A meditating inmate is a more compassionate human being

Developing a healthy emotional life is important to us all. But for those who are incarcerated for antisocial behavior, it is a critical need.

As the medical director at the Oregon State Correctional Institution for 14 years, Dr. Michael Puerini has cared for the health of thousands of men whose lives have been seriously derailed by their lack of self-control and emotional well-being. He has seen firsthand how their unhealthy emotions negatively affect behavior and physical health.

So what can be done to help inmates promote from within themselves the self-control and emotional well-being that are the keys to a healthy, well-adjusted life? What can be done to promote genuine compassion within the life of the inmate? As a result of observing the behavior of meditating inmates over the past year, Dr. Puerini thinks that he has found an answer.

“You can’t teach compassion but there is something about the Transcendental Meditation technique that brings compassion out, and a compassionate person is a healthier person.”

According to an article in Psychology Today, compassion is “the ability to understand the emotional state of another person” and “having a desire to alleviate or reduce the suffering of another.”

In the above short video, Dr. Puerini discusses compassion and health, as well as his personal experience with the Transcendental Meditation technique, which has allowed him to be calmer, more focused, and more “present” to himself and others.

Dr. Puerini says that the TM program is practical because it improves self-esteem, promotes self-healthcare, and increases compassion—all of which can help his patients (inmates) stay out of prison and lead more productive lives.

In 1967, in his first book, The Science of Being and Art of Living, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation program, wrote: “It has been found that all kinds of tensions are released and that the hard cruel nature of a man changes to one of tolerance and compassion with the practice of Transcendental Meditation.”