The Trust is currently supporting an initiative to teach meditation practices and techniques in prisons throughout New Zealand.
The programme is having positive and far-reaching effects for those involved and on their wider communities, as the recipients apply their learning and share it with those they interact with daily.
Listen to US neuroscience professor Marjorie Woollacott Ph.D talk about the positive impact of meditation on the brain.
Here are some comments from prisoners who are learning meditation:
I wasn't granted the luxury of a healthy upbringing which led me to build many very negative unhelpful views and beliefs about myself, others and the world. These views and beliefs are the bricks and mortar of my internal mental prison, far more secure and complex than any maximum security prison.
Until now I considered it escape proof. I was blown back in my seat the first meditation class ... I can’t undo the hurt and tragedy, however with the knowledge and teachings of meditation, I can start to break down the beliefs and views that created the thoughts of ‘I'm bad, broken and a failure.’ I can never thank you enough for the keys to my prison.
Please accept my most humble appreciation for the lessons you have shared with us. I truly have taken on board the teachings you graciously endowed. Already I can feel positive changes in my physiology and internal thoughts.
The more I use these techniques, the more relaxed I am and stop thinking about bad thoughts.
Thanks so much for helping me and opening up my mind.
I know of no more encouraging empowering or world-accepting experience like that of the meditation classes. I am forever thankful from the deepest recesses of my heart.
A psychologist at Waikeria Prison says: What I’ve noticed following the introduction of the programme to our unit is how well it aligns with aspects of our treatment programmes. Feedback from participants has been very positive and has included themes such as:
- Feeling calmer
- Feeling better able to deal with day to day stressors
- Being more conscious of expectations placed on self and others
- Generally being more accepting and tolerant
A Waikeria Prison corrections officer says: Over the year I have noticed a change in the men that have taken your course... Originally, I was not a supporter of this course, however, on seeing the positive changes happening to some of our men, I have been converted.