Journal
Letter from Prison
May 05, 2006 17:27

Ken recently received this letter from a man who is currently incarcerated in the California prison system. Reading this letter was a remarkably powerful experience for me; I felt both profound saddness and immeasurable inspiration in his words, and deep in my heart echoed a startling familiarity. Here is the story of a man who is trapped in the darkest of holes, completely cut off from the rest of the world. He is isolated from the people he loves the most. His life has become, at first glance, hopeless. And yet, his highest Self continues to speak to him, through him, beckoning him ever closer to that which he Always Already is. In the harshest of circumstances, still his soul thrives for its own becoming.

This man is in prison--but who among us isn't? While he is literally locked away behind the cold stone and impenitent steel of consequence, we are all truly prisoners in this world, hopelessly trapped in the concrete dungeons of our own making.

And it is only from the panopticon of Primordial Consciousness that we can see that our chains are in fact the very keys to our liberation.

We are honored to be able to share this with you all.

~posted by Corey

* * * * *

Dear Ken

I write this to you not knowing whether you shall ever read it, though I know that if it is meant to reach you, it shall.

I will start by saying that I am presently incarcerated and facing a trial which may very well result in my being imprisoned for the next couple of decades. Needless to say, this has been a very trying time for me and for my loved ones. Coming to grips with being in prison for so long a period of time has forced me to approach the circumstances as if my death were occurring. My wife, my soulmate, is in so much pain over this that she is leaving me (as a spouse, not as a best friend). I am terrified by the thought that I may never see my parents alive again. I lament over the fact that it is entirely possible that I will never have the opportunity to raise children. It seems to me that there are so many different types of "deaths" that I need to face and accept. It is so hard. I hurt immeasurably, but somehow I make it through each day.

That is where you come in. Since my arrest, I have taken it upon myself to read as much of your works as possible. (The first book I read of yours was S.E.S., which I tackled while in prison six years ago.) I started with Spectrum of Consciousness, followed by S.E.S. (again), then Atman Project and Up From Eden. Next came Eye of Spirit and then Grace and Grit (wow!) I thoroughly enjoyed Boomeritis with all of the endnotes and sidebars. At present, I am reading One Taste, which is what gave me the novel idea to write to you.

I want to tell you that your books have helped me to grow as a person immensely. You have helped me to put my life in perspective, to better assess myself, my thoughts, my actions, and the reasons behind all of it. You have inspired me to read the works of Aurobindo, Ekhart, Gebser, Heidegger, Husserl, Hegel, Kant, Suzuki, Beck & Cowan, and Maslow (among many others...) All while incarcerated.

I admire your works. When I read what you've written, I often feel like I am reading my own journal, only articulated better. It's as if you "stole" my own thoughts, ideas, and emotions. This all seemed quite strange to me, strange until I realized/remembered that your thoughts, ideas, and emotions ARE my thoughts, ideas, and emotions. At Ground, at Spirit, you and I are one and the same, indistinguishable. This brings me great peace. Your writing gives me hope for a future that often feels like it doesn't exist. You renewed my love for everyone just when I have begun to resent the whole lot.

It is my aim to grow further, evolve, devolve, fall back to Ground, remember who I am, whatever one wishes to call it. Prison is a very difficult place to do this. I will not let that set me back. I will not give up. Perhaps you have suggestions for me, exercises or meditations that I can practice. Perhaps you can recommend some (more) books that have good outlines of spiritual and meditative practices. I do not want to get caught in the trap of simply moving towards "intellectual enlightenment" (well read but with no experience.)

Thank you, Ken. You inspire me. I've always told people I meet that when I read your work, it is as if bright, white light were pouring into my cranium from above. I am reminded of who I am so often when I read "you," it brings tears to my eyes. Keep it up. In the meantime, I will continue to do my best to spread the integral message to the men around me in this facility (it is good practice at "Spiral Wizardry.")

Love, [...]

Ken responded with a hand-written postcard, which reads the following:

"I-I am with you, my friend. Take care of your Self. All Best, Ken"

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A beautiful letter to Ken, along with Ken's response.


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