Posts Tagged ‘be free’

 

Recently, I was asked what could I do to help with being in the process of healing and grief from the recent event that has taken place in my life.  I responded that I could look for ways to find faith.  At that time I can say that I was feeling real low in the faith department.

I was given several books, out the blue, that related to someone’s experience about faith.  None of the books that I read really hit home for me.  One of the books that I read was a story of a girl that escaped the Rwanda Genocide called, “Led by Faith”.  It was a very impactful book, but didn’t t speak to my story and what I was looking for.  I have received emails where others mentioned Nelson Mandela and his plight.  A good story but I have read several books by him and it didn’t t seem to be what I was looking for in terms of finding a little more faith.

One day out of the blue I get an email from someone very dear and important to me asking me if I had ever read the book Mans Search for Meaning by Dr. Victor Frankl.  I replied that I had, and that it was a very good book that I wouldn’t mind reading again.  This person had no idea that I was looking for ways to find more faith so I will say that this is an example of the Law of Attraction. The person responds that someone had bought me the book and that I would be getting it in the mail. I was actually excited to get the book again while actually looking for a message.

When I got the book the forward to the book, it is a recent edition, was profound in discussing Dr. Frankl’s purpose for this book. I want to write a little bit of what caught my attention, inspired me and gave me more hope and faith than I have had in a long time.

First, it is important to know that Dr. Frankl’s doctrine of logo therapy is “curing the soul by leading it to find meaning in life.”
Dr. Frankl believed that life is not primarily a quest for pleasure or power, but a quest for meaning.

In the words of Nietzsche: “He who has a Why to live for can bear almost any How.” This seems to be his theme as he goes on to describe the prisoners that gave up on life.  Of those that gave up on live are those who had lost all hopes for a future, they were inevitably the first to die.  They died less from the lack of food or medicine rather than from the lack of hope, lack of something to live for.  By contrast Dr. Frankl kept himself alive and kept hope alive by summoning the thoughts of his wife and the prospect of seeing her again, and by dreaming of lecturing after the war about the psychological lessons to be learned from the Auschwitz experience.

Dr. Frankl saw three possible sources for meaning:  in work, in love, and in courage during difficult times.  Suffering in and of itself is meaningless; we give our suffering meaning by the way in which we respond to it.  Dr. Frankl writes that a person,” may remain brave, dignified and unselfish in the bitter fight for self preservation, or he may forget his human dignity he becomes no more that an animal.” He says that only a few prisoners of the Nazis were able to to the former “but even one such example is sufficient proof that man’s inner strength may raise him above his outward fate.”

Profound words spoken by a man that was beaten and tortured. It is further mention that “Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you respond to the situation.  You cannot control what happens in life, but you can always control what you will feel and to about what happens to you.”

Upon reading these few pages of the opening of the book it became clear to me that in the end it is I who have the control over what ultimately happens to me.  I can be bitter and resentful or I can continually look for ways to find hope, faith and gratitude. I have always known this and have even applied it in certain cases but I have never had to apply this concept of logo therapy at this level.  Looking for ways to cure my soul while in a bitter battle to maintain sanity.  All of this is a journey, a quest if you like, to find that place where I can summon that inner strength at any given time and during any given situation in a dignified, respectable and healthy manner.

I can not tell you what it is like to be in a concentration camp similar to the ones that Dr. Frankl was held captive in, but I can tell you how it feels to be treated in a less than dignified and respectable manner.  I can tell you that in here I am not referred to as Talib but as 11030007, at the end of the day that is who I am and everything about my existence in here is referred to by that number.  It is labeled on my clothes and all the other property that I own here.

I can tell you about the modern Capos and about the struggle to stay alive amongst a group of men that are all for self.  I can tell you about the mental torture that exists here and how many men succumb to it.  How many men have I seen give up hope in the midst of their struggle.  I have had friends literally hang up and kill themselves.  As they reached the point where life had no meaning.  Without meaning there is no reason to live.  “He who has a WHY to live can bear almost any HOW”.  This is where I was stuck at and life started to look meaningless.  The big WHY is what I wrestled with and as a result of not knowing WHY I lost sight on HOW.

What I have realized in my quest for more meaning, faith and hope is that sometimes the WHY is not important, as the WHY may be outside of ones control.  If that is the case do you let that stop you from forward progress? No because the WHY has to be what you have inside of you and not what others do or don’t do, we will never understand that question.  My goal is to create and live my own WHY so that I can control the HOW. The HOW I respond and feel.

This is how I gained a little more faith!

I am having a hard at answering this question because it appears to me that there is little faith and hope that I can redeem myself.  The funny thing about redemption is that it often takes someone else  to set the stage for it to take place.  Meaning there has to be a willingness on the behalf of others to trust you enough to allow you the opportunity to redeem yourself.  Almost like a champion boxer, as long as he has the belt he can pick and choose who he wants to fight.  So ones chance at a shot at the title depends on his willingness to let you fight him.  So nothing else matters without his consent.

I feel like that underdog fighter begging for a shot at the title, at a chance to redeem myself.  The one that is often overlooked and never taken serious.  Have you ever seen that person?  Often when that person gets the chance to show off their skills they leave a heck of an impression.

I guess freedom is like that and society is that ring.  I liken it to that in some many aspects. There are a lot of men and women that have been in here training for that big fight and redemption.  The fight that no one thinks they can win.  The fight of their lives.  All odds are against them and all bets are on!  These men and women are begging for the chance to show that they can succeed if given the chance.  The sad reality is that some of us are never going to get that chance and the never have that opportunity to show the world what we really are made of.  We will never get a chance to leave our mark on the world.

Everyone that comes to prison is not bad, even though prison is where they send bad people.  I think that the society is starting to realize this, that all people in prison are not bad.  There are some fighters in here, waiting to get out and show the world that they are not bad people.  They are training for redemption!

I thought that the training that I have been going through for the past 20 years would have made me a good contender for a shot at the title, the world.  But, it is obvious that there are still some doubters out there that do not think that I deserve that title shot.  That I do not deserve redemption.  The only way that I can get out and redeem myself is that they have to let me out and give me a shot at that title.  I know that I will leave my mark and a heck of an impression on the world!  All I need is that shot at the title!

This is something that I read and took out of a Spanish newspaper that I want to share…. – Talib

The intense darkness of the night will never outlast the dawn of that will come. As long as there is life there is hope.

The most beautiful things in life are free.
money can buy you a house, but not a home;
money can buy you people that can shower you with accolades, but not a family;
money can buy you books, but not knowledge;
money can buy you food, but not an appetite;
money can buy you company, but not true friendship;
money can buy you conscience, but not the sky;
money can buy you vitamins, but not youth;
money can buy you medicine, but not health.
What money can not buy the Creator gives you for free.

here is something that i have used for many years to remind myself of the way of playing the game of life and i want to share this. i call this a daily meditation.

there are 4 ways to play the game of life

1. playing to lose: in this mindset, you find excuses for not doing what you want to do. this is a demonstration of simple laziness.

2. playing not to lose: in this mindset, you do just enough to say you tried and enough to let others know you are trying. however, what you do is not consistent or persistent, nor does it carry the level of commitment required to get you what you say you want in life.

3. playing not to win: in this mindset, you split your time, energy and attention among too many things. you have difficulty completing what you start but you always take on more to do. this is called over-commitment, which results in being scattered.

4. playing to win: in this mindset, you give 100% of your time and energy, attention resources and commitment to a goal. you have clear intentions, and the commitment to it is what keeps you focused.

HOW DO YOU PLAY?????

it was once said that education was the true liberator. when i use to hear this as a youngster i use to blow this statement off. growing up was hard in the sense that for some reason it was preached and shown that the more ignorant you are the cooler you were. we have essentially made ignorance a part of our culture. look at the shows that are portrayed on tv, via real tv. if this is a reflection of our society and a representation of what it means to be a successful american than we are way off the mark. even right here guys get caught up in these shows and have all of these dreams and ideas that life is going to be that way for them upon release. it is as if you can not get a slot on tv if you don’t act like a fool or immoral. not one to pass judgment, that is not my thing trust me, but i must say that there has to be a concern as to what it is that is we are teaching each other, this is not a younger generation problem but one that transcends all cultures, races and age groups, ignorance.

people ask me all the time how did i do so much time. and at what point did i have a paradigm shift in the way that i thought and acted. there were many factors that took place but the most liberating thing that happened to me was that i became educated. see that doesn’t mean knowing everything or having a degree etc. what that means is that you decide to become educated in the role that you have to play in life. this role is different with every individual.

incarceration can come in various forms and the worse form is to be incarcerated mentally. which is to imprison yourself. see i am here in prison physically and have been for 20 years but i have been all across the world and back many times. to liberate your mind from bondage is the most liberating thing that one can do for him/ herself. and that is achieved by way of education.

how and when did it happen for me? i recall the time and the moment clearly. i was in a supermax prison where we were locked down 23 hours a day and 1 out the cells to bathe and use the phone. i stay here for over a year. the first week i slept as i didn’t know how long i was going to be there. during this time i began to really ask myself what did i want out of life and what was i going to do with my life if i ever got out of prison. after a while i could not sleep any more. i was tired of sleeping. if i wasn’t sleeping i was working out, fueling the anger that i had built up in me. i was up to about 2500 push ups and sit ups. i would do sets of 100 until i was exhausted. i got tired of doing that. i got word that my stay was going to be extended and indefinite. what a blow!! it was at this time that i asked myself what the hell does it mean to be free. and how in the hell can i be in prison and further in prison, the hole!! i knew that there was one thing left and that was to become liberated by way of education. i had get something that they could not take from me. and that was whatever i stored in my brain and heart!! so i started to read! i read one book after another! not only did i read but i analyzed the stuff that i read. i started to learn arabic and eventually became fluent. but the thirst to be liberated was not quenched and i had to give in to that urge to learn so i learned spanish, which i am fluent in that as well. so that is another half of the world that i have been exposed to! this has changed my world view a great deal, speaking foreign languages.

so what is the point in all of this. as we talk about change and what can be done to facilitate it. EDUCATION!! this is where it starts and it is a LIBERATOR!!

yes i truly believe that one has to be educated to be liberated. see yes i have been physically in bondage for many years now but it is nothing compared to those who are trapped within other types of bondages. those that may have mental health issues, addiction issues, ecomincal issues etc. there are others that i consider to be far worse than i am. yet the one thing that can free a person is education about the issues that are holding them back from not enjoying life, or is contributing to a poor quality of life.

one of the jobs that i have here is i am spanish G.E.D tutor and i see the regret on many guys faces as they struggle to read basic sentences or do basic math. the a big regret that they have is that they didn’t learn how to do this when they were younger. but that is not the biggest. the biggest regret is the reality that there are not that many options for those how can not read and write out there in the world and that at minimum a G.E.D is needed to gain meaningful employeement. and as that sink in the reality is that the only option that they have leads them back to the seat that they occupy now. crime and that life, to those who have no education, seems to be the only option that they have and accept.

so it is safe to say that without education the road is going to be harder than what one may think right now. if there was one thing that i could tell anyone today, old/young, black/white, male /female,rich or poor, would be to never underestimate to power of what it is and means to be educated! everything that exist around you from the computers that you use to the cars that you drive to the prison cell that i occupy for now was designed by way of someone who was educated in that field of study. for the good or the bad education is the key. to be able to fly from the east coast to the west coast is a luxuary that many enjoy. can you imagine life without airplanes and the other modes of transportation that we enjoy. a friend of mine was telling me about a train that runs from upstate ny to nyc in little to no time. we are talking hours from nyc. i couldn’t imagine that because when i left that didn’t exist, but someone had the insight to do that and i sure that someone profited along the way.

so my point is i would tell everyone to not underestimate the power of education and to seek all ways to become better educated, in all areas of ones life. this will increase one quality of life and make life more enjoyable and easier. to the youth i would say that the are building prison at a rapid pace and what you may not know, because of lack of education, is that they get the estimate numbers to build prisons based on the number of kids drop out of school. so for every kid that drop out of school they build a cell for him/her. it seems to be the common thought that if you can not think for yourself we will put you were somewhere else will think for you and tell you what to do. NOW HOW IS THAT FOR EDUCATION!!