People love interpreting Bible passages. Nothing is more comforting when you’re in prison or scared.
Get with a text that we all agree is infinitely chewy and will provide endless lifetimes of material for rumination. The ruminator is oblivious to the ugly environment. The ruminating inmate is the happy inmate.
Reading religious texts in prison. Nothing was more comforting. I hate assholes who quip that someone “found God” or “found religion” in prison. No, the person who talks like that found a cliche and emptied their consciousness of all illuminating curiosity.
There is no religion like religion in prison. No tears like the tears of unconditional rock-solid love for God X—the God that you and the other suffering victims turn to with manic trust and hope.
One key to sanity in prison: losing your self in a story. Reading brings change of perception, change of feeling, and so much comfort.
Reading in bed. Reading close to face. Reading with angry concentration. Reading with the intention to get out by means of theurgy.
I was a pressure cooker of conflicting energies. Horny, scared, sad, angry, horrified, bewildered, and self-consumingly regretful.
The happy soul is the one with power. And every soul is infinitely powerful in the imagination. And the best contents for an imagination are religious stories—especially those about which there is much agreement. Myth is all about imagination. Myth are stories whose symbols are so strong that they weave their own tales from their own essences, like an ejaculation of spider silk. No effort required.
Sometimes free association reveals links determined by biography. But sometimes free association reveals links demanded by our innate narrative arc template. Getting lost in these universal or archetype-laden stories (if they exist) may bring the story contents into a more visceral presence.