KRUGERSDORP PRISON GETS AN UNFORGETTABLE VISITOR
Whatever you have done or not done, you are worthy of love. That was one of the messages from human behavioural specialist, Dr John Demartini, to over 1 000 prisoners when he spoke at the Krugersdorp Prison yesterday (1 Dec 09).
In an unprecedented move, he spoke first to an audience of about 120 correctional services officials before walking down into the bowels of the maximum security prison to address the prisoners.
Demartini told the officials if they weren't inspired by their jobs and making a difference, they were dead weight. "It's important to love what you do and do what you love," he said. "When you can't wait to go to work in the morning, people can't wait to get your service. You can make a real difference to the prisoners' lives by believing in their possibilities, dissolving their hurt with your wisdom or merely laughing at their jokes." However, he warned against perpetuating the prisoners' feelings of entitlement, which he says will lead to further crime. "Instead encourage them to become empowered."
Correctional Services Area Commissioner M Mbebe said the prisoners are looking for hope and they look to us to give it to them. "If we are not inspired, how can we help them? What Dr Demartini gave us today was some really wise and inspiring messages."
In a packed, stark hall, Demartini almost immediately captivated the sea of luminous orange-clad offenders with his own story of triumph over adversity. When he threw the question out: "How many of you would love to do something extraordinary with your lives?" Nearly a thousand hands flew up. This was the moment that Demartini knew he was getting through to them.
They hung on his every word as he explained that everyone dreams of doing something extraordinary with their lives. "When you have a big enough dream, the hows take care of themselves. Those with a vision flourish and those without perish," said Demartini.
He told them that being there, speaking to them, was part of his dream. To do for others what one man did for him when he was 17 years old - triggered a vision in him to conquer his dyslexia, study and share his profound findings on human behaviour with every person so they too can live inspired lives.
When one offender seized the opportunity to announce he was innocent, his fellow inmates starting jeering. Demartini swiftly quelled the situation by explaining there were no mistakes in life and that his time in a correctional facility was an opportunity. "Don't resent being here, ask how this situation serves you and use the time wisely to study so you can live your dream when you get out. If you see this as a problem, you will never see a solution. It's not what happens to you - it's how you perceive it and then act upon it."
The following relevant questions from an audience, now eager to keep Demartini from leaving, were proof they understood his messages of hope.
How do you break the cycle of crime? "If you hang with the same people, doing the same things, letting peer pressure run your life, instead of following your dreams, you are unlikely to break the cycle," replied Demartini. "You are ‘free' to change your life and do things differently."
What was totally unexpected was to witness such a caring relationship between the officials and the offenders. When Demartini explained that there is nothing missing in our lives and that matriarchal love and caring doesn't necessarily have to come from a mother, it can come from a friend, an aunt or a teacher, one offender stood up. He looked at the officials and guards flanking us and said: "Thank you from your gentle brothers. We get love and inspiration from you (officials). You are our family. He then turned to Mbebe and said: "You are our mother." At that point it was hard to believe you were in a room filled with masses of criminals and it was even harder to hold back the tears.
Demartini gave them a mantra to say every day that his mentor had given him some 38 years ago; "I am a genius and I will apply my wisdom." He backed it up by saying; "There is a seed of greatness inside each and every one of you. Believe in yourself and so will the rest of the world."
Demartini continued by saying: "The greatest gift you could give yourselves is to expand your own minds. There is no place of constraint in your mind. When the student is ready, the teacher appears."
Ironically, may be the teacher had appeared when the question came: "How can we get more access to you?" Demartini, who travels the world constantly, appeased the crowd with a promise of a delivery of his self-help books and dvds. On parting, he also said, "I will be back if you will have me." The response was a thunderous applause.
Afterwards Demartini said: "I have spoken in prisons in many countries in the world, but this (today) was way more inspiring than any talk I have ever given. There were people in there that genuinely want to change their lives."
Demartini is no stranger to assisting South Africa in its fight against crime. On many occasions over the last two years, police men and women have flocked to hear Demartini share his wisdom on how to link their jobs to their highest values so they can add more value as protectors of our society.
Special thanks goes to SAP Assistant Commissioner Oswald Reddy for making it possible for the Demartini Institute to be of service to the SA Police and the Correctional Services.