On Being a Letter Writing Volunteer

Photo by Calum MacAulay on Unsplash

by Dan Frey

Dan Frey, a new volunteer letter writer with UFP, volunteers his time on a number of worthy projects to help marginalized people. In his free time, he works as a freelance writer at Paperwritings.com, helping people improve their written papers.

I started writing letters to people behind bars a couple of years ago, specifically to people put into solitary confinement for the Lifelines to Solitary program.

Ever since the COVID pandemic started, I have been drawn to enhancing my spiritual life. I guess COVID created solitary confinement for the masses. In this situation, since I couldn’t go out, I went inside myself. Through meditation, I found peace and discovered how that peace was challenged by the mind with its distracting, sometimes amusing, sometimes hurtful, sometimes frightening imagery and inner voice content.

I think the problem with our society is that people choose to live in the illusory world of the mind when the mind cannot be trusted to bring you peace and love, unless those experiences are cultivated daily. It’s like a discipline.

When I write to people behind bars, I like to encourage them to pursue peace, love, and spirituality. When I discovered the Unconditional Freedom Project (UFP) and the Art of Soulmaking workbook, I fell in love with it. Here was a letter writing project focused on spiritual principles like forgiveness, compassion, finding one’s true self, and abiding there in peace and love. I was paired with a person on death row, and I could feel his desperation via the energy he put forth in his letters.

Although I just started writing to my new penpal, I feel excited about how the principles of the workbook, if my friend really dedicates himself, may transform his relationship to his circumstances. Or, at the very least, plant the seeds to that transformation. I know it will not be easy for him. I look forward to whatever he chooses to teach me about himself and his life. I know that as I come to better understand him, I will better understand myself.

The letter writing program is done via a website, which resembles an email account. Letters are reviewed, sent, and received with remarkable speed. Thank you UFP for doing this holy work and for providing opportunities for others like myself to share in it. I can see the gates of Nirvana opening and being welcomed by Kurt Cobain who says, “Come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be, as a friend, as a friend….”

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