A few months ago I was being coached by a wonderful teacher, Radhika Shah-Grouven, about how to keep doing “this” when I am so busy. I know we all feel very busy– and, with regards to scheduling, I am: the family, full-time job, additional clients, commuting, this blog… this list could be endless. However, I find that I am only as overwhelmed as I believe that I am– of course, this falls within certain physical parameters: I must get sleep (although I get 5.5-6 hours), I must eat well, I must drink water, I must exercise, and I must meditate. Meditation doesn’t cause me to suddenly have a “stress”-free life. However, it does cause me to be very aware of my reaction to stress. It has afforded me enough self-awareness to realize how much I can take on or how much I must put down. I definitely experience times of ambivalence and apathy– times where I would rather sit on the couch and veg-out. However, I would rather allocate predetermined amounts of “free-time” to meditation. My lineage recommends four times a day– that may seem daunting to a newcomer. I would recommend a newcomer dedicates time for one to two sittings. As I have stated previously, five to seven minutes; but, commit and do it. In the same way you wouldn’t consider leaving the house without brushing your teeth, commit to going inside. My teacher, Swami J, says to make it an appointment, like lunch with a friend. Furthermore, if you are late, you postpone and make it up, as soon as possible– like your lunch date. Life happens, I understand; but, as Radhika taught me, you have a “mental mat”– it goes with you every where. She explained that there were times when she just touched the mat while riding the train! The more you return to center, the more it stays with you. Many times my meditation pillow is in the cockpit of my car and my meditation room is a parking lot.