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We're All Doing Time: A Guide to Getting Free

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Often called "The Convict's Bible," this book is also relevant and important to any spiritual seeker. Interfaith wisdom, divided into 3 The Big View describes Bo and Sita Lozoff's life of activism and spiritual exploration. Getting Free is a section of detailed instruction in classic spiritual practices. Dear Bo is correspondence between Bo and dozens of the inmates he has challenged, encouraged, and loved. This is an amazing book, which has moved people to great extremes. It has been translated into 5 languages.

318 pages, Paperback

First published February 22, 1985

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Bo Lozoff

22 books29 followers

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5 stars
183 (50%)
4 stars
105 (28%)
3 stars
51 (14%)
2 stars
15 (4%)
1 star
9 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews
Profile Image for Prince Campbell.
28 reviews2 followers
April 13, 2013
So this is how the universe works. At least 10 years ago I ran into a friend who had just got out of prison. We talked and he mentioned how this book had completely changed his life. Kinda weird but he was so adamant he gave me his copy. I read it and started following some of the mental exercises. It's all about meditation and running your own head. It definitely gave me some good habits I still follow.

Anyway, another friend of mine had a son who went to prison. My gut told me to send him the book.

Well yesterday I got a call from the kid. I hadn't talked to him since he had gone to jail. He had been out of prison for at least 2 years. But he called me to tell me how much he loved that book and how it helped him. He said he would have called me earlier but he just saw my number at his Moms house. Anyway, he said that book was probably the most influential thing his life and nothing had helped him more. It was a real heartfelt, emotional conversation.

I am not saying the book will make your life better or change you at all. But I can tell you that it has had a profound effect on people I know.
8 reviews
July 1, 2023
I will never be finished reading this book, I buy extra copies to lend to people.
9 reviews
October 20, 2011
"Our greatest acts of violence are how we constantly judge others"

This book is for everyone, not just prisoners. We all want to be free.
5 reviews
June 11, 2009
I got this book while in prison. I learned even free men are doing time and some of them are doing harder time than those locked away.
9 reviews1 follower
December 17, 2009
if you seek to understand the whole universe, you understand nothing. if you seek only to understand your self you understand the universe
338 reviews
August 18, 2012
This book could be very useful for inmates.
I wouldn't recommend all the practices recommended in the second section of the book for "getting free". Only meditation has worked for me. But the yoga and breathing exercises might be helpful for some.
The letters and answers which made up the second half might be relevant for quite a few people who are locked up. The answers I would give differ a bit from Bo's in some cases but Bo's answers are spot-on much of the time. As someone on the outside, this section of the book seemed to drag on. Some of the letters were repetitive. But the diversity and details in the prison letters would probably be of interest to an inmate.
5 reviews1 follower
March 30, 2009
This book changed my life in so many ways, and I've read it many times, starting in 1987. Although for an introduction to Bo Lozoff, I might recommend his more recent book, Deep & Simple, first.
Profile Image for Lolita Lark.
11 reviews1 follower
June 13, 2014
Bo Lozoff has written a book for prisoners, and it is a good one indeed. The writing is simple, wise, direct; it overflows with honesty. The book came out of the Prison-Ashram Project started by Ram Dass --- and it is subtitled (correctly) "A Guide for Getting Free," and the freedom described can be within or without. It is in no way preachy, or arrogant, or "we're-up-here-and-we're-gonna-help-you-down-there." It is an honest recounting of the methods that one can use to get free while one is in the most unfree place in American society. It makes no excuses for the specific methodology it offers to those who are, after all, in a violent war zone:
Going to prison is one more opportunity to come closer to Truth, God, Self, Freedom --- whatever we want to call it. Prison life is so negative and intense, prisoners sometimes get the chance to work out karma and build strength in a period of months that might have taken fifty years on the streets, if they could have done it at all. What a blessing!

This is the tone of the whole book. Grace, godliness, and the topsy-turvy concept that being in prison can contrarily be considered "good fortune." After all, says Lozoff --- where else can we get all our bodily needs taken care of, and have a regular schedule each day to work on our spirituality. The assumption --- the key assumption --- of this book is the very existence of the holiness that each of us holds within ourselves. Such Grace is hidden from us by our ignorance, but it can be accessed by meditation, by touching "the blue pearl" within. As part of the process, one has to leave behind violence, hate, anger, superiority, cruelty. Once one has the courage to embark on such a course --- either inside or outside the joint --- freedom is one, but not the only, dividend.

Full review at ralphmag.org
Profile Image for Malcolm Ivey.
Author 6 books39 followers
April 12, 2015
Timeless. Free to prisoners. This book had such a profound impact on my life that I made it a part of my first novel, Consider the Dragonfly. Bo spent his life teaching inner freedom to prisoners. A few years ago, when he died in a motorcycle wreck, convicts from every nation mourned. We're All Doing Time is one of my all-time favorites.
Profile Image for Connie Collins Johnson.
146 reviews9 followers
October 7, 2018
This guy is the real deal. Spent years teaching meditation and spirituality to prisoners. He shares his messages and some of his exchanges with people. Fascinating to see someone doing the important work of helping people directly.
Profile Image for James.
Author 11 books91 followers
February 25, 2008
A powerful book that has helped many seemingly lost souls turn their lives around. This is a book written mainly for readers who are in prison, by a man who created a yoga/meditation program for inmates that has helped many of them achieve remarkable successes. It is both a philosophical text and a practical guide to specific yoga techniques, primarily involving breathing exercises and visualizations. I read this for the first time when I was working as a psychotherapist in the Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe, the place infamous for the 1980 riot. The state had bought crates and crates of copies, in English and Spanish, and was distributing them free of charge to anyone who wanted them, inmates or staff. I found some of the content useful both for myself and for some of my inmate clients, and was disappointed that most of the other staff weren't interested enough to read it. I would recommend this to anyone as an adjunct to any other spiritual seeking they might be doing.
Profile Image for MizzSandie.
337 reviews351 followers
October 17, 2017
This book served as a big inspiration and example for me, in several ways.
I learned something (more) about the likeness of humans, despite their differing circumstances.
Of the light and dark aspects that is in all of us, and how we are continually, in our own ways growing towards the light.
I learned of ways to reach out my hand to those who think their are lost in the dark, and how big an effect that can have.
And I got inspired by the concrete examples of meditation and yoga stretching (though this fades in comparison to the wisdom of the letters).
I saw, by example, how we are all One.
All journeying through The world of Form and Karma, at different speeds, at different paths, but all to reach the same destination: the Light from where we came. The Love that birthed us into Form.

I'm sure I will return to this book, maybe mostly for the practices, but also to be reminded of the Light where there seems to be only darkness, hope where all seems to be lost.
Profile Image for Michala.
10 reviews6 followers
August 30, 2017
An interesting book about holistic therapy for prisoners. The first part gives many practical exercises to free your mind and bring more harmony and piece into ones life. The second part the book is letters between the author and many different prisoners, sharing their stories and asking for guidance. A very moving, inspiring and insightful read.
Profile Image for Andi Barney.
5 reviews3 followers
August 17, 2008
Bo Lozoff is one of my most favorite writers on Meditation, because he breaks it down into simple steps for the beginner. I discovered him when I first read this book in prison. Even you haven't done time or don't plan to, it's a good book for anyone interested in the topic.
Profile Image for Rene.
24 reviews1 follower
December 6, 2015
A wonderful read, even if you're not in jail or prison! Intended as a guide for incarcerated men and women, the book has a lot of good insight and practical advice for my own hurdles in life. The language is a little outdated, but the message is eternal.
701 reviews3 followers
December 25, 2016
If I plan to keep a book and re-read it, I will give it five stars. I love the work that Bo Lozoff did with inmates and love that he continues to do it even from the grave. Very much wise and compassionate information is contained in this book...for us all.
Profile Image for Kaaviya U.
26 reviews
May 4, 2023
What can I say that hasn't already been said? The meditation techniques in this book are brilliant and easy to follow. Initially, I had little to no spiritual knowledge and, in fact, held a stereotypical atheist mindset, i.e., anti-god. However, I feel like this book has changed my mind and opened me up to a new perspective. I now understand the importance of the Bible and other religious texts and their purpose. It's easy to dismiss spiritual texts as just "god doesn't exist" and move on, but you miss out on a lot of important knowledge. I feel like I read this book at the perfect time, as it answered many questions I had about the world. Kudos to the author for being such an incredible person and sharing their insight with readers like me. This book was like a slap in the face (in a good way!), waking me up to a whole new way of thinking.

Profile Image for Victoria.
85 reviews
November 24, 2018
Not a huge fan of this book myself, but I can understand how it could be helpful to others. I think the methods and practices he described in the front of the book are pretty tried and true. However, at this point the book is so old that a lot of what he said is nothing new. And while I appreciated getting the inside perspectives from the people it helped, I thought it got a little repetitive after a while.
537 reviews85 followers
April 26, 2020
Good book to read during the coronavirus lockdown. We are now all "prison monks" doing time like many people described in the book. I especially liked the first part that describes the author's history and how the prison project got started. Not all of it resonated with me, but there is much wisdom here and I suspect everyone could find something of value.
1 review92 followers
April 5, 2019
This book really changed my life. I have read it about 6 times since the first time that I read it. If you really try to understand some of Bo lozcroffs books then you really can live a more peaceful life.
1 review
December 16, 2020
I read this book in prison about 14 years ago. I was suicidal and desperate. This book helped me sort it out and I found out loving yourself is possible when you love others more. I strongly recommend this book for anyone, in or out of "physical" prison.
Profile Image for andrew y.
1,076 reviews11 followers
January 19, 2021
a psychopharmaceutical professional recommended i read this book and throw away the parts that seemed ridiculous but try and understand the overall message then come back with anything i may have possibly learned. surprisingly i did learn a thing or two. not many if any books like this can do that.
1,747 reviews53 followers
February 23, 2017
This book is an introduction to eastern thought somewhat comparable to Be Here Now.
Compared to Be Here Now, Bo doesn't have the same voice. Bo is lacking the loving, enlightened voice of Ram Dass or Jack Kornfield. Don't get me wrong Bo's actions are very loving and my bias towards a certain emotional tone doesn't contraindicate this book. On the other hand, this book has some very good exercises not found in comparable books.
Lastly, this book has something like 40% of its content dedicated to letters to and from Bo. While I see the purpose for this, it doesn't add much value for me. I might buy this for the exercises, but beyond that there are better introduction to eastern thought books.
Profile Image for Sally McRogerson.
223 reviews17 followers
July 31, 2011
The Prison Phoenix Trust works with people in prison. Oh, surprised you! This book is upliftiing. The title can be read either way cos we're all doing time, a life-time. There's more than one way to get through it and each one requires another bloody decision! We mostly work on old information. Challenge it, and change it!
1 review
September 21, 2011
This book changed my life ......For real I have spoke with bo and his wife several years ago ... these guy are for real ....as real gets ...I got my copy from bo him self and several other books he had sent to me ...rember we are all connected just some of us cant see the glue
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
15 reviews1 follower
October 16, 2012
This was a required read for my Yoga Behind Bars volunteers. Yogi or non-yogi, prisoner or not, this book speaks to us all on one level or another. Bo is the godfather of teaching yoga and meditation to prisoners which is why this book spoke so directly to my cause.
Profile Image for Rachel.
11 reviews5 followers
January 30, 2008
I've read this book around five times through. Its written by one of my few heroes who started the Prison Ashram project. They teach meditation and yoga to lifers.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 35 reviews

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