Chapter 1 Mind Training Part 1
'In your question is the answer, learning's an essential matter When it happens look and see, mind meets infinity.' The Unternet Busker
The teacher and his young student walked along the seashore. The teacher was a tall, thin, distinguished looking man in his mid fifties. He was dressed in tan cargo pants with a fisherman's waistcoat of the same colour over a heavy jersey. His demeanour was serious and as they walked he taught the theory of the 'Mind of Man' to his young student. The student, also the nephew of his teacher, was a young man in his early teens, perhaps only thirteen. He too was tall, for his age, thin and studious rather than athletic looking. His black hair was worn long and untidy, his clothes just casual trousers, trainers and a sweater. His eyes contrasted strangely with his hair as they were a bright and piercing blue. He hung on the words of his elder. "The mind of Man must be changed," said Matlock Wilson, the teacher. "We must teach everyone how to understand and refine their own mental processes. So that they are in command rather than under the sway of their own consciousness." Ivanhoe Wilson, the student, asked the teacher "I don't understand. What do you mean? Are you saying I'm not in charge of my own consciousness?" "Yes, Ivanhoe. That IS what I am saying. It's all illusion. It only as though you are in charge. There is, in fact, no YOU to be in charge of anything," said Matlock. As the two moved along the shore they came in site of several caves carved from the living, sandstone rock by the waves. "Let's sit here on the shore, in the shelter of these caves, where man has sheltered for tens of thousands of years and explore the mind of Man by exploring our own minds," said Matlock. He examined his youthful nephew his grey eyes twinkling with the reflection of the waves and his own inherent kindness and compassion seemed to flow around Ivanhoe enfolding him and offering protection, strength and wisdom. "There are many protections that the mind offers us. As we explore our minds together I will try to explain what those protections can do for you and how you may teach others those same protections," said Matlock. "At the same time, there are risks entailed in the exploration of the mind and you must willingly agree to accept those risks before we explore further. Do you agree to accept the risks?" "I agree," responded Ivanhoe at once. "Very well then. The first thing to understand about the mind is the lack of quiet. So, sit here in the way that I sit," said Matlock. As he spoke he lowered himself to the ground pulling two small cushions from within a capacious pocket inside his fisherman's waistcoat as he did so. He handed one cushion to Ivanhoe and placed the other cushion under himself as he sat. "You can make a triangular base with your legs and support your coccyx with the cushion. There is no need for fancy yoga or other things just sit with your legs flat on the ground but making a triangular base for your body with the cushion under your spine to support it." Ivanhoe tried but he could not sit in the way that Matlock sat. "How do you get your legs to go flat like that?" asked Ivanhoe. "Don't worry about it. Just sit as well as you can. Later I will show you exercises that will let you stretch your legs gradually until you can sit just as I do," responded Matlock. So together they sat. As Ivanhoe looked around him the colours in the walls of the cave sprang out at him. The rich reds and orange, the seams of different colours laid down by the ages seemed to glow. "I would like you to close your eyes now and look within," said Matlock. Ivanhoe did as Matlock requested. "Now try to just monitor your breathing. Avoid the desire to try and control your breath. Just watch it. As it comes in think 'Breathing in' and as it goes out think 'Breathing out'." Ivanhoe tried very hard to do what Matlock said but he could not do it. Every few seconds he found himself thinking of something. That homework that he had to do this weekend, the chances of fish for supper. Why did his mother insist that he get his hair cut. No stop that ! - watch the breath. Breathing in, Breathing out.. Breathing in.....Breathing out.. What lovely hair the new girl in his aerobics class had.... How the light shone in the classroom as it reflected in her hair..... the type of shampoo that his mother thought was best for him ..... STOP THAT! Breathe in Breathe out.. Oh Blast! "Why can't I do this, Matlock? What's happening to me?" "Welcome to the world of the mind Ivanhoe. Were you unable to focus? Your thoughts kept wandering? Unable to simply be still?" Ivanhoe nodded. "Yes – that is how your mind and the minds of most other people work. Pretty poor is it not? This is why we have to try to change the mind of Man because most minds work very badly. It's not just because you're young either. Adults think in just the same way – because they've never been taught how to use the mind at all. Teachers at school teach you the so-called three Rs – Reading Writing and Rithmetic but the teachers themselves mostly think in the same way that you do – that is untrained thinking. As they are untrained they cannot train you and so it goes on – an unchanging feedback loop of bad, or if not exactly bad, at least very poor thought. This is what I have sworn to change. Later, when you too have learnt how to use your mind properly I hope that you will help me to literally change the mind of Man." Ivanhoe was exhausted and confused. As they left the caves he made arrangements with Matlock to meet again to continue his training. Matlock watched the boy trudge despondently off. He felt that although Ivanhoe was dejected they had made a good start. Ivanhoe had seen the problem immediately and that in itself was unusual. Even adults had problems with this and Ivanhoe was just thirteen. Many adults had prepared themselves for training and then abandoned it as too hard. What insanity, as if an UNTRAINED mind would better fit them to live in the world than a trained one. Matlock knew from terrible, bitter experience that the greatest killer in the world was NOT malaria, or dysentery, cancer or heart failure. No, the greatest killer in the world was the untrained human mind with its propensity for endless violence against itself as well as others. Medical professionals knew that depression was the number one mental killer. The truth that many never discovered was that meditation was a sure cure for depression. Thousands of lives could be saved if the people of the world could understand this simple fact. With this thought in mind Matlock reached his house. Matlock lived in a very unusual house. A formerl chapel on the North shore of the Firth of Forth, in Scotland; it had a number of features to recommend it. On hallowed ground since before Christianity, this house had stood the test of time for over four centuries. Set in the midst of an ancient garden of rest it was a constant reminder to him of his mortality. Time, tide and death waited for no man and this constant reminder helped him to stay centred on his task. Matlock spoke the word that released the door lock. Stepping inside Matlock made his way to his study. Here he settled down again into the posture that he had shown to Ivanhoe. Time to check on the global situation. Matlock entered trance effortlessly. He passed through the boundaries of the first, second, and third levels to encompass them all in his mind. As he examined the inner world he was able to reflect the outer world within. Something terrible was approaching his land . A great evil was loosed in the far East and mankind was entering a time of great danger. Swiftly Matlock built mental barriers to protect his area of responsibility. With his inner eye he saw something like a great, black mist arise and sweep across the sea towards the land. He saw it coming soon, slowly, but inexorably surrounding his country, squeezing and probing. Great tentacles of wrath and horror would descend upon the Western world using any weakness to exploit and crush it. Frantically he summoned all his reserves of mind. He knew that this attack was only symbolic. A future event played out in his mind today. There were no physical elements involved but he also knew that if his psyche were damaged he would descend into a worse mental hell than most men could envisage. There was no way he could eradicate the blackness but what he could rely on was his own inner strength. Slowly and carefully he calmed his mind. He removed the vestiges of fear and alarm and made his mind quiet. Waves of calm emanated from within and gradually he was able to blank his mind. Slowly the vision retreated and eventually it disappeared. He knew though that it was only a temporary victory and that he would need to maintain awareness at all times. This was not new to him. He knew that awareness was the principle behind mindfullness and that it had to be constantly renewed with almost every breath.Matlock stood up and went into his computer room. Swiftly he composed and sent an email to all his contacts. They had to discover what this terrible threat was. Somewhere in the world people were putting in place the power to cause terrible evil and it was up to him and his network of friends and allies to fight and somehow overcome it.
Chapter 2 Council of the Chinese Church of the Light of Forever
'To save our brothers from the pale, dead writers of ignorance. The sellers of belief, Oh! They're the master thieves.' Dun Xia Po
In a huge, grandiose, room on a distant continent twelve evil men and a false prophet had gathered. They had come together to plan the continued spread of their new religion called the Church of the Light of Forever. Arrayed along with them were thousands and thousands of others with pain, hatred and fear in their hearts. To control the hearts of men, how difficult and impossible this seemed, yet they were determined to rule the hearts of men. Dun Xia Po sat on a large throne on a dais at the head of the table. He cut a formidable figure. He truly was a man that others looked up to. They had no choice. Even seated his head was higher than any other person in the room, although others were standing in homage before him. Of Chinese descent, he stood seven feet three inches in his stocking soles and his head and body were hugely to scale. He was completely hairless and his great dark slanting eyes seemed to transfix anyone that he spoke to like a snake fastening on its prey. His mind was a turmoil of vile emotion. Hatred, fear, avarice, pride, gluttony as well as other sins. He was mostly controlled by a murderous rage against everything and everybody not completely dominated by himself. Through the seething mass of conflicting thought and desire he spoke. "We are gathered to finalise the plans for our new venture. We must first of all settle the financial details. Have the different sect leaders forwarded our money to us?" Xang Li Wan stood up to answer. Mr Xang was a small, weasel like character and he seemed to sidle about continuously and loathsomely as he talked. "Yes, your eminence. All except the Church of the Lonely Knight. They are late and no-one has come forward to explain their laxness. They insist on remaining loyal to their Christian beliefs and refuse the tithe that is our due" Their voices rang out in the hushed stillness of the great room that they sat in. A forMatl palace of a Chinese emperor the room was truly huge, over one hundred feet long and half again as wide with a ceiling that encompassed five floors of a normal building. Most of the ceiling and the walls were gilt and what was not covered in gold was Zitan or highly polished rosewood. Furniture was ancient though perfect, made mostly with Ji Chi Mu or phoenix tail wood which was heavily gilt too. "We must make an example of the Church of the Lonely Knight. No-one may escape paying their dues to this church," said Dun Xia Po. "What encouragement can we give this church, its bishop and its priests to pay their dues on time?" Xang bowed and spoke with a quaver of fear in his voice. "We have several guilds men available they would be happy to discuss the problem with the Church of the Lonely Knight's bishop. Perhaps pressure applied to a family member would be more persuasive than trying to convince the bishop himself." "Then you should order this, Xang and make sure that the message is delivered in a suitable container," commanded Dun Xia Po. Suitable container was Dun Xia Po's shorthand for extreme violence, that is, the suitable container was a grave. Many of the commands that he gave were couched in coded terms. One of the reasons for Xang's nervousness was that he had to interpret correctly what his master told him to do. Any mistake and he might find himself, minus head and hands, in a suitable container floating down the Yangtze. He turned about and left to carry out his master's instructions. Dun Xia Po's recalled his rise to power. He had been an unwanted child. As a male child in China this was an unusual state of affairs but Dun Xia Po was an unusual child. Torn from his mother's belly because it would have been impossible for her to deliver him normally as he was so huge, Xia Po was hated by his family as his birth caused his beloved mother's death. As soon as it was possible his father 'gifted' him to a remote monastery. This monastery was run by an obscure sect of Christian Silesian monks. The sect had been isolated in China for decades, stranded in a valley whose access was restricted by an immense tidal bore that made the river ford into the valley extremely dangerous. Xia Po had been raised by the monks as a Christian but Xia Po had quickly evolved his own rules about what could and could not be done by a 'Christian'. He noted that the children were effectively disciplined, as the monks were, by crude power plays. The monk in charge of child discipline showed no emotion when called upon to beat a child for some trivial wrong doing. Similarly the monks themselves were ruled with a rod of iron by the Abbot. Any small misdemeanour reported, whether real or imagined, was punished by some, usually harsh, method or another. No Matlcy or forgiveness was ever countenanced. Sort of 'spare the rod and spoil the child' but applied to everyone, except of course the Abbot. Dun Xia Po determined very early in his career as an acolyte that the only position he was suited for was that of Abbot. Towards that end he plotted and schemed, traded and blackmailed, until he rose to the position that he desired. One night by the final act of treachery he murdered the Abbot himself. He still remembered the sound that the knife made as it slid into the throat of the Abbott. The colour of the blood as it spurted haunted him. In some dark and deep, hidden corridor of his mind he could hear the screams of outrage of the betrayed Abbot, though the man made no sound as he murdered him. That was all over now though wasn't it? Now HE was in charge. Dun Xia Po installed himself as the new Abbot, and rid himself of any opposition by the simple act of expelling those who disagreed with him from the monastery. Those expelled were cast out with no shoes, no food and a fifty mile walk to the nearest human shelter. Dun Xia Po now hit upon the most towering piece of creativity that was to mould the rest of his life. He had assured himself of absolute power in this small religious sect. What was to stop him from securing all the religious power that was available? As far as he could see there was nothing to stop him. He spent many long and sleepless nights designing and developing ideas as well as indulging himself in gluttony to an insane degree. What was called for was not a simple re-working of any existing religion but a completely new one created to his own design and basically configured to worship him. He studied the religions of ancient Egypt. He pored over decrepit and torn scrolls on the beginnings of Christianity discovered, long abandoned, in the cellar of the monastery. In particular he noticed the great emphasis placed upon prophecy by all religions. He formed a plan to take advantage of this dependence on prophecy. He would write his own prophecies and fulfil them. Many of the monks were trained in the illumination of manuscript and the forgotten languages that they were written in. Dun Xia Po's reading had revealed to him a method of bleaching old manuscript. By using this bleaching method Dun Xia Po was able to rewrite history. Inventing a prophet named Elijah who supposedly died in the early 1900's, Xia Po had him 'foretell' the 20th century in great detail. This included the rise of a great new prophet, Dun Xia Po and his sect, which would become the one true religion – the Church of the Light of Forever. Dun Xia Po had the prophet Elijah 'reveal' the methods of foretelling the future to be used by the CLF. Sacrifice of small animals was to be used for short term 'foresight', but for detailed and long-term prediction larger animals would need to be used. In the case of vital prognostications human victims would need to be used. Dun Xia Po saw that this would be a good way to rid himself of any trouble- makers and enemies and indulge himself in the weird and mad blood lust that arose in his mind at times. He formed a hit squad of sacrosanct murderers. He called them the Sacrocers. It was the Sacrocers' job to 'disappear' anyone that the higher order of the CLF required eliminated and also to deliver certain enemies of the church for sacrifice at the prescribed time and place. Dun Xia Po had made certain discreet connections with the Chinese government. The governmental official position was two-fold. On the one hand 'religion is poison' was the driving force defining their response to religion. On the other hand the public position was that religious freedom was allowed. Dun Xia Po had something that the high officials of the Chinese government wanted. He had a religion that they could use to replace all the troublesome sects or traditions inside their country. Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Christianity, Islam and all other belief systems could very conveniently be converted into belief in the Church of the Light of Forever. It would not happen overnight of course but the commissars in the Chinese government were used to taking the long view. Dun Xia Po was not interested in the long view. He Matlely courted the corrupt government officials in order to get his goals supported. His goals were very simple, and distilled down into one thing, absolute power. Dun Xia Po had read that absolute power corrupted absolutely but he was unafraid of this. As he was already absolutely corrupt anyway, he did in fact have nothing to fear. Dun Xia Po dragged himself back to the present moment. He explained to the meeting of his followers that he had conceived this new plan for co-operation with the commissars. To carry out this plan more money was going to be required from the people that the church squeezed. He explained, to the dismay of his listeners that they would have to forfeit part of their earnings too. Then he sweetened the deal by also explaining the huge pay off that the CLF would get in increased membership. How a lower percentage of a much higher rate of contributions would leave them more money in the long run. Then he dismissed them back to their 'flock' to implement his new policy.
Chapter 9 The Magic Touch
'Love is blind. That is why he always proceeds by touch.' French Proverb
Ivanhoe sweated and twisted and turned. Once again he was back in the world of the giants. Where monsters twice his size ruled the world. These monsters, known as adults to the other monsters, were everywhere. They threatened at any moment to turn into the raving, mad, angry creatures that would vent their rage, or worse, on his defenceless, tiny body. Here was another one coming, but it was worse than usual, it was truly monstrous. It seemed to be twelve feet or so high and it was totally hairless and really, really UGLY. He could not understand what it was saying but he was absolutely sure that it was nothing to his advantage. It seemed to be Chinese, or Japanese or Korean, it had, what were they called again? Ah yes – epicanthic folds to its eyes. Definitely not happy and coming straight at him shouting some rubbish or other, time to run. He turned to do just that, when it came to him, this was a dream! He knew because of the familiar leaden feeling to his limbs, the fact that the ground had turned into the Gullane sand dunes of his early childhood. His legs churned and churned but that giant behind him was closing at an impossible speed. All the fears of his recent childhood came flooding back, the giant was going to get him. It would beat him until his bones broke and then crush him up and stuff him, dead, into the wheelie bin. He was done for. He pumped his impossibly small legs as fast as he could but as the sweat poured down his face into his eyes and someone, somewhere screamed terribly. He knew at last escape was impossible and woke up safe in his mother's arms. "Oh MUMmmmpossible I was dreaming," Ivanhoe mumbled. "Yes Ivanhoe and screaming like a bairn. What's wrong – bad dream?"asked mum. "Ahhh – yes the worst." "Oh, the Chinese giant again? Eh! " "Yes mum. I can't understand I have never, ever seen, let alone met someone like that. Why does he haunt my dreams? Why doesn't he just leave me alone?" "It's just a dream Ivanhoe. Get up now and have something nice to drink. I have some fresh orange juice or some fresh fruit salad that you may like for breakfast. " "Thanks mum. I have to go and see uncle Matll at nine-o- clock. We started something really strange, I've been practising really hard and I think I'm getting good at it so I'm looking forward to showing Matll what I've done," responded Ivanhoe. Ivanhoe finished his breakfast of orange juice and fresh fruit salad covered by natural yoghurt. Going out to the back of the house he unshackled his mountain bike. The bike was a customised Evo2 and he could push it's speed up to well past forty miles per hour. At his usual break-neck speed he shot round the block to his uncle's house. As soon as he got within three feet of the heavy metal gates they opened of their own accord to let him in. This never ceased to amuse Ivanhoe. He always got images of the Adams family and their weird goings on when he visited uncle Matll. The fact that the house was actually an old chapel, complete with extra spooky, en-suite, graveyard and that everything in it seemed to be automated to an insane degree made him wonder about his uncle's sanity sometimes. However one thing was certain, he was never bored when he visited Matlock. As he rode through the gates his wonder increased again as the most beautiful creature he had ever seen appeared round the corner of the house. She moved like flowing liquid, her long legs drifting her effortlessly across the grass. Her enormous blue eyes seemed to engulf him. He'd never seen such grace and movement. Then, suddenly there were two of them. Two cats circled around him as he stood motionless watching them in complete awe. He'd seen Siamese on TV but they had not looked like these cats. These were almost white with greyish blue markings and somehow they looked dangerous as they circled around him. "You are correct my young friend," said a strangely accented voice. He started in surprise "Correct about what?" he gasped. "You were thinking that perhaps these cats were a little dangerous?" said a strange, small Chinaman? With an Irish accent? "Who are you?" asked Ivanhoe. He tried very carefully to speak without seeming afraid. Those cats might look dangerous but the way that this small man moved and looked was really frightening. Ivanhoe knew that he did not have the correct skills to judge whether an Oriental face was actually threatening. Matlock had explained to him once that people build up the skills to interpret faces according to the faces that they generally see around them. Ivanhoe did not have too much experience of talking to Chinamen. He did not need to judge this man by his face alone though. The way that the man walked, and his other movements sent a shiver up Ivanhoe's spine. "Don't be afraid. My name is Lo Shan, my sister and I are guests of Matlock's. I take it that you are his nephew Ivanhoe?" "Oh! Yes," Ivanhoe gasped in relief. "Where's uncle Matlock?" "He is inside speaking with my sister. Shall we go in?" Replied the stranger. Lo Shan stood aside and gestured and Ivanhoe walked up to the door "Open Sesame" he intoned with great glee, carefully watching Lo Shan's face to see if he got the joke. Lo Shan smiled and said "Oh Yes. The Arabian Nights – No?" "Yes – It's Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. Where are you from Lo Shan?" "I am from southern China, from a great city named Nanning in the province called Guangxi." As they spoke they went through the 'magically' opened door to find Jia and Matlock sitting in the lounge discussing comparative religion of all things. Softly playing in the background, the sound of Scheherazade by Rimsky-Korsakov highlighted the wonderful 'tone' that the room generated in the minds of its occupants. Matlock was saying "Everyone has freedom of mind. Anything that tries to restrict that freedom or make a person think in a way not of their choosing is generally called 'brain-washing' in the West. It's an old term so you may never have heard of it. It was applied to a system of torture used by the old Communist bloc where they broke a person's sanity and then re-programmed them to do as they were told. Mind training has nothing to do with brain-washing. It's like exercising the mind in the same way that you would exercise your body. It increases the freedom of the mind by relieving ignorance and improving logical abilities. Most importantly mind training techniques are testable. As in science, techniques have to be verifiable, repeatable and if possible falsifiable. Hello Ivanhoe. I see that you have met Lo Shan. This is...." Lo Shan interrupted "My sister, Jia." "No. Lo Shan," said Matlock, "Let's not do that. Ivanhoe is adult enough not to speak of things that he should not. Ivanhoe, Jia is Lo Shan's friend, she is not his sister. What we wish to hide are Jia and Lo Shan's identity and presence here. To that end will you promise not to talk of Lo Shan and Jia with anyone except those present here and your mother? This is very important." Ivanhoe felt at once important and included in adult life as never before in his thirteen years. He decided he really, really liked Matlock more and more. Ever since Matlock had come back to Scotland, just a few weeks ago Ivanhoe's life had changed dramatically. "I will not mention this to anyone at all. I give you my word." He'd heard that last in a movie that he'd watched, it sounded grand. Matlock ushered him forward and he shook hands with Jia. She was very, very lovely, easily as beautiful as the cats. As he looked at her he knew that epicanthic folds would never seem strange again but only wondrously memorable of this moment. Her palm was warm and very soft and her hands were smaller than his were. Ivanhoe looked down at her feet as he thought this. He knew that Chinese women used to wrap their feet to keep them small. Where had he read that? Jia laughed out loud. She had read his look. Were all Chinese people psychic? "No I didn't need to wrap my feet. Besides it was not allowed in my family. Thank you for the compliment Ivanhoe." Jia smiled encouragingly at him. As Jia smiled at Ivanhoe, she still held his hand. Something very strange began to happen to her. She suddenly felt her vision expand sideways. As if she could see for miles. Then a strange calmness and lightness of mind seemed to enfold her. She literally felt her mind illuminated. She struggled to understand what was happening to her. Had she been drugged? She had read stories about people that had taken LSD or ecstasy. This was perhaps the effect of one of those drugs. She looked around to see how everyone else was responding and noticed that time seemed to have slowed to a crawl. She shook her head like a dog shaking water off it. Nothing. She looked at Ivanhoe. She still held his hand. He was smiling back at her. How long had it been since she took his hand? She looked around again. No one was paying any untoward attention. Matlock was talking on the phone. He said, "May? It's Matll could you come round? Great – see you in five." Lo Shan was smiling. Looking between her and Ivanhoe he started laughing. Probably at the remark about the foot wrapping. Had that been minutes or hours ago? Jia let go of Ivanhoe's hand and WHAP!, the world snapped back into normal time. Jia stared up at Ivanhoe. It had been him. When he took her hand. That's crazy she thought. No one can do that. Did it happen to him too? She thought wildly. Does he have drugs on his hands? She looked down at her hands as if she might see some drug or other there. No. Nothing. Everyone else looked perfectly normal. Everything seemed OK, but for her it was not. She knew without any doubt whatsoever that her life had somehow changed utterly and forever. Her mind had been in a place that she did not even know existed before. Was it heaven? Was that what heaven was like? How did she get there again? Without thinking she reached out and put her hand on Ivanhoe's shoulder as she reached down as if to adjust something on a shoe. WHAM! There it was again. The same feeling of universe expanding beauty and peace, a great peace that descended on her mind. She reeled, her world shook, she felt as if all of her life up to that point had been lived in a nightmare of ignorance. This boy held a power she never even heard of before. His touch lifted people to heaven. She stared again at Matlock. He had just replaced the phone and was looking fondly at Ivanhoe. Then he looked at her and his gaze narrowed. 'What was he seeing?' she thought and swiftly removed her hand from Ivanhoe's shoulder. BLAM! Back again. Whoops! She giggled as if drunk and then suddenly sat down on the couch behind her as if she had stumbled. Ivanhoe wondered what was wrong with this beautiful Chinese girl. Why was she looking at him so strangely? Why was Matlock calling his mother? Then he realised that Matlock needed to tell her about the Chinese couple too. What was going on? Why all the mystery? Was this going to spoil their planned holiday? Or were they, Jia and Lo Shan, going to be coming with them? As if in answer to his unspoken question Matlock said,"Jia and Lo Shan will be coming with us on holiday Ivanhoe. I have been telling them of the wonders of the West Coast of Scotland and they are eager to see it." Ivanhoe was gobsmacked. Was everyone psychic this morning except him? Lo Shan spoke up, "I have heard of the Loch Ness and it must be a cousin to the Big Dragon Pool in our country. In this pool lives a divine dragon who can bring on thunder and lightning when he rises out of the lake." All the time Lo Shan was saying this Ivanhoe felt his gaze on him. No way was he falling for that one, but he felt the need to be polite so kept shtum. Matlock spoke to Lo Shan,"Jia was telling me she was raised a Christian Lo Shan. Do you have a religion or belief system?" Lo Shan glanced up at the golden Buddha that graced the lounge, "No. There is a story in my country about a man and a small boy walking through the market place. Ahead of them walks a man his head lowered, mumbling over a set of beads in his hand. 'Tell me, boy,' says the man. What is wrong with that man?' and the boy answers, 'Simple, he is a fool caught in the toils of religion.' So with that and the Church of the Light of Forever in my life I have avoided all faiths." Matlock spoke in response, "I find that both wise and foolish. It is understandable that being involved with a false church like the CLF should make you cynical, and that is wisdom, but to stop looking for deeper meaning is foolish. We need purpose in our lives and the greater the purpose the greater the meaning our lives have to us. Some people in the past have thought that the greatest meaning their lives could have would be to become gods. So we have Pharaohs and Roman emperors who deified themselves. Unfortunately declaring oneself a god does not make one into a god and that purpose is a terrible dead end. In fact it does the very worst psychological damage that a human being can inflict upon themselves. No, self deification, thankfully, is not a valid option. However many great thinkers observed that the Middle Way of the Buddha and his Noble Eightfold Path were and are high purposes for life." Just then the door opened and May, Ivanhoe's mother walked in. She was a women in her mid thirties, tall and slim, with long red hair and the same blue eyes as Ivanhoe. Her face was serene and beautiful with a patrician nose and small mouth and incredibly white and even teeth. She was dressed in a very simple, white sumMatl dress with plain white shoes and Jia immediately felt over-dressed in her dress of Chinese Silk with the matching rose shoes. Everybody shook hands as Matlock performed the introductions. Jia seemed rather gingerly to shake hands with May. The two Chinese immediately endeared themselves to May by praising her son. Nothing could have made her like them more. As she looked over at Ivanhoe May was astonished to see two Siamese cats sat on the back of his chair. The two cats looked like book-ends and both were regarding Ivanhoe with a very strange, almost worshipful expression it seemed to her. Lo Shan saw where she looked and spoke up, "Yes my cats too are very impressed with your son. Do you have cats at home?" "No," replied May "but those cats are extraordinary. What are they called?" "The female Rong Xi Feng is on Ivanhoe's left and the male Rong Xi Fang is to his right. They seem to have attached themselves to him. This is very unusual. They like Matlock as well. It's strange, they avoid most people most of the time." Everyone admired the cats. Ivanhoe stretched a hand up to each of them and stroked. The instant, intense purring was loud in the quiet room and Jia stared hard at the cats. She had an inkling of what they were feeling. Matlock tactfully took May aside and explained to her what the situation was. It was not easy for him. After many years of travelling he was still strange with this sister-in-law of his. They had only met a few times, his brother's wedding, the christening of Ivanhoe and the last and awful time had been at the remembrance ceremony for his brother. If it was hard for Matlock though, it was a lot harder for May. Like Jia before her she was suddenly plunged from a world of seeming normality, with wash-day blues and school work with her son, into a nightmare of religious fanatics and desperate danger threatening. "I don't understand, Matll. What's this got to do with Ivanhoe and me? Surely these people from this church, what did you call it?" May asked. "The Church of the Light of Forever – the CLF for short," responded Matlock. "Well surely these people do not want anything from us? Why would they want to harm you or us?" "I am not sure. How special do you think that Ivanhoe is?" "What do you mean? How special do I think he is? He's the most special human being in the world to me but he's just a thirteen year old boy like any other teenager. He has bad dreams, he rides his bike like a maniac, he's forever texting and texting and texting. What do you mean how special?" asked May. "I think he may be a lot more special than we think," replied Matlock. He quickly related what he had just told Jia regarding mind training, reminding May that he had asked her permission before starting to teach the method to Ivanhoe. " "Yes I remember. It sounds like a wonderful thing to train one's mind. Could I learn too?" asked May. "Everyone should. The point is though that Ivanhoe shows a remarkable and in fact, unbelievable facility for meditation. He reached the first Jhana on his second attempt - that's something it took me ten years of study and sweat and tears to do. Don't tell him this by the way, it's very difficult to prevent egotism rising during the first period of meditative work and telling him what I've just told you would hold him back." Matlock continued, "Anyway, the point is that the CLF were coming here to kill me and it may be that somehow they targeted Ivanhoe as well. Perhaps it's an Oriental hate thing where you never leave a male family member alive to seek revenge. I'm not sure. What I am sure about is that until we can find out more about the situation, and I have friends looking into that for me, we need to make ourselves scarce. The idea of exploring the West coast again and using the excuse of showing Lo Shan and Jia our country to do so will make us as safe as I can. In the remote glens and mountain passes of Scotland strangers stick out like sore thumbs. We will stick out too, of course but so will anyone else. We will be able to be aware of them before they can find us and we can just disappear to a different place as we keep on the move." May looked impressed. "I must admit I love the glens, lochs and mountains of the West coast. It will be no hardship for Ivanhoe and I to have company as we explore them again," she said. Here May looked over to where her son was in animated conversation with the two Chinese strangers. He looked from one to the other of them and up to the cats that still sat on the back of his chair. He looked, what was the word, enlivened, yes and enlightened too. She had never seen him so focused. Danger these people might have brought, although Matlock said that they had risked their lives to warn him, but she thought that perhaps her son was already gaining a great deal from his relationship with Matlock and this strange couple. After rejoining Jia and the others they all agreed that they would spend that day in preparation and meet up the following morning eighty minutes before dawn. Matlock explained that by leaving at first light, which was four-thirty in the morning in Scotland at this time, they would be able to drive for two and a half hours with almost completely clear roads. In that time they could make their way to their first overnight stop at Lochearn in Perth and Kinross Shire.