SWO Articles and Documents
Helping Women Inmates to Travel through Meditation
MARIN COUNTY, CALIFORNIA -- The SWO Prison Program volunteers continue to devote time every two weeks to teaching women inmates to meditate. We have been utilizing several different methods of creating a peaceful space for them to move and grow in. By allowing them to practice relaxation, and breathing techniques accompanied with environmental sounds, the women are able to forget their chaotic lives.
We have offered them journeys to places of peace, leaving behind their circumstances for the time being. Since we are aware of the extreme sensory deprivation experienced by women in prison, we use environmental tapes and nature scenes to enrich their experience of traveling. We have taken them to sit beside the ocean on warm sand and practice breathing in rhythm with the waves. And we have taken walks through the shady forest of their lives to a place where the sunlight pours into a clearing and there they relax and begin concentrating on their hearts. While concentrating on their hearts, we allowed them to hear the sound of a real heart beating in order to train them to listen for their own beating hearts.
Although many of the women who attend come and go in our program, we have some regulars that never miss a class. They tell us how much they need this class and how much they hope we come again and again. Some have been released and on the last night they attend our class, they usually express that they have saved every handout and will continue to hold on to the skills they have learned. We hand them a resource list to help them find places in their area where they can continue their practice. We wish them well and hug them with the spirit of love and humanity.
We are forever thankful for this rich experience of service and for the opportunity to be sign-posts of the path of spirituality.
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