This true tale of adventure and self-discovery begins behind the walls of a seemingly large prison, once known as East Germany, which finally collapses in 1989. Inspired by a peaceful revolution, he embarks upon a quest for spiritual freedom and adventure, which eventually takes him to South America. Searching for a mystic experience he stumbles upon a group of eclectic Christians, ingesting copious amounts of "liquid" Jesus, locally known as Daime or Ayahuasca.
Mystified but also slightly confused he ends up lost in the Amazon, while crossing the Brazilian border into Northern Peru, where he ends up inside a prison once again. He soon realizes that his circumstances are part of a self-created reality that is meant to test his character and strength, much like a rite of initiation. He will have to find a way out soon in order to survive, but before he can escape he will have to understand the reason for his adventure and find the answer he had been looking for behind those prison walls.
Everyone around me was murmuring in prayer. I assumed it to be the Lord’s Prayer, but really I had no idea because they were speaking Portuguese. But even if they had been speaking German, English or Spanish, I would not have known the words. Where I grew up I had always been told that religion is opiate for the people and thus hadn’t really spent much time in prayer school. Did I believe in God at the time? Well let’s just say that I didn’t exclude the possibility and I did believe Alanis Morissette, who incidentally played God in the movie Dogma, when she sang that life is ironic. Because wasn’t it ironic that I was now here in Northern Bolivia, with a group of Christians, about to take their own sacred opiate, which supposedly would unlock the door to the kingdom of God.
They stopped praying, passed Santa Maria, neatly packed into a joint, and began serving the reddish liquid from a corked wine bottle, in total silence. The surrounding jungle was anything but silent as an array of noises poured into the open windows of the small wooden church, which was only slightly lit by several candles on the table in front of us.
“Like someone playing a synthesizer in the jungle,” Andrew the German had said. Funny how we Westerners compare nature to electronic gadgets, given that he jungle had certainly been there before the synthesizer, or it wouldn’t have had anything to synthesize. And wasn’t that the same fallacious argument science made when it explained everything through chemicals and formulas, which supposedly proved the non-existence of God, when obviously something a bit bigger than ourselves had created nature that we were now explaining through numbers and concepts, using a brain that we had also been given by nature. It’s not like we created it, we’re only explaining it and just because there is evolution does not negate a higher power, because that higher power had designed that process of evolution - we certainly haven’t. It had been done for us, we’re only sitting here all smug and self-satisfied, explaining how it works, but not why it works the way it does.
“The Daime is Jesus Christ liquefied,” Andrew had said. I was about to find out what that meant. One by one the twelve women and men were given their holy sacrament. When it was my turn finally, I walked up to Jose to get my serving of Daime from one of their self-made pottery cups. This was my last chance to bail out. ‘But it’s kind of too late now. I can hardly run out of the church now.’ My heart was pounding as I traced the cross over my chest, holding a cup full of liquid, red Jesus.
‘This is the point of no return; there’s no going back after that,’ I realized and poured the sour-tasting liquid down my throat. I could almost hear the eerie metallic sound of my liquefied mirror image disappearing inside, just like in The Matrix, as Neo starts to feel the effect of the red pill. The voice of Morpheus was ringing in my ear: “Have you ever had a dream that was so real, that you could not tell the difference to the real world? What if you were unable to wake from that dream?”
I walked back to the table and they began singing. Someone had lit a stick of Palo Santo, and the sweet-smelling scent gave the atmosphere an almost holy air. Once we were all served, we sat down again — woman on one side of the table and men on the other. Someone pointed to the book in front of me, indicating the verse they were about to sing. “Dai-me forna e Dai-me amor para eu poder trabalhar.”
As I became engaged in the lyrics I somehow lost my grasp of time. The concept suddenly appeared strange, because it presupposed change, while I had the distinct feeling that nothing was actually changing. I looked at my body and to my surprise I could not fully identify with it; in fact it felt rather alien. A thought entered my mind: ‘That’s not me, but then who or what am I?’ The question is usually purely intellectual in nature but in this state it became almost existential and I felt like if I really wanted to know then this was the time to find out, thus I gave it my fullest attention. I could not concentrate on the lyrics anymore and my head became heavy, so heavy in fact that I had to lay it down on the table in front of me, while my arms were dangling loosely beside me. Not exactly standard etiquette in those sort of circumstances, but then I had just lost sense of time and self, so social etiquette was certainly not on the forefront of my mind either. In fact there wasn’t anything on the forefront or back of my mind, thoughts were simply running amok in there. ‘What was I doing here with this crazy sect?’ ‘What would my dad have to say about all this, about his son getting fucked up with Christians?’ ‘Oh great, he’s completely lost it now.’ Something along those lines probably. I remembered the words of my girlfriend: ‘I have learned so much from you already. You have given me so much optimism.’ That thought made me smile. Someone tapped me on my shoulder.
“You have to do some more work my friend,” a voice said to me in Spanish, though I wasn’t sure who that voice belonged to. ‘Oh, that’s why you call it work,’ I thought. ‘This stuff ain’t easy.’ At that very instant a fluorescent green grasshopper landed on the table right in front of me, which startled me in a very nice way. I felt like I had just received a message from the forest creatures. ‘Just hang on in there buddy,’ the little fella said and hopped on off the table. I slowly sat up straight again and then someone started playing the flute. I had always liked the flute, but on that occasion I was literally in love with the sound of the flute. I could feel it inside my body. The sound seemed to wander up my spine and I was suddenly filled with energy again. I managed to stand up, along with everyone else. I heard the American vomiting noisily out the window and, I know this sounds bad, but it actually made me smile, not only because vomiting out of a church window is funny, but also because I knew I was not alone in my weakness. I began formulating the words I read in the book I held in my hands, after my eyes had slowly adjusted to the letters.
“Eu canto aqui na terra. Oh amor que Deus nos da. Para sempre. Para Sempre
Ah minha ma que vem com migo Para sempre. Para sempre.”
I closed my eyes and let the sound of sempre reverberate within me. It found its way into my head first and then began moving down my spine, somehow filling my entire body with the vibration of eternity and then I lost any sense of reality. Every sensation; touch, smell, balance, taste and vision melted into one: a bright white light of eternal, I suppose you could call it; bliss. An immense electric current of peace and joy overcame me and I knew without thinking that this is where we came from and where we will return to. Well, eventually.