An Excerpt from “Tales of a Magic Monastery” by Theophane the Monk
The guestmaster looked at me carefully and lead me to a room marked “Righteous Indignation.”
“Good,” I thought, “back home some people don’t understand me. They think I’m judgemental. But this man understands.”
There wasn’t much in the room besides the four walls, and that was all right with me. I sat down and meditated a while. Then I read my Bible. I found myself looking at those walls. I read some more, then I meditated, then looked at the walls again. Late in the evening, as I was staring at one of the walls, it became transparent, and I found myself looking at my own monastery. Fascinating. What’s more, as I watched, I found I could see right through its walls and into its church and cloisters.
After a while I could even see inside the cell of each monk. I saw everything. I saw what each monk had in his room and what he was doing. I saw some praying, some sleeping, some reading. I could even see what each one was reading. Brother! Do you see what that one is reading? And look at the private property! Soon I could hear their voices. I could hear everything that was said – the complaints, the backbiting. My own name was mentioned. Huh – that one to be complaining of me!
I began to take notes. I filled page after page. I had thought the place was bad before, but here were the facts – what they said, what they did, what they had. Nothing subjective – just cold facts. As I kept writing, I began to see right into their heads, to see their very thoughts. These also I wrote down.
Once, when I was resting my eyes, the thought came to me, “I wonder what I would see if the other wall were transparent?” Perhaps if I kept looking at it long enough… Well, it did open up and through it I saw the Magic Monastery, every bit of it. What an eyeful! I thought my own place was bad. Talk about individualism. I began to write that down too.
I rang for the Brother and asked him to bring me some more notebooks. There was so much to get down. From time to time a further question would come to me, “I wonder what’s behind these other two walls?” I became uncomfortable. “Who is there? What are the walls hiding? Why don’t they let me see? It’s probably dreadful.” I took to staring at these walls. The Brother said that behind the one wall were the deceased members of the Magic Monastery, and behind the other were the deceased members of my own monastery.
“Ah,” I said, “but why can’t I see them? I want to see them.”
“You won’t like it,” he said.
“Truth, that’s all I want. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. I call a spade a spade. Show me!”
“You’ll only get angry.”
“Show me. Bring me some more notebooks, and show me.”
But he refused and hurried away. I was determined to know what was going on behind those walls. “Behind this one,” he gasped, “are the deceased members of your own community. They are all looking in at you. They are weeping and praying for you. Behind this other wall are all the deceased members of the Magic Monastery. They are all looking at you and laughing.”