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     Essays (14)
    

    *Best Essays
      2002/2003

    *Mike H.
    *Larry H.
    *Cornelius S.
    *Albert A.

     Dennis B.
     Keith S.
     Wilbert S.
     L.M.
     Michael E.
     Alex J.
     Rodney W.
     Darwyn N.
     Latasha G.
     Michael H.

  

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An Alternative Sentencing Program
utilizing the Transcendental Stress Managementģ  program for Rehabilitation and Criminal Justice Reform

 

Experiences of Graduates of TESP - 2002/2003

 

Mike H.

"When I was given the order to complete the Enlightened Sentencing Project, I was worried that people who were only administering a program, and were not interested in the eventual outcome or effectiveness of their job at hand, would lecture me for hours in a boring monotone.  I also felt I would attend meetings for many days on topics and material that could easily be covered in two or three visits.  I just knew the program leaders would be the typical government employees just doing their job, but not really concerned about how their information might help those in attendance.   Instead, Esq. Farrokh Anklesaria himself answered my phone call to the program.  When I spoke to Mr. Anklesaria he assured me that his instruction would become something we would look forward to, and benefit greatly from as well.

All of my previous frequent dealings with persons originally from India had been positive and I had always believed these people to be sincere and straightforward.  After talking with Mr. Anklesaria, I felt much better about your requirement to attend this program.  I wondered how I could remain interested for 3 to 4 months to complete the Enlightened Sentencing Project.  I was given a date to being the classes and tried to continue my positive outlook on this and my other assignments.

In the meantime I also have been tending to some of the other stipulations regarding my probation.  One such obligation was to attend an anger management class.  My probation officer told me about one program at the same address as the probation office.  One day in June 2002, I was arrested by mistake because while on electronic monitoring, SW Bell had installed caller ID and call waiting on the same line my monitor was on.  Evidently, we found out later, a woman with the same first name as my wife, C----, had requested caller ID and call waiting to be installed on her line.  Even though Southwestern Bell called the probation officer that afternoon to tell them this was done in error, and not at our request, I spent the night and next day in the City of St Louis jail.  When I was finally released late the next afternoon, there was only about 45 minutes to go home to change clothes and make it to the first meeting for the Anger Management Class.  I called the class and told them I would be there as quick as possible, and they said, ďfine, come as soon as you canĒ.  When I arrived and walked into the meeting of about 20 people, the Administrator rose up and became very angry and red faced Ė and expelled me from the class and made a very big disturbance about this to my probation officer and everyone else in the office.  I left thankful that this man would not be teaching me how to handle my anger.

The exact opposite occurred when I started attending the classes for the Enlightened Sentencing Project.  Mr. Anklesaria was very engaging and civilized to us all.  He spoke softly to us about what we would be learning.  He explained what we would be going over and went into great detail introducing us into this program of managing and reducing stress.  At the very first meeting I was interested and found myself picking up extra literature on the practice of the transcendental stress management program.  I went home and talked to my wife C----and to friends about my new class that I would be involved with.  Because of my enthusiasm, my wife and two friends started asking me questions after each class about the project.  During those first few days of the project, I felt aggression easing, and the feeling of frustration and being overwhelmed was beginning to subside.  Farrokh told us we would have clearer thoughts, and only days into the program, I could see what he meant.

As you know, I have given up alcohol completely since October of 2001.  While my work with my sponsor keeps me on the right path in my recovery, the time spent practicing the transcendental stress management technique has helped me to organize my time better and adjust my attitude accordingly.  The calm I feel when I am consistent with my TSM is strengthening and powerful.  Because of TSM I have been able to adjust to my daily routine and deal with things in a normal fashion.  The more times I practice TSM, the more peaceful I feel with myself and persons around me.

This past November I was working on my community service hours at a St Louis County park.  A young court worker was assigned to work with me spreading mulch around the playground area.  As I worked I noticed that this young fellow was not participating at all.  We were left by ourselves to complete this job and were checked on only occasionally.  Whenever one of the park supervisors would come by my young partner would mover around and look very busy.  Then after no one was with us he would plop down on a picnic table and smoke cigarettes.  Normally this would have bothered me.  Instead I felt myself forgiving this young man and going on about my work.  I worked very hard that day and felt totally drained that evening.  But also I had no hostilities that carried over at home.  My wife and I had a quiet evening together and I never needed to tell her my story from the day.  TSM has provided me an alternative way of reacting to almost everything.

As you know, Judge, there are many other programs and classes you could utilize for rehabilitating your probationers.  There absolutely canít be a more productive or effective method at your disposal than TSM.  I am proud of my progress with my probation directives and my abstinence from alcohol.  I will be attending an anger management class, and I assure you, I will complete this as soon as possible.  It would be great if the people who are confined could learn TSM in the prisons and jail.  It really would be a great accomplishment on your part if you could persuade the corrections community to adopt TSM for all those people confined to learn the Transcendental Stress Management technique, so they could find the calming effects of the program, and deal peacefully with their fellow inmates.  This effort would relieve a good deal of stress that is inevitable when a person is confined.  I would be happy to devote the rest of my community service time to helping introduce people in the correctional system to TSM.  The good that TSM could do would be monumental in providing the incarcerated an answer to their anxieties and worries.

My wife C---- has noticed the calm that comes over me when I meditate and has commented about my peaceful look more than a couple of times.  She and I have a very strong relationship, but with the everyday frustrations of much smaller income and constant pressure from jobs, bills, family, and probation, the times have been numerous when we each could have acted aggressively towards one another.  Regardless of these difficulties, we have enjoyed a serenity in our lives that allows us to adjust our attitudes to let many things roll off of our backs.  I am making only a fraction of what I earned before my incarceration, and my wifeís income has been cut in half so we have tremendous pressure to deal with every day.  We are grateful to be together again and look forward to every day as a chance to make our relations with others stronger and improve ourselves.  TSM has fortified me to act and respond in a humble and realistic way.  We really need a little vacation, but  as that is not practical at this time, we know we can continue to be at ease with the help of TSM.

I wish to thank you for the opportunity you have given me to enrich my life through the understanding of TSM, and to cope better with everyday life situations.  The Transcendental Stress Management practice is very powerful in a way that is unimaginable until a person is introduced to the method by a teacher of TSM.  Last week I heard myself say to my wife C---:  ďlet me think about that for a little whileĒ.  I donít ever remember me using that phrase in a situation where someone had just refused me something, or had dished some verbal abuse my way.  I stopped and looked at my wife, who was surprised too, and said, ďwhere did that come from?Ē  Obviously, there is something I have learned from TSM, which allows me to stop and consider my responses today.  Thanks for your visionary understanding.  I know I am lucky to have you.  Mr. Anklesaria deserves all the best praise for his unselfish commitment to society and our own community.  He is a very sincere and educated man.  His mission with Transcendental Stress Management is his greatest blessing to us all.Ē

 

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Cornelius S.

Cornelius, describes the energizing and relaxing benefits of TSM and mentions that it has helped him to smoke less and to give up smoking weed altogether.  He writes:

 ďTSM has changed my life dramatically.  I make an honest living now working with my uncle in a construction company.  I often do my second meditation at work and after meditation I finish my work very quickly.

 My uncle thought I was sleeping on the job.  I finally told him what I was doing and he said ďMan you ought to do that more often!Ē

 I think TSM should be an elective in high school for the high school students and the state should pay for it.  Just imagine the kids coming out of high school that have been practicing TSM. 

 If I had studied TSM in high school I wouldnít have gone through all the troubles and problems that I went through.  I know that I would have been a different person. I want to thank Judge Heagney for giving me a second chance in life.Ē


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Albert A.

"I was born in Los Angeles, California on Nov 9, 1966.  My dad died when I was 6 years old and my mom raised us three children on her own.  Growing up, I had a very bad temper and had no real discipline after my father passed.  It was very hard for my mother, a 4í8Ē small woman, to control me.  At the age of 12, I was 5í9Ē and 175 lbs and I started to get into trouble with the law.  I did what I wanted to do no matter the consequences.  I would be in the streets all day and all night.  I stayed in and out of jail so much that I lost count.  I had habit of drugs and alcohol with no direction.  I, then, was in a marriage that lasted only two years with a bad outcome.  I have two boys as a result of my marriage.  I did not know how to communicate with my wife or people very well or maybe it was that I didnít want to.

I know that I am really blessed to have been given another chance by Judge Mason and I will make sure that I continue to work on myself as I have been doing.  I also was blessed to be put into the Meditation class for better direction.  I am now more patient with my kids and calmer with people as well as myself.  I feel like I have direction and am well aware of my actions so I am a good person at all times now.  I have now set a high goal for myself and am achieving it in an orderly fashion.  I feel that I can do anything that I set my mind to and focus on.  I have learned a lot in my life and I will do everything under my control to keep myself at a steady pace to do better and maintain myself.  My deepest thanks go to Judge Mason and Mr Farrokh Anklesaria for your role in my success.

PS:  I feel like I donít get angry no more.  Things donít bother me like they used to.Ē

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Dennis  B.

"First off, let me tell you a little about me Ė I have had a hard life.  To start, my mother and father left me when I was very small but old enough to remember and keep the pain.  My profession is being a tree climber.  This job is life threatening and can be very overwhelming.  I am a recovering alcoholic.  I also have an anger problem that has caused me to get into some trouble with the law.  I was lucky enough to end up in the hands of a very smart judge.  He knew what he was doing when he sent me to  TESP meditation classes.  I am forever thankful for the choices he made for me at a time when I couldnít think straight for myself.  It changed my life.  Prior to knowing the art of meditating I would handle things all wrong.  The outcome of my responses would leave me exhausted, discouraged and confused.  My effort for accomplishment would veer towards a sense of negativity.  I believe whole-heartedly that with the gift of meditation that I have received, My Life Will Not Overcome Me Ever Again!.  You see, with this gift, I can meditate anywhere and feel mentally and physically refreshed.

It then gives me power.  I say power but I guess I mean total control over myself and my actions.  ďI CAN FOCUSĒ.  This alone will change my life.  You see, when Iím up 50 feet in a tree not knowing where to start cutting, or at home after a long day, not getting any time for myself due to five kids needing their fatherís attention, itís all different.  I can sneak away to the bedroom and take a few minutes and meditate.  The overwhelming feeling of discouragement all goes away and I come out with a smile on my face.  I also love to get up early in the morning, open the blinds in the living room and just sit there and meditate.  It allows my whole day to begin with a positive attitude and sense of peacefulness that I never knew before.

My crew members on the job site see me sitting perfectly still up in the tree Iím working on and watch in awe as I begin to bring a hundred year old tree to the ground with no room to maneuver over power lines and between buildings at unexplainable levels of speed.  The severity of the consequences I face of falling or damaging things below me cannot even enter my mind because I am so focused positively after meditating that it is unreal. 

The connection I have with my inner self allows me to overcome all obstacles with a very focused and positive manner.  I no longer feel sorry for myself when things go wrong in my life.  I just know that with the gift I now own (meditation) I can and will successfully change the outcome of the results by the way I chose to handle every situation.

To anyone and everyone that has ever had any sense of discouragement I strongly suggest the art of meditation.  It can and will help the biggest of men and women who believe their life is a never-ending story of turmoil. May the gift and art of meditation somehow or some way reach each and every one of us.Ē
 

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Keith S.

"I would like to thank the two judges that sentenced me to this program and those two judges are Mr. Phillip Heagney and Mr. Henry Autrey.

Whenever I meditated I had wonderful experiences with TSM and when I say wonderful thatís what I mean. 

Iíve had my girlfriend come to me and ask me if I was using drugs because Iíve been too calm and I donít argue with her anymore since Iíve been meditating.  It had come to a point where my Probation Officer too thought I was using drugs because I was so calm.  Before I started TSM I would go to see my Probation Officer  with attitudes and was very impatient.  After starting TSM and very close to the end of completing my course, my PO started making me come once a week and was dropping me each time I came because she didnít know what was wrong.  So, I told my PO the change in me was all due to meditation and she should try out TSM for herself.Ē


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Wilbert S.

Excerpt

Wilbert Starksí essay is addressed to his Judge, Judge David Mason.  Among other things, Wilbert Starks writes: ďTSM should start with young people and juveniles because lots of good will come from this for our children and our futureĒ.  He ends his essay with the wise observation ďinstead of building new prisons we should invest the taxpayersí dollars in the juvenile system and teach juveniles TSMĒ. 

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L. M.

"When the Judge and my Probation Officer told me I was going to have to go to meditation class I thought it was a joke.  After a couple sessions of the TSM classes and doing TSM frequently, I did start feeling a sense of calmness in my behavior and body. 

When I got caught up in the system, I didnít think I was going to make it.  TSM, I think, has brought me a long way in a little amount of time.  I am very satisfied with my progress.  TSM has given me the opportunity to release my negative thoughts, feelings, and actions.  It has also made me more calm.  I donít think about the little things any more.  I look for the bigger and better things in life.  TSM helps me think clear before I commit an action.Ē

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Michael E.

 "With TSM I felt very relaxed, physically and mentally.  My friends and family started to see a big change in me.  They noticed that I was more polite and smiling more, even my co-workers would say to me when I walked into work in the morning, ďWhat have you had this morning?  We need some of that.Ē  All in all it has made me a better person and I would like to thank everyone who helped make this happen.Ē

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Alex J.

"When I started meditating I was feeling so relaxed I thought I was tripping.  Then I found myself sleeping less.   Before TSM I used to wake up  at like 1.00 or 2.00 in the afternoon and now I woke up at like 10.00 in the morning.  I hope a lot more people learn this skill.Ē

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Rodney W.

 "I was a kid who was born and raised in the drug life.  I was 14 years old when I left my motherís home.  After the first two sessions I was feeling very free and stress-less. I started feeling real good about myself.  My co-worker was seeing a big change in me.  My family was always talking about how great I was looking.  I would recommend that anyone who donít have TSM in their life need to get it.  It is a great program to be in.  And like Judge Mason said, I recommend that you run to a TSM Center and not walk!Ē

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Darwyn N.

"Before I started Transcendental Stress Management I was on a road to self destruction.  With Transcendental Stress Management Iíve found peace and understanding within myself.  Transcendental Stress Management helped me come to a complete understanding about life.  When I accomplish something without taking any shortcuts, it comes with smiles and praises and I can be proud knowing I did my very best.Ē

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Latasha G.

"Iím writing this essay letting you know all about what Iíve learned.  Now when I first lost my kids I thought that it was the end of the world.  I did not know what to do, and you gave me a blessing to start going to TSM.  Before I started going to TSM I had big problems.  I did not know how to deal with the thought of my kids being deceased.  I couldnít sleep at night.  I always disagreed with my Mom and boyfriend.  I didnít want to be around nobody; I was so lost, but now Iím fine.  Iím able to deal with the loss of my kids.  Iím able to walk away when people say something wrong to me.  Me and my kidsí father get along better.  My labor was much easier.  I donít smoke anymore and I feel good.  My life has been so much better since I started coming to TSM.  Thank you Judge Autrey.Ē

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Michael H.

"TSM changed my way of thinking and acting. I really have peace of mind now.  I can sleep good at night because when I was selling drugs I couldnít get any sleep. 

I have no desire to sell drugs.  I just want to finish my probation and parole and go on with my life because I want to travel.  People tell me how much I have really changed my life around.  I have two daughters to help raise and I would really love to see them graduate from high school and go on to college.  I have faith in myself and I know I will be working real soon.  Thanks again, TSM and Judge Heagney.Ē

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Gregory J.

"The TSM program has made me sober Ė please understand that.  I enjoy being sober now.  I donít want to drink anymore.  Before Iíd be drunk as a skunk.  Iíd drink from the time I got up till the time I went to bed.  I was a mess.  I wrote bad checks.  I was a hustler.  Now with TSM I get up every morning and go to work and in the evenings I go to my family.  I work as a houseman in downtown Marriott Hotel.  If I were to have a problem at my work I know that with TSM I can handle it in a positive way.  I am able to handle every situation in a very positive way.  Without TSM the same situation would have been handled by me very negatively.  I would have exploded. 

This the first Fatherís Day in 21 years that I am sober.  Iíd be so drunk I would not know what to do.  The TSM program is the only stipulation (of my probation).  I have not been ordered to participate in the AA program or anything else.  You have only to look at some of my photographs to see how drunken I look in them.  I used to have a beard.  Now I am clean-shaven. 

The TSM program has brought a lot of sunshine to my life.  There is a total improvement.  My whole world has become different now that I am sober.  I have abstained from the use of drugs as well as alcoholic beverages.Ē

 

Donald H.

 "My name is Donald H. I am a 49-year old ex-felon who has been addicted to heroin for the past 35 years of my adult like. †My entire past life has been devoted to drug addiction or criminal activities. I have been in and out of prisons and treatment centers for as far back as I can remember. I have never had an ambition to work or live life on lifeís terms. I was always looking for the easy way out. 

I thought I could find peace of mind and happiness in drug usage. Stress was a major factor in my using drugs. I didnít like or want to deal with stress so I covered up my feeling with drugs. Fortunately, my last prison sentence led to the doors of TSM.  I just want to take a minute to thank God for Judge Anna Forder, Mr. Farrokh Anklesaria, and Transcendental Stress Management, for allowing me to learn this life-saving technique of achieving total peace of mind and calmness. 

As opposed to my past, today I am no longer addicted to drugs and a lifestyle of criminal activities.  I have a nice life.  As a matter of fact, I work in a support center for mentally and physically challenged adults.  I no longer have the desire to use drugs or take anything from anyone.  I am changing for the better.  I am more interested in helping others today rather than trying to hurt them.

My relationship with my family and friends has changed dramatically for the better.  I am in close contact with my only daughter who is 27 years old.  Out of those 27 years I have only maybe seen her five or six times and that was when she was a small child.  I have gotten to know her and vice versa.  She actually calls me ďDaddyĒ and my two grand-children call me ďGrand-dadĒ.  This probably doesnít mean much to you, but this and everything, and the changes which I have made in these short six months, means the world to me.  I owe it all to TSM.  I make more calm and peaceful decisions today.  Life isnít full of confusion.  I meditate regularly and I am going to continue to do so.Ē
 

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  Jason M. B.

"I am 20 years old and I work for a computer firm.  I was placed into The Enlightened Sentencing Program by my Judge, Judge Heagney.  I want to share with you what I did to get in this class and how I feel this class has helped me.  I made a stupid mistake trying to sell drugs and make some fast money. 

I have a pretty good background of graduating school and participating in school activities.  I also know I am not the best person at the things I do now or have done in the past.  What I do know now is that I have left the bad things behind me and learned from them to make my future better.  I think that TSM has really changed the way I feel about life and its ups and downs.  I have gotten so much accomplished in such a short time since starting TSM a couple months ago. 

I want to really thank Judge Heagney for that because Iím a much calmer person now.  I have a whole lot better relationship with my friends, family and people I work around.  I get compliments from them on how much I have changed all the time, and it makes me feel very good and important.  It also makes me want to continue doing good and helping others.  I feel like I have this great big energy, peacefulness, happiness and satisfaction in my life now.

Iím going to wrap this up by saying I would suggest this class to future felony offenders and hope they learn from their mistakes as well as I have.  Lastly, I want to say ďGod bless everyone who gets to hear my letter and I hope they have a peaceful, stress-free life.Ē


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Corey E.

 "I am 22 years of age with one beautiful daughter.  I was raised in the inner city of north St Louis.  I am the only child of my mother and father.  My life was fair but I didnít have my father in my life.  So I started with trying to be something that I wasnít.  I was off into all types of crazy things.  I saw the penitentiary at 18 years of age, so what does that tell you?  The same thing I asked myself:  What the hell was my problem??? 

The problem as a number of things:  attitude, power struggle, authority figures, peers and my own way of thinking.  I have been in front of my judge more times than I can count on my hands.  One thing I will never forget was my last appearance in court.  Judge Anna Forder put it to me like this:  ďIf I ever see you again, no one will ever see you again.Ē  So she put me in the Enlightened Sentencing (Transcendental Stress Management program) along with other things.  It was rough in the beginning but through all this I am standing here telling you my story.  So now what does that tell you?   TSM has put me at a subconscious level and state of mind that brought me to a point where I found myself.  I might not be perfect but I am not under seven.  I found peace within myself.  The only way to love others and to respect others, you must love and respect yourself before anybody else. TSM, along with other guidance, gave me that understanding. 

With TSM, I can control myself better than at first.  A person could not look at me or say anything to me without me tripping.  I now communicate better with others than before. I spend more time with my daughter and family than just hanging out.  I work hard and honest now.  I didnít really work at all until I put myself on papers!  When I meditate now and come back to a conscious state, I look at life a different way.  Sometimes I wish I could just meditate all day, every day, to get that feeling.  At times it is like getting high without anything but life itself. 

TSM has taught me to teach myself how to express my feelings without overdoing it or taking it to another level.  With that skill under my belt, it brought me to a point where I got into contact with my father and told him how I really felt about him not being in my life as I was growing up.  Now I talk to him like he has been in my life the whole time.  That is something I always wanted.  I always thought about if I would have had a father coming up I might not be in the position I am in now.  But as a man and a responsible adult, nobody is to blame for my actions but myself.  My mother alone taught me right from wrong.  Thatís all you need to know to get by in life.  You pick which one you choose to do. In conclusion, TSM has opened a lot of doors for me but it opened one I thought nobody would have ever opened.Ē

 

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Here is what the parents of one seventeen-year old had to say about their son:

"We are writing to express our utmost support for the TSM guidance taught to our son by Farrokh Anklesaria.  We were initially quite reluctant to have P. participate in this program because we felt it might be something "offbeatĒ or unlikely for a teenager to utilize.  In actuality, nothing could be further from the truth.  Over a year has passed and P. still meditates twice daily.  Most importantly he seems highly focused, genuinely relaxed, punctual and able to sort through a variety of issues in a calm manner.  There is nothing about his experience that we find difficult to relate to or unimportant in terms of potential benefits. ... We believe this type of "alternative sentencingĒ to be far more potentially productive than other types of punitive sentencing.  To that end, we applaud Farrokh Anklesaria and hope that he continues to have opportunities to work with troubled youth.Ē  


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Raymond D.

"I will be 30 on the 28th of February Ė my birthday is coming up.  I came into this program because of a female I was staying with.  Things werenít going so well between us and I decided to move out.  Thatís when she called the law.  I was accused of a lot of criminal activity like burglary and all that.  Thatís how I got locked up.  I was placed on probation and during my probation time TSM was introduced to me. I was supposed to come to these classes and go to anger management classes.  And to complete these classes.

I went to the anger management and I discontinued going to these classes because I was uncomfortable.  I wasnít getting anything out of them.  My Probation Officer then told me about Transcendental Stress Management and the Enlightened Sentencing Project óand Iím thinking to myself  ďHere we go again.  Another program that ainít gonna help meĒ.  I took it as a joke. 

As I started to come to TSM classes each week, Iím doing my meditation and I notice the difference.  I couldnít understand it at first Ė right now Iím happy; more happy than I have been at any time these last 3 or 4 years.

I have a quick temper but I quit the anger management class because I wasnít getting enough out of the program.  We sit around in a circle in the anger management class and we talk.  The instructor would always criticize us.  I didnít like him at all.  I used to leave these classes feeling really upset and I wasnít the only one.  There was a lot of people leaving these classes upset.  They didnít teach us anything to control our temper.  I guess the only way to control our temper was to go to these classes and sit and talk about it.  I attended 16 or 17 classes and I didnít like it Ė didnít like it one bit.  Sit around in a circle and be angry.

With the TSM class there is peace.  Youíre kind of more relaxed, laid back.  Iím a wise person now.  When you meditate you find yourself, you meet your own self.  Once you find yourself you get wiser.  Iím a wise person.  Iím happy.  Iím happy; thatís all.  If someone were to pick a fight with me today Iíd just walk away.  Iíd tell him ďIím not trying to start nothing with you.  I wanna start nothing with you.Ē  Before I started TSM I would probably be arguing with him.  One thing would have led to another and one of us would have been on the ground hurt. 

I sleep real good now.  Before TSM I would be tossing and turning all night before I could go to sleep.  TSM keeps your mind clear and keeps you a little bit sharper in what you do.  Iím a church man.  When I go to church my mind is already set on the Lord because I meditate and now Iím ready to receive the word of God and can really understand, in that, instead of having my mind all clogged up.  Before my mind would be wandering and thinking other stuff.  But now itís just, Iím just sharp, focused in everything about God.  TSM has brought me closer to my God and I always keep my God first.  Meditation and God.  Thatís powerful.  Thatís all I can say. 

I am doing good at work.  I was promoted on February 14th to a higher position Ė I am the Operations Manager now.  TSM has helped me.  Iím just a happy man right now.  I come here twice a week.  Too bad I canít come here every day.  I enjoy coming here and I try to make all the meetings, even to make up days.  I know I got perfect attendance, but you cannot get enough of TSM.  Once you really put your mind set into TSM, you want to get involved in everything that goes on.  Thatís all I want to do.  Iím trying to better myself so whatever goes on, whatever days are open, Raymond here in these classes and thatís it. 

If I were to meet Judge Heagney, I would thank him for introducing me to the TSM program.  I would shake his hand because this is an honor to actually sit here and meditate and get something out of the meditation and feel proud about what youíre doing and actually be happy with yourself.  I would thank him very much for sending me here.  Iím always looking for things to improve myself and this was a clear opportunity.Ē  

 

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William B.

"In the beginning, I thought that TSM was just another one of those classes that would take up some of my time.  I also was under the impression that I could fake it to make it through the classes and not do the mantra at home.  As I went to the classes and paid more attention to the instructors I became more involved in the TSM program.  I began to act on the program because I was very stressed on a number of things like my PO (Probation Officer), my health, no money to get to different places. 

As the weeks went by and I practiced my meditation, I viewed a change in my temper and thoughts.  I was able to connect with family and friends on a non-stressful level.  I also noticed that when I went back to the doctor for my monthly checkup he stated that I was doing better and that he was putting me on the same medication but less than before.

At first when I went and had the checkup the blood pressure stayed high.  The change in my health I owe to the TSM program.  The program has made me think and see that I have a very strong inner self that I didnít know of until I began the TSM program.  As of today I feel more confident in my actions and aside from that, I feel good about myself and the way Iím going. 

Now Iíve gotten a job in my field and I can see a future for myself other than selling drugs.  Iíve been clean now from drugs for two years and the way I feel now Iíll never go back to that way of living. 

The TSM program helps you get in touch with your inner self and thatís where you find peace; to me thatís what I needed.  As long as I can I shall continue my meditation.  The TSM program needs more support from POs and their superiors.  I think that if they get more into the program then the state could put more funding into the TSM program.  The state has programs like After Care, Alcoholics Anonymous and a number of others that TSM could take the place of because the facts are on paper that TSM has a higher rate of success with the probationers that have an opportunity to go through the classes.  The state has to give us and the TSM program a chance because itís working for me and I rather go to the TSM classes than the others because of one reason: it works.  I think the state should listen to the probationer because the program is for us.  Thanks.Ē 

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Larry S.

"When I started TSM I thought it was just another stipulation of my probation; one of those classes that they make you take to keep you busy and teach you responsibility.  After a couple of weeks I started noticing I was sleeping better.  In the morning I always feel rested.  I also seem to be more focused on my work.  Before I started TSM and I had a stressful situation, I would carry it with me all day and I didnít know how to deal with it.  Since I have learned how to meditate it feels like I can sort out my problems and deal with them with a clear mind.  It takes a lot to make me angry or upset.  TSM has taught me a lot about myself and how much control I have over my body. 

Before TSM I used to have arguments with my girlfriend.  Since starting TSM we do not argue anymore.  Sometimes she does things that I donít like but it doesnít bother me no more.  I drive a forklift at work.  I feel less tired even though I am the one that does the most work.  My supervisors say I am doing good work all the time.

I will continue to meditate and encourage others to do the same.  Thank you.Ē

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Donald B.

"The Enlightened Sentencing program was designed to help people like me be more conscious of my actions by teaching me to meditate.  It has changed my attitude making me more aware of consequences and be responsible and liable for everything I do.  For me, meditation has been a form of relaxing, relieving tension, and bettering my health.

Meditation has helped me in many ways.  It has helped me be more considerate and kinder to others.  Many doors have been opened for me.  My children have come back into my life.  The love we share is greater than Iíve ever seen.  It has given me a sense of love for myself and allowed me to reach out to others.  Since starting the program, Iíve gotten employed and people appear to want to be in my presence more.  I think this is because my temper is no longer there and I donít yell at people no more or use vulgar words.Ē

 
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Brent M.

"Since Iíve started TSM I have noticed a change.  First let me tell you how I got here.  DrugsÖ  My whole world revolved around drugs and thatís a sad thing to say.  The only thing that made me stop using them was getting in trouble.  Once I got in trouble I stopped using but the urge was still there.  Now, for the past three months, since Iíve started TSM, the urges are gone.  I didnít think it would have that effect on me but it has.  When I come out of TSM class I feel much better.  Not only does the stretching help, but the meditation afterwards is just as effective.

I also donít argue with my girlfriend any more.  I enjoy my job and get along better with my parents.  TSM has helped a significant amount but I really found out how useful it is when I had to deal with the loss of my grandmother.  I was so upset for a week and the only thing that made me feel better was my TSM.  Now Iím glad I started the class.  Everybody is always in a good mood and it puts me in a good mood. 

These essays are all very inspiring.  TSM has solved not one but several problems in my life.  I would like to tell Judge Forder thank you for a second chance.Ē

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Rosalind B.

"Iím a middle aged woman with three kids Ė a single parent working hard to support them.  First let me tell you how I got into the Enlightened Sentencing program.  As some of you know, I have a nasty temper.  Well, I can say ďusedĒ to have a nasty temper.  About a year ago I got myself in something I couldnít control because of my temper.  Anybody said something to me that I thought was disrespecting me or my kidsÖI would just  ďclickĒ.  But now since Iíve started TSM I have control of my temper and handle the things I donít like with others.   I just stop and think before something comes out or clicks.  When my PO told me that my judge assigned me up for TSM with my other duties I had to do my PO asked me what they do in TSM.  I said I didnít know.  I guess keep me out of trouble because I donít want to see Vandalia again. 

When I came for my first day of TSM I was uncomfortable sitting in a room saying a word I never heard of Ė itís called a mantra.  And I didnít know anything about it, but when I got into it I was relaxed.  Really, I felt like a brand new person.  All that day I was on the go.  Just a lot of energy, nice to people that I always had an attitude with.  I was calmer with my kids and at my workplace.  The customers love to see me because Iím always joyful and helpful.  I have got a lot of compliments on my attitude that has changed.  I always used to put down myself all the time saying I canít do this and I canít do that.  Now I always think positive about me and the things I do.  I still have my bad days when TSM canít get through, but I keep on moving.  I donít let nothing get in my way. 

Thanks to my judge--Judge Joan Burger for giving me the program.  I really want to thank myself for squeezing TSM in my time and I havenít forgotten Farrokh.Ē
 

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Wilbert S.
 

"I have noticed a big change in my blood pressure.  My blood pressure has been normal lately so my doctor reduced my blood pressure pills from twice a day to once a day.  My sleep has improved.  Before TSM I tossed and turned in my sleep.  Now I sleep a lot better.  My temper is very much under control.  Before TSM I would fly off the handle.  You couldnít tell me anything.  Now I am more understanding.  I take the time to listen.  I am at peace with myself.

I speak to a lot of youngsters in my neighborhood about TSM.  I tell them thereís more to life than the things they are doing.  I tell them to get into some positive program like TSM, otherwise only two things are left for them Ė death or the penitentiary.

TSM is a better program than AA [Alcoholics Anonymous], NA and CA or anger management.  You listen to everyoneís problems and some people might get the idea of trying their drug of choice.  TSM is superior because it gives you a more settled mind, settled body and a more positive outlook on life.  I broke up with my girlfriend recently.  We are still friends.  If I had not been doing TSM I would have beaten her up or done something worse.

To Judge Heagney, I say thanks to him for introducing me to the TSM program and thank you all for your help.Ē

 

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Marlon H. 

"Now, after the horrible lifestyle of crime, I feel I have a better outlook on life and gained back my inner peace.  Since Iíve begun the TSM program I feel at ease in my mind, body and soul.  I feel like a much happier person.  I smile from morning until night.  Everything around me is in a different perspective.  I have a greater sense of well-being.

Since TSM I have greater expectations in life and have set many goals to succeed.  I let myself use my mind to think before I act and I stay away from any kind of bad influences.  I would like to thank the judge and the TSM program for giving me a better outlook on life and letting me see, and be, the real me.Ē
 

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Cory W.,

"At the beginning of the program I was interested in all the studies that were done on TSM.  However, I thought it was all too good to be true.  I was taught my mantra by my TSM teacher, Margaret Rose Werd.  I had never seen a person smile so much.  She brought a sense of admiration because I could never see myself that happy or optimistic.  In my mind I thought she had been smoking pot.  Then as the course went on I began to understand her state of mind.  Iíve never come across any treatment or classes that are better than TSM when dealing with stress or everyday occurrences.  I never took time out to rest and release the stress naturally.  It was always go, go, go.  With TSM Iíve learned to do so.  I know Iím far away from being where Margaret Rose is but one day, through TSM, I believe that I can achieve contentment and absolute happiness.

Iíve been in and out of jail since I was 14.  To some guys that might not seem like a long time but to me it is most of my life.  TSM seems to make me think more responsibly.  I canít keep wasting my life away and hurting my loved ones.  Iíve been fortunate to be given this chance to grow inside and out.  I have a 13-month-old son now and that is the best thing that has ever happened to me.  My real father had been in and out of jail before I could even have a toddler memory.  This TSM gives me what I need to carry out my duties as a father.  Without a remedy to my stress, I could be back in jail away from my son and loved ones.

I have got accepted into Sanford Brown College.  I start in four days and this is my meal ticket for my family and me.  I know what I can achieve, thanks to TSM.  I want to thank everyone who has given me this blessing.  And I encourage everyone to practice TSM.  It wonít let you down!Ē


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Henry S.

"When I was referred to the TSM program, I had no idea or concept of what the program was about.  All I knew is that I was ordered by the Court to attend the program as one of the conditions of my probation.  At first I was very apprehensive about attending and what it would entail as I had no knowledge about TSM whatsoever.  Once I was enrolled in the program I found that it was very enlightening and after each session, I looked forward to the next.  Now, meditation has become a way of life for me.

I have always been a very intense, highly-strung person, with a volatile personality.  I would become angry at the ďdrop of a hatĒ and had a terrible time controlling that anger, oftentimes taking the anger out on my family.

As a result, I have been arrested numerous times for peace disturbance, for fighting with my wife and later my children.  I have hurt them and now, after TSM, I wonder how they put up with me for thirty years.  Many times these anger attacks came after I was drinking.  The smallest things would set me off and I couldnít control my actions.  I was totally out of control.  After joining the TSM program, I have found an inner peace from my meditation.  When situations start to get stressful, I simply go off by myself and meditate until I reach a peaceful plane.  This is in addition to the time I have set aside each day to devote to meditation.

My family and friends have commented to me that they have noticed a big difference in my demeanor and disposition since I started TSM.  Needless to say, my family life has greatly improved since starting meditation.  Now when I get angry, I know how to channel that anger into something positive, because I take time out to meditate before the situation gets out of hand.  I feel that TSM has been a ďlife saverĒ for me.

There was a time when I would just explode and say and do things that were wrong and hurtful to the people who loved and cared about me the most.  I now realize that I am a very lucky person because they stood by me and didnít desert me.  I am so happy that I found out about meditation.  It has truly changed my life for the better.Ē

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William A.

"Iím a 27-year old black male.  I was sentenced to the TSM program by Judge Autrey as one of my stipulations of probation.  When I first entered TSM, I thought it was another drug program, as the same one I was already on at that time, but it wasnít.  Once I learned the basics of TSM I started liking the meditation process.  The TSM process is a very good process.  It is very helpful and relaxing.  Before I started TSM my family and friends thought I was the meanest person they knew. I had a very quick temper and didnít care who I went off on or put down. 

Now, since I have been doing the TSM program everyone wonders what has happened to my personality.  I have become a polite, respectful and generous person now.  TSM is my stress reliever.   Whenever I feel like exploding I use TSM to keep me from being stressed out and angry at my friends and family for nothing.  Now, since Iíve been using TSM at my job, itís a lot different.  My co-workers think something is wrong with me because I have been so humble and not mean or mad at the whole world for nothing.  I used to go to work and not say anything to anyone, just do my job, just to get out of there.  Now, I help co-workers out, work longer hours and communicate with everyone at my job like a free-minded human being.

I get along with everyone with no problem and no arguments.  My relationships with my family, friends and girlfriend have gotten a lot better than before. With my family, we have become a lot closer, saying that I have become a son to my mother, a big brother to my younger sisters, and a grand-son to my grand-parents.  I started participating in more family outings and family responsibilities by helping out with bills, cleaning the house, taking out the trash, etc. 

My relationship with my girlfriend has gotten better.  We donít argue or fight anymore.  We both sit down and talk about our situation in  a calm and low toned voice to straighten out our disagreements, without all the yelling and screaming, etc.  My girlfriend actually thought I had bumped my head on something because Iíve been so nice to her.  Everyone tells me ďwhatever it is that you are doing with yourself, keep it upĒ.  And I tell everybody that if it werenít for the TSM meditation process, I wouldnít be the responsible and respectful young man that I am today.  I think if everyone would use the TSM process the world would be a better place.

William A.

ďA proud user of TSMĒ Ē


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Louis D.

"I first thought nothing of TSM and really didnít want to get involved with it because I believe I have tried everything Ė anger management, drugs- that would help me.  TSM has helped me find an inner peace within myself, something that I never had.  I used to like arguing and having others do the same, but since Iíve started meditation, all I want is peace of mind and to love others.  I was kind of afraid when I first started, not knowing what to expect.  Once I did find my peaceful state of mind, I didnít think I would feel this way about myself.

Now I am more confident about myself and the challenges I face from day to day.  I am so glad I had the chance to learn about TSM Ė the best thing that could have happened to me.  I think itís a good idea that somebody thought about helping the mind because thatís where all our ideas come from. 

This program has helped me make better decisions and not get excited too quickly.  I am more peaceful, settled with myself and I canít stand to listen to loud peopleís voices.  I am sleeping better, enjoying life to the fullest.  I can remember things that I never thought I would remember Ė like numbers;   I had a problem with numbers.  Now I can remember them easily.Ē


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Terrance F.

"Who would think that TSM could help a person like me deal with life on lifeís terms.  I mean Iíve used drugs to medicate my problems and alcohol to soothe my stress.  I later found myself in a state of unmanageability.  Like most black men, Iíve found myself to be a product of the criminal system.  I started going to jail at the age of 16.  I found myself from this age repeating this cycle.  I found myself in TSM due to a court order.  Judge Henry Autrey found that I needed to find myself.  What do I mean?  Well, letís just say that Iím a 40-year old man with a history of convictions and still manage to find myself going through the system.  This is an indication that maybe this struggle I had wasnít with the system but within myself.  So as a last resort, giving a guy a chance, Judge Autrey introduced my life to TSM.

At first, like most people who come to TSM, it appeared to be a waste of time.  I mean, who would think that meditating everyday could make a difference.  Iíve found that TSM has brought me to a closer state of consciousness and awareness of my self.  My life has begun to make sense.  I can now understand other things outside of myself that seemed to be confusing and mind-boggling.  I can find peace through meditation. 

I am now a manager at a restaurant, in charge of running things Ė a big turnaround from being run around in prison.  And I owe it all to Judge Autrey who saw that I was a guy who needed something else than prison, for he knew that I was already locked up within myself.  And TSM was what I needed to be really set free.Ē
 

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Clarence E.

"I would like to summarize my experience as follows: My life has taken a three hundred and sixty degree turn.  I go to church regularly.  I love my kids and have more patience with them.  I donít disagree or quarrel with my wife on almost every issue as I used to.  My attitude at work is more positive and uplifts everyone.  I want to thank Judge Autrey and my Probation Officer Daniel Spring.Ē
 

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David F.

"First I would like to thank Judge Heagney for giving me this unique opportunity.  It has helped me to control my temper and not become physically violent, even when I am provoked as I was the other day by a motorist on the road.  It has helped me sleep better and improved my relationship with my fiancee.  I look forward to the continual positive effects that I have received from TSM.Ē


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Lee E.

"Before TSM I used to hang out, drink, gamble, etc.  Now itís like a straight line for me. I enjoy things that Iíve never been interested in, like reading, going to church, family gatherings, etc.  My eyesight has improved.  My eye doctor told me two months ago that I wonít be needing glasses.  I wish the world could feel what I feel every time I meditate.  There would be less violence in the world.  It would be like heaven on earth.Ē


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Helen Y.

"I was talking to my counselor.  She said I know you got to be doing some other thing beside this treatment because I only go to her twice a week.  I explained to her I was doing TSM.  She thought I was doing yoga. I told her I was doing TSM, not yoga.  It was my counselor who told me ďyouíve got to go and finish the TSM courseĒ.  She said: ďGirl, I can really tell the change in youĒ.  My tracks are clearing up Ė those which you have when you use heroin with needles.  My skin is clearing up.  I am just taking care of myself better.  I do my hair, I get my nails done, my toes done Ė my whole life has changed.

My 15-year old daughter told me the other day:  ďMommy, I am so proud of you.  This is the longest weíve seen that you ainít been high.Ē  Iíve been clean now 6 months,19 days 7 hours.  My children are real proud of me and I am proud of them.

My mother has told me twice that she wants my children to be involved in TSM.  She is determined that they come here and get whatever youíve got here. " They need to be at TSM."  she said  " because this works, this truly works." 

I want to thank Judge Autrey for giving me this break and sentencing me to the TSM program.Ē

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The Enlightened Sentencing Project is a 501 (c) 3 organization and is not affiliated with the national Transcendental Meditation organization. Transcendental Stress Managementģ is the registered trademark of Farrokh and Ruffina F. Anklesaria.  Copyright 2004, The Enlightened Sentencing Project.  Revised 11/07