Another amazing letter, sent to us from a prisoner:
“Why do I meditate? I could and will answer the question with what meditation means to me now. First let me explain how my practicing began. Almost ten years ago I was in the grips of a horrible crack cocaine addiction. When the supply would end I, like most, would be overcome with anxiety. “Jonesing” “fiending” the terms for it are numerous. Guilt, shame and the want for more would leave me on the verge of heart attacks and even suicide. I slowly worked out a system of deep breathing that was the only way to make the feelings subside. I had no idea what meditation was. I just knew this breathing exercise brought me peace.
Some years later I lost my wife and my old nemesis anxiety returned. After being heavily medicated the panic subsided but I wasn’t peaceful. Just addicted to anxiety medicine! I sought the only remedy I knew that worked. Meditation I continued to practice without any instruction, guidance or structure and now find myself in a moment and place in time where I can devote myself more.
The universe has placed guideposts for me to acknowledge and follow. “Dharma Punx” rose to the surface of the book cart amongst romance novels and dog-eared westerns to call my name. Letting me know that even people like me can find solace with the ways of the Buddha. With interest peaked and hungry for knowledge, two Pema Chödrön books found me.
The meditation practice helped me in a profound way I wasn’t expecting. Along with peace came many gifts. Tolerance, acceptance, understanding and pacifism. So unexpected and so welcome. I look forward to a lifetime embracing these gifts and putting them into practice. Knowing peace surrounded by hatred. Being positive amongst negativity. Learning to know myself and forgetting to hate.
Thank you for what you do.”