Testimonial of prisoner from Prison in central Israel

During meditation I can see a clearer picture, and can correctly and clearly understand what I am feeling. I’m someone who has suffered a great deal in his life…from those closest to him. When I was a child, I didn’t have the courage to respond to them. When I grew up, the moment I was with certain people and felt that they wanted to hurt me, I would erupt and see them in the image of the people who hurt me, without thinking about whether they were really my problem or not.

Today when the officer on duty walked in during meditation and made a lot of noise, it agitated me. In the past I would react immediately, do something, express my agitation. Today I continued to sit, and half a minute later he went out and I could return to my stillness. At the moment, there is no agitation…it’s been over for a long time.

I really love this group. It helps me be calm, patient, relaxed, to examine things.

Testimonial of prisoner from Prison in central Israel

This meditation that puts me together to focus on myself, sometimes helps me concentrate and sometimes doesn’t. When I concentrate, it feels good, it puts me in touch with my reality, and connects me to the people I love. This is the first time I’ve participated in such a group. On a personal level, it’s good for me. Anyone who joins such a group – it’s an opportunity (for them).

I belong to a meditation group. I never experienced this or had a clue what it was.

Today, after participating for a few months, I feel a change in me: patience, tranquility. I am very calm, and succeed in doing things I wasn’t capable of before. Nowadays I meditate every morning and feel good. I pray that more folks will join groups of this kind.

I only wish that I will be able to have an impact on someone else, I only wish that I will continue to feel so good.

Testimonial of prisoner from Prison in northan Israel

Meditation gave me a great deal: calm, self-confidence, being sure of my abilities. Being tolerant of those around me. That’s something really important in prison.

Whenever I feel tense or scared or emotionally stressed – I sit on my bed, close my eyes, and meditate.

I look for the little things that are wrong with me, like a hole in a shirt, and whenever I find a hole that’s preventing me from living in peace with my surroundings, I “sew it up” and move on.

A human’s personality includes not only their qualities but also their thoughts. When my thoughts are under control, I can correct them.

I change my personality and I keep on moving closer to happiness.

People have known for ages that human mistakes begin with our thoughts. We express our thoughts in words and then, sadly, the thoughts get expressed in actions.

For over a year I’ve been practicing self-reflection in prison – “meditation,” as we call it.

The tool you need for reflection is patience.

I look at myself, build myself, and try to be proud of myself.

Testimonial of prisoner from Prison in central Israel

For me, meditation means a chance to observe my consciousness. I notice things that I’d never noticed before. For example, the way that my thoughts are sometimes more stormy before I meditate. Over time I’ve realized that I’m just becoming more aware of the noise that was always there in my thoughts.

I see that my thoughts are intrusive and repetitive, even when I’m aiming to become more aware of my breathing and more connected to the moment. It’s like they’re managing and controlling me, unless I’m aware that it’s only a thought and that they don’t define who I am.

I’ve learned that whether I cling to what is good or reject what I perceive and experience as bad, it causes me more suffering. And since everything in the world is temporary and transient, neither good nor bad will stay fixed. All my life I planned to create a reality that would give me the security I wanted as soon as I touched it. Today I know that the hope that reality would be different from here on, and that the “new” reality would give me a sense of happiness and joy, is an illusion. It only brings tension, anxiety, fear, and discomfort. Today I’m practicing how to be calmer in the face of any reality, whatever it may be. Today I know that I can’t pull out the sting of suffering from my private experience of this life – but I can decide how miserable I’m going to be.

I’ve been exposed to the reality that my thoughts are not forgiving toward myself. On the contrary – I have a tendency to be too hard on myself, to judge myself and my thoughts. I often have “you should…” kind of thoughts. I wasn’t aware of the content of my thoughts before and how they show that I don’t appreciate myself or love myself – so how can I love the other or see the other? Not to mention the fact that these “should” thoughts are also directed at other people – as if my way is the only way in the world; as if I’m the center of the world. So from this new place I can also see other people’s suffering more, even people who are complete strangers to me. So it stimulates compassion in me toward myself and toward others.

Testimonial of prisoner from Prison in central Israel

Meditation means seeing and knowing how we think. And if we can see our thoughts, that can bring us relief.

We always think about the past, about the present, and about the future, and that creates feelings of happiness or sadness. It’s important for us to be able to sit down or stop sometimes to see how we think. Because the thought leads to a verbal or physical reaction that can be gentle or aggressive. Our reaction is usually to the people around us: family, friends, society in general – the “outside world.”

Our thoughts lead to a reaction to ourselves. My thoughtsmay leave me irritated and suffering or they may leave me happy and wanting more. But I know that they’re only thoughts, and that I may have concocted a story that isn’t even true – my own invention, while the real story is completely different.

If we practice meditation in our daily life, then to start with we can see how we think and not judge things as good or bad or assign grades.

As for our reaction – we can think about it from two angles and consider the outcome before we react. Then we can choose the proper and logical reaction. One possible reaction is not to use good and bad, but to see what makes me and those around me happy rather than unhappy.

It’s only natural that we suffer sometimes. But when we accept the suffering too, then it at least makes it easier.

Testimonial of prisoner from Prison in central Israel

S has been serving time for 20 years already. He recounted that while on vacation he had taken a ride with a taxi driver that was annoyed all the time due to traffic jams and for being late. Saliman smiled and tried to persuade the driver that there is no point in getting angry and that he should calm down. The driver retorted, “what good will it do if I calm down, is it going to unclog the traffic jam?”

S replied, “no, the traffic congestion will not loosen but perhaps the blockage inside you will”.S did manage to soothe the driver, and the driver started looking for other options to solve his problem of being late to pick up another customer.

The driver was surprised by how a inmate has managed to help him. S felt it was the only workshop (and he participated in many throughout his 20 years in prison) that laid stress on stopping rather than doing.