Sunday, October 19, 2008
Changing From Inside - Documentary on Vipassana in Jail
The film, entitled Changing from Inside" is 42 minutes long. It was written and produced primarily for an audience of prison administrators, jail officials, judges, etc. and tells the story of the introduction of Vipassana meditation courses into the North Rehabilitation Facility (N.R.F.) of the King County jail in Seattle, Washington, USA.
The film attempts to answer many of the questions that come from corrections officials after they have seen the earlier film entitled Doing Time, Doing Vipassana, documenting the introduction of this meditation into the prisons of India, or after the idea of meditation as a reform measure has been introduced to them.
In general, Changing from Inside is a compelling account of an intensive pilot meditation program for inmates at the N.F.R. minimum security jail near Seattle, Washington. Under the guidance of both community volunteers and facility staff members, seven women inmates undertake ten days of total silence. They practice the ancient meditation technique of Vipassana for ten hours each day, delving ever deeper into themselves to understand and ultimately master the nature of their behaviors and compulsions. In the end, they are transformed by their inward journey and come away with tools to maintain that transformation.
Changing from Inside also chronicles the personal and professional journey of the articulate, determined facility director, Lucia Meijer, as she rallies her staff to undertake and implement this new and unconventional program. Candid interviews among prison staff reveal a range of reactions, from interest to skepticism. However, the results achieved by the course prove to be an inspiration to everyone involved in the project including the participatants, other inmates and the professional staff, leaving the facility transformed, as well.