Inmate Letter 3

Click to view letter full-size

[Note, words in italics have been altered to improve readability. Asterisks denote redacted text]

Fr. Laurence,

After spending 22 years, 9 months in a Texas prison for a crime I did not commit, the emotional roller coaster which I have been on as a result, one could possibly see where I might be somewhat hesitant about trusting anyone or anything. However, with a clear conscience I can confer that it has been through the meditative practice of Fr. John Main (taught here at the *** unit by ***) that I have finally been able to achieve some serious inner peace.

Meditating in a penal environment is not easy; there are any number of activities and people competing for an individual’s attention. This is the tallest hurdle to get over. Once I was able to focus on just “being,” applying the mantra to settle my overactive mind, I slowly began to notice a relaxing of mind, body and spirit which, for many, many years had escaped me. Being Catholic I chose for my mantra Ho-ly Ma-ry, and reciting the Blessed Mother’s name continues to calm me no matter how much confusion is going on around me while I am meditating.

Click to view letter full-size

Now, this is not to state that every meditative session is without incident — heaven forbid. Nevertheless, as I meditate and thoughts of a darker past rise and attempt to disrupt my focus, I focus on my breathing and mantra to diminish the effect of unwanted and/or negative thoughts. Developing the capability to understand that we do not have to be controlled by dark/negative thoughts is also a positive side effect of learning to meditate. Although, if we are honest with ourselves, it was not easy when we were learning to walk. But once we did…, we were up and running with ease. The same holds true with meditation.

For a Christian, I cannot say enough about the positive attributes associated with establishing a daily meditation time — time to just clear the mind and visit with Our Father.