Brother Nap swept the floor in the vast empty floor of the Cathedral. It was the only sound in an otherwise empty chamber. It made a rhythm.
There were questions in his mind, a thousand superfluous thoughts that would arise and fall like sparks on a grinding wheel, located within them were thoughts of a more important nature. The mind did not multitask as well as it performed under concentration.
It was said that there were monks of a sort in Nippon and other places east who could make all thought cease altogether by the power of will. To a member of his own order, that seemed to miss the point entirely, though the effort and training expended to achieve such a state did not go without acknowledgement. They called stray thoughts, the monkey mind. The sound of a road locomotive was heard through a window. Where was it going? Who was riding in it?
In India, old Bharat, the Swamis could recite japa, the holy name given to them, repeating it thousands of times, running fingers over rough rudraksha mala beads until they were smooth, and by doing so open the doors of the mind to nondual observations that presented difficulty to the human brain. Or so it was said. When was lunch?
Brother Lapis had once told him he should decide whether to choose the sword or the book, in not so many words. Nap favored himself, deep inside, some future rake with his hair grown long, fluttering in the wind as he defeated a dozen pirates on a gaudy airship over crimson skies, for the honor of some busty lady. But these were silly dreams. A monk did not behave as he had, the night he’d trashed the quack doctor’s office. He saw that now.
He’d squandered his training for too long. The mind must focus upon the action taking place as if it is the most important thing in the world, for at that moment it is.
He swept quietly. Clouds of dust formed and fell, intricate patterns of gravity, turbulence, and brownian motion. He studied these with deep focus. Patterns are composed of ancient particles, the sum of what had come before is dust, acted upon by outside motion, the hand that moves the broom, acted upon by gravity, wind, scattering of dust.
He stood staring deeper. The Church did not talk of this state. It wasn’t acknowledged, though privately sometimes Nap wondered if it wasn’t univerally practiced. Today though his mind was fixated clearly on what he was doing. Those swamis with their worn out beads called it jhana. Someone else might call it insight. Archimedes ran around naked yelling Eureka.
Nap called it spooky. It wasn’t an image in the dust. It was something else. Not a feeling, a certitude.
Something would happen.
“The people will need guns. Blunderbusses, I think.” he said out loud.