Plastic Brains and Rainbows
So, after spending our usual 45 minutes in sitting and walking meditation, we began to dive deeper into the book we’re using (The Mindfulness Solution) and more specifically into the chapter entitled “Mindfulness: A Solution.” This chapter is largely about finding our present moment and explores some of the brain science behind our practices (hence the neuroplasticity link above). Fascinating stuff – for sure worth the click.
This was a super rich and lively class, full of insight and discovery:
“This chapter was helpful. It reminded me that it’s not always about me..”
“This moment is the only thing that is really real.”
“I’m just now starting to see that however others perceive me is really about them.”
For whatever reason (I like to think that the incredibly vibrant, double rainbow, which greeted the moments preceding the start of class, had something to do with it) there was quite a bit of unmasking.
One guy shared the story of a murder he committed – and how his body was continually stuck predominately in the ‘fight’ part of the ‘Flight, Flight or Freeze’ stress response. “I wasn’t able to stop myself then, I was just being pulled around by this mind – which, sadly, instructed me to stab a man after a fight in a bar” He went on to share that now, after having even just a taste of meditation practice, has put him on a new path altogether. “Now, I’m better able to control my impulses and realize it’s just a thought.”
It is lot to be in a room with 17 men. Alone, the only woman. In a prison. I find it to be quite an awakening experience actually, in and of itself; the whole of it. It’s as if I get to be a fly on the wall and see what these men really are like and how these practices are settling in…
And then this, as we are sitting in a sticky hot concrete room:
“…my mind was going a million miles an hour. Worrying, wondering if I’m doing enough, should I be doing anything? Will my wife be okay? Will my baby come out okay? I’m useless but helpful at the same time. Why am I sweating? Whats that noise? Oh God, did I leave the coffee pot on at home?…
Would you like to cut your daughters cord sir? Huh? Yes! She’s beautiful and there’s nothing wrong with her…she’s staring at me…Hi Samantha, I’m your daddy.”
Oh yea, Dad’s are in prison too. And some Dad’s in prison are working with being with the present moment.
Another one shared that while sitting out in the yard reading this weeks assigned chapter, he didn’t want to be disturbed. “Someone is always coming up to me, asking me something.” So this week he decided to write a sign and just hold it up every time another person came around and tried to interrupt him. “The stuff this guy is writing about is really powerful, I just want to take it in as much as I can. I can’t seem to get enough of it” he shared with an excited and awakened tone.
We were exploring the value in staying with a present mind. In experiencing all the fragrant and myriad layers – the fruits that our practices bloom, if you will. Yep. Sharing stories from the heart. There, with men, in a medium security prison, again.
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,