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     Rammurthi, Ph.D., is a Marriage, Family, and Child Counselor specializing in developmental issues, the treatment of anxiety and depression and a body-oriented approach to the problems of intimacy. Living and working in the Bay Area near San Francisco he manages to integrate meditation into a full-on schedule. Here's how....

6:00 A.M.
     The clock is insisting it's time to get up and meditate, but the body is heavy and protesting the transition from cozy sleepiness to an upright posture with enforced awareness.
It is Brahmamahurtha, considered in the East to be "the divine time" — though any moment can be divine and a time to meditate as far as I can see — and it has a fine ring of silence and stillness.
I have found that meditation at this time sets a good tone for the day, so I hop on the pillow.

6:15 A.M.
      I have just settled into a fairly alert but mellow state when the cat starts scratching at the door and wailing as if she hasn't eaten for a month. I immediately feed her knowing full well that if I don't it will lead to a post-meditation state imbued with meows for the rest of the day.
      Shaking off annoyance, I return to the pillow and the challenge of witnessing dispassionately and not becoming engulfed by a heavily loaded, churning mind stream.
      It certainly helps to count ten breaths, following the inhalation and exhalation closely. Simultaneously I am aware of the sound, location and flow of my breathing and the movements of my chest and belly. At the onset I make a clear decision to constantly return to the gaps between thoughts; otherwise I am simply sitting there thinking or dreaming.

7:00 A.M.
     Structured meditation over, I feel glad that I got up and hung in through the hydraulic wails of the Marin Sanitation trucks. I do ten sun salutations and brace myself for the daily encounter with my friends Dow, Jones, and NASDAQ. The NASDAQ is down over 100 points!
     This plunges me into the fear and loathing meditation that is inevitable when someone like myself with minimal financial sense and no market background whatsoever decides to charge the windmill of equity trading. Conceivably a stock-market meditation might imply taking a playful approach to investing or being total about the market. But I have yet to meet anyone who is very playful about their money in a fast moving market. Mr. Fear and Mr. Greed alternate with stealth from background to foreground.
     It is one thing to be aware of this and talk about it, but yet another not to be possessed by these powerful emotions. Simply asking myself: 'What am I feeling and where am I feeling that in my body?' can be grounding and stabilizing. When I make a decision from meditative equipoise I have a better chance of a positive result.

8:30 A.M.
     After eating breakfast it's time to confirm my appointments so that I don't travel all over the Bay area for nothing.
     My understanding is that if I am able to infuse each act or moment with that totality so that my attention and effort is undivided , I am less likely to create unfinished business that only makes it harder to be total in the next moment with its unique challenges.
     I have also come to find that it is easier to bring a meditative energy to activities of giving and helping than activities which involve getting, grasping and profiting. If I stopped sitting meditation, did not listen to Osho discourse tapes and lost contact with friends of Osho, instead putting all my energy into making money, I don't think that kind of totality would be meditative. If I began to think about making money from the minute I woke up until I went to bed, as many successful people do, I don't think that kind of totality would be meditative either.

9. 00 A.M.
     My partner Astha and I go for a walk along Shoreline Trahere. Along this trail are wide sweeping vistas of sky, sun and sea, which remind us of life's vastness and the relative insignificance of our daily concerns. Today we are lucky, as a doe and three bambis engage us in sustained eye contact, seeming to be just as curious about us as we are about them. Looking at the trees, the great white herons on the shore, and the sun bursting out of the clouds, I feel that we are experiencing a taste of paradise.

12.00 P.M.
     The drive to my appointments takes an hour which allows me to listen to an Osho discourse tape and find a quote for satsang -- a group-sitting meditation -- which will be at my home this weekend.      I see four difficult clients who have been in locked facilities most of their lives and are just barely making it in the community. One calls 911 and threatens suicide whenever she doesn't get her way; another has severe tantrum behavior.
     I often pause in the midst of stressful situations, listen to the tone of my voice, observe my own demeanor, and go through a quick checklist:

          • Muscles tight or relaxed?

          • Breathing shallow or deep?

          • Am I taking this too seriously or can I find the humor and entertainment in this situation?

          • Am I fully engaged and accepting the reality of the moment?

          • Am I staying energetically positive?

This checklist helps me remain grounded and well boundaried when interacting with individuals who have severe symptoms of anxiety, depression, and aggressive tendencies. It also helps in situations involving gain and loss.

6:00 P.M.
     I return home to many calls and e-mails. The snail mail is heaped up. There are written reports to do. I have a relationship which is more important than any of the above, and which requires time and energy to nourish. Suddenly the cell phone is ringing, and I see a fax on the floor. I am itching to see how the stock market finished. I am supposed to do a staff training on stress reduction, and the very thought of it is making me tense.
     There are also many friends I would like to spend time with. But taking precedence over all of this is the cat, who is relentlessly on my case for dinner. As I stand motionless in the kitchen with a smelly tin of cat food in my hand, I feel the subtle draw, the pull of meditation beckoning. I can glide into this moment. Yet I feel financial matters, family responsibilities and work weighing heavily as an obstacle to meditation. But I realize I have a choice as to how much heaviness or tension I bring into my thoughts, feelings, and actions.
     Right now I'm totally exhausted but feel a stream of physical vitality just under the mental fatigue. I'm not sure what I can bring to the next moment but as I look at Osho's picture I experience a surge of gratitude, warmth and well-being. I am exceedingly glad that Osho remains as a guiding light in my life.

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