This time I came to the class not as well prepared as usually. I have had a Easter vaccation without computers and access to my Path of Freedom papers. Rebecka had done the main bulk of work with planning and translation of this class. And I felt so lucky and happy to do this together with someone else. We come to prison as a mini-sangha to meet with the prison-sangha and form a greater sangha. It’s the same with practice in general, not just planning and preparations for work – we have our ups and downs, and to have the support of others are of uttermost importance.
This theme came up in class as well when we had our check-in. Most of the men hadn’t done the cell practice during the two weeks break. They testified to how much easier it is when sitting together. And both me and Rebecka shared our view on the importance of some sort of community with positive input to change and to keep up the practice. Several of them told the guard who was there with us: “You must let them come more often, twice a week!” and “Don’t let this good thing slip away, new people coming here need this, tell that to the boss.”
We did a re-cap of the themes in the course that help transform or step out of conflict and then then taked about the themes of the day. They really liked the “Put your awareness in your feet to get out of the story running around in your head”. The meditation on compassion made a deep impact. One guy started to share, talked about someone he disliked and how he saw that he and him where no different. Then he ended with: “And then I got this thing in my throat… Like a pshyco-somatic thing. It just stuck there!” Another one told that the meditation started to change how he saw the other one.. but that he didn’t really WANT to see that they want and need the same. A third one started to sob a bit during meditation. It was strong, but with a feeling of relief afterwards. We also had a good talk about the meditation concerning not wanting to feel anything different. That it’s all about the intention and not the actual feelings that come up. This was good to talk about since there was some idea about the meditation might be “going wrong, not working” if they were not filled with compassion, but still had the same old feelings of animosity coming up.
We had to break the class since there was confusion about a new schedule, so we didn’t have time for check-out and finishing meditation. But on the way out, once more a couple of the men said again and again how important this was for them and for the prison. They repeated the wish for us to come at least twice a week and that the guard should talk to the prison management so that we could continue to come. I can’t see how we could get the time to go twice a week, but it sure feels great to be able to go there at all and share this practice together. A question to the veterans out there :
How have you continued after the last class? Have you just started all over or have you done “Level 2” (whatever that might mean)?