SELF ESTEEM SAMPLER
By Kay Walburger
Angel Network International Offers A Vision Of Peace In Prison 2000
The future of prisons looks bleak but not hopeless!
Lock them up and throw away the key is the popular mentality in the USA. It has increased the prison population to 1,700,000 men, wo-men, and youth now being incarcerated! This is the highest rate per capita of any country in the world today, reports Dan Millstein. Almost all of these people are going to get out someday, unchanged from when they went in, except in the most negative ways.
The recidivism rate has been reported to be 45% to 90%. This is a failure rate so huge that prison officials do not talk about it. Its not wholly their fault, reminds, Dan. Its another symptom of deeper problems, budget, overcrowding, and rising crime rates. To be effective in promoting change, we need to go to the root causes.
Building more prisons to solve crime is like building more toilets to solve diarrhea. Treating alcoholics and drug addicts has always been the right answer to 80 or 90% of all crime, continues, Dan. Dostoevski said We can judge the degree of civilization in a society by entering its prisons. Jesus was in prison; Nelson Mandela was in prison; Dr. King was in prison. Who do we throw away when we throw away the key? Our brother, our father, our sister, our savior? My 12 years of experience teaching Peace in prisons says 75% of inmates could be released to other, less costly programs, if they existed. (75% of 1.7 million prisoners) There are 1,200,000 American human beings giving a call for help.
Im no Angel!
Im no angel, declares Dan Mill-stein 20 years ago I was a crazy man living a self-destructive lifestyle. My life had no purpose. After years of living an addictive lifestyle, one day I was watching TV and saw Maharishi speaking about meditation. Something changed in me as I began to explore all the paths of enlightenment. It was the turning point in my life and lead to the labor of love I do today in prisons around the world.
The change Dan experienced in his own life gives him the faith that anyone can change. He referred to himself as a professional resister who resisted school, religion, laws, natural law, dogmatic groups, politics, healthy food, exercise, God, Jesus, Buddha, Maharishi, faith, peace, his wife, his friends, and yes, love! However, Dan had an epi-phany one day in the most unexpected way. It was one of those sacred sites when the Virgin Mary the energy of the unconditionally loving universe, broke his heart open, melted and dissolved it like sugar.
He had been adopted as a baby and had never known that kind of mother love. He had only felt emptiness inside his entire life. Dan admits that he had cleverly filled the void or ignored it, while playing the part of completeness. Dan says, Now I was feeling that love of a mother for the first time and I was blissed out, tears of joy, chest heaving pure love, samadhi, nirvana. I could no longer resist. Today is a good day to die, I said out loud. And then I remembered part of my message from Mary was to share this story with you, my fellow resisters: You Are Loved. Do Not Be Afraid.
Twelve years ago Dan was teaching as a volunteer in the Youth Authority and was asked to give a lecture about Attitudinal Healing in a local mens prison. He was so well received that he was asked to return and start ongoing classes and a support group. That group is still active today and has some exciting success stories to help encourage others just starting. Dan reports that the men he trained are now doing some outstanding work in their communities with youth at risk. Others still in the system are trusted and receive various assignments like suicide watch in the hospital wards, etc.
Still others hold the training classes in Life Skills/ Meditation, Anger Management, Self-Esteem, Yoga, Attitudinal Healing, NLP, etc. and on-going support groups where prisoners can experience their humanity in a safe place. This was the start of his vision and work for Peace in Prisons all over the world. He is in Brazil as this story is going to press, taking his message of hope to governments, correctional personnel, and the prisoners.
The principals of Attitudinal Healing tell us that even if the circumstances in our life suck, we can change our minds and see things in another way. Maybe, a way that produces peace and harmony in a place of hatred and chaos. Maybe, in a way that causes us to grow and heal instead of shrinking away from society and dying to our humanity. Love is simple, and Love heals all wounds. So, we do what we can to bring that message into the dark corners of the world and, believe me, the prisons on this planet are very dark places!
We presently serve both men and women in federal, state and youth prisons in the Western U.S. Most of our programs are voluntary. Almost all of the prisoners we see have drug and alcohol dependencies. One of the principle points of our program is that prisons provide a quiet room so inmates can meditate together. An internal free zone (ala Chopra) which is unaffected by the dominating surrounding influence of dis-ease. Our ability to meditate allows us to know that such a place exists within us. The principle delusion that we must continue our lives based on the past is shattered by this silence. We had an instant where one of our participants was given 38 days in solitary confinement. He spent his time meditating and studying. When he returned to our group he looked 20 years younger and glowed with his new self awareness.
Peace in Prison 2000
Violence is a way of life in prisons, hidden in the darkness of separation, behind razor wire and walls of shame. Like cancer in the human body, it slowly eats away at our health and drains each of us of our resources. Visions for Prisons, a non-profit prison program which uses meditation and Attitudinal Healing as healing tools, is sponsoring Peace In Prison 2000.
For this one-day event 1/1/2000, no prisoner on this planet will experience violence of any kind, no incidents . . . no fights . . . no attack thoughts . . . no aggressive actions. A day of unity. A day of safety. A day of healing. A day of prayerfulness. A day when prisoners around the world can join together in perfect peace. One day dedicated to the presence of love.
Liberating the minds of prisoners liberates us all. Prisoners who meditate and have a safe place to express their emotional distress become more compassionate, more accepting and less angry. They learn how to live non-violently, both in prison and when they are released. They are less shamed (shame leads to violence) and less hate filled. They are more feeling and more forgiving of themselves and others. They learn to think more deeply about cause and effect, and they learn about living in a world that supports them. Prejudice loses its power. Health becomes a priority. Drug and alcohol use is reduced. Everyone wins.
Vision for Prisons provides guidelines to administrators, chaplains, psychologists, and prisoners, in the form of a booklet of daily practices that promote a peaceful state of mind. We also continue to coordinate efforts to network with, and train prison volunteers who teach and support prisoners in their personal efforts to change their minds, and so change their lives. We currently have support and new programs starting in Asia, Europe, South America, Mexico and Australia. We encourage any prison outreach program to make Peace in Prison 2000 a part of their own curriculum.
Angel Network International
Q: What is Angel Network International and how do we join?
A: YOU are the Angel Network International!
You are the Angels. In your centers or homes, where you bring people together to love and support each other, you are automatically a member. Angels dont need badges you know who you are! Angels come from the school of the sun & moon. The sun dispels darkness effortlessly. It gives warmth, color, life, and light. The moon reflects the suns light into the darkness. There hundreds of Angel Groups forming everywhere, everyday! There are many exciting Angel projects, examples: Seniors knitting Love Blankets, business people supporting unemployed peers, prisoners making toys for children, many more on-going community service volunteers helping in hospitals, outreach centers, prisons, day care centers for at-risk families, etc. Check our web site for more information or send for a newsletter.
Our Vision for Prisons is supported solely by Angels like you. We dont have organized fundraising; we trust the unconditionally loving universe to present the opportunity to you and others to be a part of the miracles only Love can wrought! Once a pauper trapped in a well was calling out for help. A wise man, on hearing his cries says, Give me your hand! When he does not respond, the wise man realizes that the word give has frightened the pauper so he says, Take my hand, and the man reaches up and is pulled from the well. My dear Angels, do not be afraid of giving; it will get us all out of the well.
My wish for this next year is that you could be with us in prison! I wish you to witness the light being turned on in these dark places of fear and separation. I wish you could hear the voices of the voiceless as they tell us about their awakening. I wish you could see how faces change each week, as their eyes become more alert. I wish you would notice their expressions softening, their innocence and compassion returning. I wish you would receive hope and be convinced beyond a shadow of doubt, that humans are good, that prisoners are humans, and at their essence, they are love. I wish you would know that transformation is not only possible it is essential.
Teaching peace is the answer and we can not afford to leave anyone out! All the prisoners we met know we are supported by people they do not know. We make this clear because it conveys our message of oneness. This is how you can come with us! When you support Visions for Prisons 501(c)(3) non-profit, your message to prisoners and to the world is as clear and powerful as it can be: I DO NOT BELIEVE FEAR AND SEPARATION ARE REAL. I THEREFORE ONLY SUPPORT ORGANIZATIONS THAT TEACH ONENESS AND LOVE!
Contact Dan Millstein, c/o Peace in Prison 2000 - Angel Network International, P.O. Box 1631, Costa Mesa, CA 92628 USA or phone (714) 556-8000. Check out the website at www.members.aol.com/vfp95/index.html
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