What is Most Important in Life? A Lesson from Tolstoy | Mindfulness and Psychotherapy

There is a story by Leo Tolstoy of a king who had everything he needed, but he had three questions that nagged at him.

What is the right time to do any one thing?

Who are the right people to listen to and work with?

What is the most important thing to do at all times?

He figured that if he knew the answers to these questions, he would be free of any anxiety and never have any issues.

He called upon all his countrymen to a contest to see if anyone had the answers. Hundreds of people came in.

For the first question there were a variety of answers. Some people told him he needed to fill out a calendar and follow it to the tee and then he would know what the right thing to do was. Others had other theories.

For the second question, again, some people listed religious leaders; others said he needed a wise counsel to rely on, while others said the military is who he should surround himself with.

The third answer brought similar responses from science to religion to the military.

Underwhelmed by all these responses, the king dressed in peasant clothing and walked up to visit a wise hermit on top of the mountain, for he may have the answer.

The hermit was busy plowing a garden and the king said,