See preceding posts if you're just now entering the story . . . In reply to the first question, one person advised that the emperor make up a thorough time schedule, consecrating every hour, day, month and year for certain tasks and then follow the schedule to the letter.  Only then could he hope to do every task at the right time.

Another person replied that it was impossible to plan in advance and that the emperor should put all vain amusements aside and remain attentive to everything in order to know what to do at what time.

Someone else insisted that, by himself, the emperor could never hope to have all the foresight and competence necessary to decide when to do each and every task, and what he really needed was to set up a Council of the Wise and then to act according to their advice.

Someone else said that certain matters require immediate decision and could not wait for consultation, but if he wanted to know in advance what was going to happen he should consult magicians and soothsayers.

To be continued . . .

Note about this series:

This post is part of a short series of postings taken from Tolstoy's short tale, "The Emperor's Three Questions."

The tale is a remarkable meditation on mindfulness, the awakened life, the practice of living from a prayerful center. Along with other Russian literary giants, Tolstoy wrote from inside nineteenth century Russia which experienced a revival of the Jesus Prayer among ordinary peasants who sought to live well in hard times.

I see Tolstoy's tale as a popularization of the spirituality of the Jesus Prayer for ordinary people. Reviving this story during our tumultuous century may serve to give us guidance for living well in the midst of the new challenges facing our daily lives.

Take time to ponder this little section of the tale and seek for ways it might guide your day today.

Don't hurry, there is real gold here.

You might also enjoy the award winning 2006 Russian film, The Island, which explores the ethical impact of 19th century Russian spirituality, and in particular, the Jesus Prayer, on our modern world.