Meditation As a Tool for Rehabilitation of Prison Inmates

The inability to cope mindfulness meditation deutsch with anxiety and negative emotions may lead to various physical and psychological problems. The primary purpose of this paper was to examine the effects of Vipassana Meditation (VM) and X Meditation (TM) on the psychological health and rehabilitation of inmates. The most common physiological and psychological effects of meditation are: lower heart rate, reduced blood pressure, decreased breathing, decreased metabolism, increased mental alertness, improved cognitive and affective performance, enhanced well-being, reduced pain and stress, reduced anxiety, reduced depression, and modification of EEG patterns. Some of the previous findings have highlighted the plasticity of the brain and its adaptive capacity to stressful situations. With the attainment of heightened awareness and better coping capabilities through meditation, inmates possess a self-empowering tool to maintain good mental health. Furthermore, with the regular practice of meditation, inmates are better able to cope with their anger and frustrations, and violence rates as well as recidivism can be lowered.

Positive psychology, a new trend in the field of energie management, was pioneered by Martin Seligman in 1998. The purpose was to challenge the focus of current forms of therapy on negative aspects of the human condition, and rethink the positive characteristics of human nature that promote greater well-being. Positive psychology claims that people possess a wide range of psychological strengths and qualities which are essential for dealing with the challenges encountered in life. According to Seligman, prior to WWI, psychology had three goals: cure mental illness, make life productive and more fulfilling, and identify and nurture high talent (Seligman, 2005). The latter two of these goals were apparently forgotten as psychology shifted to focus on curing the mental illnesses of veterans and traumatized citizens. Today, the field is shifting back to focus on the prevention of mental illness and the promotion of better quality of life.

The primary goal of positive psychology is to help patients, and in this specific case, inmates, develop their strengths in order to lead more fulfilling lives and better cope with stress and aggression. Specific coping approaches are particular coping mechanisms designed to help people better deal and overcome the hardships of life. Of these coping mechanisms, there has been an increased interest in the application of the Asian techniques of energiemanagement as a way of rehabilitation for the prison population.

The aim of meditation is to understand our true nature and be freed from the illusion that causes our suffering. From a psychological growth perspective, it is essential for individuals to be able to free themselves from the imaginary boundaries that limit their worldviews and consciousnesses. By realizing the true fleeting nature of emotions and sensations, one learns not to feel attached to physical or psychological pain, and to let go. The regular practice of meditation teaches one about the impermanence of mental and physical states, helping the person not to react emotionally and to experience more detachment. As a result, meditation induces a state of deep relaxation, inner harmony and heightened consciousness. Diverse techniques can be used during meditation, but all of them imply concentration on a particular object or activity and the elimination of all forms of internal or external distractions.

The first type of meditation presented in this paper is Vipassana Meditation (VM). The origins of mindfulness go back to the teachings of Siddharta Gautama (563 BCE – 483 BCE), the Buddha. The Buddha emphasized the notion of mindfulness of speech, thought and action in order to attain relief from suffering and ignorance. Being mindful means being fully aware of the present moment. The teaching of mindfulness or “insight” meditation focuses on a deep, penetrative nonconceptual seeing into the nature of the mind and the world and continuity of awareness in all daily activities. Vipassana Meditation is referred to as an opening up meditation, where one is to attend to all internal and external stimuli non-judgmentally. This type of meditation requires an ability to focus and to be open. By analyzing one’s thoughts or cognitions, VM focuses on a greater understanding through the systematic cultivation of inquiry and insight. Like cognitive behavioral therapy, VM involves the use of introspection or insight, where cognitions can be observed non-judgmentally and better understood. Hence, the path to better physical and psychological health comprises a better understanding of one’s reactions to all emotions. The main cause of human suffering stems from the way we interpret the world surrounding us. By understanding and changing our cognitions, we can lead more fulfilling lives and experience an increase in well-being.

Relaxation is a bi-product of this type of meditation, but it is not an objective of the process. Vipassana Meditation is taught during intensive 10-day retreats, where one is to remain silent for the duration of the retreat and meditate all day. The schedule is very strict and meditators must begin their daily sittings before sunrise, not eat after midday, refrain from any intoxicants, from killing, from sexual activity, from lying, singing, dancing and talking. Furthermore, in order to turn one’s full attention inward; eye contact with other participants is to be avoided, as well as reading, watching television, listening to the radio, and engaging in strenuous exercise.

The second type of meditation to be studied is X Meditation (TM). TM has its foundation in the Indian Vedanta philosophy and is practiced for at least 20 minutes twice daily while sitting with the eyes closed. The technique comprises the silent mental repetition of a mantra, which is a word or phrase used as a focus for the attention. The goal of this meditation is to attain pure consciousness: Samadhi. This technique became very popular in the early 1970s and scientists soon began to research the therapeutic effects of

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