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Our Sangha Behind Bars

"His letter was a beautiful teacher for me. This whole process is. I am deeply grateful." — Mike

 

"I just completed my first letter to Roland. It felt better than I even imagined opening up the communication with him about freedom and truth. So great!" — Regina

 

"What an amazing experience it has been to correspond about Gangaji's teachings.  The deepening never stops."  — Kevin

 

The prisoner correspondence program began in 1995 with a letter from a prisoner in Colorado, requesting that someone from the Foundation write to him. Volunteers have been writing to prisoners ever since . . . and today more so than ever.

 

The volunteers who write to prisoners report that they are deeply enriched by their connection with our growing sangha behind bars, as together they discover just how relative the terms inside and outside can be.

 

Support for One Another

It is the volunteer’s precious charge to hold a space of satsang for the inmate and to speak from the heart and their own direct experience. It is not a pen-pal correspondence in the usual sense. Rather, the intention is to support one another in earnest spiritual inquiry into the deepest truth about who we are and where true and lasting freedom can be found, regardless of circumstances.

 

The most immediate recognition is that both the longing for truth and the challenge of surrender are the same for everyone, no matter where we find ourselves. That these men and women are able to devote their lives with such earnest vigilance to self-inquiry is a precious and humbling gift of support for us all.

 

50 Prisoners Paired with Volunteers

Today there are 50 pairs of volunteers and prisoners actively writing to one another, with new requests from prisoners arriving each week. With the advent of the “Freedom Inside” self-inquiry course by mail, the demand for letter writing has grown significantly. Many of the prisoners enrolled in the program welcome the extra support of regular correspondence with a volunteer.

 

The Possibility for those on the Outside

Here is a comment from one reader that many will recognize: “I have no bars and guards keeping me captive, and yet I'm a prisoner in this sick body, it feels sometimes. And I certainly feel claustrophobic and trapped and hard-done-by every time I believe my thoughts of victimhood, self-doubt, or hopelessness. I am deeply admiring of those behind actual bars who choose these teachings of freedom, love, and true power. I'm humbled by this kind of courage. Thank you for sharing your letters. They mean so much to me.” — Ann Marie

 


Shanti Einolander -  Prisoner Correspondence Manager

 

If you are interested in corresponding with a prisoner, email Shanti.