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Excerpted from It's a Meaningful Life by Bo Lozoff. Copyright © 2000 by Bo Lozoff. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"Our lives continue to unfold with a power and grace far beyond anything we could have arranged through our own limited imaginations."

Bo Lozoff, It's a Meaningful Life, Part 5

Sita and I have been so stirred and changed by what we have discovered in these spiritual teachings and practices that we have never regretted leaving the fast lane for the vast lane.  Our lives continue to unfold with a power and grace far beyond anything we could have arranged through our own limited imaginations.

We certainly never would have dreamed that our life's work would unfold from the unlikely beginnings of the Prison-Ashram Project, which we began in 1973 with our friend and first mentor, Ram Dass.  After sending free copies of his landmark book, Be Here Now, into prison libraries around the country, Ram Dass began to receive correspondence from prisoners who were hungry for practical spiritual advice in the prison environment.  At that time, I had a few family members in prison and felt a growing need to offer myself in some way into that realm of pain, fear, and suffering.

When Ram Dass and I discovered our mutual interstes, we had what seemed like a small idea: to extend open, interfaith spiritual friendship to prisoners.  Ram Dass has long since moved on in other directions, but the Prison-Ashram Project we co-founded is now probably the oldest and largest such resource in the world.

Many of the hundred or so letters we receive every day from prisoners and their families include statements like, "I was just about ready to give up on myself when I received your books.  You literally saved my life." Sita and I never dreamed that we would see the inside of hundreds of prisons around the world, but it has been a great privilege that has deepened us in ways we could never describe.

After many years of focusing primarily on prison work, we created the Human Kindness Foundation as an umbrella organization for other projects and interests as well.  My lecture and workshop schedule takes me around the world to talk with people about subjects as diverse as the state of society, prison reform, marriage and child-raising, interfaith spirituality, nonprofit careers, sacred stoeis, and anything else that seems worthwhile to discuss with other concerned human beings.

A more recent project of the foundation is the Interfaith Order of Communion and Community, which provides common practices and precepts for several hundred participants spread around the globe (about 70 percent in prison).  They all engage in some sort of local community service, meditate with us at prearranged times, and let us know how they're doing each month.

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