The Old Man of the Holy Mountain by Mark Zimmerman

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The Book that Changed My Life by Mark Zimmerman


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Sample Excerpt from
The Old Man of the Holy Mountain
by Mark Zimmerman

read by Margo Sailor

Chapter One:
The Holy Mountain


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In the land of the seven cities, high upon the Mountain, a lofty Mountain, there lived an Old Man who gazed upon all that he knew.
And one night, as he looked upon the moon and stars, he found that he could not understand Life; but that he could understand himself.
And within himself he found his love for all things growing, and therein he found the Holy Mountain.


During his youth the Old Man was a disciple of the immortal Prophet of Lebanon.
And it had been the beloved disciple, who closed the eyes of the Prophet, when the golden wings of death had gathered him; a dew drop, returning to the mist in the Garden of the Prophet. Wherein, he was laid to rest, a little while before he gathered again, and descended in another rain upon another world.
And it was on the day before the Prophet's death, that the disciple stood before the gate of the Garden. And he saw the Prophet sitting, as it were in sorrow, beneath the cedar tree which grew beside the grave of his mother.
When the Prophet saw the youth standing alone, he came to the gate with deliberate steps, and opened it before him.
Neither spoke a word, for each knew the other's presence.
They walked afar from the gate and the wall and the grave of his mother, and sat beneath a grove of white poplar trees.
Sensing the Prophet's longing to speak, the disciple asked, "What has given you cause to be filled with sorrow?"
"My friend, I wish not to burden you with my problems," replied the Prophet.
The youth began to cry. And he said, "My love for you bids me to know your sorrow.
"Would you deny my love, and keep the truth of your hidden pain from my heart?
"Would you also deny the sorrow of your own heart longing for someone to understand your pain?
"And would you leave me from your love and your truth; that I a barren tree would die from my own barrenness?
"And if you would not reveal your sorrow, how may I know the fullness of your joy?"
A tear formed in the Prophet's eye. He embraced his friend.
Then he said, "My blessed brother, I tell you these things in hope that the problems of my life become not your own."
He waited until his tears ceased, so that he might speak unto his friend.
Then he said, "Listen to my unspoken words that have weighed my heart heavy these past years.
"All too often, I have spent the years in darkness.
"My words and my thoughts seem always to fall short of what I am trying to express. And what I have written seems but a shadow of these things in my heart."
"Yes," said the disciple, "but is this not so with all people?
"You say that you have spent the years in darkness. But is not what you call darkness, a golden sun to another whose life maybe a little darker than your own?
"And are not words and thoughts but shadows and echoes of our own true self?
"How may we know the sun by the shadow it casts across our path?
"And how may we know a singer by the echo of her voice?"
"Your words ring true," said the Prophet. "And I say unto you, remember me, my child, for my joy and my sorrow.
"Remember my dreams and my longing to fulfil those dreams.
"And remember my pain, and therein you shall see what prevented me from following my longings, and fulfilling my dreams.
"Remember my bitterest words and my sweetest words, and therein you shall see where my understanding stumbled, and where my understanding found truth.
"Most of all, remember the love I had for myself, for therein lies my true love for others."
He paused. Then he said, "I have criticized and complained about Life. I have taken beauty and love for granted, and cast them aside along with truth and understanding.
"These things have I done, but today I believe my criticism and my complaints were fragments of my stumbling understanding.
"All too often, I have been frustrated and angry at others. Thus, I am left bitter, and I have been unable to overcome myself.
"Often times, I have been blind, and spoke bitter words thinking is was the truth.
"I will die with the taste of bitterness still lingering in my mouth.
"See to it that you die not angry at the world.
"Whether we realize it or not, Life is good to us, as long as we remain good to ourselves.
"We must needs walk in darkness, to know our greater longing is to walk in the light of the sun.
"We must needs have a dark self, to know our enlightened self.
"We must needs have a less desirable self, to know and grow toward our greater and more desirable self, when made visible.
"Truth must remain hidden from us by untruth, to know truth, when it unveils itself through understanding.
"Beauty must remain a mystery unto us, so that we may know her secrets, when she unveils her holy garment.
"And we have lost our love, only to know love, when we find it again."
"I am frustrated and angry at mankind for its ignorance and stupidity," said the disciple.
"I hate those who would not understand, and those who would hinder me from fulfilling my dreams."
"Ah yes," said the Prophet, "I see that you are bitter. How well does your bitterness mingle with your love?"
The disciple answered him saying, "My bitterness and I, we are old friends. But my love and I have yet to be acquainted."
Said the Prophet, "I think your bitterness has veiled your love and your understanding too."
"I do understand," said the disciple, "but if I am misleading myself, what would you have me do?"
The Prophet answered him saying, "Why ask my advice? I have given you my truth, yet you believed me not. And if I give you my wisdom, you would but listen only to your own self. Therefore, if you would have the best advice, I say advise yourself, and use your own judgment."
Without warning, the immortal Prophet of Lebanon fell ill into the arms of his friend. The youth carried him across a meadow to his dwelling place in the Garden.
And late that afternoon, as the Prophet laid upon his death bed, he spoke unto the disciple.
And he said, "In the mountain range to the south, in the land of the seven cities, there lives a seeress who is exceedingly wise. She has many disciples. Go and seek her, and become one of them. She will awaken your sleeping understanding like the beauty of Life will awaken your love."
The youth stayed the night, listening to the Prophet speak about his childhood. And on the following evening he died.
Not saying a word to the friends who gathered, the disciple came out of the Garden, where he found himself utterly alone, lost and confused.

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