using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : January 2018
transferred to Folsom. His face and scalp were covered in tattoos, his eyes were rimmed with black like a raccoon’s, the end of his nose and nostrils were solid black, his lips were tattooed with marks to make it look like they were sewn closed like Franken- stein’s, and his cheeks had some kind of construction tattoo that resembled an erector set. Yet, he had an easy manner. He told me he got himself into the PSU for his own protection, which he did by attacking a guard at another prison. The second man had been practicing with me for about six months and had managed to cultivate a serious meditation practice. Though he took to it right away, on his third session he became frustrated with a delay in starting the session. Standing up in his cage, he began bellowing at another caged inmate, threaten- ing him: “Just shut the fuck up or I’m going to murder you. I came here to meditate.” This day, however, he was waiting patiently. The third man was new. After a few minutes of introductions, I began by asking them to acknowledge and work with the noises they could hear around them. The two experienced men took up sitting positions on the little seats in their cages, backs lean- ing against the wall behind them, hands resting on their thighs. The new man sat leaning forward with one elbow on the small metal shelf welded to the wall of his cage, look- ing at me expectantly through the bars and plastic screen. “Are you able to find a comfort- able way to sit without moving for about twenty minutes?” I asked him. He said nothing, but relaxed back against the wall of the cage, leaving his right forearm resting on the shelf, still looking at me. “Okay then. Let’s begin by closing our eyes and feeling our bodies from the inside with our mind.” I noticed that the new man had now closed his eyes. I gave the men a couple of moments to check in with their physical sensations. Then I asked them to experience the different sounds around them: “There’s whispering in the room. There’s the music down the hall. Notice whether you’ve already figured out the name of the tune they’re playing.” I then offered a bit of neuroscience: “Your brain is designed to keep track of what’s going on, to make sure things are safe. When you’re doing that, though, notice that you’re not feeling your feet, or your breath.” If at this point I had simply left them on their own to “follow their breath,” the experienced men might do fine, but the new one would most certainly have just gotten lost in thinking and listening and gotten bored. So I continued with the guidance, aiming their attention at the pure subjectivity of their experience. “Notice,” I suggested, “how in the same way nobody else feels your feet or your breath, nobody else can hear what you’re hearing or experience the thoughts coming and going through your mind.” I leave the comment hanging for a moment. “But do you have any doubt that you’re hearing sounds, feeling your body, or thinking thoughts?” We sat for a few minutes, mindful of the breath, the whis- pering, the clicking of the computer, the music, the rattling air conditioners, and the muffled talking we could hear through the walls, and then checked back in with our physical sensations. I then brought their attention to their own thinking in a mindful way, because I often get only one chance to instruct someone before they’re transferred or drop out or, as can happen, if the guards simply decide not to bring them to the group anymore. I wanted to make sure I did this for the new man. If he came back, we’d then have a chance to explore things further. “Let’s look at thoughts for a minute. Can you recall your mother or father?” I let that reg- ister. “Notice what you remember first. What memory comes up first? Does a particular picture or image come to mind? “Nobody else knows your feelings about your mother and father or how you feel about each of us in the room. Your experience of those thoughts is completely personal, no matter in what form or detail they appear for you. All these sounds, body feelings, and thoughts make up everything in your full, subjective experience.” I let them sit for a minute or two with this before getting to the for- mal meditation instruction. Inmates are shackled whenever they are outside the cells and staff like Bernhard must wear knife-proof vests. Fearful of letting down their guard, some prisoners refuse to close their eyes while meditating. LION’S ROAR | JANUARY 2018 43