annual conferences, monthly conference calls, and put out a quarterly newsletter.  Their membership is growing.

Speech given by Peter Gabel at San Francisco State in 2015. Video originally posted HERE.

Gabel explains his work further:

The current legal system actually denies the spiritual bond that unites human beings and fosters antagonism and mutual mistrust–in fact, the entire existing liberal legal system emerging from the late 18th century presupposes that we are all ‘disconnected monads’ pursuing our individual interests and that justice can be achieved through the vindication of ‘rights’ rather than through the healing of our separation.

The cover of “The Desire for Mutual Recognition” by Peter Gabel. For background on this latest book, here is a Review.

How do they go about that needed change?  

Our vision emphasizes restorative justice, transformative mediation, and transforming legal education to teach the next generation how to realize the bonds that unite us as human rather than battle each other through verbal manipulation to reproduce our existing alienated world. We embrace Martin Luther King’s vision that ‘Justice is love correcting that which revolts against love.’

One of their programs is called the Georgia Justice Project, which is described in this article.

People who want to connect with Peter to pose questions about their work can find him via

For the world neon sign. Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

 I hope you are as excited as I am about hearing of the light in the darkness (of today’s legal profession) that I am, for one, yearning to see renewed.  The legal profession after all is omnipresent in our culture—certainly in our courts and our governmental and political positions, business, and everywhere. 

The work of people like Peter Gabel is putting light into darkness.  This is being a “light to the world.”  This de-sentimentalizes the meaning of Christmas and other Feasts of Light.  Can we learn from this, take hope and courage from this, and apply it to our work worlds as well?

See Matthew Fox, The Reinvention of Work: A New Vision of Livelihood for Our Time.

Banner Image: Connecting hands of restorative justice. A symbol within the Community Bridge. Photo by Jeff Kubina  on Wikimedia Commons.

Queries for Contemplation

What lessons do you take from Peter Gabel’s efforts to renew his own profession and work world?  What fires does it ignite in your own yearning to contribute peace, justice, wisdom, light to the world?

Recommend Reading

Thomas Aquinas said, “To live well is to work well,” and in this bold call for the revitalization of daily work, Fox shares his vision of a world where our personal and professional lives are celebrated in harmony–a world where the self is not sacrificed for a job but is sanctified by authentic “soul work.”

Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

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5 thoughts on “How is Our Work a Light to the World? One Lawyer’s Efforts”

  1. Avatar

    Dear Matthew,
    Thanks for shining a light on the important work of Peter Gabel and the PISLAP network!
    I also like to bring the Integrative Law Movement to your attention and the magazine The Conscious Lawyer, both of which are grounded in a holistic vision and aim to contribute to a world where lawyers are peacemakers and serving the transition to a more beautiful world:
    Please see:

    with warm regards from the Netherlands, Femke Wijdekop

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Femke,
      Thank you for letting us know about the Integrative Law Movement and The Conscious Lawyer magazine, and all of the other initiatives listen on their websites. It is so good to know that this shift of consciousness is happening in Europe as well as America. I was enlightened by their words. May the edges of each of these efforts continue to expand until they flow together, creating a force that will make so much light and so much sense that we will have to change how we seek and carry out justice. May that day come soon!
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  2. Avatar

    Thank you for the video message on the Heart Work or Inner Work that’s needed to become more able to do our Outer Work in ways that bring light and love into this world. This rings so true for all Climate Activist – so that we can hope to bring “more light, less heat” as you suggest, Matthew.

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Dear Susan,
      Thank you for your confirmation and support for the importance of our Inner Work in regards to our Outer Work. Your comment reminds me of Einstein’s famous quote: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them.” So, it would seem that we can’t change Climate change without doing the Heart Work that is now being ignored by our climate offenders.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation Team

  3. Avatar

    What an impressive vision in the legal profession and specifically the program in Georgia. Thank you for the inspiration that there is hope.

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