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.
My Gift for the Evening
Originally posted on January 15, 2013
My latest visit to prison was a notable one. Particularly, it was a time to say good-bye to the regular students and the chaplain for a short while; this was my last visit until the upcoming semester ends. My teacher, Lama Tenpa, recently requested that I harness my mind at this time and temporarily pull back from all my volunteer work and my private acupuncture practice to focus on my own meditation practice, as well as my graduate studies. On my last night in prison, I wondered who was going to attend the class and what conversation would transpire. Driving down the prison road, Gary asked me if I was prepared to teach the guys about the twelve links of interdependence, describing the process of karma. With an adamant “No,” I replied that I felt too vulnerable and spacious. “Let’s see what arises, Gary,” and there it was, the theme of the evening, space. [Read more…]