This week I was giving workshops in juvenile prison again. There was a boy who was pouring out his heart about how much he hates the prison and most of the guards that work there. I won't share the details of his expression, but I could definitely sense his resentment, frustration, anger and desire for retaliation. One of the other boys that was in the class reminded me that he had followed one of my meditation classes in another prison so the topic of inner freedom was already on the table and I gently tried to see if there was a willingness for healing.
I shared about how Nelson Mandela said that as he walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to his freedom, he knew that if he didn't leave his bitterness and hatred behind, he'd still be in prison.
But the ranting kept going on until the hour was almost done. Then, all of the sudden, with only a few minutes left before the end of the class, he stopped and looked at me. He asked, "so what should I do then? How does this meditation thing work?" I saw that he was willing and told him that we could do it right now.
He said that there is so much stuff going on in his head, it's all overflowing. I told him that that is perfectly fine, and that we could do a little exercise to release that overflow of thoughts.
Without me even asking, he closed his eyes. Even though the other boys in the class continued their conversation, it was as though there was a temporary space of silence and focus between me and him in which I could feel something beautiful was about to happen.
"Picture in front of you something in which you can hand over your thoughts. For instance a beautiful altar, or the figure of Jesus or Mohammed, if they are meaningful to you, whatever feels good.", I said.
"I only see light," he responded, with his eyes still closed. "That's perfect!", I said. "I want you to take all of those thoughts, anger, resentment that are in your head, everything you just expressed, and just surrender all of it unto that beautiful light that you're seeing."
With his hands, he started lifting up invisible objects, and one by one, throwing it in front of him. I waited until he was done and continued, "Now I want you to see that this beautiful light, replaces all of those heavy thoughts you had in your mind. All anger and resentment is now replaced by that light."
A couple of seconds later he opened his eyes widely, looked at the clock, abruptly stood up and said, "We gotta go!" He held his head as he told me, "Neda, this is crazy! I can't even remember what I was saying. It is all just out of my head." He looked around as if he was looking where the thoughts had gone. "My head is empty!" He said.
He left the class room, still holding his head, mumbling how crazy it is that he can't remember any of the resentful thoughts he shared before.
Ten minutes later, while I was having another class he wasn't even suppose to be in, he comes into my class again. "Neda, is it okay if I sit here and do some more meditation?" 💛
Dear Lilian, I hope you enjoyed that story! If you are in the mood for inner freedom yourself, I just uploaded a new forgiveness meditation on youtube. You can check it out by clicking the image below.
Much love, Neda