Michio was glad to part company with the beast, though he appreciated not having to make the journey by foot. Mazarka led him into the monastery, down several hallways and stopped at the entrance to a small, dark room.
“This is where you will stay,” Mazarka said.
The closet-sized, windowless room was sparsely furnished with a sleeping mat, a jug of water, and a wooden bucket that smelled of urine. The only light in the room came from the hall.
“As you can see, there is nothing here to distract your attention from God. You may see Master Jadock after you’ve proven yourself worthy by passing the first test.”
“What’s the first test?”
“You have to find the key to getting out of this room.”
“I don’t understand. Do you mean the door will lock and I must find a way out?”
“That could take a long time.”
“I see you are still in the physical state of consciousness. As I told you earlier, time has no meaning here.” Mazarka’s face was serene, untroubled by the world, yet there was also a slight look of superiority in his proud stance. His penetrating eyes flickered slightly and compassion entered them. “It can take a long time from a physical viewpoint; it depends on you. It can take a moment, a week, a year or a lifetime. It took me three years.”
“Three years! But I don’t have three years!”
“Time is an illusion. Water will always be available and, after the first ten days of fasting, you will be given food as well.” Mazarka touched his spiritual eye, bowed and turned to leave.
“Wait!” Michio exclaimed.
Mazarka didn’t pause as he left the room and closed the door behind him.
Michio stood in complete darkness, stunned. Everything happened so quickly. He held his hands out in front of him and walked in the direction of the door until he hit a solid surface, then he felt around for the door handle.
Once he found it, he tried to turn it. When the door knob wouldn’t budge an uneasy feeling spread through him. He was trapped.
“Dear God, what have I gotten myself into? Three years?”
Three years seemed like a lifetime and this was only the first test. Would he ever get back to Toemeka? Michio examined the edge of the door, then the walls, seeking an opening somewhere. Panic rose. He was trapped here, a prisoner without even a way to outwardly contact his wife.
“You think three years is too long, too high a price to learn the spiritual lessons you need?” said a familiar voice behind him.
Michio spun around. Master Bakka materialized in his Light Body. The Light that radiated from him lit up the small room.
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