Category Archives: Meditation

Meditation in Prison

Prison Meditation by sarvodaya.org

I am convinced that my spiritual experience in 1976 is the reason I have been able to stay clean and sober all these years. During the first six months of sobriety, I was lead to learn about meditation and prayer. I consider prayer to be talking to God, and meditation to be listening to God. It has worked for me over and over. The listening to God is rarely easy unless I have screwed up big time. At these times, God gets the message to me with a 2 x 4 over the head or a giant billboard for all to read. Sometimes, I receive humility only through humiliation.

Through the practice of meditation, I learned to get centered by focusing on my breathing in and breathing out. This technique is invaluable in stressful situations or at times when I may become unstable emotionally (which is what I call anger).

I have also learned about mindfulness which is a Buddhist concept. Although I am a Christian mystic, I have always during recovery examined and explored all concepts. I have kept the practices that help me become more loving and more content in my own skin.

I believe that there is one God; but many paths to that God. I picture a mountain with paths all over the place with forests, valleys, and other obstructions. So I hop from one path to the other in my spiritual journey always being careful to get back on the main road which is my surrender to the God of my understanding. Along the way, I practice prayer and meditation daily. It keeps me centered and focused.

Prisoners in India have been given the opportunity to practice meditation and prayer. The prison officials have brought in instructors and the prisoners are given the structured time to practice. More information about this in this article found on line in the Time magazine.

I am sure that those prisoners leave jail with far less inner turmoil and anger than they would have without meditation. The main place we should all be free is inside our own mind.

Further readings about meditation in prison:

Prison meditation project of San Diego, California

Meditation in prison gives prisoners a chance to find some much needed answers

Prison Meditation in Alabama

Meditation in prisons in Concord, New Hampshire

Vipassana meditation courses for correction facilities

Centering Meditation in California Prisons

Meditation and Yoga

One of the better meditation CDs is by Rodney Yee. The CD is Relaxation and Breathing for Meditation. The CD is by Rodney Yee and the ISBN number is 1-931919-09-7.

The interview from the notes for the CD:

1) Describe the relationship between yoga and meditation.

All forms of yoga are beginning stages of meditation. Even in deep meditation, there’s always going to be some input, some micro-movement in the body. Meditation is the observance of what’s going on both internally and externally

–without necessarily reacting to it. When we do the postures (in yoga), we are concentrating the mind within the body.

2) How do these facilitate meditation.

In this entire program we use yoga postures to go inward. The relaxation poses found here support the mind, the body and the nervous system to rest. All of these postures aid in meditation because when the mind relaxes and begins to get quiet, it becomes able to focus on the subtle movements inside the body. A lot of times people say, “When I sit down to meditate I can’t still my mind, my mind is all over the place.” And that is exactly why we do these postures first—because they settle the body, they settle the mind.

3) What is the importance of the breath?

The breath itself, as the yogas have sold for thousands of years, is the ruler of the mind and body. If you control the breath, in some sense you also control the state of your mind and the chemistry of the body. By making the breath smooth and easy, you’re going to create a quiet easy mind. Breath is what stills and quiets the mind so that meditation can take place, and the relaxation is a fundamental aspect of breath.

4) What is the best time of day for this practice?

While this program is done best in the morning, I believe many people can benefit from it at the end of the day as well. Morning is the time when you are the most quiet and the air is most pure (if you do these outdoors). Taking time for this package in the morning sends you out of the door feeling centered, present and relaxed. Everything you do is going to be enhanced by that. At the same time, at the end of the day, you’re often tired. You know you need rest, and you’re ready to place your body in positions that are good for it, that will remove the stresses of the day. To go from the asana practice into the breath work, and into meditation is the perfect segue to a peaceful, restful night.