This Is Your Tomb Time

Ram Dass wrote about visiting death row inmates in San Quentin. He recalled those visits to be equal to visiting the holiest of monasteries. As they meditated together, he described light pouring out of their hearts and how the whole experience was immeasurably profound. Those on death row, he said, “had been pushed into a situation that cut through their melodramas”. It was as if they had discovered the truest form of freedom. When moving to the cell blocks of those given life sentencing, the result, he said, “was nowhere near the same”. These prisoners showed cynicism and doubt, offering putdowns and sarcasm. 

He wondered, in the most bizarre paradox of examination, if those in death row would lose that inner freedom if transferred to the life sentence cellblock.

I’m always moved and fascinated by this story for I see my own behavior in those of the prisoners. I often examine the relationship between surrendering and freedom. For me, it seems...

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