Chris Mohr, also known to many as Sat Chit Ananda, has been a part of the Gangaji Foundation prison program since the early 90. Here is his letter to a woman in prison in Colorado earlier this year. Below we also share a lively biography of Chris from an ex-prisoner he visted in the 90s.
Letter from: Chris in Denver, c/o Gangaji Foundation Prison Program, P.O. Box 716, Ashland, OR, 97520, February 8. 2020
I went ahead and asked the librarian about whether she had gotten the “Questions from the Inside” CD yet with me and Gangaji. You said it hadn’t arrived yet. I also asked her who I should contact to have a meditation gathering or even a program at your facility. Have you met anyone else who might be interested in joining us? In the past, the gatherings are 90 minutes to two hours in length. We always start with some quiet time or meditation, and if allowed, we may watch a video or listen to a CD with Gangaji. We may also use the written material in our prison program and use that as a starting point, depending on the policy at each facility. I’ll tell you if she responds to either request.
Your last letter is in my hands. It’s a kind of hell there, I can see that. And when the emotional pain is really great, there is often the hope that maybe if I meditate, or maybe if I forgive people, or be thankful, or if I can somehow Be Here Now, or maybe if I do some kind of action or non-action, I can escape this hell. You have been honest enough not to be fooled by the bright shiny objects that the mind dangles in front of you when you try to walk the spiritual path. Meditation is not an escape as such. It’s difficult to describe. But I have seen inmates discover, in the core of their being, something deeper even than the hell they are in. Nothing changes externally, the other inmates still behave as they always have and they (you) still have to deal with a very oppressive day-to-day existence filled with frustrations and fear and anger.
You have also been touched by land so quiet you can hear the snow fall. You know that somehow your heart draws its true light from another source. That even if you must keep it secret, there is That in you, you know it is in you, and you Love That. Gangaji has said, “who you are—not who you think you are, which is arising and disappearing from and into reality. Who you are is reality—radiant, joyful, unspeakable, mysterious, love. Reality is love.”
Yes, but… (fill in the blanks with more hellish things you experience in one day than most people experience in a year). The challenge of telling the truth while in hell is a great one. Let’s assume your situation is hopeless (I hope it isn’t…). Let’s assume a life of soul-crushing meanness, pettiness, and worse surrounds you day in and day out. What is the truth of who you are?
Your friend in truth,
This is my good friend Chris Mohr. I call him Satchit. I've known Chris since about 1992. He and his Hippy friends from Boulder use to come in the Fed joint I was at in Denver and teach meditation. It was the only thing that ever really slowed me down long enough to have an impact on me and begin to get me to see things differently. Truthfully, Chris, and all the others that came in the joint and taught us Tibetan and Vedantic meditation saved my life. If my thought processes had remained the same I would have most certainly went back.
At any rate, Chris and I and some of the other Hippies remained friends when I got out in 1997. Then I met his beautiful wife Karen and some of his family and then he asked me if I wanted to go climb a 14er. I thought maybe that was some old hippy slang for smoke a joint. He had climbed most of the big mountains in Colorado and elsewhere and thought I could probably do it as well because I was in such good shape from working out all the time. So after saving my life, this big mofo that can flat go up a mountain, took me on a 12-hour death hike that I flat just thought I was gonna die every step of the way. I told him that if I made it down alive that I was gonna punch him in the jaw and he better never ask me again to ever climb a 14er. But when we got down I was so exhausted I just fell out in the truck.
By the next day I was so happy to be alive I forgot all about punching him. And he bought pancakes. Pancakes go a long way with me. To this day I have never climbed another 14er....
Chris is just a big complex dude who's as good as they get who just happened to save my life in many ways. From prison to that mountain. I don't know why I got off into all of that. That wasn't my intention. That's personal stuff that only my close friends and family know. But this Pandemic has got me thinking about all the good people I have been very fortunate to meet in this life many of whom like Chris changed the trajectory of my life and I'll just never be able to pay them back sufficiently. I suppose subconsciously I just wanted to publically thank him today which I have never done. And that's why I veered off course. I've been veering off course alot lately and sharing personal things of my life that only friends and family know. I guess we can just chalk it up to "Pandemic Fever". However, it could also be that by writing about this things that I am reminding myself that they did actually happen and weren't just a dream. Who knows? This whole thing is so surreal. We just woke up one day in a bad episode of the Twilight Zone. One more thing, if you are ever in Denver and want to get married well Satchit does that too. You get an awesome dude and awesome pianist all in one to make your special day very special. Just hit him and Karen up and they'll make it happen. ✌️😎❤️