My Non Existence in a Prison. From Russia with Love.
The day I bought my flight ticket to Tibet, I quit my great job and I called my friends to come over at evening. Before that, I packed all my things to give to them. I knew their needs. I also packed my books in boxes with their names: so I chose carefully one by one. I knew to whom Yourcenar would be more important in their stage of life. Or to whom I would give Mishima. And Wilde. And Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet. Somerset Maugham’s The Razor’s Edge: the book that kicked me off to leave to where I wanted to go since ages ago: Himalayas. I packed it all and when they arrived I informed them about my decision, my concept of timeless travel and I gave the boxes to them, asking them to leave. I told them a lie: that I would go in 2 days. That night I slept in a full empty house. Me, my back-bag with the only stuff I needed to travel. My safe wallet with traveller checks and money as I closed my bank accounts. My sleeping bag. And me. Nothing else. I gave my old classic Vespa too. And my leather coat. Along with my collection of 35 sunglasses and 42 white shirts. That night I slept in a fully empty space. The house I had with a tree coming in through a broken window.
I knew that night the pleasure and joy of freedom. I could have gone anywhere, to NY, South Africa, Australia or Tibet. Or even stay there and start everything again. Everything was possible. I never felt so free in life. I could have done anything I wanted that night. So I slept in my own peace and silence.
The day after: I left.
All of us were in connection with myself. We trusted me, and we were so in peace as I was. I felt completely safe with my decision. Deeply safe. With nothing to worry about. I never felt so sure in my whole life.
I knew that I would be happy in celibacy and monastic life, focus on my mind and its creativity so I could write and read and meditate freely. I knew I would learn more than I could imagine.
And when I came back, it was because I learned so much that I was fully fulfilled and needed time to digest. It was an overwhelming experience.
But it was time to come back, so I took a flight from Kathmandu to Lisbon on Aeroflot. It was supposed to make a stop over in Moscow for an hour and go straight to Lisbon. The only ticket available was in first class. I travelled with 9 Russian Misses by my side. After 3 hours we landed, – after some movement near to the cockpit. The crew host told us to take our passport and values and to wait in the free shop that they would call us again. We left and after the initial slap of warm humid air, that I figured out that we were not in Moscow, I headed to the free shop and bought myself a swatch. I needed one now that I was coming back to the “civilized” world.
– Where are we?
– In the airport’s free shop, sir.
– but in which airport?
– in Sharjah International Airport, sir.
– ok… and why are we here? I’m supposed to be in Moscow after these 3 hours of flight.
– Oh, I guess you came with the Misses who came here to be seen; that’s why the flight was deflected. But you will go back to Moscow in couple hours.
Arriving to Moscow with 3 hours of delay made me lost my flight to Lisbon. It was 1am already and the Airport was closed. All the people left from a rear door with their passports, visas, etc, except me. I was led to an empty room and was told to wait. I waited all night until the lights were on again: it was 7am. I left the room then and went to buy cigarettes before going to the Transit Office to ask what was happening, since I lost the flight to Lisbon. After what I think it was a deaf conversation with the Russian guys showing them passport and boarding pass and explaining my situation, they called the security who came promptly with Kalashnikovs pointed to my head leading me to a prison’s van in the basement’s parking. Once inside they informed me that I was arrested and asked if I wanted to go to a government’s prison or to a private one to which I would had to pay 60 US$ per night. I didn’t consider the state prison to be an option and I still had some dollars with me.
I was closed then in a hotel room, high floor, and with codes and keys they locked me inside. I decided to sleep and take a bath. Only after I called the service room asking for food.
– I’m in the room 2115, and I wanted to order some food and to know how can I make two phone calls: one international and another local for the Portuguese Embassy.
– I’m sorry sir, but I must inform you that your room doesn’t exist, you’re not here, you’re not in Moscow, and you don’t exist.
– Excuse me?
– Sir, I said that you don’t exist here so you can’t ask for anything. But anytime if you need to talk please feel free to call.
– Excuse me?
Tanya told me 7 times that I didn’t exist, that I was not there, so I couldn’t ask for anything. Which was pretty obvious: how can someone who doesn’t exist ask for anything?
What I didn’t understand was if I didn’t exist… why would I want to talk to her? So I called Tanya again.
– Tanya? I need to eat. I feel weak and I might faint. I need you to send me some food. Please. I don’t eat since almost a day.
After some conversation and calls and calls me back, she got a permission to send me an old dry hamburger to the room that didn’t exist so my not existent stomach could eat to be able to send some oxygen to my not existent brains. Tanya sent big Masha with a small trail with the dry old hamburger. And two guards with Kalashnikovs. I paid 40 US$ for that delightful meal. When they left I cut the old dry hamburger in half and left the other half for dinner. I repeated this for the next days.
I decided to enjoy the moment. The joy of having cigarettes; the joy of a warming bath; the time for meditation and the joy of being naked all the time. I was happy and relaxed with nothing to worry about. I was arrested in a hotel room, but above all I didn’t exist. In fact I did enjoy my own non-existence.
Three days passed and I called Tanya again asking if she knew when would I come back to life, to exist again. Not surprising she answered me that she didn’t know, that I didn’t exist and that I should accept the fact. I hanged up the phone and took a nap. When I woke up I realised then that it was enough time for me to be there in this half way of existence. I decided that was time for me to come back to life.
3 guards knocked at the door with their Kalashnikovs:
– Are you ready?
– It depends.
I might need to get dressed before anything, right?
I got dressed, picked up my cigarettes and left with them. They took me to inside of a plane already with all the passengers in. They took me till the end, and I sat down at the last seat. After departing, the crew host came and gave me back the passport and boarding pass. I didn’t even ask about my luggage. I didn’t care, I was ready. For anything.
Few hours later I landed in Lisbon, where somehow I existed again.
more articles that you should read:
The Awakening of the Self;
The Self, the Mirror, our Shadow and its Fear;
The Hard Softness (NSFW);
Conversations Around the Table;
A Bad Morning;
Bringing the Taboo to Beauty;
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“The Sacred Book of G” is a stream of consciousness, a thought provoking intimate journal written byGonzalo Bénard. After 3 days of brain death he reborn with a deep loss of memory. He reborn without any sense of his past — of his own roots — of his own self. Before that he’d spent his time creating defences to disguise his autism. He had lost it too. New born G had no memory and no defences.
“I, Energy” is a book on Cosmic Consciousness, Quantum Physics and Old Shamanism written by Gonzalo Bénard who not only lived in Himalayas with shamans and in a Buddhist monastery but also in the Western Sahara with old shamans. A guide on healing and transcendental meditation and how you can master your own mind, leading yourself the collective consciousness.
Gonzalo Bénard is a lecturer, author, tutor of autistic teenagers, and a visual artist.His photography has been part of the annual programs of several universities around the world, mainly about the seriesOneness, Nudes and B Shot by a Stranger, and are in several private and public art collections such as Museum of Serralves, Cultural Centre of Cascais or Sir Elton John’s.
His photographs are also being used in Hollywood productions and TV series and you can see his work of photography at his webpage.
Follow @GBenard on twitter for daily updates.
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