WE DO OUR TWENTY minutes of meditation a day in the hope that, properly stilled, our minds will stop just reflecting back to us the confusion and multiplicity of our world but will turn to a silvery mist like Alice's looking glass that we can step through into a world where the beauty that sleeps in us will come awake at last. We send scientific expeditions to Loch Ness because if the dark and monstrous side of fairy tales can be proved to exist, who can be sure that the blessed side doesn't exist, too? I suspect that the whole obsession of our time with the monstrous in general—with the occult and the demonic, with exorcism and black magic and the great white shark—is at its heart only the shadow side of our longing for the beatific, and we are like the knight in Ingmar Bergman's film The Seventh Seal, who tells the young witch about to be burned at the stake that he wants to meet the devil her master, and when she asks him why, he says, "I want to ask him about God. He, if anyone, must know."
- Originally published in Telling the Truth