I was living a quiet life, survival plus contemplative creativity being pretty much the content of my days. Just a little bit of fertile land, clean flowing water, sticks and stones with which to build shelter, my books and writing gear, a simple wooden flute and hand drum for dancing, not much more required. When they jailed me for thought crime, I really didn’t expect incarceration to be a hardship.
My fellow political prisoners were an odd lot of anarchists, conscientious objectors, pundits for peace, rabble rousers, visionary artists, blasphemers of the official faith. We were crammed into a large concrete cage secured with razor wire encrusted with sharp broken edges of metal. There was a spigot from which to obtain clean drinking water, but no way to wash, so the stench of sweating terrorized humanity continually built. Nutritional pellets were also provided, as were chemically treated latrine holes. They weren’t trying to kill us, but to entrap us in a living hell. On occasion random groups would be taken out to participate as guinea pigs in psychological warfare experiments, or as test subjects for developing weapons. On rare occasion some of those taken, the ones who survived, would be thrown back in with the rest of us, more broken than before.
Amazingly, I was able mostly to keep myself internalized with my meditative exercises, able to move my consciousness into a beautiful, serene fantasy. Some of my fellow inmates would become curious about my seeming peace in the midst of all our pain and horror. Some of them took lessons and learned to join me in our spiritual escape. It seemed to be the best we could do, much better than our captors had ever expected. Taking us from our homes, our seats of influence, systematically and gruesomely destroying us, was meant both to make us ineffective and as a warning to anyone who might think they could make a difference to the rulers’ plan. Yet here we were, still finding ways within and among ourselves to make the best of whatever we were given.
Raw, crude power will find a way to win. Our cages now daily flooded with gaseous neuro-chemicals designed to agitate, disrupt thought, insinuate intensely painful nerve signals through our consciousnesses. The only defense I’ve found is to convince myself it is all a dream. Someday I will awaken, renewed in purpose, stronger from the extremities of illusioned experience. For now I need to learn to envelop with my fellows in a dream of possibilities. Perhaps, with perserverence and practice, I will learn to move that envelop to embrace the guards, their superiors, all of us, and we will all be freed.