Today we came to the prison for class no 3 – Change: Inside-out, outside-in. The core group showed up again and the atmosphere were warm and open. One of the more high status men is a bit frustrated though, but willingly get into our first meditation.
After a shorter meditation we do the check-in. This guy talks about his frustration with his whole situation and especially his troubles sleeping. Just a couple of them has actually tried the Cell Practice during the week, but they are happy to be here again. All of them agree on that it’s a lot easier to meditate here together with the rest of the group. And that’s of course a highway into the topic of the day, and change from outside-in. The support of others, a helpful and supportive environment and friends.
When we talk about obstacles to change and change from inside-out, and change from outside-in they are really talkative and time flies away. They really recognize themselves in some of the obstacles to change – but don’t get stuck in their thinking. Since they are all addicts and have come to this prison with the intention to work with that addiction this topic is in some ways well known territory for them. It’s interesting when we talk about Fear of shame as one obstacle and at first they play really hard: “I don’t give a shit about others, I never feel shame…” and then after a couple of minutes of talking around it, some of them opens up. And share really personal stories and connects it to Fear of failure.
Then the talk of change inside out, outside in keeps them going. But when we come back to this with the importance of some form of community of “good friends” they really find possibilities in a harsh environment. First they talk a bit about how the group constantly changes and how it is when “bad persons” come in and sets an entirely different atmosphere in the prison block. But then they start to come up with ideas of how they can keep “good company” – with our help of course, but still. When you do the walk, walk with one of the change-positive guys, go to this class, try to work with someone who gives you support to change and so on. It seems so important to being able to see the opportunities you have in the circumstances you are. And they are able to do it. The same goes with the talk about see obstacles in life as opportunities for change. At least during this class they could talk about being sentenced to prison as a possibility for change. To get enough space to change.
And then we sit some more.
Gratefulness comes over me when I walk out through the gates. Grateful that I can leave. Grateful that I have this practice. Grateful that I can practice with them on the inside.