The Bridge Project – Mission Integration

The Power of Meditation: Finding Inner Freedom

In prison the body is imprisoned. Spirit and soul do not have to be. Thousands of detained citizens across the country are using their detention to trigger entry. You are traveling to a place of greater joy, peace and freedom. You are invited to participate.

In 2002, hundreds of people who actively support contemplative work in prisons and prisons came together to share our stories at a conference on “Captivity and Transformation”. We wanted to find ways to better serve prisoners, their families, victims of crime and prison staff. We believe that incarceration can be more than just serving time, wasting time, killing time. It can be a valuable time for inner change.

Black and white butterfly escaping captivity behind vertical bars

Imprisoned men and women joined in by sending letters about their contemplative practices. They describe the liberating effects it had on their lives. Their stories are as varied as their spiritual orientations: Buddhist, Christian, Native American, Muslim, Jewish and atheist. What they all have in common is the dedication to an inner journey. They strive for peace with themselves and the world around them.

The techniques they have used are simple and usually involve sitting in silence. focus. Relaxing. Listen. Breathe with attention. rest in prayer. Creating time and space to do nothing, but to be. Such simple practices have helped those inside and outside of prison to find inner freedom. They describe letting go of what seem to be “big problems in life” and the anger and self-loathing that can tear us apart. They feel in touch with the ultimate power, however defined, that gives us life, love and joy.

We hope this will encourage you to personally experiment with sitting in silence. Change starts with you, one moment, one breath at a time. Change always happens in the now, not in the past or future.

You may also be able to find or start a contemplative group in your institution. This is an inward journey, but having companions certainly helps.

To help, we have included some letters from incarcerated citizens and an extensive list of resources for those seeking information, help, and support in developing a meditative practice. Do not hesitate to contact one or more of these groups. This webpage links to a sheet that describes a helpful meditation practice (Freedom Breath) that you can use immediately to feel more free. You can download our full brochure.

Remember that love and energy surround you as you embark on your journey!


List of ressources
Letters from Imprisoned Citizens (PDF)
Breath of Freedom (PDF)
Brochure on the bridge project (PDF)


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