It’s quiet except for the clang of steel doors as guards and inmates move from cell to room in Coffee Creek Women’s Prison. Even the door to the chapel is made of steel.

1:00 PM – Inmates begin to show up for meditation class. They are openly friendly, wide-eyed, a bit cautious, yet eager to learn what I have to teach. They all look at me as if I’m something special, yet, I can sense fear, lack of trust, a hunger in them buried beneath bravado – a voice beneath surface noise that’s crying out for help.

It’s now 1:15 PM. Thirteen women have gathered and sit in a semi-circle around me. I begin to speak about inner work, meditation, chakra development, how to center themselves, open their hearts, and receive spiritual energy. Every word is devoured. There’s a spiritual hunger in them that’s hard to find anywhere else. It inspires me to go deeper, to open more, to share with them the struggle of my own life, to let them see that every person can transform hell into paradise, and find deep gratitude in their hearts. After the meditation class, there’s profound silence in the chapel. One can’t even hear the steel doors clang. There’s a twinkle in the eyes of most of the inmates and the lotus flower seems to have emerged from muddy waters. Just about every inmate is smiling. There’s possibility…hope…a vision of life that transcends the prison walls.

When we left the prison, I said to my student, Alice Stipak, “I wonder how many people experience a miracle like that which took place at Coffee Creek – unconditional love and the sharing of spiritual energy with angels that live in hell…”