About the Books
Kenny Johnson is the author of the book “The Last Hustle” chronicling his years as a criminal and how he was transformed while incarcerated. His story proves that however hard and unpromising our particular life circumstances, we can discover true happiness.
"He speaks of this freedom at correctional facilities the world over.
His story is an inspiration to hundreds of others." - Gangaji
For thirty-one years Kenny Johnson’s most fervent desire was to hear his name ‘ringing in the streets’ as a hustler, thief, and pimp. Running parallel with that desire was a persistent seed of spiritual longing that would not leave him alone.
Kenny was arrested thirty-seven times and spent much of his life in prison, or on the run. Each time behind bars sent him into a deep and profound despair. Eventually his desire for lasting freedom would drive him to find a power that could not only get him through his final sentence, but free him from prison forever.
“I had to find a power that would not only get me through my current sentence, but would free me
from prison forever.”
During his early years in prison, he spent most of his time participating in religious and substance abuse groups. It was his inner desire for freedom that led him and a band of truth-seekers to a meeting in the prison chapel.
There, Gangaji, a spiritual teacher, answered his most pressing question:
“It is my understanding that we have to wait until we die before we can receive God’s Grace. Is that so?”
She replied, “Kenny, God’s Grace is here now! Kenny you think you are a convict, you think you are your
name, you think you are a black man. Kenny you are none of these things.”
Instantly he knew he would never be a thief again. But how do you re-enter the world outside without resorting to old weaknesses? How would he survive and how would it be possible to maintain his newly found experience of grace?
“This ever present Grace supports me in each moment now.”
Paroled from prison in 1997 and successfully discharged from supervision, Kenny now resides in California.
“Kenny Johnson has written a stirring tale of redemption. His story proves that however hard
and unpromising our particular life circumstances, we can discover true happiness. As we follow
the arc of his life, we recognize his mistakes and opportunities. Finally, he recognizes that to live
a free life, he must turn his attention to a bigger life than he has known. This is the same choice
we all are given, and his book compellingly invites us into the bigger life”. – Gangaji
Get a copy of Kenny's book, The Last Hustle, here (Amazon). Available in paperback
See an interview with Kenny here.
From reader Adam W...
Thank you so much for sending me “The last hustle”. What an uplifting story. Reading about Kenny turning his life around really gives hope. If he can do it, we all can! The book has become a hit in my dorm, there is a long list of people who want to read it.
When I first got here people saw me sitting on my bunk meditating (I practice Theravada Buddhist meditation) and s a bunch of books from a former inmate came to me from the people he left them to, on book was Gangaji book “Hidden Treasure”. I really enjoyed reading that book.
Although my practice is Buddhist, I don’t believe that only one group has the market cornered on the Truth and I see that as a message in Kenny’s life, since we are all One, we all have the Truth if we know how to look.
I am interested in learning more about “This Sacred Space”, Kenny and Gangaji and so are my fellow inmates!
Thank you so much for your work!
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This Sacred Space – “Liberating the Imprisoned Heart”
Kenny is in the process of writing his second book. He calls this one Poetic Expressions. This book is for that person that is in a very dark place, looking for some light and hope. “It was books such as this that got me through those dark dark days”. Here's an excerpt.
“Genie in a bottle”
“Sit and be still, and witness the anger, sit be still and witness
the anger. Don’t move! Meditate on this powerful force.
This anger has caused so much pain and suffering over the years.
Then a flash of wisdom hit me.
The zookeeper places a choice piece of meat in the face of the
tiger or lion.
Yes, they are slowly led into the bottle of safety and
Sitting and contemplating is the same process.
This wish-fulfilling genie needs to be kept in a bottle for its
own protection and for the higher purpose of serving humanity.
Even a good genie needs a bottle.
Why not one that will and does cause destruction in the world?
What a joy it is to have this genie and this bottle.
“I have terrifying fears too. I have wild emotions too.
I am going to need more bottles if this keeps up”.
Updates on the new book coming soon!