Inmates + Meditation = Rehabilitation

If you’ve been around meditation for a while, or even a short time for that matter, you know that a meditation practice can help change the way you relate to the world. Not only does it help you to cultivate a relationship with yourself, but by uncovering, discovering, and reintegrating those parts of yourself that you tossed away at some point in the past, magically, compassion comes forth. It’s amazing what compassion for yourself can do to your world outlook.

In this latest Philly post, Kevin Riordan takes a look at a new program aimed at helping to rehabilitate inmates through meditation at a woman’s correctional facility in New Jersey. According to Riordan, the eight week course is designed to teach inmates how to more deeply relate to themselves. The hope is that it will translate into a more compassionate and expansive view of life.

“Breathe in . . . and slowly breathe out. Nice and slow and easy,” instructor Marie Jackson intones, pleasantly and firmly.

“Inhale the beautiful light of your intention for this class today, and then exhale it. Share the light of your intention with the room. Share the light of who you are.”

With this brief session of guided meditation, another “Living the Power” workshop gets under way at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women in Union Township, Hunterdon County.

For the next eight weeks, two tables of khaki-clad inmates will practice meditation and other techniques, such as self-assessment (there’s a 29-item questionnaire). The goal of each 90-minute session is to help them change their thinking and ultimately, their minds – about themselves, the world, and their eventual place in it.

Read more about this meditation program here.

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