Imagine you’re a cave person 10,000 years ago.
Each day when you go out to gather food, your brain is on high alert because you could die any number of ways. This sense of alertness comes from the limbic part of your brain just above your brain stem. When you’re afraid, the amygdala, specifically, has full control of your mind and body. The amygdala is what signals your body to fight or flee when danger arises.
Out of the corner of your eye you see a figure move. In a split second you drop the berries you picked and raise…
The following was written by a volunteer for our national newsletter, Dharma Friends, which is mailed quarterly to over 3,000 people living in jails and prisons in all 50 states.
“In the stillness of the quiet,
if we listen, we can hear the whisper
of the heart giving strength to weakness,
courage to fear, hope to despair.”
When asked to write an article for the Dharma Friends newsletter, I decided to share my experience of seeking silence in an increasingly noisy world. …
A few nights ago my 8-year-old son watched a cartoon before bed. When it ended, an ad came on that showed what seemed like millions of bugs crawling all over the screen. This particular son of ours has a diagnosed anxiety disorder and also a severe aversion to insects of any kind. I did my best to calm him down as we walked downstairs to his room.
I told him it was just something on the television and there are no bugs in the house.
I told him to look closely on the floor, walls, and ceiling and notice that…
In 2014 I flew to Los Angeles and, along with about 50 other people, spent two days with a writer I highly respect. He shared a little about his thought process, gave incredible insight into creativity and the human mind, and then opened the floor so the group could talk about our various projects and receive direct feedback from him.
As an adoptive parent, I was kicking around the idea of writing a book about adoption. I shared some thoughts with this writer and at one point used the word transformative. He interrupted me in quite an abrupt way and…
Leading prison meditation groups is quite fascinating because they are unlike most groups in the free world. The culture, values, and priorities of prison life differ from those in, say, a meditation studio or yoga club.
While people living in prison might be after the same outcomes as those of us in the free world — calm, focus, compassion — the benefits do not carry the same weight. A calm, focused mind in the free world creates a ripple effect of positive energy through the various areas of our lives. …
In January of 2020, our organization launched a new men’s meditation group at the Wrightsville unit in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.
The first night was pretty chaotic.
About 20–25 guys showed up at first. Some were excited, others were more reluctant. But they signed in, settled into their seats, and the mood lightened as they made small talk amongst themselves.
Just before we began, a guard opened the door and in walked another 15–20 guys. …
Compassion Works for All is a 501c3 in Little Rock, AR that brings hope and healing through mindfulness and meditation for those in our nation’s prison systems.