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When I first decided that a year of ministry was for me, I was more than eager to get started. It felt completely natural to try and anticipate which ministries I would do. "I'd like to work in a prison, as I have in the past," I thought to myself. "Perhaps I will have the opportunity to share my meditation practice there?" I wondered. These expectations came to fruition and for the past two months I have found myself teaching a full load of meditation classes at the state prison for women. I teach a calss for the general population, a class for those in the drug rehabilitation unit, and a class to inmates in the psych ward. Despite me anticipation, my vain anticipation, I have crossed into uncharted waters.
The nuances, spiritual and social, of this ministry are significantly beyond effable description. They are greater than the labels "good" and "bad", more abtruse than "profound" or "enlightening"...these are things which I can simply recount. After spending the last four years fully devoted to my own mindfulness meditation and its application, I have found a serious personal expansion through my attempts to teach and share this practice with others. Their open willingness to try something new, something spiritually introspective and foreign, has soberly shattered my presumptions.
Each week my hours of ministry entail just sitting, that's all- just sharing the blessing fo mindful silence, jointly looking deeply into ourselves. And, despite the fact that much of my time there is spent with eyes closed, I still have the chance to see the incarcerated (the unintentional DUI murderers, the drug addicts, and the thieves) descending into their own minds, into their own suffering- and coming out with direct knowledge of their internal peace and of their newfound skill for touching that regularly. I get to be powerfully immersed in this whole process and acutely a part of each's experience. Sitting beside my new students, I feel the way in which, for the first time in their lives, they are experiencing their true and liberated self- I gracefully get to share each spiritual renewal. And you'll believe me whenI say, this has caused more than a few tears from all those involved...
• Brad, Wilmington '09−'10
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