Jenny Bertram was a graduate student in the Master’s of Divinity program at Naropa University emphasizing in Buddhist Chaplaincy and Meditation instruction. She originally intended to be a Hospice Chaplain but was strongly pulled into prison ministry when she met Gary Allen at an internship fair on campus. As a volunteer with Ratna Peace Initiative, she began assisting with meditation and dharma classes in correctional facilities, as well as correcting coursework through correspondence for Ratna. Jenny has a Masters in Chinese Medicine and is a Nationally Certified Diplomate of Oriental Medicine. She devoted herself to prison work and teaching dharma as she transitioned from clinical practitioner to teacher. Jenny was thrilled to share her unfolding experience with teaching meditation as a newcomer to the prison community, and wrote the following entries as she made visits as a volunteer to a private prison in Hudson, Colorado.
Protecting the Statue
Originally posted on August 20, 2012
When I sit and meditate with the guys, the inmates in the prison chapel, I’m comforted with a hazy sea of orange. Yes, I did just write, “comforted.” I am referring to the ease that I experience, the feedback that reminds me that I am in the appropriate place. There’s comfort when I walk through security, there is comfort when the chaplain comes to greet us to swiftly escort Gary and me to the chapel through the many heavy doors, there is ease in the glances from the guys, and there is ease as we welcome the guys to meditation class. The difficult and not so comfortable part is leaving. When Gary and I leave, the inmates remain along with the razor wire and fences, another reminder of their present truth. [Read more…]