poems

The State Of My Soul In Prison, by Rodney Fenner

Hello world. “What is the state of your soul in prison?” was a question posed by Kimberly Malone during a class on spirituality in Sing Sing correctional. After reading the article behind it, I wanted to answer it also. Part of an answer one man gave was, “it’s imperative to recognize that I actually possess one in the first place”, and I want to start there. People in prison have souls. We have hearts, minds, morals, consciences and emotions as well. I say this because it’s implicit in our treatment by certain people that they believe, either consciously or subconsciously, that we don’t have those things and that we are incapable of truth and right actions. Maybe some people just have naturally condescending attitudes, but the majority of them ride the train of thought of “he/she must not have a soul or a conscience to be able to do what he/she did”, especially if the crime was violent. To them, the crime is justification to ride that train to the destination of our unjust and, at times, inhumane treatment. For those people, I give you this to ponder: Everyone was born with these things you think prisoners don’t have, right? So how does breaking a law or being in prison negate a congenital attribute? What about those, like some of you, who broke laws and didn’t get caught? Are they devoid of a soul or a conscience or morals? For the record, some of us just had a detrimental lapse in judgement, some of us were protecting ourselves and some of us (errantly) saw doing something wrong as the only means to do something right. Now, on to Kimberly’s inquiry. The state of my soul is the fruition of the journey of my life. The state of my soul is everything I was, am and will be. Right now, my soul is respectful, patient and pluripotent. When I was out on the street, not one thought in my mind was about my soul. The America I grew up in encouraged people so much to live in the physical world that you could easily forget your soul. The soul is an intrinsic part of you and it takes excavation and focus to find, know and embrace. In here, I’ve had all the time needed to do that. There are parts of my journey I’m definitely not proud of and things I wish I could do differently, however, I love and am proud of how I discovered my soul and the way it matured through the process. True change and growth happens from within and radiates outward. That’s why I said respectful. Even when things happen that we don’t want or are difficult, you can only learn and grow by respecting the lesson each situation presents. A lack of respect can land you in unsavory situations in life and I’m definitely an example of that. From that respect came an understanding and a patience. My soul is patient because I understand. I understand that every person’s journey is different and that everything that happens throughout that journey is warranted for one reason or other. Having that understanding allows me to be patient, no matter the difficulty or the situation because I know that if I do not learn the lesson, it will continually resurface until I do. In my opinion, this is why people are put in the same situations multiple times. I’ve heard many people say it seems like the same thing keeps happening to them or they seem to attract the same kind of people or something of that nature. It’s a lesson there. Only when they understand there’s a lesson there can they be patient enough to see it and learn it. Finally, my soul is pluripotent. This means its capabilities are limitless. We have physical abilities like running, jumping, lifting weights, acrobatics, dancing, etc. We have mental abilities like logic, deducing, reasoning, problem solving, strategizing, etc. I believe that the energy that comprises our soul has abilities as well. Among these abilities are what some would call intuition, astral projection, energy healing, energy conveyance and others. I think that we as humans have been so focused on the extrinsic part of life that we’ve not even thought to explore the most essential part of our being. I think that’s an “if you don’t use, it you lose it” scenario. We weren’t encouraged to seek and use our soul’s capabilities. The vast majority of people don’t believe these kinds of things are possible or even exist outside of our imaginations. Honestly, most of my life, I’ve been neutral. I didn’t believe, but I wasn’t disbelieving either. Otherwise inexplicable events have made me a true and avid believer forever. The responses I read to Kimberly’s question mostly focused on how the extrinsic influences effect them. To determine the state of your soul, I think you must first search inside yourself and connect with the energy that gives you life. Remove all thoughts of anything outside of you and explore that energy. Then, couple what you find with the way life has effected you. That is the state of your soul. You can easily determine your mental and physical state. This, however, is deeper and will take much more effort and dedication. I took my time choosing the three words I chose because I wanted to be sure I was actually describing my soul and not another aspect of my being. I even removed the “in prison” part because everyone is in a prison of sorts. Your prison may be financial, marriage, a lifestyle you feel trapped by, a mental or physical illness, family or friends, a physical prison or whatever. Some may even say that your soul is imprisoned in this existence by your body. The point is that we have to remove all those things from thought when determining the answer to this question. So I challenge anyone and everyone who reads this to delve into themselves to find and acquaint themselves with their soul. Then I challenge you to honestly answer Kimberly’s inquiry. What is the state of your soul? Peace.

Rodney Fenner
DOC #1436377

RulaRook Fenner @FB

Categories: poems, Rodney Fenner

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