Benefits of "Guided Meditations"

   "Today after breakfast Ms Wilson came in and until today everything I'm going through was crushing me.  I knew what I needed to do to begin heading in the right direction but was so weighted down I couldn't move.  During "Guided Meditation", I was able to free my mind in a way I've never ever been able to do.  I cried the entire time she walked us through meditation and for 10-15 minuets after.  This is the first time in probably 5-6 years that I have felt this way, like someone lifted a million pounds off my back.  As I said before, I knew what I needed to do, but today I believe I now have lightened the load, so to say.  I feel that I have the ability to start setting and working on my goals for a better life.  I realized what I was throwing out the window.  The meditation freed up enough room inside me to be able to begin my battle back into control of my life.  And if not for this morning and Ms. Wilson's "Guided Meditation," I have no idea how I would have broke this barrier."
                                                         David M.

  This is just one example of an inmate making the connection through "Guided Meditation."  We as correction officers, therapists, counselors and other authoritative professionals have the opportunity to provide tools that motivate and restructure the thinking process through simple affirmations.  I am just the reminder that a better life is possible.  If I can get an individual to honestly look at their life and the impact that their decisions have made on others, we are halfway there.  That inmate or client is the expert in their own life and I make a point to never dispute that.  It is my role to hand inmates the key to unlock the door that separates them from living a better life.
      Making the choice to do the right thing is also a factor.  There are no short cuts.  I never want to present a picture that is unrealistic because after a while; inmates will tune you out and stop trusting the process.  My position as a Correction Officer/Therapist allows me to step into a role where taking the lead is a given.  What I am able to do with that privilege is remarkable.   Letting someone into your mind is very personal and I respect that. 

      By working hard the first thirty minuets of my shift, the tone is set and atmosphere is tranquil for the rest of the day.  If I am successful with the "Guided Meditation" the block takes care of itself.  Now my role becomes one of assisting instead of dictating.  If I can get the inmate to look closer at self; they have less time to pick with and criticize others and that is the secret to keeping the unit manageable.
     The unit that I supervise is the same space that I must reside in on a daily basis.  I never was a fan of hostility or aggression.  Some officers seem to function better when there is a crises or when the unit is full of chaos.  I would rather spend my time listening to stories of accomplishment, transformation and enlightenment. Adopting a nonjudgmental attitude is a prerequisite for developing an effective relationship with inmates.  An important attribute to this skill is to understand the disease of addiction and how the disease drives behavior.
    Helping others reconnect to their own potential and brilliance is a God given talent.  It took years for me to trust that I had something special.  Now, I am sure of it.  Pursuing a Master's Degree and graduating at the top of my class confirmed my belief that I had something invaluable to offer.  The ability was always there but it took the process of shedding my own layers and cleaning my own slate to gain the confidence it takes to help others do the same. 
     How many times have you said to yourself, "If I would have followed my first thought" or "If I never would have listened to ______", "I would be better off?"  When we begin to trust our inner voice that has been there since the beginning of our existence; we do better.  We actually go further and find ourselves living a much happier life.  It is when we ignore that voice that we find ourselves in miserable situations.
     Incarceration provides an excellent framework to begin the healing process.  Transformation is the number one benefit of "Guided Meditation."  Meditation allows each individual the opportunity to experience serenity in an environment that is traditionally known for chaos, confusion and deception.  Through meditation, the mind is effortlessly drawn into a heightened state of awareness.  This is a time when inmates can investigate the way they feel about others, things they've have done and most importantly, how they feel about themselves.
     "Guided Meditation" is actually a process where I learned listen to my own inner voice.  I am fortunate that it manifested an institution that I represent.  It took a lot of years for me to stand up for what I believe in, once that happened; nothing has ever been the same.

                                                              Carla Wilson MSW
Purchase the Guided Meditation Facilitator Manual in .pdf, and all four Guided Meditations in MP3 audio format valued at $40.00 , at the package price 1/2 off: $20.00
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