Finally he was ready to talk.
I had brought him outside and showed him the trail and offered to walk with him if he wanted. He had set out, as I’d expected, alone, without a word. I had settled onto one of the stone benches on the patio—which Mr. Barnard always called a veranda—and, after a few minutes, had taken a cigar from my pocket and lit it with a sparker, feeling a little like Mr. Barnard myself.
I had told myself, while I sat there waiting, that we had told Corbin for his own good, that waiting would have meant deceit, that ultimately this was kinder. I had told myself that this was Mr. Conway’s decision and that Mr. Conway didn’t commonly make mistakes. I had told myself that Corbin seemed to be a bright kid and would undoubtedly have figured out the situation soon enough.
Continue reading Messenger Chapter Twelve
“Dennis Corbin, I’d like you to meet Mr. Conway, the man in charge here. This is Mrs. Bolton. [”Sunnie,“ she interjected pleasantly.] Mr. Barnard, our only fellow American.“
Procedures at Shangri‑la are nothing if not flexible. Mr. Conway, on hearing my fast sketch of Corbin’s background, attitude, and mission, had swiftly decided that the five of us should have lunch together—presumably on the theory that no surroundings are quite so disarming as an informal meal. So it was that, within half an hour of our receiving Mr. Meister’s seal of approval on Corbin’s health, I was escorting him to one of the library alcoves that doubled, according to the occasion, as den, living room tea‑room or—as now—dining room. And so he was introduced, with no greater ceremony, to three people who would be at the center of his life for the foreseeable future.
Continue reading Messenger Chapter Eleven
I awoke early that afternoon. That is, Mr. Barnard woke me up, touching my shoulder with one hand while holding a cup of hot tea near my nose with the other. Most unusual. Then I remembered the day before, and our long night. “Did they get the engines up okay?”
“No, they didn’t. Too blamed big and heavy. But they piled three feet of rock and dirt on ’em. Think that’s enough?”
“These days, God knows, but I suppose it’ll have to be. Just so they’re out of sight, we ought to be all right.” I remembered something from sleep, and sat up abruptly. “Say, Mr. Barnard, you know what we forgot? We ought to comb the rocks near where the wing tip hit first; there were fragments all over the place. Not so big a clue, but all it would take would be for the sun to reflect off just one piece. . . .”
Continue reading Messenger Chapter Ten
P A R T T H R E E
We were chanting.
Years ago, chanting used to irritate me. It had seemed a needless relic of the Middle Ages. But I’d long since changed my mind about that, as about so many things. I’d discovered its virtues.
Partly we chant for the joy of the sound; partly, for the spiritual side effects to be had by losing ourselves in a chorus. The Latin chants in particular—which I once would have found highly irritating—I now found soothing, those ancient Latin words, sung of the beauty of God and God’s world. And blended in with the sounds were the smell of the incense, the rich colors of the tapestries, and the weight of the hymnal I myself had helped to manufacture the paper for, 11 years earlier.
Continue reading Messenger Chapter Nine
Mr. Conway’s hand on my shoulder brought me awake, and I got out of bed, shivering in the mid‑night cold. One advantage to wearing robes: it wasn’t hard to get dressed. Seeing his face by the flickering oil lamp, I got a sense of the experience—not to use the embarrassing word “wisdom”—concealed behind that youthful face. Our silence reinforced the impression.
He worked with me to find a comfortable position for the meditation exercise, telling me (to my surprise) that I would not have to torture myself into the cross‑legged lotus position favored by yogis. “Without years of preparation, you would be unable to sit for long with legs crossed. The pain would be intolerable.”
Continue reading Messenger Chapter Eight
There is so little we know, and so much we misunderstand because of our assumptions: that everything is separate rather than connected, that most things are dead instead of everything being alive, that consciousness is accidental or incidental, rather than fundamental….
When you change your assumptions, what seemed unlikely now seems obvious. Hint, guys: The world is alive, and the world is made of consciousness!
This from SchwartzReport.
P A R T T W O
My room — my cell — has one window, facing south. In daytime I see the mountain, but at night the mountain is only a finger pointing to the moon. And it is the moon that I see in my imagination, by day as well as night: The moon, full silver, giving itself a halo of deep blue against the black sky, sailing clear and calm, unmoved by the tragedy and farce below.
At this great height, air is thin. Nights obscured by snowstorms are rare; cloud cover so thick as to block out the moon is scarcely less so. In the many years I have been here, I cannot recall a night whose moon was lost to cloud cover. At most, I have seen layers of cloud illumined from behind, great uneven porous blankets of grey, shining into one halo of light. But mostly the nights are clear with the light of the moon in its phases.
Continue reading Messenger Chapter Seven