Imprisonment

by Alan Johnston, Pottsville NSW

Up until my engagement with Universal Medicine, I never actually considered that (my) soul could intervene in (my) life. However, I did occasionally have the intimation that something was looking out for me in some way, even if at times it felt like the rough end of the pineapple.

For example, I once spent several weeks in prison.

The equation went like this: it was the end of the 1960’s, add a large BSA motorbike plus very long hair and a ‘rebel without a pause’ attitude, a three-car police chase, a conservative magistrate (I wore a wig to court to conceal my hair)… but incarceration was, he said, ‘unavoidable’.

I spent my first few days sharing a cell with a seminary student who was a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War. No contest as to who had the moral high ground.

Now, with a bit more self-reflection than when I was twenty, I have no doubt that this episode was my soul intervening and breaking up a self-destructive spiral.

Things weren’t the same when I got out – I mean apart from the prison haircut. And perhaps you can get a whiff of how that inmate ‘barber’, with all his mates watching on, relished cutting the hippie’s hair.

Closely entwined then, there was the ‘biblical’ disempowerment of the haircutting but also, thanks to my soul, a much more dire imprisonment was revealed.

What I mean is, that through the sudden loss of a heavily-invested-in identity, I got the first glimpse that I was a prisoner of my need for acceptance and recognition – from without, from others. As far back as I could tell it had always been like that. A life sentence, in fact. I probably couldn’t have expressed it quite this way at the time, I just felt extremely vulnerable.

So, while the rebellion didn’t disappear and indeed led to further self-destructive behaviour, I also very gratefully feel that this soul-provided insight/vulnerability (and other such episodes), ultimately helped draw me back to myself – albeit via the scenic route.

And how beautiful it now feels to name and sense the sphere of the soul and its influence, and the joy of that which senses….

119 thoughts on “Imprisonment

  1. It is immensely beautiful and deeply settling to feel and know that the sense of the presence of our Soul, that which has never really left me alone throughout my life, is in fact real, and is an impulse that we can live guided by and is the true representation of who we are and our purpose for being here. Inspired by The Way of the Livingness, I have discovered that a Soulful way of being in life is truly possible.

  2. Your stint in prison clearly put a stop to your ‘rebel without a pause’ trajectory Alan – but well done to you for listening and being honest about where you were going if you continued the direction and path you were on.

  3. Yes until we start getting glimpses of what it is to sense and move with the light of the Soul, it is not so obvious that we are constricted and constrained in a world of illusion, a prison of our own making.

  4. Human life is an enormous experience, and when we get a sense of the soul it’s truly a defining moment, we are already making the return to something much grander by the gentle waking up of our soul’s presence.

  5. Many take the scenic route and get caught in the beauty on the way although for some it does seemingly end up at the wrong end of certain fruits instead of being focused on the movements in the journey that keep us connected to our Soul.

  6. Identification may be our greatest imprisonment, identification as an individual different to everyone else in some way or another that gives us justification to understand ourselves as a separate entity with all the rights we believe we have to be confirmed as such.

    1. So true Alex, as a pasting phase of my life hippism was a way of checking out of life as it was for many baby boomers. Learning to get my hips moving in a way that reconfigures those old ways has been such a blessing as walking through life has been re-routed!

  7. You make me wonder what truly is imprisonment? Is it… just simply being physically restrained – or – could it be that our thoughts and our choices and our actions can imprison us for decades, if not lifetimes, in a manner that is much more retarding than any 4 walls could be?

    1. Yes Meg, we imprison ourselves in ways which are more condemning than any prison cell – our belief systems and stuck ways of thinking are just that – an imprisonment. An imprisonment away from our soul, and I believe there’s nothing worse than that.

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