I. Program Aspect One - Vipassana Meditation
The videos available below are well worth the investment of time for those interested in the evidence-based effects of these techniques as demonstrated in some of the worlds hardest prison environments. We present the following video preview of the Vipassana aspect of our program. Our revolutionary Radical Freedom Program has taken the best of the elements of standard Vipassana training, as demonstrated in the short films below, and implemented them in our own custom-fit manner, which better aids inmate participants in their efforts to form an ongoing practice, under extreme conditions, with or without the constant oversight of an instructor. We have made significant changes to the customary introductory practices of Vipassana, making it far less intrusive for the corrections system and allowing for a much broader base of involvement. Our goal is the transformation of lives and the ultimate freedom from self-defeating behaviors for our participants. With this goal in mind, we seek to work with the DOC in long-term facilitation planning rather than holding to a standard 10-day model.
The Prison Division of the Crestone Freedom Project
The prison division is the directionally intentional division of the Crestone Freedom Project, formed by its founders in an effort to do their part to irradicate the devastating effects of substance use disorder in incarcerated individuals who express an authentic desire to become free from the chains of addictive behaviors and a willingness and diligence to perform the hard work necessary to accomplish the task. The project directors are now working to develop a formative dialog with Colorado State Officials around the conversation of implementing key components of the Radical Freedom Program, used in its adolescent residential treatment protocol, within a corrections setting.
VIPASSANA PRISON PROJECT
Alabama Department of Corrections
VIPASSANA PRISON PROJECT - STAFF
Alabama Department of Corrections
VIPASSANA PRISON PROJECT - UPDATE
Alabama Department of Corrections
EFFECTS OF PRISON MEDITATION
Oregon Department of Corrections
PRISON MINDFULNESS INSTITUTE
Rhode Island Departmen of Corrections
DOING TIME, DOING VIPASSANA
Delhi Department of Prisons, India
II. Program Aspect Two - Trauma Recall Writing
One reason for the stress of psychological trauma is that our representations of these traumatic events are fragmented. Psychologically traumatic events are ones that have no good explanation. The sudden death of a loved one may seem senseless. Abuse you suffer is a betrayal of a sacred trust. You have painful facts with no story to bind them together. Because these memories and events are painful, our natural tendency is to avoid thinking about them. We suppress thoughts about these negative events and hope they will go away. But, they don't. The mind is most settled when there is coherence to our thoughts. We seek to resolve conflicting thoughts by remembering them and processing them. So, a dangerous cycle can develop with traumatic events. Because they are fragmented, there are constant reminders of them. But, because they are painful, we do not process them deeply. And so, we suffer the stress of remembering a painful situation without resolving the incoherence.
Research by renowned American social psychologist, Jamie Pennebaker Ph.D., and his colleagues suggests that one of the best therapies for this kind of psychological trauma is also one of the simplest - writing. He describes this procedure in a 1997 paper in Psychological Science. People are asked to spend three consecutive days writing about one or more traumatic events. They are encouraged to really explore the thoughts and emotions surrounding the event and to tie it to relationships with significant others. In studies of this technique, people doing this writing are compared to others who write about unemotional topics like time management.
As you might expect, writing about these emotional events was very difficult for people. They did not enjoy the experience, and they found it painful. However, the long-term effects of this writing were fascinating. As we followed the people in these studies over time, they reported fewer illnesses, they went to the doctor less often, and they suffered fewer symptoms of depression in the future. They were less prone to substance use disorder, behavior issues, criminal activities, aggressive or violent behavior. In addition, they were less likely to miss work and school, and their performance at work went up. These effects lasted for months and years after writing.
What is particularly interesting about this procedure is that it is just an effect of writing about these events. The people doing the writing do not have to believe that anyone will ever read what they wrote. So, the benefit of writing is not in disclosing this personal information to someone else. The benefit is in creating a story that links together the emotional memories. Making these traumatic events more coherent makes memories of these events less likely to be repeatedly called to mind, and so they can be laid to rest. However, given the effectiveness of the study without the sharing component, the Radical Freedom Program, encourages and provides a platform for taking the process to the next, more effective level - the level of openly sharing traumatic experience and connecting with the openess of peers who have experienced similar, or identical traumas.
III. Program Aspect Three - Vision Journaling
Vision Journaling is the Radical Freedom Program's very own proprietary curriculum, developed, tested, and implemented by our very own Executive Director, Dewayne Vanderford in collaboration with famed scientist and current Scientific Advisor to the program, Dr. Bruce H. Lipton, over an eight-year period. Helen Keller once stated that "The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision," This aspect of the Radical Freedom Program has been spoken of by experts, including Dr. Lipton, as being "revolutionary" and "brilliant." Simply put, this is where the walking around blindly, bumping into every possible obstacle and tripping over the detritus of hopeless desire or bitter indifference that is the logical conclusion of extended periods of unconsciousness, comes to an abrupt end. It is here in this aspect of programming that life ceases to happen by accident and takes on a form of engineering artistry!
Wherever one happens to find himself or herself, in whatever circumstances they may someday awaken to (even the circumstance of incarceration) and with whomever they come to discover themselves aligned, regardless of how dreadful or delightful, they have arrived there, under those circumstances, with the people they are surrounded by, because of the thoughts that have made up the content of their consciousness up until that point in time. What we think about, we bring about. There is no way to avoid the truth of it, but there is a way to become the master of it. The answer is conscious awareness or an awareness of consciousness.
The problem with unguarded consciousness is that it will follow anyone, anything, any sound, any song, dancing butterfly, pretty smell, or randomly placed suggestion, as long as there is no "keeper-of-the-gates" of the mind, no one to answer to, just as long as there is no one in charge, no one making decisions about what comes into thought or how it is processed. Unfortunately, this description defines the default position of just about everyone, prior to being made aware of it and shown a remedy. As a result, life ends up choosing most people before they ever have the chance to choose it. During the mastering of this aspect of Vision Journaling, we confront the conscious mind in a methodically direct and deliberate way. We literally take control of the flow of incoming information, rewrite the script, that tired old story our ego has propped itself up against for years, and then we call upon the laws of nature to manifest a new reality - one we had never dared to dream of before! Anyone, everyone, the ones who desire it, long for it in their dreams, awaken and cease it from the day, and commit to doing whatever it takes for as long as it takes, these can and will possess freedom. They will earn it because they were willing to work for it, and in the process, will discover that the only freedom there is has been within their reach for their entire lives for it is the true freedom is within.
A Final Word On the Incarcerated Participant
We seek to provide resources, instruction, understanding, and compassion for all those who have the desire for lasting change and who are prepared to give their best to the hard work required to accomplish the transformation for which they have long sought. The Radical Freedom Program takes effort and an attitude of diligence, tenacity, and above all, authenticity. For this reason, we adhere to a stringent vetting process intended to eliminate the prevalence of:
Resistant Personalities - We are looking for those ready and eager for change.
Alternative Motivations - Proper motivation for success is an intense desire to become a better human being.
Manipulative Tendencies - Those who wish to manipulate the system, the program, or those in it, are not optimal candidates.