The Quiet Within

Radio Program

A radio station, called Focus Radio, operates in the Israeli Prison system. The station is operated by inmates who completed a radio-broadcasting course as part of their rehabilitation program. The station is situated at Eilon Prison, and broadcasts to all prisons in Israel. The Quiet Within has a weekly meditation program that is broadcast live, and then repeated three additional times that week. So far, 90 programs have been recorded. The radio program helps meditation practice reach thousands of inmates who listen to the radio station.

An inmate shares: “I love listening to the program. It helps me, gives me strength, and sparks my curiosity.”

The program started when S’, who is serving a life-sentence, participated in our meditation group, and then completed the radio-broadcasting course, as part of his rehabilitation program. S’ became part of the team of prisoners who operate the radio station, and suggested to our volunteer meditation group facilitator in Eilon Prison to do a radio show about meditation together.

The show was based on conversations between S’ and the volunteer, about issues raised by S’, which dealt with difficulties in prison and in one’s personal life, and how meditation can help. For instance: What do you do when anger arises? How do you deal with a situation where your children don’t want to speak to you on the phone? What can you do when you aren’t allowed leave to go to your son’s wedding? How can you be less influenced by others’ reactions? How can you develop compassion towards others in prison?

The volunteer’s testimonial:
“S’ was one of those participants who kept silent. Very silent. I never knew what he had inside. In a meditation group in prison, just like in any other meditation group, there are those who talk a lot, and those who keep silent. Don’t share. And I always look at them and wonder: what’s going on inside? Are they listening? Is anything going in? When the eyes are shut, does anything open up in the listening? One day, S’ approached me and told me that there’s a radio station in the prison, Radio Focus, and that he and other inmates operate it. They write, lead and broadcast programs. He said that he would like us to do a meditation program. I couldn’t believe this opportunity. I couldn’t believe that he, who is always silent, can speak on the radio.

I couldn’t believe it and couldn’t anticipate the journey that began a few days later. During the past year, every Monday I would go to Eilon and enter the studio for some precious hours of grace. The same S’ who silently sat in the meditation group was a totally different man to the one sitting by the microphone. We managed to record over 30 programs. We called the program “The Quiet Within”. These were the deepest Dharma talks I have ever had.

Through the program, S’ slowly began talking about what was difficult and painful in prison, why he was there, what he misses, what he understands today and didn’t know before, how he can feel, express, and share; how he is learning to live with the longing, regret, missed opportunities, pain and fear.

I learned from him no less than I have ever learned from my great and wonderful Dharma Teachers. And among everything I learned, I learned what an amazing perspective a person can have when he is given an opportunity, is believed in, trusted, given responsibility and a place.”