THE TALE OF THE MOUNTAINEER
While still lying in the hospital(s) I would often fall into so called “Black Holes” (frequent, sudden depression attacks). I would regularly escape from them recollecting a story told to me by a friend, a year earlier. I shall retell it here very freely, from memory, so please, forgive me for possible deviations!

In a city (the name is irrelevant), in a country (also doesn’t matter which) dwelled a mountaineer. More precisely: he was a free climber – you know, climbing rocks, skyscrapers, towers, walls and alike objects (of course, his name is not important, either). He excelled in what he was in, but he yearned to be even better. So he visited the best climber in the country asking him for instruction in some climbing skills that he himself did not master yet.

Thus becoming the country’s best climber, our mountaineer strived to be even better so he asked his teacher if there might be something more to learn about climbing. “Oh, yes! There is!” – answered the teacher – “if you crave so intensely for development, I can recommend you to the best climber in the world!”

So it was! The mountaineer went to the best climber in the world, to recieve his teaching… He vigorously learned and practised and soon acquired all secret skills of the best climber in the world! One day his teacher said unto him: “There’s nohing left that I can teach you, you know everything that I know, you are even more skillful in climbing than me – you’ve become the best climber in the world! Yet, there’s an even better, though a bit odd, master in India! He belongs to no category and literally performs miracles – if you want to learn some more stuff, go to him!”

Of course, our mountaineer wanted to go further! He went to India and found the odd master that his previous teacher had recommended. He told him about his cravings. Having convinced himself about sincerity and serenity of his would-be disciple’s intentions, the master eventually agreed to teach him. They went to the footing of a veeery steep mountain, and climbed it very easily. Having reached it’s peak, the master asked him: “See the next mountain’s peek over there?” Having said that, he simply walked, just so - in the air, to this peak and back. “How do you do that?!” – asked the mountaineer, amazed. “Well,” - the master answered, brushing his thick beard - “if you are ready to sacrifice a couple of your lifetime’s years to hard training, maybe you’ll learn…”

Indeed, after several years of hard work, our mountaineer made himself a master of that skill as well! His teacher commended him an told unto him: “Before you leave, be aware that there is still a master better than us! Now you’ve learned some mighty skills, but he knows a lot more!”

Confused, yet curious, the mountaineer offed to look for the mysterious master. After several months’ search he traced him – amidst a jungle he was told that such a man lives in an outcast hamlet deep in the jungle. After traversing the jungle for couple of days, he stumbled upon a modest, tiny and skinny old man who was hoeing his garden in a clearing.

After the mountaineer explaned his wishes and whom was he seeking, the old man carefully looked upon him and kindly spoke: “Yep, a good track you follow – I’m the one you are looking for! Since you’ve accomplished all necessary steps & still found me although this was extremely difficult, if you strongly and sincerely wish, I agree – I’ll be your teacher! Only, be patient now, please, and wait till I finish my work!”

So, the old man continued his hoeing for next 3 hours, while our mountaineer patiently waited. When the job was done, the two headed through thick woods to the village. When they arrived, the old man carefully cleaned his hoe and put it in it’s place. Then he cooked the dinner for the mountaineer and himself – a fistful of rice for each of them. After they ate it, the old man invited his guest in front of his cottage, where a huge, old tree was growing. “ Sooo,” - the old man said sitting beneath the tree - “now look how I climb mountains!” And he started to meditate…