Have a peek into the manual ~
here’s the intro for you
The Manual, Holistic Justice & the Path to Higher Ground by Leonard Scovens
First things first: To be clear about where we are going with this book you know hold in your hands, we have to identify and define the destination–higher ground.
I encountered the perfect description of what I mean by higher ground in Joseph Campbell’s seminal book, The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Campbell recounted a dream sequence of a “distinguished operatic singer”, which was quoted in Frederick Pierce’s, Dreams and Personalities.
“I was walking alone and around the upper end of a large city, through slummy, muddy streets lined with hard little houses. I did not know where I was, but I liked the exploring. I chose one street which was terribly muddy and led across what must have been an open sewer. I followed along between rows of shanties and then discovered a little river flowing between me and some high, firm ground where there was a paved street. This was a nice, perfectly clear river, flowing over grass. I could see the grass moving under the water. There was no way to cross so I went to a little house and asked for a boat. A man there said of course he could help me cross. He brought out a small, wooden box which he put on the edge of the river and I saw at once that with his box I could easily jump across. I know all danger was over and I wanted to reward the man richly.
In thinking of this dream I have a distinct feeling that I did not have to go where I was at all but could have chosen a comfortable walk along paved streets. I had gone to the squalid and muddy district because I preferred adventure and, having begun, I had to go on… When I think of how persistently I kept going straight ahead in the dream, it seems as though I must have known there was something fine ahead like that lovely, grassy river and the secure, high, paved road beyond. Thinking of it in those terms, it is like a determination to be born–or rather to be born again–in a spiritual sense. Perhaps some of us have to go through dark and devious ways before we can find the river of peace or the high road to the soul’s destination.”
Or, as Meister Eckhart has written: “People seldom come to great things without first having gone astray.”
Your personal higher ground is your soul’s optimum destination, the place in your future where you are at your best–whole, healed, fulfilling your purpose. It is the place where your dreams and goals are manifested as your reality.
This manual was created for the purpose of providing you with tools you can use to elevate your consciousness. It has gone through many versions, has traveled through many dimensions, and emerges now tried and refined, the power of the path it has cut well proven. The fact that you are now holding this book in your hands is evidence of this.
It was given to me from the Divine realm in its original form following a prayer I sent up to the Most High while I was butt naked in a strip tank thinking I was going to die from what was later determined to be a severe e-coli infection.
My prayer for my life to be preserved was answered with the original vision for this workshop series and a promise that the Most High would fashion me into the man I had to be to get it done.
That was significant because I was on Close Management status at the time. I still had years of solitary confinement to do and it was tough to see how I could go from shivering naked in a strip tank to guiding groups of men toward their higher ground, but I’d received the promise.
That promise was fulfilled many years later when the Higher Ground Workshop Series was established as a dormitory wide reentry program for violent offenders in Florida and first tier of the Florida Parole Commission’s Lifer’s Program, which prepares parole eligible prisoners for release into society.
But I made a fatal mistake when I defended one of my facilitators who’d been caught with a knife under his mattress and my zeal resulted in my being locked up, gassed, and transferred. The program was destroyed in my absence. I spent the next five years grieving over the murder of my brainchild while wrestling with angels, demons, and the Most High Himself.
I emerged from the experience renewed with a deeper knowledge and understanding of the nature of the war we wage in prison to achieve higher consciousness.
I’m speaking into the spirits and minds of those who are concerned with such matters. I am speaking to those who are interested in the renovation of the mind, the liberation of consciousness from the confines of mundanity and mediocrity into the realm of Excellence.
I have been commissioned by Divinity to share certain knowledge with you that will shift your consciousness onto a higher plane and frequency of vibration IF YOU APPLY IT.
I know because it has worked for me. My life and walk are testimony to the transformative power of the techniques provided in The Manual.
These are ambitious words, I know, but this is Alethiea–a Greek word used in scripture that means the highest truth.
The content of this manual stems from the Higher Ground Workshop Series which was originally envisioned to be conducted in partnership with prison officials. It can still work in this fashion but I have revised it into a form that allows men to do their soul work independently or in small groups in their dormitories and cells.
Note to the Servant Who Leads the Groups – if the manual is being used in a group setting:
The Servant’s job is to guide each student through a journey into his deepest self by examining the impact the student’s crime has had on the student’s victim(s) and community.
Holistic Justice operates from the premise that hurt people hurt people. So, we strive to explore how the student’s hurt has influenced their choices over the years and, through this process, help them heal and become less likely to hurt someone else in the future.
The Holistic Justice path is not about blaming or shaming. The purpose of the journey is to encounter, within the labyrinth of the Self, the woundedness that led the student to harm someone so that the wound can be understood and healed. Though most of us in prison are reluctant to admit it, we are deeply wounded people who’ve been unable to heal. Some would argue that most human beings are hurting in one form or another. Life is a grinder. It is unforgiving. Stay alive for any length of time and you will be hurt. People in prison simply chose destructive ways to cope with this hurt that comes along with being alive.
Some chose to get high or to numb themselves with alcohol. Others chose to try to make other people feel the pain they’ve felt. Then there are those who’ve tried to feel a sense of being powerful by stripping others of their power.
I think it is safe to say that few of us in prison were healed, unbroken, rational human beings before we got locked up. Some of us may begin the journey of healing while we are in prison and emerge, perhaps, as whole and healed human beings, but most of us hide behind a veneer of toughness and machismo, unable to admit how screwed up we are inside.
We have to admit to our woundedness and get a handle on it if we are to make any real progress toward living triumphant, creative lives.
Deep in your wounds are seeds waiting to grow beautiful flowers.
There is value and power hidden within woundedness. The wound contains an enormous amount of energy that can be used to create either brokenness or wholeness. Being able to redirect that energy away from the course of brokenness that has characterized many of our lives and toward the wholeness we’d like our futures to be characterized by, requires a level of wisdom only an encounter with the wound and its healing can provide.
The men in your circle will be unaware of precisely where they are wounded and must be skillfully questioned and carefully guided into it. The Servant must connect deeply enough with his students to intuit when any of them is getting close to the wound.
And you’ll know when you get there. Sometimes the man will begin to cry. Sometimes the student will become silent and still. He will think something he has never thought before and some wild, new, strange thing will bloom in his heart and no one present will ever be the same.
This is the path that leads you to higher ground–a courageous exploration of the wound and a heroic journey to healing that results through this inner exploration.
May you be blessed and find healing in your pain.
In Christ and Love
Comments from men who’ve worked with the Manual:
“I just received Leonard Scoven’s The Manual an I am gratefully honored that you have decided to send me this wonderful gift. I have to say: ” Brother Leonard’s words were powerful in the knowledge and guidance it wears.”
“The manual and Mr Leonard Scovens seek to extract people from their outer shells of built up facades skillfully crafted through years of excuses, lies and shame. Through speaking to one’s ability to seek forgiveness, Mr Scovens ushers others into the light. Only through forgiveness and a contrite mind that’s open to real change, can a person ever truly hope to overcome the obstacles standing in the way of our enlightenment.”
“I was both lifted and inspired by the writing of the Manual. I have never seen me from the point of view of someone other than myself. The Manual was that reflection at which a person steps outside their self to finally see their self. After reading this book I see myself. The Achieve Higher Ground workshop is needed in prisons all across America. It would be an honor to start a course for my journey as well.”
“… But there was still something missing from my own life. After reading Scoven’s The Manual, I was able to identify that barrier. That barrier was the lie that I told at my trial and continue to tell throughout my incarceration–I didn’t have anything to do with the murder of the person I was charged.
In reality, …. I didn’t understand how this lie was stopping me from obtaining my real blessings. With the assistance of Scoven’s book I was finally able to remove that barrier from my life. I accepted full responsibility for what happened the night this person died…. I had to clean my house, accept full responsibility and make atonement.”