Who is the most important person? What is the most important time? What is the most important karma? Once upon a time, a king got up in the morning with these three questions on his mind. In the royal court, he asked his ministers and other courtiers. Some said the king was the most important person, the time of one’s death was the most important time, and serving one’s religion was the most worthwhile karma. Many others had different answers like one’s child or one’s parent was the most important person, the time of birth was the most important time and charity was the most important karma. Some said God was the most important person, many said it was the farmer, some replied it was the soldier and so on and so forth.
The king wasn’t satisfied with the responses. The three questions were put to his subjects too but no one could provide a satisfactory answer. Finally, his chief minister suggested that the king should visit a sage who lived on the top of a certain mountain. Promptly, the arrangements were made and the king was on his way with his entourage. It was a steep climb and a few hours later he found himself outside the cave of the yogi. As was the custom, he left his sword outside the door, prostrated before the sage and posed his questions. In response, the sage took him to the edge of a cliff, a nearby high point overlooking the entire kingdom. The king was looking at his vast dominion and feeling good about his life thus far when he was interrupted by a voice behind him.
“Turn around,” it said.
The king turned back and saw the sage pointing the sword at king’s heart, just a few millimeters away.
“O King!” the sage continued, “do you know now, who’s the most important person, what’s the most important time and what’s the most important karma?”
The king was startled. After his heart skipped a beat, a calm feeling swept over his entire being and his eyes twinkled. He bowed as much in reverence as affirmation. The sage handed back the sword. The king expressed his gratitude and went back to his palace.
His courtiers asked him the next day if he got a satisfactory answer and if so, they were quite eager to know as well, they said.
“Yes,” said the king. “The sage answered all three questions in an instant. Just when I was in awe looking at my colossal kingdom from the edge, I realized the most worthwhile karma for me was to continue to love my subjects, to care for them was the most important karma, indeed. I was a king because of my subjects, I realized. And then the sage appeared with my sword in his hand. I was a few moments away from death. I realized the most important time was ‘now’. At that moment my past didn’t matter and I had no future. Now was the only moment I had. Now is the only time I have. Now will be the only time I’ll ever have.”
The king went quiet in reflection. A minute ticked by.
“And, Your Majesty,” the minister said, “who is the most important person?”
“Yes, you. But not you.”
“Your wisdom is beyond my grasp, Your Grace.”
“The most important person is the person you are with,” the king clarified. “Therefore, you are the most important person right now.”
When I first came across this story by Leo Tolstoy, I thought only if one could remember these answers, major aspects of their life would undergo an automatic transformation. The person you are with ‘now’ is the most important person. When you give your sole attention to the person you are dealing with, you boost their self-esteem, you make them feel important, they feel cared, they feel respected. All the other positive emotions sprout naturally.
And undoubtedly, ‘now’ is the most important time, the most important moment. This is the only moment we can act in. In essence, this is the principle of mindfulness — to give your attention to the present moment. To be able to love, to be able to care is the most important karma, it’s the most worthwhile thing you can do with yourself, with others, with your time, with your life. When you are with yourself, be with yourself, love yourself; when you are with someone else, give them your undivided attention. You’ll accomplish lot more in lot less.
And, what is the most important feeling? Is it success? Is it feeling in control? Being in love? To be loved? Is it to feel important? No, not in my world. The most important feeling, in my view, is to feel contented. Contentment is the most important feeling. When you are contented, you feel strong, you feel peaceful, you overflow with love and compassion, you sleep in peace, you wake up happy, all struggle disappears and everything looks in place. To quote Shakespeare:
And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.
When you are with yourself, you are the most important person; don’t devote your thoughts and energy to meaningless grudges of the past. Negative thoughts have never propelled anyone into positivity. Go on now! Be with the person you are with, doing the most important karma.
At some point, we pause to take stock of our life and question what the purpose of it all is in fact, some say to question the purpose might be one of the most important questions to ask yourself daily.
Art of Meditation
Free yourself from suffering and live life to the fullest. Learn the yogic technique of meditation in 4 days (and master it over a lifetime)
To help you on this journey, here is a set of not just deep questions to ask yourself but also spiritual questions to ask yourself.
What are good questions to ask about yourself?
Sooner rather than later, it is a question you must ask yourself: how much are you willing to stretch yourself to gain others’ positive opinion of you? How important it is to you that others think highly of you?
Since childhood, we are constantly seeking approval of others. Someone else is always marking us against a criteria they’ve set. We are always matching it. In doing so, we are eternally manipulating ourselves. This leads to great inner unrest and turmoil. One of the definitive ways to rise above others’ opinions is to turn inward. And, how exactly to turn inward, you may wonder? These are deep questions to ask yourself. Read more here.
While learning how to ask yourself the right questions, what are a few good ones to ask?
At every step of our lives, we are faced with choices. If you reflect upon the matter, you will find that it is not so much about making right or wrong choices, as much as it is about decision making with the awareness that you are willing to take responsibility for your choices. Every choice you make will have a consequence. As long as you are bold enough to take responsibility for your decisions, life will present you with enough opportunities to make better ones.
Before making any decision, ask yourself two golden questions. These are, in fact, questions to ask yourself daily as we make dozens of decisions in a single day. Read more here.
Why is it important to ask questions to yourself?
Most people are not living but just getting by. They could be doing what they love, if not all the time, at least most of the time. The fact is a vast majority do not sit down and ask themselves what it is that they want from their life; they ignore their calling, their inner voice.
There are certain questions to ask yourself, of course, but life is not about sitting in an examination hall. God is not testing you. I am confident he has better things to do. You can keep answering questions, or you can take a moment to reflect, to inquire, to know, to ascertain, to understand, to be what matters to you, to do what gives you joy. Read more here.