His name was Rue Kens, and he had only recently been accepted into the monastery, where he hoped to devote his life to the wisdom of the Prophets, which he did not as yet pretend to understand. His family had not understood, certainly. His father had told him never to return. It was a good thing that he did not intend to, even if he would miss his little sister, whose eyes always blanketed the world with mistrust, always looking toward the stars, as if expecting some unknown calamity to descend on her. He had always tried his best to comfort her, to trust in the Prophets. In time, he hoped he knew what that was supposed to mean.
He wasn’t sure he believed the stories, about the great eye in the heavens that only occasionally opened, but when it did, there would be some new perspective on the lives of the people who inhabited Bajor, who believed in themselves, who believed in the wonders of the universe, who wondered what it was all supposed to mean.
There was talk that some explorers had entered the eye, and come back with wisdom. Well, he struggled to comprehend it, anyway.
One of the first things he was taught was that life could be seen better through the lens of art, the basic building block of culture, whether it was in stories, music, or the mandala. The mandala was the thing he concentrated on, the only thing he felt big enough to occupy in that great realm of thought. His teacher was patient, but Kens could not help but feel inadequate after each effort, always critical of his own results, never satisfied.
The mandala was described as an extension of his psyche, his connection to the metaphysical, perhaps even to the Prophets, a simple yet incredibly intricate design, a pattern to follow and for him to fill in, however he felt moved. He felt humbled enough by the Prophets, and yet to be told that he must first understand himself was a complication he had not anticipated. He had been running from himself his whole life, first because that was what his family had taught him about himself, and later because he realized that was all he knew to do. Part of him wondered if he embraced the mysterious Prophets to fill a gap in himself.
Yet he persisted in his pursuit of the mandala.
Day after day, he looked at the canvas, at the inks and the brushes, experimentally dabbled, and then threw himself wholeheartedly into the exercise. He grew less hard on himself, let himself go, started to feel comfortable with the medium, and how it reflected his innermost thoughts, his experiences, his feelings, stopped trying to force patterns that did not exist naturally for him.
His work began to be noticed. He knew the futility of others trying to get their work noticed of their own will, and welcomed the sensation that his work was doing it of its own accord. He had once, perhaps longer than he cared to admit, been of that mind. But no, now the mandala was attracting its own audience, spontaneously, naturally, organically.
He lost himself in his art. He lost himself in the Prophets. He found his peace. He found his purpose. It was exactly where he had always suspected it to be.
And he fell into the embrace of the Prophets, for whom time had no meaning.