Steve Sanchez

Steve Sanchez

It was a warm day, kind of dry and windy;
it felt like there was a lot of static in the air. I was getting tired of the repetitious pattern of my life, the constant work, and the lack of any personal reward. I was in a Berkeley cult called the Spiritual Rights Foundation, and the pressure of it all was like a slow grind of metal on metal in my head.

Remnants of regular life. Photo by Raphael Shevelev.

Today I was attending the Foundation’s monthly services at the Berkeley City Club. These service days were a relief because there wasn’t any immediate pressure on us, but as always, we knew the nightmare lay just around the corner. The main challenge today was to look and feel like we were in a holy mood. The message in the service was the same as usual—we were all failures as disciples, and had to work harder.

I left the service early to begin breaking down equipment. Outside, the sky was astonishingly dark and gray, like night was coming. In the middle of the sky was a blood red sun. I thought, how utterly strange; it must be a sign; maybe this is the Apocalypse! Oh! How I yearned for it to be the Apocalypse! I was astonished at the rush of desire I had for it to be the Apocalypse. That would be a righteous reason, outside myself, for my whole life to change. I wished for a big explosion where the Spiritual Rights Foundation and the whole city would be blown into dire change, and my life would be an unnoticed part of it.

But as I looked around, noticing the white-gray mist in the air and similar tint over the bushes and trees, and the strangely enhanced coloring and darkened hue covering the landscape, I slowly realized there must be a fire. I was immensely disappointed.

—Steve Sanchez

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