Auschwitz survivor Victor Frankl famously wrote 'Our greatest freedom is the freedom to choose our attitude, in any given situation.' Imagine your current situation is locked up in prison, possibly the worst place on earth. For anyone to say that they can chose to be happy or not is pretty remarkable especially when society and its laws have condemned you to time in jail. We are joined again on the podcast by Californian based Mind Body Awareness Project who are pioneering the mindfulness movement in US prisons. Their techniques and methods are being scaled out globally thanks to the amazing research and experience that this wonderful organisation brings.
Their mission is to help youth transform harmful behaviour and lead meaningful lives through mindfulness meditation and emotional awareness. Executive Director, Roger Miller and Senior Instructor, Micah Anderson fill us in on the highlights of 2014 and the plans for this year too.
A sad statistic is that 70 -80% of youth are re-arrested in 2 to 3 years and 38-58% (depending on geography) are found guilty of new offences within a few years. This sounds like a system that is failing and demonstrates that the Prison Systems is set up as a business and not as a place to rehabilitate and nurture good humans beings. We are depending on organisations like the MBA Project to help find a solution to this tragedy and help to make a positive dent in the reoffending numbers.
Recidivism : A tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior; especially : relapse into criminal behavior.
Many of the inmates are without role models or mentors that we all need in order to improve our lives and help to find meaning. The seeds being planted in the youth by the MBA Project deals with are techniques that can be used at anytime. It's a teaching that helps people to see that they have more control of their thoughts, and with this comes an ever growing list of benefits, of which less stress, more compassion, maturity, less suffering are all on.
Jon Kabat-Zinn is on their board of directors and has praised this group highly by saying that the MBA Project have developed a powerful language that can get through to the hearts and minds of these troubled youth and that can be scaled out.
In the last 5 mins of the podcast we touch briefly upon the subject of Vepassana -One translation for this word is, insight into the true nature of reality. We begin to explore the deeper, more spiritual aspects of mindfulness. This is a subject that I cannot get enough of and we will be revisiting this subject on future podcasts.