Three Questions

On this first day of the year, I picked up some of my treasured books. I have many books, though I profess that I read much less now than I used to.  Not something that I say with any pride.  I have books stuffed in many different places.  It is like being surrounded by old, trusted friends.  They stay tucked away, uncomplaining.  They are patient.  They know that they will selected when the time is right, and until then, there are no "pick me" moments.

When I read John Adams' biography, I was struck by the fact that he had a book, I believe by Heraclitus, that he carried with him on his journeys.  And to have such a book that commanded such attention would mean to understand very well indeed the author's point of view and exposition of the subject at hand.

I have many books, but there are a few that continually command my attention.  For those that do, I revere them. One such book is is Thich Nhat Hanh's, The Miracle of Mindfulness.  I picked this book up again today.  I'm still in recuperation mode from the flu.  So sitting in the "Elephant Room" with the warmth of the wood stove, the companionship of my cat and two English Setters, lying quietly in a sunfiled spot on the floor is restorative. 

This is my favorite room of my home.  I call it the Elephant Room due to the wonderful Ronald Redding wallpaper that adorns the walls.  It is elephants and camels with sublimated imagery.  They are drawn in a way that evokes nostalgia, and my room is nostalgic in every sense.  Though new, it was designed to feel old.  It envelopes me, and it is a sanctuary.

I am sitting in one of my Nana's chairs.  They are Chromecraft, 1946 art deco chairs.  A pair.  One in blue floral velvet, the other in red.  I'm sitting in the red one.  The arms are wide with a wooden strip in the middle:  perfect to fit books, tea, writing instruments and the like.  Perfect for me.

On this day, I read Thich Nhat Hanh.  I was glad to read his retelling of Tolstoy's "Three Questions".

IT once occurred to a certain king, that if he always knew the right time to begin everything; if he knew who were the right people to listen to, and whom to avoid, and, above all, if he always knew what was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything he might undertake.

  You can find the story here.  It is a wonderful parable with this simple lesson:

Remember then: there is only one time that is important -- Now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power. The most necessary man is he with whom you are, for no man knows whether he will ever have dealings with any one else: and the most important affair is, to do him good, because for that purpose alone was man sent into this life!'


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