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Lions Roar : January 2010
SHAMBHALA SUN jANUAry 2010 86 community were all that masters needed. meditation allowed him to seamlessly weave together writing and spiritual prac- tice. He says: alone with myself, I began to write and the floodgates of memories began to open. I started getting up early to try to calm my mind so I wouldn’t panic. through meditation I learned to slow down and take a few deep breaths, to take everything in, and not to run from the pain but to sit with it, confront it, accept it in a way I never had before. through meditation, masters was able to quiet his mind, become softly aware of his breath, and allow his thoughts, memo- ries, and emotions to rise to the surface. By remaining an active witness, he felt a shift in understanding—a fresh sense of truth and personal responsibility, and a new compassion for others. With his breath, he rode out the storms of emotion, pain- ful memories, and unwanted but essential realizations. the journey was turbulent, yet ultimately healing. the interwoven spiritual and writing processes soon manifested in masters’ relationships with others. For instance, fellow-prisoner Bork, a neighbor in his cellblock and a serial child rapist and murderer, became grist for the mill of masters’ psychological recovery. Before learning of Bork’s crimes, masters had enjoyed long chess games with him. after, he was swept away by outrage, contempt, and hatred. masters realized, however, he was being poisoned by this hatred and he began to work within on his negativity. through this process, he was able to extend his newfound empathic connectedness to Bork. masters describes it this way: then a bigger feeling broke through as I plugged into all the human suffering throughout the world. Why hadn’t I seenBorkaspartofit?...Ifeltamen- tal clarity that lifted me above all the clouds of my own making. Jarvis Jay masters is still living on death row but—from attic to prison cell—he has never ceased his search for meaning and be- longing and, at last, he has found it inside. ♦ For more information contact: Ligmincha Institute at Serenity Ridge 554 Drumheller Lane, Shipman, VA 22971