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TVOL1000 Profile: Gary Shepherd

Gary Shepherd is a prisoner in Arizona where he has been serving a life sentence since 1991 under an old mandatory sentencing law that didn’t require anyone to be injured. His voracious search for truth and meaning has established him as a true self-taught scholar. Gary developed a program called B-Free that helps his fellow prisoners find a newfound sense of freedom and higher purpose in life when embracing an evolutionary convergence of science and spirituality. Gary is certified through a Center for Disease Control grant as a peer education mentor to teach about health, disease prevention, and substance abuse. He is also a Yoga and Mindfulness instructor as well as a founder of “Poetchi” (Poetic Life Force Energy), which is a union of Poetry and Tai Chi. This union allows Gary to poetically explain and perform the counter-balancing forces of Yin and Yang’s creative impetus on evolution in an endless flow of becoming that can be seen, heard, felt, and perceived.

The Art of Becoming: If we are to become an instrument of evolution, we must first understand the underlying catalyst that creates change. The catalyst for all change occurs when stress, pressure, or a challenge of some sort exists. We find this to be true in the microbes all the way up to our very cultures and societies. Even human beings generally will not fundamentally change absent some sort of crisis, pressure, or challenge. It’s at this very edge that we find the greatest potential for change and evolution to occur.

This is the paradox of seemingly contradictory opposites that are actually mutually interdependent forces that permeate all of nature, including our everyday lives. The Yin and Yang, if you will, of life.  For without a problem there is no need for a solution.

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If we are to be conscious instruments of evolution, then we must develop a deep insight into the way counter-balancing forces permeate our everyday lives. This is an area where the Far East has probed the deepest. When viewed from this perspective, the approach taken is the same for a healer or a warrior. That is to see the spirit of sickness before it takes shape—to resolve conflict before it begins. This is the mind frame of a proactive spiritual warrior. A person with a true sense of compassion, humanism, and altruism the embraces the preemptive approach to resolve problems and restore balance and harmony. For an evolutionary who seeks to merge with becoming, this is the spirit to develop. This is the point where a challenge can be perceived and evolve beyond it before it unfolds. This is where the convergence of all fields of knowledge, science, and the proactive spirit is developed to its highest level of perception.

This is one area I understand through direct experience. For it was on my own path of evolution and change that the challenges of prison life motivated me to develop truly contrarian survival mechanisms and a deep perception of how events unfold. It was on this very edge of life and death that I myself evolved the most. With that strong motivation I developed an understanding of the counterbalance of forces that work on the evolutionary process, including the emerging events in our everyday lives. It was these contrarian mechanisms and developed perception that allowed me to save lives, survive seemingly unsurvivable circumstances, and more importantly, helped me develop the insight necessary to see the root of a problem long before the seed was sown.

When we become deeply attuned with the Yin and Yang’s impetus on evolution, we merge with the flow of life adapting to all challenges and effortlessly grow ever adept as conscious instruments of the universal urge of becoming.

I offer my assistance to any I can be of service to:

Gary Shepherd #83752
Forence/East Unit-Dorm-3-5
P.O. Box 5000
Florence, AZ 85132

For more about Gary, see his TVOL interview with David Sloan Wilson titled Saved By Evolution: How a Prison Inmate Turned Science Into a Meaning System

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