December 13, 2019
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The Prison Cell Meditation by Damien Echols

have to believe in it. There’s no dogma. Even like I said it uses
iconography and symbolism from things like gnostic Christianity
and esoteric Judaism, things like that. But it doesn’t require you
to believe in these things. The reason it uses this symbolism is,
for example, in the part of the country that I grew up in there
are literally places where you come to a four way stop and
there are churches on all four corners. So even if you’re completely atheist,
even if you’re repelled by these things, they are still part of your
psyche, still part of our culture. So we on some level respond
to those things in some way. That doesn’t mean we necessarily have
to believe in them for magick to work. Like I said the people who devise these
techniques wanted to know what works, why it works, how it works, and
how we can make it work better. You don’t have to believe in any of this
any more than you have to believe that your muscles are going to get
bigger by going to the gym. The way that I guess
one of the things that was so hard about Eastern
traditions like Zen was you focus almost entirely on staying
in the present moment all the time. That is really, really hard. Once you actually start trying to do
that you realize how out of control your thoughts are. Our thoughts chase
themselves around like a dog chasing its own tail all the time
from the time we get up until the time we go to sleep. And a lot of the Eastern traditions
deal with almost wrestling against that. Every time you realize you’re doing it,
bringing yourself back to the present moment, back to the present
moment over and over and over. For me I didn’t get a lot
of results out of that. I never found myself in
the present moment m ore than I was whenever I
started the practices. Ceremonial magick on the other hand what
it does is it doesn’t really address that at all. Instead you’re dealing
like, for example, on energy circulation practices
where you’re circulating chi through different parts of your body, you’re
trying to energize different energy centers. It runs down through your spine. Doing that as a side effect you
become more and more present. And I didn’t even realize a lot of
these practices say, for example, the lesser banishing
ritual of the pentagram, when you would learn these things
traditionally the organization, the Order, would give you these
exercises and they would not tell you what they’re going to do. They would not tell
you what they’re for. They would say “go practice this for
a year, come back and talk to us then. And if you’re interested in learning
more and going forward we’ll talk about it then.” Whenever you came
back they would say “okay, well what did you experience?” That’s
how they would know if you had actually been practicing them or not. So I would practice these techniques,
the middle pillar, the lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram,
and one day while I was in prison I bent
over to tie my shoes and I realized, without even trying
to do so, I was in the present moment. And it was almost like an atomic bomb
going off because it was for the very first time in my life
I realized “oh my god, I’m completely in the present moment!”
Of course the second you think that it’s shattered, and you’re
back to thinking or whatever. But it was even after
years of Zen practice it was the first time that I
had truly experienced that, and it was due to ceremonial magick. One of the techniques that
I use, you know, the analogy I used earlier about flushing
yourself out like a cup of water, this is a technique that
flushes our thoughts out. If you have a song going through
your head over and over or if you’re reliving an argument you
had with someone a year ago, if you’re obsessed over something
that you can’t get out of your head, this technique is good for that as well
as just general meditation purposes. It doesn’t have a name. I usually just refer to it as
the prison cell meditation. But if you’re interested I’ll do that. Is that okay? All right. You start by closing your eyes and then
you envision yourself in a prison cell. Standing in the center of a
cell, everything is white. The walls are white. The ceiling is white. The floors are white. The only thing there is in the cell
other than you on the back wall is a slit of a window. And it’s up so high that the
only way that you can reach it, the only way you can see out of it is
by gripping the window ledge high above your head and hoisting
yourself up by sheer, brute, physical upper body strength. Almost like you’re doing
a pull up or a chin up. So you want to bring as much tactile
sensation to the visualization as you possibly can. You want to feel it as much as you can. So picture yourself walking
to the back of this wall, pressing yourself against it,
reaching up with your hands and gripping the edge of that
windowsill with your fingertips. Try to feel what the back
wall of that prison cell would feel like pressed
against the side of your face, pressed against your torso. Feel the coldness of it,
the grittiness of it. And as you start to lift yourself
up off the floor using just your arms try to feel what
that would actually feel like. Feel the muscles in your shoulders. Feel the muscles in your
chest, in your abdomen firing, tensing as you’re pulling yourself up. Try to feel what the wall would feel
like as you scrape against it lifting yourself slowly by sheer strength. As your eyes crest over the rim of
the window white light bursts through the window, floods through the window,
and obliterates everything: The cell, you, everything, until there’s
only white light remaining. Do it again. Press yourself against the back of
the wall, reach up with both hands, and grip the edge of the windowsill. Feel the muscles in your
chest, in your abdomen, in your shoulders tensing as
you start to lift yourself up. Feel the wall scrape against
the front of your thighs, against the side of your face as you
hoist yourself until your eyes come over the edge of the window frame,
and then white light comes flooding in through the window obliterating
everything – you, the cell, until there’s only white light. Once more. Feel yourself pressed against
the wall, raise your arms, hook your fingertips
over the window ledge. Begin to raise yourself
slowly up by sheer strength, feeling the muscles in
your shoulders, your chest, your torso straining as
you lift your body weight. Feel the wall of the prison
cell as you scrub against it; and as your eyes go over the
edge of the window frame, white light comes flooding
in, obliterating everything. And this is one of those things you
can do for as long as you have time. You can do it five times,
you can do it ten times. The longer you do it the
more effective it is. And it gives you something to
work with in your visualization instead of just trying to stay in the
present moment, which is really, really hard.

Otis Rodgers



  1. Coach Casey Posted on November 5, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    Love learning new meditations…excellent!

  2. Owen English Posted on November 5, 2018 at 4:13 pm

    wtf is he talking about?

  3. Alexander K. Posted on November 5, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    Sorry, third time I didn't wait for the light, I pulled up faster and escaped.

  4. DrunkenRampage Posted on November 5, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Are we sure it wasn't something else?

  5. Discover Your Awesomeness Posted on November 5, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    Prove them wrong.

  6. ExtantFrodo2 Posted on November 5, 2018 at 4:21 pm

    8 minutes if kool-aid. No thanks. Jesus this guy is so fucked in the head.

  7. PanasonicTooth Posted on November 5, 2018 at 4:25 pm

    Anyone who thinks they are certain of Echols' innocence should look up "Damien Echols: Hex, Lies and Videotape" on YT…

  8. Blaktimus PRhyme Posted on November 5, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    while I was in prison…i bent over to tie my shoes
    Whooooooaaaaaa imma stop you right there buddy…We know what happened…

  9. directfunebru Posted on November 5, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    seems legit 🤣

  10. Pondering Presbyterian Posted on November 5, 2018 at 4:31 pm

    Big Think is fucking retarded.

  11. Daniel Barale Posted on November 5, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    What with the sunnies? Close your eyes… with sunglasses? Lol

  12. Daniel Barale Posted on November 5, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Meebe da guy's blind.

  13. Trish Abbott Posted on November 5, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Did he say magic!

  14. Richard Webb Posted on November 5, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    Whatever you say Damien.

  15. Sergio Montiel Posted on November 5, 2018 at 5:14 pm

    At least its not an intersectionality video.
    Thats nice

  16. Erik Neumann Posted on November 5, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Fascinating to hear how he was able to survive his ordeal without going completely insane. I wouldn't have survived that…

  17. Marc Pelletier Posted on November 5, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    Petty, thought-induced experiences. Worthless.

  18. St0rm Ranger Posted on November 5, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    What's next, Alex Jones?

    Big Think intellectual integrity = 0

  19. Daniel Sinclair Posted on November 5, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Experience the power of LED lighting… in your mind.

  20. Healing Nature & Meditation Posted on November 5, 2018 at 5:48 pm

    Great video!!💕💕🍀

  21. John Petrovický Posted on November 5, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Hmm… Metaphor for focusing on single thing – light. However it's good because it implies you want to see the light. I will try out tonight

  22. Dylan Wilson Posted on November 5, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Imagination is not meditation. Check out or YouTube free meditation tv to learn to attain true thoughtless awareness the easy way

  23. Jeff Hodge Posted on November 5, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    This clown's next tattoo should be the letters OCD. I'm sick of people who overthink stuff. Life is a two-step process: Set goals and then take action. During the process, control your thoughts. The Big Think is a big joke. Too many speakers are worthless.

  24. blizzardxc12 Posted on November 5, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    Did he just say that he bent over in prison and atomic bomb going off

  25. Riki Posted on November 5, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Kind of reminds me of an old saying: To boil water you first get a pot and fill it with water, next add fire underneath and finally add a tear from an infant. A few minutes later the water will boil.

    This works every time just try it and see for yourself if your skeptical. Doesn't matter if you believe in the tears or not, the facts speak for themselves.

    The deeper thought is I guess it's impossible to be absolutely rational and we all have beliefs hidden or not.

    Perhaps they even add to the final result in a psychological way which in the end becomes useful to break down walls or something like that. As long as it's not hurting anyone and proves useful.

    It just seems to be the ceremonial magic part is kind of like the tear.

    I'm reminded of the way some Mormons will go house to house telling people to just sincerely pray and ask god to prove himself to you and if you feel a burning in your bosom then that is him proving himself to you. This has opened the door many people converting and changing their lives which in the end was very good. I'm sure you can hear a very similar story about all kinds of things around the world.

    Something tells me belief is more involved than the speaker would like to admit. Who knows, I'm probably way off from the actual truth.

  26. Life Improvements Posted on November 5, 2018 at 7:11 pm

    This is what happens when life becomes too easy and you don't have to worry about wolves

  27. Alex Trusk Posted on November 5, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    420 mediation

  28. Tamas Egyed Posted on November 5, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    The light obliterated my cell and me on the first try so I couldn't try again

  29. Tamara Jessup Posted on November 5, 2018 at 8:22 pm

    I'm a former Witch (Wiccan) who is well aware that magic works, and by what power. I am appalled that someone who encourages people to draw on Satanic influence was allowed to post a video here, because, folks, there are two sources of power in the universe, and if, like this man, you've cut yourself off from God, the Eternal Father, there's only one other power source.

    Video title FAIL.

  30. Thea Biscuit Posted on November 5, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    Big Think I've found your latest crop of videos not as well made as your early stuff. They used to be a cogent summary but now just seem a random segment out of a long talk. This is losing me. This talk is too random – the last Jonathon Haidt gave an inaccurate gist of his subject matter. I'm glad I saw him on Bill Mahr & realized I'd got the wrong end of the stick.

  31. Jory Blake Posted on November 5, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Just a question…is this guy the convicted child killer ?

  32. Brianna Weeks Posted on November 5, 2018 at 9:00 pm

    Love this thanks Damien!

  33. Jak Vokun-Sos Posted on November 5, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    ok, so i got through half of this, waiting for it to start making sense, but no. all nonsense new age hippie crap

  34. August Greig Posted on November 5, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    No wonder. Zen and Tao are meant to be practiced in nature, not in prison. Of course he didn't want to be present there.

  35. Fiat Lux Posted on November 5, 2018 at 11:23 pm

    "ceremonial magic, let it be understood, as a means of acquiring the requisite potential of will-force, is principally of use for the beginner. Ceremonies being as we have said artificial methods for creating a habit of will, become unnecessary when the habit is confirmed… If a schedule of practice is rigidly adhered to, the magician will discard after a time the ceremonial all together, relying upon impromptu work within the limits of his interior magical Circle, and still later apply himself exclusively to that magical practice called the mass of the Holy Ghost."
    Pg. 134

  36. ro pro Posted on November 6, 2018 at 12:17 am

    Why are you wearing sunglasses indoors… <eye roll>

  37. Skippy (The Bush Kangaroo) Posted on November 6, 2018 at 1:33 am

    Qi? Energy centre in the spine? What the shit is this.

  38. james staggs Posted on November 6, 2018 at 1:59 am

    I spent 7 years in prison. I think I'll skip this one.

  39. kitty k Posted on November 6, 2018 at 3:12 am

    everyone is different in how they react to all the different methods and techniques out there i suppose

  40. valenius the kat Posted on November 6, 2018 at 3:21 am

    I'm a proud Pagan and thank you for this vid ⛤👍

    I would love to meet you for a face to face chat. This is as close to social media as I choose to get, so: [email protected]
    I hope to hear from you soon (I'm a 46yr old woman, so I'm just in it for the brainstorm) 👍

  41. forgiveness denied Posted on November 6, 2018 at 4:33 am

    the only man who can wear sun glasses indoor is morpeus from matrix, you look stupid, take it off

  42. Milesblue Posted on November 6, 2018 at 9:49 am

    Really? Big Think promotes a guy who believes in magic? Pure flim flam.

  43. Chando Bhardwaj Posted on November 6, 2018 at 10:43 am

    vipassana is being practiced in many prisons

  44. The Furry Hypothesis Posted on November 6, 2018 at 2:32 pm

    Did this guy come from The Matrix?

  45. bob Posted on November 6, 2018 at 2:49 pm

    4:16 sorry to you that believe in these things, but i did have to laugh this part

  46. J Loren Posted on November 6, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    Im not trying to be closed-minded but is he using "magic/majik" word in a different context? Is there a synonym? To my current understanding, anything that does something can be repeated and if not, it was a singularity or coincidence and there is no point in teaching it in a temporal universe. I hear a meditation exercise but I don't understand its association with "magic".

  47. 1p6t1gms Posted on November 6, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Thank you Damien, on Meditation from one perspective of a thought in a shortened summary.
    Start slowly and build up the time one minute the first day, two the second day and so on. Do not go over fifteen minutes; focusing on one beautiful word from nature is helpful and so would a candle’s light or reflection of light off a crystal to focus visually towards, as well as a peaceful comfortable setting. Don’t think about unreal or magical things during or after the learning process as it is going to take time away from reality and it would not be helpful to do so, you may need to start over.
    One of the main benefits of meditation is when quieting the subconscious mind to degrees of control you are able to achieve this opens you up for a clearer thinking process without being muddled by the interrupting thoughts prior to or during any events you are involved with in future events, as the mind has improved control and focus more intently on thoughts.

  48. Jynx C. Posted on November 6, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    Informative video. I might be able to help some people with this. This will be just as difficult/impossible for people that can't concentrate, but it might help people with self esteem issues that absolutely refuse to focus on themselves. I've tried similar meditation before to heal myself.

    I agree that many symbols are ingrained into collective unconsciousness just like archetypes are. I didn't realize the banishing ritual was originally devised by the hermetic order of the golden dawn. Sorting out effective magickal techniques from dogma goes contrary to the presupposition that a book of shadows has to be unique to each practioner. Scalability is valuable is ultimately the value of the objective. Society is struggling to integrate their individual subjective quality of life with objective tech and knowledge. I suppose magick is as good a starting point as any for exploring this integration, especially with a tradition that sought practices that work for many/everyone.

    Do any of you have any clue what the deeper costs are to magick besides some time, effort, and ATP? For example, entropy seems to be a deep cost to life itself. I'm almost certain all these techniques are just ways to use consciousness more effectively to improve quality of life.

  49. Dan Inbari Posted on November 6, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    isn't this suppose to be a logical pro science channel? not sure how this vid relate to your audience. it gave me nothing to think about, its just some dude talking about energies and pseudo science non sense. for ex. if there was new research made about "chi" or meditation practice and effects, that would be something i would like to hear about and discuss. he didn't have anything new or interesting to say, u can get all of that from a yuga instructor at your local gym. 😛

  50. Ric Perrott Posted on November 6, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Sorry, not taking life advice from someone that wears a giant skull ring on their index finger. 🙂

  51. Guapo24k Posted on November 7, 2018 at 1:30 am

    I love meditation but his energy feels like hes trying to introduce you to satanism 🤔

  52. Jonathan Cordova Posted on November 7, 2018 at 2:41 am

    so on the one hand you have credible intelligent people saying , very interesting things… and then there is this… Big think you have shot your credibility in the foot.

  53. Free Diugh Posted on November 7, 2018 at 7:23 am

    "One day, while I was in prison, I BENT OVER to tie my shoes…"

    "…And I realized without even trying to do so…"

    "I was in the present moment!"

    "it was like an atomic bomb going off!"

    Alright m8, that was no meditation, that was the Middle Pillar hitting your Lesser Pentagram.

  54. Jimmy Durden Posted on November 7, 2018 at 7:52 am

    This baby killer should still be in prison. Anyone who ever bothered to read the case files knows he is guilty as hell.

  55. Eric Piteau Posted on November 8, 2018 at 1:32 am

    Meditation has nothing to do with "magical thinking". The purpose is to awaken the mind to the reality of the moment, clear and free from fantasy and false idealism.

  56. jl co Posted on November 8, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    Please, put the subtitles

  57. No Labels Posted on November 9, 2018 at 9:08 am

    Great video. Meditation holds the key to real freedom than no one can take from you. May your suffering end, may you find peace. ☯️
    “I know why the caged bird sings.” Maya Angelo

  58. dman1337 Posted on November 11, 2018 at 12:05 am

    Sleazy con man, think he was in prison for a reason

  59. Mateo Posted on November 12, 2018 at 2:01 am

    Sorry, lost interest the moment I saw the sunglasses and hipster hairdo.

  60. Mithilesh Kuncham Posted on November 12, 2018 at 8:19 am

    hahaha … oh my god … i don't know where to begin … hahahahaa … this guy is a fucking lunatic

  61. Wabi Sabi Posted on November 14, 2018 at 9:50 am

    I've heard some really great ideas on this channel, so it's a bummer to see them peddling nonsense like this. You're better than this creep, Big Thnk!

  62. LagiNaLangAko23 Posted on November 14, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    Nah, i just use the free daily meditation from Headspace. Less New Agey.

  63. J Posted on November 17, 2018 at 2:02 am

    JKZ has the best mediation in my opinion

  64. Anthony Barba Posted on November 21, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    Magic?! The title is about meditation. I’ll wait for him to get to his point.

  65. Jynx C. Posted on January 5, 2019 at 7:35 pm

    Your sunlight in the prison cell meditation might have helped me. It's hard to pinpoint for sure when there is such a delayed response time with so many other changing factors at the same time. It could have been a confluence of factors. I just wanted to say that people should give this a try if they feel trapped in a dark coal mine. Sometimes too much pessimism causes us to miss out on good opportunities. For those with religious reservations, just think of it as a prayer that welcomes in the light of god. For those that are more atheistic, think of it as a way to organize your mind better. I see it as a step between wanting to want something, and actually wanting it. I have a hunch that this meditation has both the potentials to reveal one's own hypocrisies, as well distracting away from them, depending on the person and where they are in life. Or maybe I just have an eccentric interpretation of light raining down on the unseen.

  66. Sam Daniele Posted on January 22, 2019 at 2:22 am

    Sorry but I'm not gonna imagine a cell. Because my mind is so powerful I'll end up in one! Bad advice echols… Your imagination is what brings things into being, u should b careful practicing that one.. But would have loved a bit of an example on the rituals though ..etc..

  67. gianmario volta Posted on January 23, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    Pure crap

  68. WM 3 Guilty Posted on February 4, 2019 at 9:12 pm

    Myth: Damien Echols was a "troubled outcast" targeted for his long hair by dumb yokels who thought heavy metal equaled Satanism.

    Truth: Damien Echols was seriously mentally ill.

    Many supporters like to use the line "This could have happened to any of us," as if the government was going after metal fans and Wiccans with the same vigor they pursued Communism in the ‘50s.

    This is an especially attractive myth for people who like to think that a funny hairstyle or black clothing is a valid form of rebellion that the Man needs to quash (“Mabel, I saw a t-shirt today that said ‘Goddess Bless.’ I’m votin’ Green Party from now on.”) But, while lots of people might have been outcasts in high school, but they probably didn't:

    *Stay in a mental hospital, where a doctor listed “extreme physical aggression towards others” as one of the problems.
    *Threaten to attack their parents.
    *Tell a therapist that drinking blood gives them power.
    *Suck the blood out of a wound in front of detention officials
    *Kill and mutilate a dog (this is supported by police reports from both an eyewitness to the mutilation and someone who found the dog's corpse. A dog's skull was also found in Damien's room after his arrest).
    *Receive full disability from the government for mental problems.

    And, in the unlikely event that all of that is true about you, guess what: you might be a murder suspect some day. Folks complain that the “rumor mill” convicted Echols before his arrest. Can you wonder why? You don’t need to believe in a vast satanic conspiracy to see the boy ain’t quite right.

    The Many Confessions of Jessie Miskelly
    No one would argue that Jessie’s conviction kept him from a life of a Rhodes scholar. Nit-picky arguments will break out on occasion on what exactly to label Misskelley: Retarded? Borderline Retarded? I’m going to simplify the whole thing by call him what he definitely is: a dipshit. His lawyer says that Jessie liked to shatter Coke bottles with his fist to show how tough he was. So, dipshit it is.

    Was Jessie’s confession coerced? If you define “coercion” the way most people think of it (say, the way they got confessions during the Inquisition), then the answer is a definite “no.” Despite what some sources state, Jessie was not browbeaten for 12 hours without parental consent. He made his first incriminating statement after a few hours in custody, and his father knew exactly where he was.

    But, according to a sociologist who testified (mostly out of the jury’s earshot) for Miskelly, these few hours of questioning were enough to make Jessie snap and begin lying to his own detriment. Dr. Richard Ofshe, the sociologist in question, said the police’s questioning techniques helped to get a false confession. Ofshe has published several papers that argue that modern interrogation techniques are psychologically overbearing and should be thrown out. Police, who solve somewhere around 80% of the major crimes they close through confessions, would argue that the relatively small number of false confessions aren’t worth losing the crimes they solve. (I haven’t found any hard data that can say what percentage of confessions are “false,” if anyone out there knows, please leave a comment).

    So, the question becomes: how much protection from the law do dipshits deserve?

    Jessie, by the way, didn’t confess just once. He confessed twice on tape, once after his conviction. He also confessed to some guards at one point and perhaps even to a friend before his arrest. Jessie, some folks say, is easily led, but during his second confession, you can hear his attorneys pleading with him not to confess. He does so anyway. So, he’s got a little backbone.

    The other big problem people have with Jessie’s confession is its discrepancies from facts. This can be a little troubling. But here’s the thing: as we established, Jessie is a dipshit. Not only that, but, according to his second taped confession, Jessie drank enough Evan Williams to make himself sick the night of the murder (a statement with some evidence behind it, I might add). Maybe you’ve never drank Evan Williams. It’s not exactly a sippin’ whiskey. So, let’s perform a test. Drink enough E.W. to make you vomit and then play a game of Memory. How’d you do?

  69. Dino Ramzi Posted on March 7, 2019 at 4:18 am

    Wooo woooo woooo…

  70. Matt Black Posted on March 9, 2019 at 5:49 pm

    It's not hard to be in the present moment though, that's another belief. It's actually effortless, and happens accidentally all the time. It's the same thing as being happy. It doesn't require effort, just not having an investment in time.

  71. w light Posted on May 9, 2019 at 3:25 am

    Is he a satanist?

  72. T C Posted on October 1, 2019 at 9:58 am

    I wonder why this would be affective? Wouldn’t it cause anxiety to some?