As the new year offers an opportunity for introspection and fresh starts, one local woman plans to focus more on developing spiritually.

Ellen Hartstirn hopes to get closer to her goal by attending a 10-day silent retreat based on an ancient meditation practice. The Oregon Vipassana Association website outlines a practice of self-awareness, offering a balanced way to deal with problems of daily life.

In an effort to share the concept with the community, Hartstirn has made arrangements for a public screening of “The Dhamma Brothers.” The 76-minute film documents the Vipassana meditation practice being implemented at Donaldson Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in Alabama.

The film will be shown free of charge Saturday at 6 p.m. at Pendleton Center for the Arts, 214 N. Main St. Donations will be accepted to help offset costs of renting the facility.

Kelly Tuke, a campaign manager with Picture Motion, said the film has been used as an educational curriculum in high schools and includes content that is mature, but not graphic. He said it’s appropriate for adults and teens.

“At Donaldson, it has had such a positive impact that it is now a permanent part of the prison program,” Hartstirn said. “The practice has helped reduce behavioral problems and recidivism — released prisoners committing new crimes — and the retreats are provided at no cost, being all volunteer-driven.”

Hartstirn said people can gain freedom, both inside and out.

“ ... I think that many of us suffer on some level, whether we are entrapped by our own thoughts and habits, or are literally incarcerated,” she said. “I have hopes that wherever we are in our lives, we may find some freedom from our suffering, and can help to ease the suffering of others.”

For more information about the film screening, contact Hartstirn at 541-429-1069 or ellen@openaccess.org. The film’s website is www.dhammabrothers.com.

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