Photo: “There’s Always Hope” by Lucy Collins
Jimmie Ashley is an inmate at the Everglades Correctional Institution (ECI) in Miami, Florida, who recently participated in the Peace Education Program (PEP). He has been incarcerated for the past 46 years. Below are excerpts of a speech he gave at an ECI “Meet and Greet” to introduce his fellow inmates to the program.
My name is Jimmie Ashley, and I am a participant in the Peace Education Program here at Everglades Correctional Institution. I chose to come here today as a representative of the Peace Education Program to share with you the fundamentals of this program.
Mr. Prem Rawat is a prestigious man and the Founder of the Peace Education Program. The program teaches people how to be tolerant and considerate, and practical in exercising clarity and peace. It also teaches you how to embrace your inner peace and to think and feel at a deeper level, so you’ll be able to console yourself and others.
Out of anger, out of negative emotions, people often think in a violent way. It is natural for human beings to think this way. Nevertheless, it is important not to think this way. We must learn to live in peace and possess a real sense of clarity, so we can live in harmony among other human beings. The PEP has a group of outstanding individuals willing to help us by facilitating the teachings of Prem Rawat on the fundamentals of peace, through his educational videos. There are also segments for group discussions where we have the opportunity to reflect on what we have learned.
The volunteer facilitators understand on a visceral level that true peace resides within us all. This program challenges everyone to search deeply within their soul, spirit, and heart, to embrace peace, regardless of the circumstances or conditions they are confronted with. Stand up with peace. Exercise a peaceful solution because it lives in us naturally.
The prison now offers PEP 1 and PEP 2 in English, and PEP 1 in Spanish. (The purpose of each 10-week PEP workshop is to help participants explore the possibility of personal peace and to discover inner resources—tools for living, such as inner strength, choice, appreciation, and hope.)
So, if you are interested in deepening your clarity and understanding, please have a look at the Peace Education Program.
Success comes when we combine peace, love, joy, and clarity in our hearts and minds.
Remember to be tolerant, considerate, and practical when exercising peace.
Below are more quotes, submitted to the PEP team, from other inmates currently participating in classes at the Everglades facility.
“The peace Prem talks about, I experience often in prison. I didn’t know it when I was on the outside because of drugs. The inner peace is real.”
“Peace is simple!!”
“Once you understand the NOW you can begin to understand life because you can only exist in the now.”
“Your moment will come. Embrace it. Embrace life; don’t waste one single day. You can’t get it back.”
“The success is that you are ALIVE!!!”