We’re not going to lie, we got emotional watching this short film called “Path of Freedom” about meditation making a big difference in the lives of prison inmates.
It’s a staggering fact that 1 out of 100 Americans are currently behind bars. “Do we want to save those lives or do we want to discard them?” asks Roberta Richman of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.
This short film from Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee introduces us to Rhode Island’s John J. Moran Prison and Fleet Maull, a former inmate who served 14 year sentence for drug trafficking and who is now making trips back to prison, not for crimes, but to help current inmates learn about mindfulness and meditation to lead better lives, even if they’re to be lived in jail.
Maull is founder of the Prison Mindfulness Institute, a mindfulness-based organization bringing Buddhist practices inside prison walls. Maull credits meditation for helping him survive in prison and come out 14 years later with a renewed sense of self. And it seems his work is having a profound effect on the entire prison system and lifestyle, where inmates learn they have a choice and the control to own their actions and reactions.
Says one man currently incarcerated:
“It’s a vicious cycle because once you come to prison your life just keeps tumbling and tumbling and tumbling. It’s like a never-ending wall that won’t stop building unless you find some way to get over that wall or at least in front of it.”
Mindfulness and meditation gives them the chance to connect with themselves, to be ok with the “soft stuff” when doing hard time by learning to be in the now. This has an impact on their lives inside prison and, maybe more importantly, gives them a better chance of not returning, if and when, they’re released, therefore making their sentence a chance for enlightenment not just imprisonment.
The film is brief, yet inspiring. We invite you to watch it for yourself.
Go Project Films also produced an accompanying book, Path of Freedom: Transformative Programs in America’s Prisons. You can download a PDF copy for free here.
[Via The Atlantic]
Speechless. I will share this film with everyone I can reach.
This is brilliant. I know that prisons are a weird combination of big business and part of the underpinnings of an unequal society (so many, many vested interests in keeping things as they are or making them ever more punitive), and yet I have hope that they CAN become places that rehabilitate, that CAN create a positive change in prisoners and the communities they’re released back into.
Just finished watching The Dhamma Brothers, a documentary about Vipasana meditation inside an Alabama prison. Absolutely amazing what this beautiful practice can do.
Very powerful. What a gift!