Since early in 2007 the efforts to provide a note of hope as offered in A Course in Miracles to prisoners have already been ongoing. Prisoners have already been a pet project because of this writer for a number of reasons. The very first of the reasons could be related to the private experience of having served nearly all of a twenty year sentence in prison, but the higher reasons have regarding what occurred while there. It was 1974 and I was twenty-four years of age at the time. My own history up to that time was one like so many stories of a street thug, growing up in an operating class Chicago neighborhood, discouraged and disillusioned by the mediocrity and grind of what life had to offer.
That there needed 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 looking for that thrill. Then when those activities resulted in my first arrests, confinement in juvenile punishment facilities and finally in a twenty year prison sentence,( the big time), I was delivered to a juncture. I would crash and burn acim lessons. Previously embraced justifications for my anti-social behavior would soon be shattered and every one of the glamour of the life span of a criminal would cease to contain a trace of validity.
The underlying conviction that there needed to be something better still remained however now (after the experience I’ll describe below) that something would accept an entirely new and remarkable definition.
So at twenty-four and while wallowing in the misery of prison life it’s this that occurred that will result in forever changing the way in which I would perceive the entire world:
The actual Me…The I…The Essence of Who and Where I AM emerged for just a couple short minutes one summer afternoon after an entire sleepless night of worry and immense fear over the likelihood that I may be killed the following day.
For the very first time in many years I considered the God I perceived and I prayed for deliverance. I begged and prayed for much time with fever and intensity nothing you’ve seen prior offered.’He’answered…’ He’delivered me. And for some brief moments’He’lifted Me from the human body and embraced Me as a loving Father does His Son and assured Me once again, that I will be alright.
While the human body lay on the prison cell cot below, the awareness of “I” expanded to incorporate every molecule of air around Me… every feature, the sunlight that streamed through the barred window, the trees and grass outside, the area itself…everything was Me. A crescendo of’sound’accompanied the experience that completely absorbed all sound in the world and played as every instrument atlanta divorce attorneys orchestra all around the world, in perfect harmony.
Now, many years later, and after much search, many books, and after the message of Forgiveness as gently prescribed in A Course in Miracles, I came to realize that the’person’who searched would never get the answers. See your face, an item of the exact 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 ab muscles 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 little self would fade to the oblivion that it came and what can emerge is the thing that was there all along. That Essence of the Real Self, that “I” and that assurance that everything will be alright. And from that Essence a Power uncommon in this perceived world would accompany it and everything would change for the greater, forever.
Today, almost every day this writer visits the local post office to provide copies of the first edition of A Course in Miracles [donated by Course in Miracles Society] along having an an easy task to comprehend introduction to The Course as made available through the text version of Gary R. Renard’s The End of Reincarnation to lists of prisoners who have expressed the desire to find out more about the Course. With the text version is really a brief essay describing what is referred to as The Five Signs, five mystical experiences in this life which generated adopting a practical application of the spiritual discipline taught in A Course in Miracles.
With the aid 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, in addition to Beverly Hutcheson, Marrianne Williamson, Robert Perry, and those friends who benefit postage donations, and especially Course In Miracles Society, a fresh wave of compassion is spreading through the populations of prisons all around the country.
For many of these prisoners, long forgotten by family or friends, this new avenue of communication brings welcome relief and a mild, 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 likelihood of the Peace of God to a’place’where the egos appetite for misery,pain and hopelessness may now move aside to welcome a glimmer of Light.