This series features writing from inmates at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center. The articles stem from weekly programming facilitated by the Colorado College Prison Project. Through contact between the CC community and Colorado Springs, this series aims to simultaneously broaden CC perception of incarceration issues and provide a platform for incarcerated writers. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office requires approval of written material prior to publication and the removal of authors’ last names. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the EPCSO or the Prison Project.

Make sure you keep your mind right. 

It is so easy to get lost in your own thoughts. We even at times think we are right when we are wrong, think we are wrong when we are right. We need to “slow down,” pause. 

If we did this in life, we wouldn’t make decisions we end up regretting or let others make decisions for us, which is our own self-destruction. We have free will — how we use it changes the outcome of our lives. It is okay to fall. Falling is how we learn we are not perfect. I am a big believer that you need life lessons, no matter how difficult they are, to help shape you into who you are truly supposed to be. Some may never achieve this because they get stuck in their habits or what they were taught. But cycles and habits are made to be broken, and life is how we make it. We have the power to control the outcome of our lives. 

My favorite quote is: 

“Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what is next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess we may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.” — Agnes De Mille

Pema Chodron asks, “What does the fundamental ambiguity of being human mean in terms of day-to-day life?” and answers, “Above all, it means understanding that everything changes.” 

So very true. The Tibetan Buddhists have three commitments for embracing the chaotic, unstable, dynamic, challenging nature of our situation as a path to awakening:

1. The Pratimosksha vow is a foundation for personal liberation.

2. Bodhisattva vow: life must be dedicated to keeping our hearts and minds open to nurturing our compassion with the longing to ease the suffering of the world. 

3. Samaya vow: resolve to embrace the world just as it is without bias. 

Food for thought.  

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