Since early in 2007 the efforts to deliver an email of hope as offered in A Course in Miracles to prisoners have been ongoing. Prisoners have been a puppy project with this writer for several reasons. The initial of these reasons might be related to the non-public experience of having served most of a five year sentence in prison, but the greater reasons have regarding what occurred while there. It had been 1974 and I was twenty-four years at the time. My own history up to the period was one like so many stories of a young street thug, growing up in a working class Chicago neighborhood, discouraged and disillusioned by the mediocrity and grind of what life had to offer.
That there had to be something better was always a predominating thought. So’better’for me, was the excitement and the radical comradity of our little clique of thugs, always plotting, always stealing, always searching for that thrill. So when those activities resulted within my first arrests, confinement in juvenile punishment facilities and finally in a five year prison sentence,( the big time), I was brought to a juncture acim lessons. I’d crash and burn. Previously embraced justifications for my anti-social behavior would soon be shattered and all of the glamour of the life span of a criminal would cease to contain a good trace of validity.
The underlying conviction that there had to be something on top of that remained nevertheless now (after the ability I’ll describe below) that something would take on a completely new and remarkable definition.
So at twenty-four and while wallowing in the misery of prison life this is what occurred that would lead to forever changing the way in which I’d perceive the world:
The real Me…The I…The Essence of Who and Where I AM emerged for just a couple of short minutes one summer afternoon after a complete sleepless night of worry and immense fear over the possibility that I will be killed the next day.
For the first time in many years I looked to the God I perceived and I prayed for deliverance. I begged and prayed for much time with fever and intensity never before offered.’He’answered…’ He’delivered me. And for some brief moments’He’lifted Me from the body and embraced Me as a loving Father does His Son and assured Me once more, that I could be alright.
While the body lay on the prison cell cot below, the awareness of “I” expanded to add every molecule of air around Me… every feature, the sunlight that streamed through the barred window, the trees and grass outside, the room itself…everything was Me. A crescendo of’sound’accompanied the ability that completely absorbed all sound in the world and played as every instrument in every orchestra throughout the world, in perfect harmony.
Now, many years later, and after much search, many books, and following the message of Forgiveness as gently prescribed in A Course in Miracles, I came to realize that the’person’who searched would never find the answers. See your face, an item of the same thought system that created him, would seek and never find because he was simply in the way. His beliefs, his concepts and ascribed personage blocked the awareness of that which he sought. He had to get free from their own way first. He had to surrender their own image of who he thought he was before any Real knowledge could enter.
The Law of Forgiveness would lend him the methods to do just that. In Forgiveness, the small self would fade in to the oblivion from which it came and what would emerge is the thing that was there all along. That Essence of the Real Self, that “I” and that assurance that everything could be alright. And from that Essence a Power uncommon in this perceived world would accompany it and everything would change for the higher, forever.
Today, almost every day this writer visits the local post office to deliver copies of the first edition of A Course in Miracles [donated by Course in Miracles Society] along with an easy to comprehend introduction to The Course as made available through the writing version of Gary R. Renard’s The End of Reincarnation to lists of prisoners who have expressed the desire to find out about the Course. With the writing version is really a brief essay describing what is known as The Five Signs, five mystical experiences in this life which generated adopting a functional application of the spiritual discipline taught in A Course in Miracles.
With the help of people like Jon Mundy and his Miracles Magazine, Regina Dawn Akers and her The Holy Spirit’s Interpretation of the New Testament, Gary R. Renard and Tami Simon, (The End of Reincarnation) and Dov Fishman of The One Mind Foundation and Acim Gather, as well as Beverly Hutcheson, Marrianne Williamson, Robert Perry, and those friends who help with postage donations, and especially Course In Miracles Society, a new wave of compassion is spreading through the entire populations of prisons throughout the country.
For a number of these prisoners, long forgotten by family or friends, this new avenue of communication brings welcome relief and a light, warm and loving response for their cry for help. It brings Hope where apathy, despair and grief make their home. It delivers Love where blame, guilt and punishment saturate the atmosphere. It brings the possibility of the Peace of God to a’place’where in actuality the egos appetite for misery,pain and hopelessness can now move aside to welcome a glimmer of Light.